I had come across the perfect dresser at a Goodwill back home years ago. It was a mid-century style, wooden dresser that was tall and thin, with skinny little legs. I was in no place to be purchasing new furniture (I was graduating from college with no idea of what I was going to do next) and had no place to store anything (no childhood room to come back to for me!) but could not stop thinking about that dresser that slipped through my fingers for years.
For years, my dilemma was that I could not afford a dresser… have you seen the cost of those things?! I had to make do with little clear tupperware shelving for everything from my delicates to my sweaters. But after years of frugality, and wondering if I could really afford that $5 bus trip, I finally have switched my mindset around to realize that I can afford to buy some nice things. So I stuck with what I know, Craigslist. I figured if I looked long enough, I could find the perfect dresser for a price that wouldn’t give me a heart attack. And look I did! I became familiar with most furniture salespeople on Craigslist and an 2 month long email chain finally resulted in the prize: a dresser!
For only $150, I was able to get a tall, mid century dresser made of wood with skinny legs. It might gross you out, but I kind of loved that I found a pair of pantyhose stuck to the back of a drawer. I hope the old lady it belonged to loved it just as much as I do! I’d like to change the nickel knobs to brass and I’ll have to re-stain it at some point, but I honesty don’t mind the scratches for the time being. I’m just happy that my clothes are easy to find and not buried in the depths of my closet!
Ok, just kidding.We didn’t go on tour.
Before we went to California we had a bit of a panic moment. We had originally wanted to buy a nice camera for the occasion, something that would cost quite a chunk of change. Of course, we hemmed and hawed for so long, that the fancy camera before the trip just wasn’t going to happen. Though I love taking photos on my phone (hello Instagram!) John really wanted a camera to hold. So the he went out and bought two disposable cameras just before we left. The store didn’t even know that they carried disposable cameras anymore!
Of course, the photos aren’t great. In fact, some of them were downright bad. But they have a very grainy, saturated quality, that reminds me of photos of my parents when they were my age. And the weird lighting, off center quality and random blurs remind me of old band photos. Like if we were Nirvana, we would’ve probably written on all the photos with Sharpie and taped them to our walls. (Of course, bands now are still taking Polaroids… so please don’t call us hipsters!) But these photos feel special. They feel like the trip. The random moments, the big exciting moments, they were all captured!
Finally, everyone thinks California looks like a beach. This is what my hometown looks like:
John had never seen a redwood. I was pretty certain I had never seen a redwood. (Hard to forget, I know, but most people aren’t as forgetful as me!) After a long few days of spending time with LOTS of family members in California, we were ready for some quite, serene time, just for us. We spent the night outside the city, at a small motel in the Mill Valley, and woke up early the next day to explore Muir Woods. As I woke, I was so upset to see the sun streaming in through the curtains. I had wanted John to see the redwoods in their true element, fog, but as we drove down the steep hairpin turns down into the valley, I knew I’d gotten my wish. The fog wasn’t just thick, it was dense, moist and cold. My hair turned into an afro about 5 minutes in.
I think my favorite part had to be the mix of people there. An old Chinese woman yapping away in Mandarin, an elderly black man being pushed in a wheelchair, a yoga-pants-wearing soccer mom yelling at her kids, a group of Germans huddled together speaking softly, a class of little kids tripping over their feet as they gazed upwards, and Italians wearing leather jackets with bejeweled tigers embroidered on them. I even heard a British man tell his son, “John, look up son. These are the biggest trees you will ever see.” There was something very communal about this random bunch of visitors. We were all in awe of these massive trees.
Look! A small tree squirrel with an afro!
John’s camera somehow captured TWO suns! I guess thats just how magical the day was!
It felt strange to leave the quiet, wet forest and head straight back into fast-paced city life, for the airport.
The other day John mentioned that my two best friends (not including him) where my mom and my little sister and I wholeheartedly agreed. It’s hard not to be close in proximity to my sister, but when we talk on the phone, it’s just like she’s in the room. I know she misses us in Washington, and we miss her too. Times had definitely been challenging for my two best friends and I was glad to be there and hold my little (but incredibly tall) sister’s hand during the worst of it!
We spent our second day in California mostly spending time with Brenna. We stopped by her house where she graciously offered John her Darth Vader mug for morning coffee and let me chase her cat Daisy around the house. Then we had brunch at Babe’s, a cute old diner that we’ve gone to forever.
We then showed John the sights around town (not many) and spent the rest of our time idling around town, shopping and playing, until we met up with Bri for a late lunch. I’ve always stuck to the motto that it’s better to have a few great friends rather than a dozen good acquaintances, and Bri has definitely always been a great friend. In the past few years, lots of time passes between our calls or chances to see each other, but every time I see her I’m incredibly inspired by all she does.
PS: These pictures were taken in Mary’s Pizza Shack, my all-time favorite restaurant!
Our first day in California was an eventful one! After landing, we picked up our VIP rental car and headed straight to Chinatown. We drove north and as soon as we turned the corner, John was amazing at how BIG San Francisco really is. It was so cool to see it through his eyes!
Have you seen Big Trouble in Little China? It was a big deal for John growing up. Do you see that little bit of red undershirt that he’s wearing? That’s a Big Trouble in Little China T-shirt! It’s a super macho, cheesy 80′s action movie where Kurt Russell wears a muscle shirt and knee high moccasin boots. Seriously. The movie takes place in Chinatown, so we mostly just wanted to walk down the little alleyways and peek on old men playing mahjong and old ladies hanging out laundry. We finally decided on a restaurant where we were the only white people (score!) and the world’s yummiest chow mein (double score!) Next, I was really pining to stop by the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero. Mostly for Blue Bottle Coffee, but also to buy host gifts for everyone that we stayed with! After standing in a crazy long line at Blue Bottle (I’m still a fan, but man, it’s not really worth the wait!) I stopped by Miette Cakes and was amazed to see a high school classmate behind the counter. Sometimes the world feels so tiny, and I got a free slice of cake! (Thank you Brea!)
John really wanted to do the touristy things, which I mostly groaned at, but I decided Lombard Street was something touristy that we could handle, and even though the Bay Bridge is a bit faster of a commute, I decided that the Golden Gate was worth the detour! It was a beautiful, clear day in San Francisco and the perfect view for John to see the city.