After being back in LA and “on the road” for 5 days now, I feel the nomadic life suits me. Currently I’m blogging from my friend Anita’s place in Culver City, which has been relaxing, even with the presence of her two small attention loving dogs.
When I decided to do this, I was never worried about finding a place to sleep, but even so I’ve been surprised at how many friends opened their arms to me and offered a place to stay. I’ve even had to turn people down. I knew I had good friends, but I guess I didn’t realize how loved I am! It’s a good confidence boost.
Last weekend we moved our stuff up to San Francisco! Everything actually went really well. Saturday morning everything was packed and sitting in the middle of the living room in bags and boxes. We picked up our Budget rent-a-truck as soon as they opened at 8 am. It was a big truck. So big that I think they gave us a different one than we’d paid for. We’d been worried about fitting everything in the truck and had thought we would need my car as well, but we could have fit even more stuff in that truck. We got all packed up, speed-cleaned the old apartment, took a wistful last look around, and were off! We made a Trader Joe’s stop for much-needed road snacks and finally hit the highway at around 1:30 pm.
The drive was uneventful, but surprisingly traffic-free. We had thought to stay with a friend in Sacramento, since we figured we’d be rolling in late and didn’t want to leave all of our worldly possessions on the street overnight in SF. But we were making such good time that it looked like we’d get up there around 8 and it would be early enough to unload, so we decided to go straight to San Francisco that night instead.
This was a great plan, but we hadn’t printed out directions from LA to SF, and we don’t have gps or smart phones and had not grabbed a map. But we were just in SF a few weeks before, surely we could remember how we there, right? Wrong. When we didn’t recognize any of the exits and it became apparent that we would have to get on the Golden Gate Bridge soon, we just got off the freeway. . . and ended up in a part of town we didn’t recognize. And it had a lot of hills. Big ass San Francisco hills. Going up was scary for Zac, since he had to floor it to even get the truck to groan and crawl up the hills. Going down was scary for me, as it felt like we were cresting the top of a roller coaster, only this was no roller coaster, this was our Budget rent-a-truck! The first person we saw we asked for directions, but still we got lost and had to ask for directions again. It seems like in San Francisco you know your own neighborhood well, but the other ones you’re a little fuzzy on.
It was 9:30 pm on New Year’s eve now, and somehow we’d ended up in the Castro, the gay part of town where the party was in full swing. How the hell did we get here?!? Yet again, we asked a valet for directions. He smiled, and said “Yeah, actually, I do know how to get to Sunset”, and named streets I actually remembered. We followed his directions, and they ended up being perfect. We made it to our apartment around 10 pm.
As safe and quiet as our new neighborhood is, leaving all of our stuff on the street overnight was not an option. We hauled ass to get everything inside, and somehow managed to get it all done by midnight. We opened a bottle of wine with Johnny, our landlord’s son/housemate/new friend, and crashed hard after an exhausting day.
The next two days were a combination of work and exploration. We got a lot done around the apartment unpacking but also spent quite a bit of time in a Chinese neighborhood near us. I love anything Asian, so 7 blocks of restaurants, markets, and cheap shops is my cup of tea. We discovered a vegetarian Chinese restaurant called Shangri La, a huge Asian supermarket called Sunset Super, and some great hardware and housewares stores. At all, we got a lot for our money! Where can you get soy sauce, wonton wrappers, noodles, onions, bananas, and a couple of pomegranates for $9.33? Sunset Super! My new favorite place. We also discovered a great co-op near us that sells all of the special foods we vegetarians and vegans crave at good prices. Zac wants to get a job there. I hope he does, it would be perfect for him (and hello employee discount!)
Monday morning I had an interview with a manager and specialist over at the Sephora in the Stonestown Galleria shopping mall. I thought the interview went alright, but I was nervous and they asked some serious questions. I get that they wanted to make sure I’d be a good fit for their store and that I wouldn’t break up with Zac and move back to LA in 3 months, but afterward I wasn’t too sure that it had gone well.
During my weekend stay in the city I did start to get accustomed to San Francisco transportation. Being from LA, I always expect public transportation to be crap, but was surprised by the ease and speed of it. One thing that I really liked was that when you ride the MUNI system, your fare costs $2, but it is really a transfer for 90 minutes. So no matter how many times you change fares or hop on and hop off, your ticket is still good for those 90 minutes. Also, you can ride anything in the MUNI system, whether it’s a bus, tram, or light rail. So far it’s a system that’s been easy to use.
Coming back to LA was also easy. I’d originally thought I would fly, but I’m too cheap for that! On the Craigslist rideshare boards I found this girl named Mariko who was going back to LA the day I planned on leaving. I took public transportation over to her in Oakland, and for the cost of splitting gas ($40) I got a ride and had pleasant conversation all the way back to LA. We made great time too, since there was no traffic and she drove 80 mph the whole way.
Sorry this blog has been so rambling! There has just been so much that happened such a short time. I’ve been staying every night at a different friend or family members’ place and having a blast. It’s been good to have a little extra time to see people and take care of any last LA business I have. A few days ago, I heard back from Jacqueline at Sephora in Stonestown Galleria and they liked me! So I’m all set to transfer. I’m driving up on January 18th, giving me just over a week in LA still. I have to admit, as much as I’ve liked being a nomad I’m getting a little antsy to get up and begin my new life. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!
Happy New Year and Happy Travels