After spending a week with T and K and their parents, I flew up to San Francisco and spent the weekend visiting McKay, who has returned to his original haunts of Palo Alto (yes, McKay, I know that's not where you're originally from, but it's close enough). I spent some time talking with T and K after I tucked them in bed on Friday night and I was very gratified that they were so sad that I was leaving in the morning. T told me that when he thought about it, he got a lump in his throat that wouldn't go away. Can I keep him? We agreed to be penpals so it wouldn't be so sad for me to leave. Speaking of which, I need to write him a letter this week.
The funniness started when I arrived at the San Francisco airport and McKay and I had some trouble meeting up. Turns out that Jetblue is the only domestic airline that uses the international terminal. Good thing McKay stopped and asked someone about this, or he may have been driving in circles for a lot longer while I chilled and watched lots of other people get picked up. But eventually, my luggage and I were happily situated in his car.
The plan was for me to explore San Francisco on my own for the day since McKay had to work, so he drove me as far into town as he could before needing to turn back around to be on time. This was where the second bit of funniness started. I hadn't been able to find out as much about public transit from the internet as I wanted and McKay wasn't very familiar with it, so we started just driving around looking for bus stations and things. We saw one and so McKay figured that was as good a place to drop me off as any, so he pulled into a randomly selected parking lot and left me to my adventure. Five years ago I would have died. Now, I looked for an ATM machine so I could pay a bus fare. Then I found a nearby gas station so I could buy some overpriced juice and a rice krispy bar, use the facilities, and ask the nice woman working there how I could get to Fisherman's Wharf. She kindly pointed me towards the correct bus stop and bus, which when it arrived, proved to the be the bus that also went through Chinatown. I could tell because I was one of about three white people on the bus.
I love the challenge of exploring new cities on my own, but there's always that moment or two when I look around me and wonder if I've walked into the wrong part of town. That's always a little disconcerting. I felt mostly safe in San Francisco since I was mostly staying in tourist areas, but after I left my matinee of Wicked (which I was very late for because of the way the cable cars are run- is it really necessary to stop in the middle of every intersection while the cars honk at you?), I walked to the train depot and definitely felt just a hair unsafe. Fortunately, I didn't make eye contact with the shady men and since I walk fast, they must have thought I looked confident. Or maybe they're really very nice men who just happen to look shady. Who knows?
McKay and I went on a very fun double date- he set me up with one of his friends (I just realized that short of when I was dating David this summer, every date I've been on this year has been blind. I'm not sure what that means. At least they haven't been deaf). Turns out that my date is a bookworm like me and is a teacher, so we talked a lot about books. He also quoted some T.S. Eliot poetry for us. I commend McKay for his choice of gentleman.
The other funny mishap happened after the date when McKay tried to drop me off that the house of girls that he'd arranged for me to stay at and no one answered the door or responded when he texted them all. Since it was almost midnight and I'd been up since 4:30 to catch a plane, in the end I just went back to the family house where he's living and crashed in the guest bedroom. Good thing we're not BYU students any more. Heh.
I must also commend McKay for his choice of activity on Monday before I left. Knowing that I am a botany nerd, we drove up to the redwoods and had a great hike through them. Technically it can't really be called a hike since we didn't really increase elevation at all. But that's hardly relevant. It was really an amazing experience to walk through those massive, tall, silent trees with amazing ferns and things growing in their underbrush. McKay and I thought of all kinds of neat analogies that can be taken from a redwood forest. Maybe I'll type them up later.
Now I am safely reinstated in Utah, and I was greeted the morning after I got back by snow. Toto, we are not in California any more. I hope Becca and her boys enjoy the winter garden I helped them plant, because there aren't going to be any more gardens here this year, that's for sure.