Sailing in the San Francisco Bay.

Now that I’m working in Oakland I don’t get into the city much. The last thing I want to do on the weekend is sit on a sweaty bart or wait forever in line for food or deal with traffic coming back across the Bay Bridge (though, that said we do all three pretty often!). We prefer to get out into the wilderness given the chance.

However, a couple of weekends ago we braved the crowds at Fisherman’s Wharf to get a spot onboard AC Sailing’s USA 76, a former America’s Cup yacht for a sunset sail. Eoin works on board 76 a few times a week and so this was a sweet perk of having him staying in our teeny apartment for the summer. USA 76 is over 80 feet long and goes super fast. The boat is made of carbon fibre (Eoin says the boom feels crazy light!) and sails closer to the wind than a normal yacht. We got to participate in grinding and each had a chance to helm. The night was clear and the sky was a thousand stunning shades of sunset—we had to pinch ourselves as we cut through the water under the Golden Gate Bridge and took in the view of the San Francisco skyline. I don’t know how this is real life because its pretty ridiculous. 

Rich and his partner assisting in raising the main sail — the hardest task of the evening due to its enormous size. 

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Me! At the helm! It was way harder than it looked but pretty freaking cool. 

It felt like we could touch the bridge at any moment but in reality there’s another 115 feet (the height of our sail) above us. 

Thanks so much to Eoin and AC Sailing SF for taking us out. If you want to see a little video of the evening check out my instagram.

It was one of those nights that makes this whole experience of living abroad all the more exceptional. I’ll always remember this night, how it felt and what we saw; it was so beautiful. 

What’s Better than a Friend who Visits?

A friend who visits with Cadbury’s chocolate from home, obviously. 

Joanna was here for a whirlwind three and a half days and we packed them full. I have not ate so much, laughed so much, talked or smiled so much as I did while she was here. Friends from home are the BEST. 

I didn’t take that many photos…probably because I was too busy doing the aforementioned eating, talking, smiling, laughing, but here’s a few if you’d like to take a look. 

Twin Peaks, Rich’s favourite first-stop tourist destination. 

The Mill, because even though it’s just toast, it’s really really good toast. 

That photo up there is my favourite from the whole weekend. It gives me such wanderlust…even though I live here. Weird.

We saw these guys perform two years ago in Portland at a Last Thursdays street festival…it was so random to come across them here in SF.

On Sunday we went to Alameda and I bought Shoshanna the bike! We were meant to go hiking but it rained all morning and so doughnuts and the flea market made for an excellent runner-up. 

Friends who visit are the best friends of all! We miss you Joanna, California is much sweeter with you in it!

Flea Market.

The Flea Market is my happy place. It was before I moved to California and it remains so while I am here. Alameda Antiques Fair is probably the best of the best. I’m not a die-hard shopper (because I have neither the space, need, nor bank balance) who gets up at 5 am and pays the full entry in but I do like a good few hours of semi-structured wandering through the endless line of stalls. Seriously, Alameda is so big that the first time we went we didn’t even make it to the end. These photos are from the March market (Alameda is on the first weekend of every month) where the weather was glorious. I didn’t buy much but there was so much to see and so many people to watch that it was definitely worth the $5 entry fee (though it makes me grumble every time…paying for the privilege to spend money is kind of crazy in my opinion).

The April Flea was this past Sunday (Easter Sunday!) and the weather was abysmal. In spite of the weather (and the resulting lack of stalls to peruse) we were motivated to find some extra special treasure to make it all worthwhile. And I did! A bike! More photos of the new addition to the family to come. In the meantime enjoy these sunny photographs from last time. I’ll be back Alameda, I love you so! 

Alameda is such a cool location and the view of the city from the flat is pretty incredible, as are the giant cargo ships and dinosaur-like cranes hanging around. 

Giant old shop letters…my boss back in Dublin would LOVE these (Hi Jen!). 

Richard was not convinced that we needed this old rickety tandem.

We guessed that this was a student doctor’s learning dummy because she was, ahem, anatomically accurate. 

These cashmere cardigans were stunning. 

Rich found his own name and a couple of his co-workers names within minutes which prompted him to stay and search for the rest of them. I have zero patience for that kind of task and left to continue exploring but lo and behold he found them all! Well, all except Seamus, but that was never going to happen. Haha. 

A baby goat! You really never do know what you’ll find at the flea market. 

Find more info on the flea market here and you can follow them on facebook here.

 

 

Photobooth Favourites.

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I love a classic photo-booth. I made Richard promise that if we ever have our own business we need to purchase one of these guys. I don’t know what use a photo-booth will be in a brew-pub slash vintage clothing store slash design house (haha) but I’ll make it work. 

Classic photo-booths take, hands down, the most beautiful and flattering photographs. I don’t understand how something capable of producing such perfect and clear and stunning photographs has, over time, transformed into something that produces little more than pixelated crap. The passport photos from one of these would be a hundred times better than the girl in the chemist with the camera who isn’t sure whether or not you have to show your ears (true story—she literally said ‘I don’t know what to do!’). The sign on the outside of this booth professes to even capture the most wriggly of children, which was of course a novelty at the time of its production. 

This photo-booth is situated in the Musee Mecanique at Fisherman’s Wharf and it is—in my opinion anyway—the only good reason to go to Fisherman’s Wharf. Skip the bread bowls and tourist souvenirs and head straight for a strip of these beauties. It will cost you $3 which you’ll need in single dollar bills. And if you’re anything like me you will want at least two. 

We bought some cheapo party hats and horns and had a mini celebration in the photo-booth for Emily’s birthday (we sent the photos stuck to the present and when she pulled them off she said ‘look, it’s Clio and Richard! It’s from Clio and Richard!’ which of course made me melt). My lovely friend Joanna is coming to stay with us for Easter and I can’t wait to squeeze into the photo-booth with her for some silly posing.

I intend on coming home with a stack of these black and white memories. 

That last one of the right cracks me up…I forgot that there was another photo to come and was about to get up and walk out, aka resting bitch face in all its glory!!!

 

A Work in Progress.

I finished college almost eight months ago. Somedays that feels like a life time and somedays it does not. I still feel a strange sensation when my lips form the ‘no’ after being asked if I have a student card in shops. I feel like I should still have that right. By all intents and purposes some days I still feel like a card-carrying member of the student population.

I think interning perpetuates this feeling. As interns, we are constantly being reminded of our place in the world—ie the very bottom of a muddy pile—and how little we know, how much we have yet to grow. While knowing ‘out place’ is important it can also be a challenge after the high of graduation, where everyone sings your praises and sends cheery salutations. Internships can we wonderful, valuable, enriching periods of time and they can also be frustrating, degrading and menial. While we can hope to gain, wish for, and seek the former, a mix of both is more common in my experience. 

Moving to America less than a year after my cousin died and my niece was born and finishing college and having strangers move into my family home wasn’t a good idea. I know that now. It was too much, too fast, and too emotional. Now we are here and we can only go forward, we cannot go back.

We are making the most of it. Some days making the most of it is staying in and watching hours of Friends reruns on Netflix. Sometimes making the most of it is hopping in the car for a much needed day trip to the sun. Sometimes making the most of it is crying when you get in the door from work in the evening. It is all living and it is all progress. 

I am letting go of my expectations, hopes and plans for this year and really exploring what it is to simply be here. For example, when I first started feeling lonely, I immediately felt a desperate need to fix that feeling. I asked myself questions and worried and stressed about finding friends and ridding myself of this horrible emotion. Now I recognise that sometimes I will feel lonely. It makes sense to feel lonely because I don’t have friends here like I have at home. I recognise that loneliness and say to myself ‘so this is loneliness, it’s not so bad.’ And it is ok. For the most part the emotion moves on and I feel something else. I am no longer feeling tethered to the weight of passing feelings. I have gained perspective.  

Rich and I joke that we are on the accelerated learning path to adulthood. I can feel myself growing here. It hurts sometimes., growing pains do—they leave no mark and will most likely be forgotten, but in the moment they are a reminder that we are all a work in progress.