Embarking on new adventures

So…as you can see, I ended up taking a pretty long hiatus from updating this blog to focus on figuring out my life post-graduation.

Today, while I wouldn’t say I figured it all out yet, I have a much better idea now.

Interestingly enough, I’ve returned right where I left off – the Bay. Life is a funny little sucker. A year ago, If anyone would have asked me where I wanted to end up, I would have answered my hometown of LA without hesitation. But ever since that Norcal trip last summer, I guess a little seed of desire – the wishful thought of “perhaps” – had began sprouting inside of me. I was able to see myself there, living and being happy. And now, with a trickery of fate,  that seed has grown and born fruit in the form of my landing a full-time position with a library system in San Francisco. I’m a lucky girl.

Much thanks and apologies to those who took an interest to my previous posts. May you continue to share my thoughts, observations, and experiences here, where I’ll be sharing bits of my adventures in and around the City of the Bay. Onward, upward!

NorCal Trip: Day 6, part 1 (Napa)

Napa Valley, CA – Sunlight and greenery. So beautiful. Did some wine-tasting for fun. Didn’t expect to be able to tell the difference between all the different kinds of wine, let alone like any of them. I never understood why people fawned over the beverage so much…until now. Having been introduced to actual “good” wine, I realized that everything I’ve had so far had just been utter crap.

We first made a stop at the Hess Collection in Napa to check out their art collection. Then we made our way to V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena for wine-tasting. They offer $10 Premium Tasting for 6 wines. My friend and I split this, and we both had a good buzz going on by the end (for the bargain price of $5 each). Both of our favorite ended up being the elegantly sweet Muscat, and we each purchased a bottle of it. Their cheese, crackers, and dips were amazing, too. I think we would have bought the whole store if we didn’t have to worry about packing our luggage.

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Good wine, good food, good times. Can’t wait to go back.

NorCal Trip: Day 5 (SF still)

It was July 4th and all I knew that whatever we decided on today it would end with watching fireworks. My friends weren’t as big on this tradition (I still haven’t been able to wrap my head around this fact) but they agreed to put it in the plans to humor me.

Another thing that I’ve been wanting to do while in SF was to eat clam chowder bread bowl looking over the water at Fisherman’s Wharf. I know, I know, it’s like the most touristy thing ever (next to riding a trolly maybe) and I’ve done it every time I’ve come here, but it just never gets old. And I yes, I can get it anywhere, but it’s just not the same. So my awesome friends agreed to humor me on this one too.

We decided to just go ahead and make this a really touristy day, so we started it off with walking around Lombard Street. After much driving around, we finally managed to find parking near Swensen’s Ice Cream in Russian/Nob Hill. From there, we made our way down the Most Crooked Street in the World as well as several other hilly streets until we reached Fisherman’s Wharf. Little did we realize then how much more walking we would be doing the rest of the day.

After we had our fill of clam chowder and sour dough bread, we headed back to the car to make sure we hadn’t gotten a parking ticket (thankfully, it seems that the parking maids were taking it easy as well that day), and then made for Ghirardelli Square, from where we planned to see the fireworks. Walking down Hyde Street, I got to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view of the bay and Alcatraz. However, a couple of my friends were not so fortunate, as they struggled to find footing down that steep decline in their high wedges (making it a life and death situation for them to some degree).

Naturally, the Square was heeella crowded, with long-ass lines leading out from the shops, which wasn’t the most welcome sight for a bunch of aching, tired-out pedestrians. But once we were seated and had our fill of sweets, we began enjoying the festive atmosphere.

After several miles of climbing hills and hours of waiting, it was finally nightfall and time for the fireworks to begin. We walked just a little bit more to get closer to the waterfront, where we watched a spectacular show. Even my friends, who didn’t care for fireworks to begin with, agreed it was totally worth the walk and wait. And so, my day (and night) was made.

Happy Birthday, America!

NorCal Trip: Day 4 (SF)

A beautiful, sunny day! Perfect for overlooking the City from Twin Peaks! We busted out the skirts and dresses. Of course, this also meant, taking into account how windy it gets up there, there were plenty of near-Marilyn Monroe moments:p

Twin Peaks


view from Twin Peaks

Then, we headed over to Golden Gate Park to catch the Gaultier exhibit going on at the De Young. I didn’t realize how gorgeous and huge GG Park was! Such a shame we only had time to go to the museum and hang around its vicinity. I definitely have to go back there to explore more of it.

The Gaultier exhibit was pretty cool. Full of sexy, avant-garde structural dresses, amass with super-tall cone bras and ultra-sheer corsets. Yet, also all about androgyny. The man was definitely a visionary.

the world of Jean Paul Gaultier

…and high fashion

After we finished a rushed picnic of Trader Joe’s-bought food in the park, we headed back home to get ready for a night out. Although it was only a Tuesday, it was the eve of July 4th, so there were plenty of clubbing events going on this evening.

We arrived at The Grand, the newest nightclub in SF, where we danced the night away, amidst bubbles, confetti, and red, white, and blue balloons. I was getting tired of the LA club scene, so this was a most-welcome, refreshing change.

welcoming in the Fourth @ The Grand

NorCal Trip: Day 3 (SF)

Muni-ed it to Powell in search of the Fork Ring Guy (the guy who sells rings he makes out of forks). Found him, browsed his wares (I didn’t buy anything, but a friend did), and then walked around extensively perusing the area. Being the library nerd that I am, I made it a point to stop by the San Francisco Public Library. So we entered the grand building that is the main library and a friend and I even signed up for a library card. As our last stop of this walk, we made our way to Yerba Buena Gardens, where we decided to have some tea at Samovar.

found the Fork Ring Guy!

our new library cards from SFPL:) + my friend’s fork ring purchase

afternoon tea

Following our adventure Downtown, we drove over to the Presidio to pick up our friend who works at the House of Air trampoline park. Getting over there, we missed our exit (seeing a pattern here?), and ended up crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. While this wasn’t on any of our ‘to-do’ list, I welcomed this accidental turn of events – it’s theSF landmark, after all. Last time I was here I crossed it by foot, so it was a nice change to do so by car. We turned around, got to HoA eventually, where our friend hooked it up with free jumps. Tired and hungry from jumping and, before that, working/walking around all day, we were all eager to grab dinner. We decided on Italian, and had the authentic at Trattoria Contadina in Little Italy. I could tell some of us were getting a little testy from the hunger and fatigue before, but the good food helped bring back harmony and contentment in the air (as well as our stomachs).

“accidentally” crossing the GG Bridge :p

bouncy bounce-bounce (@ HoA)

hearty Italian dinner in Little Italy

NorCal Trip: Day 1+2 (SF)

Going through my piles of priceless pictures and memories from my recent trip up north, I figured I should lay them out in (digital) writing. Besides, lately I’ve been neglecting my blog.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I took a week-long trip to the Bay Area with a friend to visit some of our friends. I met them all (the friend I flew with and those we were visiting) the summer after I graduated college. I still think back to that summer sometimes and get nostalgic. I always told myself I would make this trip after finishing grad school. So here I was…

Day (more like night) 1: After our flight was delayed nearly 2 hours, we finally arrived in SFO. A friend of a friend (and thus essentially a stranger at this point) was kind enough to pick us up from the airport. He stopped by a taqueria for us to get some burritos, then a Safeway for drinks, and for the rest of the evening, we had a kickback at his house, where I got to make a couple of new friends.

blue skies and waters seen outside as we near SFO

…but hella foggy and misty in the City :/

Day 2: Muni-ed it to the Embarcadero and walked inside and around the Ferry Building. I was happy to get myself a cup of Blue Bottle Coffee. I’d been in love with their quality coffee since discovering it on my last SF trip. After that, we headed over to Outer Richmond to get us some dumplings and chicken wings from Shanghai House. But being engrossed in conversation on the train ride there, we missed our stop and ended up stranded in the Tenderloin for a while. After some walking around being yelled at by hobos, a bus ride, and a long wait in the cold outside, we were finally seated in the tiny but cozy room of the restaurant, and stuffed ourselves with not one, not two, but three plates of their famed dry fried chicken wings.

in front of the Ferry Building

I ❤ Blue Bottle Coffee

our plates of dry fried chicken wings from Shaghai House

Be Okay

I know I haven’t kept up with posting for the past few weeks and am not proud about it. But the truth is, ever since graduating – actually, even before then, from the days leading up to graduation – I’ve been feeling kinda down. I hate being in limbo…there has never been a time before now when I didn’t know my place in life (I’ve always either been in school or working). Although I’ve somehow managed to keep myself busy through various activities, there’s no denying that perpetual nagging feeling of “wtf am I doing with my life?!”

So a refreshing change of scenery was most welcome. And I was blessed with such just last week in the form of a trip to NorCal with friends. This trip turned out to be one of the funnest, most invigorating (not to mention most indulgent for an unemployed recent grad like myself) experiences I’ve had in a while. 7 days of nothing but good friends, good food, and nonstop fun, fun, fun. Some may call it a way of escaping reality, but whatever it is, it was oh so nice to take a breather from the constant anxiety stemming from an uncertain future.

On the last day of the trip, which was spent soaking up the sun on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, I had a revelation as I soared over the beach on the Sea Swings ride: I’m alright, and life is going to turn out so too. The fact that I’m here, surrounded by amazing people in a beautiful place away from home, I must be doing something right.

Sea Swings at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

I’ll probably go back to my worrywart ways in a couple of days once my vacation euphoria wears off. But I’ll remember to look back at that one moment of clarity and feel assured.

Lawrence Clark Powell Letters: the founding of the UCLA Library School

Interestingly enough, one of the last collections I processed at UCLA Special Collections happened to be the letters of distinguished librarian Lawrence Clark Powell to famed book editor William Targ. Powell was a prolific writer, passionate bibliophile, and in 1959 named the first dean of the original UCLA Library School (before it merged with the School of Education to become the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies as it is known now).

His correspondence with Targ, who is perhaps best known for publishing Mario Puzzo’s The Godfather, starts off businesslike, discussing books and writing, but gradually, over the course of nearly three decades, takes on a much friendlier and more personal tone. Among them, I found a letter in which he mentions the opening of the Library School, and it was an honor to get a firsthand glimpse into a piece of history that has, in the past two years, become so very much a part of me. To see the beginnings of the graduate school I was about to leave from in a week’s time…felt like things came full circle.

Powell Library: The campus’ main undergraduate library named after him, and where I had the privilege to work during my first year of grad school.

I’m sure Larry Powell would be happy to know that the school he helped found and steer is still kicking (despite facing closure in the mid-90s) and producing future librarians, like myself, whose main goal is  – in the words of Miss Rumphius – “to make the world more beautiful.”