Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I Feel Like an Ex-Pat

San Francisco is a strange place.  Or maybe it's just city life.

I am an outsider here, but I'm trying to move in.  I think it could be quite exciting, but I still have to find how to do kid-life downtown.

Here's a brief run-down of things that have mattered to me here:

Nick's Schedule:  So far it is pretty much what we thought.  He works a solid day, but gets to come home for a quick lunch as the walk is only a block or two.  He's then back for a quick dinner and leaves again for studying and homework.  If he's home by eleven, it's a good night.  Last Saturday was the same as a weekday , but we have a three-day weekend coming up.  Nick is working very hard and I am so proud of him.

Children's Museum:  I live right by one (yay!) but it's very techie and for older children (boo!).

Driving:  Unlike many in a big city and unlike most of Nick's co-workers, we brought a car (yay!) but drivers here push laws and limits.  Not my kind of driving.  I get honked at (boo!).

Grocery Shopping:  I learned the hard way that Curie does not do well in crowded city grocery stores.  I am going to have to devise a way to go in the middle of the night so that I can leave her here (boo!), but Costco is very close to me and feels like a home away from home.  Many of you know that I love Costco.  It's nice to find my old friend is alive and well in San Fran.  And they sell yummy gelato at this Costco.  To me, this is news worthy.  Two big buckets to bring home for just four dollars, or $1.50 at the deli for three scoops in paper cups for the kids (double yay!).

Our Apartment:  640 square feet (boo?).  It turns out to be quite roomy.  There is only one bedroom.  I suppose my expectations were pretty low, but I am quite happy here.  We have a long wall of windows, floor to ceiling, that overlooks a pretty little courtyard with a pool.  Nick and I sleep in the living room, but our bed fits nicely in a corner that seems designed for it.  The kids look so cute side by side on crib mattresses on the queen bed frame and box springs in the room.  Curie's travel crib fits nicely in the walk-in closet.  Even when we loaded the closet with all our clothes and toys she is not over-crowded.  The complex is well secured and safe.  The provided furnishings are nice, but I wish I could give back the coffee maker and corkscrew.

The Laundry Room:  I know you don't want to read about the laundry room, but it's a big deal to me!  I am a mother of three who does laundry for five.  This is no small task.  I knew there would be no laundry machines in our apartment, but that there were coin laundry machines in the complex.  Imagine me packing up my three five-and-under children, all the laundry, and a Costco-size bucket of Tide and carting us all down to the laundromat in the basement of the building next to ours (boo.  huge boo.).  I was hoping that I would not have to stay and babysit the laundry as it washed.  Imagine my surprise as we walked to our door for the first time and I saw the words, "laundry room" on the door next to ours.  Elation.  Have you ever been elated over laundry?  It's just one set of machines for our floor and it seems to be all mine.

Parks:  There's not much near us (boo!), but there are many around the city.  And Golden Gate Park is much like Central Park.  We have been to one small piece of it, but I am hopeful of all that is has to offer.  I am concerned about finding parking, but live and learn.  Bethelle is anxious to ride the carousel there, which is free with a $1.50 adult ticket.  I had better make good on that promise soon.

The Ward (church congregation):  It is a young ward.  There are many newlywed professionals, making up most of the ward with their babies.  There are few children over the age of four and none over eleven.  Then there are the long-term San Franciscans who are either single or empty-nesters.  I think it will make for a fun, new dymanic for us.


Brooke said...

What a great adventure! I've always wanted to visit San Fransisco, ever since I watched The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.

JM Inc. said...

Sounds like city living at its finest! Maybe you wouldn't love NYC living as much as you previously thought/hoped? Anyway, it's nice to know it's an adventure with a deadline, so make the most of it. I still want to know how you came to a firsthand knowledge of what it feels like to be punched in the face? Details to follow, I hope. We got walloped with 24 inches of snow last night. It literally came up to my knees (and that was on top of the 8-10 inches or so from a previous storm). Good times. Glad Nick is doing well and you sound cautiously optimistic about the change. Will this schedule continue after training? I hope not.

Anonymous said...

I love SF, but must confess I have never done it with kids. What an adventure! William keeps telling me he wants to go with us next time and ride the cable cars and explore Golden "Brake" Park. There is a chance Kreg and I will be back in June for a week or so. How long is your tenure? Could I visit you? Fear not, we would stay in our hotel;)

Garth said...

Drivers have always been like that in San Francisco. Shortly after my accident, when I was still in a wheel chair, I travelled to San Francisco. Mom wanted to come with me to help me, but she had children at home to care for. I was confident that I could manage. Because of the wheel chair, it took me a long time to cross streets with short lights. When I didn't make it on time, cars would pull up next to me and honk at me to get out of the way. Hmm!
Love, Dad

Our Ohana said...

Wow, I'm so excited about your new adventure in San Fran!!! I totally understand the laundry thing - any parent would! I'm so glad you lucked out with one right next door!!! I can't wait to see pictures of the sights as you become a local there and find your way around! And I'm very jealous that you have a Costco!!! I believe our closest Costco is in Melbourne... 9 hours drive away. (boo)
Keep us posted! Love ya.