As I begin to write this and glance down at my computer calendar, I realize it’s been 11 months to the day since I updated this blog. What a pity! I used to be so diligent about writing but totally fell off the rails this year. Or, in the past 11 months.
11 months! What on earth have I been up to since October 2015? Clearly not writing anything groundbreaking on this here blog, although I can see people have been enjoying my accent tag and reading lots about the Navajo Code Talkers. I’d say slowly coming to terms with the fact that I live in a place, I have a job, I have an early morning routine, and I’m not about to buy a one-way plane ticket out of here anytime soon. Not because I don’t particularly want to, I’m just not going to.
So what’s happened in my life since 11 months ago, October 2015, or six months into my San Francisco stint/rest of my life/who knows? Recapping below for myself and anyone else who cares to know. I must say it’s been pretty damn good.
- Travelled to Israel with my mom for my best friend from college’s wedding. Julia married an atheist ex-Haredi Jew (took me a minute to figure out the right word order there), but the wedding in Jerusalem was hardcore Haredi. It was a Monday night marriage, Julia was veiled all in white. A wall was erected between the wedding hall, the women partied on one side while the men danced like they would legitimately never dance again. Linking arms, kicking feet, sliding on the floor, swinging partners, lifting each other up in chairs…Conservative men gone wild!
Tel Aviv, mom said, reminded her of New York City in the 1980s with all the grit and graffiti, but set in Miami Beach. We were thrilled to be in Tel Aviv after four days in Jerusalem, we practically kissed the very ground of the wonderfully hip and edgy Boulevard Rothschild. Tel Avivians are effortlessly cool, toasted tan, uber sexy. Vegan food, Mom trying to speak Hebrew with everyone and their mom, beach cruiser bikes, a mischievous ex-Israeli solider, late nights in Dizengoff. Thought a lot about religion, traditions, belonging, and this crazy world we live in. Still a committed atheist.
- Went on my first cross-country business trip and lived it up in the Hampton Inn of Hartford, CT for four days. The Tinder game was incredible, as was the Hampton Inn continental breakfast.
- Punk Rock Alice in Wonderland, Halloween 2015. Would have been Alice Cooper in Wonderland but I couldn’t find a bloodied bat to chew on in quick enough time.
- Eked out the tail end of a disastrous disastrous product launch alive. Alice alive. Out of my hands, I did what I could. Worked my a** off at a startup that amassed a terrific, talented group of people, many of whom I still call my best friends and still correspond with during the workday by iMessage or Spotify messenger since we can’t Slack each other anymore. Saw how poor leadership can derail morale and a great culture and workforce. Spoke up in front of injustice, occasional abhorrent chauvinism, poor decision-making, and for all the basic b’s out there 😉 Realized that at the end of the day you’ve got to look out for yourself.
- Went through the stressful process of searching for another job while I still had one. So many “doctor’s appointments” I actually got myself sick. I think I interviewed at seven companies in three or so months. Phone screen one, phone interview, on-site, even a happy hour interview, final round. Tell me a little bit about yourself, why do you want to work at this company, what do you love about…, tell me about a time when… Being like, “Thank you so0o0o0 much for taking the time to talk to me”/this is literally your job.
- Worked evenings and brunch at a restaurant on Divis. Waited tables all through high school and college, but a couple years behind a desk and I’d kind of forgotten how amped up you get during a busy shift, all the restaurant lingo. Two top getting up, clear it off, on your right on your right, BEHIND YOU!!, you want grits or toast with that, can I get you anything else, y’all have a nice day, vasos por favor! Probably walked six miles during a brunch shift. Bittersweet to leave.
- Took a trip to LA, the place I somehow thought I would move to before I ended up in San Francisco. Cool city, but happy I ended up north. The entire time I was there I had “All I Wanna Do” by Sheryl Crow stuck in my head. This is Elllll Ay! Turned up on Hollywood Blvd at night and semi-fought off advances from an up and coming Bollywood star. Reunited with Harry for the first time in 10 years. Reunited with Andrea at the same Peet’s Coffee in downtown Santa Monica as in 2005 after a visit to the best Buffalo Exchange location ever. Saw a X-game snowboarders board down a 13-story snow-filled halfpipe in downtown LA. Rudimental were pissed, Netsky killed it, Incubus were absolute professionals. Brandon Boyd tears it up like he tears off his SSBD, tears to my eyes. I Miss You.
- Took a Google Bus to Napa (or Sonoma? Still unsure) with 20 lovely ladies. Holy sh*t.
- Turned 27 on April 13th. Last day at old job on the 15th, b-day picnic in The Panhandle with all walks of friends on the 16th, worked brunch the 17th, somehow was still able to start my new job on the 18th. An incredible birthday with all those I’ve had the pleasure of calling my people the past year. Most unique and (luckily) still unused gift was the rhinestone-encrusted taser from Keanu at the downstairs smokeshop. April was lit.
- Celebrated my one year San Francisco anniversary on April 20th, 2016. Reminisced about being completely unacquainted with San Francisco when I arrived here one year before, falling in love with the hazy sunsets as I biked all over town while (very) patiently awaiting my start date and end of an era. The broken suitcase with 50 pounds of clothes inside that I lugged up to Bill’s 33rd floor office on Kearny Street, and dropped to the floor when I took a look at my first view of the city outside the window. “Blank Space” and “Style” on the radio when Matt let me borrow his car and I drove around the Outer Sunset to Ocean Beach, cruising down streets with Spanish names like Guerrero and Pacheco and Noriega. Regretting not bringing a sweater. “But it was sunny when I left the house!” Hating life biking up Taraval Street from the Y but forgetting everything at the top of the hill, the sweeping vistas of little boxes on the hillsides / little boxes made of ticky tacky. Walking in circles around the intersection of Market and Van Ness when I still took Muni. Accidentally ordering 500 ear plugs when the Tenderloin still kept me awake, but found the best home for them months later.
- 11 months of great concerts: Rudimental, Wolf Alice, Air + Style, Rhye, CHVRCHES ft. Wolf Alice again, Yeasayer (sort of, they went on past my bedtime), Disclosure, Ja Rule & Ashanti, Netsky, Marian Hill and Bomba Estéro (this concert took the cake). Did not manage to get backstage at Netsky despite trying to woo the bouncer with broken Flemish. Can’t impress everybody.
- Developed legitimate tastes for kombucha and kale, as well as the preferred methods imbibing and preparing both. My friend Fern taught me the proper method of massaging the kale prior to eating it, and I’ve never looked back. She also taught me to stick the compost in the freezer, and it has been an absolute game changer. Kombucha is great for everything, especially after a long night out. That time I got carded for kombucha (it’s fermented, you know). Preference for kombucha on tap to kombucha from a bottle because bougie tastes better.
- Had a workplace romance that actually remained unbeknownst to any colleagues.
- Went out for tea with my Lyft driver from The Gambia. Flashback to Senegal, the goats, the names, the Fatous, the sand, the beaches, the textiles, sugar with ataya tea, over-cooked pasta with baguette, the heat, the flies, the rooftops, the waiting, the prayer, the palm trees, my bin bin, le francais, le wolof, le teranga, le mal de pays…The random connections we make in cars 🙂
- Rode the roller coaster in Santa Cruz. Absolutely terrifying.
- Found the party in Japantown that goes til 6am. The woman in the Uber on the way home was headed out to run her third marathon. Priorities.
- Drove down Route 1 in a Mustang convertible, although quickly realized Northern California is one of the last places you ever want to drive with the top let down (it’s cold). Best section is from SF to Santa Cruz. Around Pacifica you’re driving through a hazy sun-kissed dream of waves crashing, hills rolling, surfers catching, cars zipping, eggs and fruit for sale. They guy next to me in the car scrolling through his Facebook app as we flew up the coast at sunset – SMH.
- Exasperated my swim club coach but finally learned to swim correctly. I am now a flip turner.
- Had my first whale sighting of the coast of Pescadero while eating something delicious called olallieberry pie right out the box.
- Learned to take The Wiggle. Learned that Page Street from Market to Webster is a terrible idea regardless of it’s designation as an official San Francisco Bicycle Route. McAlister from Webster to Broderick never gets better. Any neighborhood that ends in Heights was certainly thought out. Learned that Google Maps on your computer will show you the terrain of your route but your smartphone will not.
- Ascended Webster Street from The Marina to Japantown in a sundress and flip flops. Screw Redbull, poorly planned product launches and life crossroads give you wings.
- Thought about dropping everything and enrolling in nursing school/moving back to New Orleans/opening a restaurant/becoming a real estate agent/buying a one way ticket to a banana republic to never think about SaaS subscription models again…
- Unknowingly left my bike unlocked on 10th and Market for two entire hours. The feeling of horror when I realized what I had done, the feeling of sheer luck mounting it and riding off into the sunset. When Brian’s Airbnb guests saved my bike from the hands of a chainsaw-wielding psycho, not even knowing whose bike it was. What did I do to deserve this? #blessed #thankyou
- Went to my first California beach bonfire party in Land’s End. I felt so LC.
- Went to my first quinciñera! Que bonita!
- Completely accidentally ate pot chocolate chip cookies and rode out the journey on a misting rainy San Francisco night in Chinatown and North Beach. Came face to face with the largest bowl of wonton soup I will ever order.
- Got double primed and contoured! Ahh!!!
- Nick came to visit for a whole week 🙂
- Still have not experienced a real earthquake, bracing myself for that one, but did experience simulations of the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes at Cal Academy of Sciences Thursday night blowout! Also saw seahorse shaped coral, a fish with double eyes (one set above water, the other set underneath), and an ethereal jellyfish.
- Grammy turned 91. Reunited with the whole Egan clan for another New England family reunion. Where will we all be in another seven years?
- Recreated this Trader Joes “Punjab Eggplant” dish on my own and it was delicious. Directions: Buy all the vegetables and spices listed on the back of the box and throw it around the stovetop. Mmmm.
- Realized I am an emoji.
Next up? I suppose rolling with the punches in an early stage startup, wearing all the hats I can, as they say. Working as an inspector of the polls at a polling precinct on the mother of all election days (Tuesday, November 8th, please vote (for Hillary)). First Thanksgiving in three years at home in New York, flying to Colombia the day after. If you have Colombia tips, please email me. If you don’t have my email, text, FB message, Instagram message, Spotify message, or Linked In message, WordPress comment all work too. If you have my actual address, feel free to DoorDash/Uber Eats/ Amazon Restaurants/Instacart me some cupcakes with your Colombia tips included in the Notes section of the receipt.
And then who knows! It’ll be winter soon, but in San Francisco it’ll still be chilly in the morning, sunny by 11, nippy by the slightest drop in the sun at 4pm, hot enough to throw on the bikini at Dolores Park the next day, misting the next. So I still won’t know what time of year or what day it is based on anything except from what my iPhone tells me it is, and I’m thinking about just throwing it all away for a flip phone. Looking back on it, these past 11 months have been oodles of fun, even if I’ve mainly stayed put in The City (meaning San Francisco, all you New York-centrics!). Punctured with moments of complete loss and grief over being 26/7 and still not knowing what my **passion** is but knowing you gotta push on. So looking forward to good times with friends both old and new, bountiful opportunity, much more writing and buildings, and something to keep me on my toes.