Tag Archives: Life

Homesick in San Francisco; Wishing I Were Sleepless in Seattle

8 Feb

At the end of February James and I will have been in San Francisco for 6 months. Though I don’t know if it’s fair to count it as 6 months since we went back to Australia for a few weeks and were in corporate housing for 3 months.

I’m still desperately homesick. It’s better than it was (which was crying multiple times a day), but crying a couple of times a week still isn’t great. I’ve never been so sad in my life. If you know me in real life you know I’m really cheery, and I’ve had multiple people tell me that they can’t imagine me not smiling. I don’t recognise myself anymore. I’ve cried more in these past few months than I have the past 31 years. I’m rattled at how fragile my happiness apparently is.

It’s not like I’m living in Siberia or Afghanistan. San Francisco isn’t even very different from Seattle or Melbourne. I’m in a beautiful city in a beautiful house with the best husband in the world, but I can’t stop crying. First world problems indeed.

So here is a list to cheer me up:

Things I Like More About San Francisco

  • James’ career (better paid, more interesting, and the ceiling is higher here than it is in Seattle)
  • Better restaurants
  • Quality and cheapness of produce
  • More things going on in the city
  • Weather (this one is kind of half-hearted because I really liked the overcast drizzly weather in Seattle but people told me that after a few more years it would start to wear on me)

I started to make a list of things I liked more about Seattle but it just made me tear up.

Right now the plan is to stick it out until we can condo convert. That will add value to our place and also make it easier to sell. If I still hate it here we’ll sell and take a loss (which isn’t as bad as it sounds, because if James can keep his SF salary in Seattle it won’t take long to offset any money we lose). If I’m managing okay we’ll stay a few more years. I can imagine getting to a point where I no longer hate it here. I can no longer imagine loving it.

My parents called a couple of nights ago and I just bawled my eyes out. Dad was being sympathetic and telling me the things I have been telling myself – to keep busy, do fun things and establish a routine, and that as an adult I have to take care of myself. And then mum snatched the phone away from him and was like “your dad is wrong. I don’t care how old you are; you will always be my baby and I want you to come home for a month so I can take care of you.”

I can’t even type that without crying.

I miss being within walking distance of all our friends in Seattle. I miss snow-capped mountains. I miss grey skies, constant drizzle and green everywhere.

I miss long, slow days at Shoreham. I miss dinners with my parents. I miss laughing with my cousins. I miss the friends I’ve known since high school. I miss my sunburnt country.

I know this is my brain playing tricks on me. I know that the stress of buying a house has exacerbated my homesickness. I know that homesickness is more about missing familiar things and the sense of belonging, and the only reason I didn’t have it in Seattle was because we were absorbed into a friendship group so quickly.

James has been wonderful, and it helps to know that this isn’t necessarily forever. But if I’m asking him to give up his dream job for me I’m going to try as hard as I can to make that a last resort. We didn’t leave Seattle lightly and I have to trust the decision we made to move to San Francisco and not trust my depression-fogged brain. Because this isn’t me. I don’t get depressed. I’m cheery and happy and fun, and I make lemons out of lemonade.

We joined a gym, so I’m going to get back to my regular workouts. Once we have a working fridge I’ll be able to stock up on meat and vegetables. I’ve been going to meet-ups and have met some really nice people (and some promising couple-friends), but it’s like dating randoms when I want to be in a long-term relationship. I try to remind myself that our friends in Seattle and Melbourne were all randoms once, and as Chuck said, making good friends is just a numbers game. So I’m just taking things one day at a time, and maybe one day I’ll just wake up and be happy again.

A Great Time at Mammoth Mountain

24 Jan

James’ uncle and aunt have a cabin in Mammoth, and they very nicely offered to let us use it. So we bought tickets (using James’ $500 credit from our detoured United flight) and planned a Thursday to Tuesday trip. Unfortunately for us, the storm that was supposed to happen petered out – that’s one of the luxuries I miss about being 1.5 hours from the snow – you could decide the night before (or the morning of!) whether it was worth making the trip.

But anyway, the Mammoth airport is freaking adorable. It’s really small and there what looks like a conveyor belt which is basically just a gate they put your luggage through (so there’d be a backlog if like … five people were slow picking up their bags).

IMG_20150115_163205We took a taxi to the cabin and were greeted by two bears carved out of tree trunks in the front garden. The driver, a Mammoth local, chuckled and said “we like our bears around here.”

We drove to the local Vons (which apparently is the same thing as Safeway) to stock up on supplies. The selection was just as good, if not better, than my local Safeway and the prices were similar – maybe a bit higher but not noticeably so.

Also, a couple of years ago Vons made the news because a bear walked in, stole some apples and left!

bearinvons-223x300

image from the Sierra Times

(“We like our bears around here”)

On Friday morning Steve made us pancakes and we headed to Mammoth. The cabin was within walking distance to a gondola that took us to Canyon Lodge which was very convenient. Cath and Steve were really disappointed with the snow, which apparently hadn’t been added to since Christmas. Admittedly conditions were pretty crap (a lot of rocks even on the groomers, with the added annoyance that I’d see one and go “better avoid that rock”, and then go right over it because I was staring at it) but that was mitigated by the excitement of discovering a new mountain. James and I boarded the whole day and when we got back Cath and Steve made falafels and plied us with wine.

Ohhhhh my God.

Snowboarding all day and walking back to a delicious homecooked meal? Heaven! This was a pattern that would repeat most days we were there. We’d get back, Steve would make us cocktails, and then we’d have dinner and sooo much wine. Then snowboarding the next day!

I discovered that my favourite runs were also Ian and Steve’s favourites. I can’t wait to see what they’re like with more snow.

This was at the summit (11,053 feet). I’ve seen photos where the snow covers most of that pole so you can see what a slow start to the season it’s been.

IMG_20150117_150518James was tired and actually having a bit of trouble at the elevation so he took the gondola back down while I explored on my own for the rest of the day. I also got the impression that he wasn’t having the best time. =( He said “I’m slowing you down. I don’t think you realise just how much better than me you’ve gotten”, which made me simultaneously sad and pleased.

He wants to bring his skis next time because Mammoth has a lot more flats than Stevens. Cath and Steve let us keep our boards at their cabin, so James thinks he might save his board for powder days and ski the rest of the time.

On Sunday James and I had already snowboarded two days in a row, and we weren’t keen on fighting crowds for crappy snow.
IMG_20150117_111538Instead, Cath, Steve and Ian showed us around the area, which was really nice of them. We went to see the tufas at Mono Lake:

IMG_20150118_112736And also to an abandoned mining town:
IMG_20150118_140757

Unfortunately Cath, Steve and Ian were so disappointed with the snow that apart from a couple of hours the first day where they showed us the ropes we didn’t get to ride with them. Hopefully by the time Chris comes to visit the conditions will be better and we can all get out together. I’ve snowboarded in worse, though admittedly not much worse. But even though the snow was crap I still had a really great time catching up with family.

Goodbye Mammoth! Fingers crossed next time you have some more snow for us!
IMG_20150117_150910

House News!

19 Nov

Lots has been happening on the homebuying front. We’ve been emailing back and forth with our broker, bank and contractors and are finally set to close this Friday!

We won’t be able to move in immediately since we’re getting the floors refinished. They’re currently a dark walnut colour, and I have strong preferences for light wood floors. Plus it’s a north-facing house, so I feel like the dark floors swallow up what little light there is. If all goes well we’ll move in the 1st of December. I soooo can’t wait to get all our stuff back. James misses the TV and our mattress and I miss my Vitamix, our mattress and my ergonomic desk set-up. 3 months in corporate housing is nice but it’s also a really long time to not have roots. Seriously. It’s 1/4 of a year.

I’m looking forward to picking out paints but not looking forward to actually painting. I’ll probably live with paint swatches for way too long while I procrastinate. Luckily we already have most of the furniture we need and most of renovations we want to do aren’t time-sensitive.

The other big thing I want to change is the kitchen. The layout is fine but I basically don’t like anything else (wait no, the sink, tap and range are OK). Eventually want to get a new hood and vent it to outside, a new fridge and a new dishwasher. Also new cupboards. It’s not urgent though, so I’m going to live with the kitchen for awhile before deciding what changes I want to make. Once we’ve closed on the house I’ll have lots of photos so you can see what it looks like.

Now that we aren’t inspecting properties every weekend we’ve been busy meeting new people and catching up with old friends. Everyone lives so far apart though – I really miss having a friendship group where everyone lives within 30 minutes walk of each other. But I’m definitely not as homesick as I was before. I think it’s because I get to see how much James loves his new job and also we’re being more social.

Last Sunday we did an Escape the Room with Bo and Christine and a couple of friends of theirs, and the day before that we saw Interstellar with Elliot and Michelle and a friend of theirs. And the weekend before that we had dinner with James’ former coworker and his wife. This weekend we’re meeting up with some other Google employees and I’ve joined a couple of Meetup groups. Plus Mike is visiting family in the area over Thanksgiving and John is in Oakland for work early December. And Duncan and Buzz might be coming to visit in January. Busy busy!

Googleween!

31 Oct

Yesterday James and I went to the Google Halloween party. There were decorations everywhere and even the t-rex had been mummified.
IMG_20141030_125537
The main party was at GARfield park and a lot more elaborate than the Amazon Halloween party we went to last year. This one was Alice in Wonderland themed.
IMG_20141030_163821It’s been awhile since I read Alice in Wonderland so I’m sure I didn’t get all the references. Were there mushrooms? I think I vaguely remember mushrooms, though maybe not in bouncy house form …
IMG_20141030_173743Though I definitely remember giant (and tiny) Alice.
IMG_20141030_180327

And Eat me!
IMG_20141030_173733

Drink Me!

IMG_20141030_160757

There was also a game of croquet going, a white rabbit petting zoo, sumo wrestling (OK I’m pretty sure that wasn’t in the book) and another oversized costume duel thingy with big jousting sticks.

We met up with some of James’ coworkers and James and Sundeep did battle. The victor was the person whose head didn’t fall off (OHHH I just got it! Off with their heads!). They had some crowd-pleasing fights, mainly due to their tendency to double KO.

IMG_20141030_162803I don’t know why James is celebrating so hard – they both lost!
IMG_20141030_162812

There was plenty to eat and drink. Snacks everywhere, lots of (free) food trucks and of course plenty of booze. Here is James double-fisting it.
IMG_20141030_160835

You could also get your face painted, and James and I both went for creepy Cheshire cat mouths.
IMG_20141030_172806Good thing we took a photo before we ate (I think this photo was actually taken while we were in the queue for some Roli Roti roast chicken) because after wiping his mouth James smeared his face makeup everywhere. =(

The party was short and sweet – from 3 until 6 and there was just enough to keep us busy the whole time. Of course we were both stuffed at the end of it – and I was a bit tipsy because we each had a green vodka drink plus the little blue bottles, which James didn’t like so he made me drink his.

It was really fun, and it was nice getting to meet some of James’ coworkers. I’m looking forward to the Christmas party (maybe I’ll actually dress up for that since we’ll have all our stuff back – which I’m actually looking forward to way more!)

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas!

14 Oct

Last weekend James and I headed to Las Vegas to party it up with AJ for his 30th birthday. It was wonderful seeing everyone again, though a little bittersweet to be reminded of what we’d lost by moving to San Francisco. (OK I promise that’s the last Debbie Downer bit from me)

Saturday

We arrived Saturday morning, dumped our bags in AJ’s room and all headed out to go ATVing in the Nevada desert.
IMG_4856

Predictably the motorcyclists and go-kart enthusiasts were right at the front. I’m super timid so I stayed at the back so I wouldn’t slow everyone else down. You can probably guess which category James fell into.
IMG_20141011_150142It was crazy, ridiculously hot. It reminded me of those super dry 40C days back in Australia.

Very important to stay hydrated!
IMG_20141011_143640Maybe not too hydrated. =P
1234087_10152775843695833_3108402558522289464_n1When we got back to the hotel everyone showered and got changed for dinner at Jaleo’s that night. It was super delicious, which was good because we were planning on having dinner at its even more upscale sister restaurant the next day.

We walked past the Bellagio fountains which were so breathtaking – one of my favourite parts of the weekend. I could have stayed there all night looking at the different choreographed fountain shows.
IMG_20141011_221550

But I couldn’t, because we’d all chipped in to reserve an outside bungalow at Drai’s night club. It was a great arrangement because instead of being jostled around on the dance floor all night we had bottle service in a private cabana. We could still hear the music and see everyone inside, but those of us who just wanted to chill out could do so next to our very own pool.

Here’s a photo I nabbed from online:
drais-pool2

I had way more fun than I was expecting, and I know it’s because we had the pool-chilling option. We were the only group outside so we had the whole area to ourselves and although the area was roped off the bouncers let us wander around – you could see the Vegas Strip and directly across from us were the Bellagio fountains. Later that night they started letting people outdoors so it got a bit more crowded but we still had our bungalow retreat.

I didn’t get a lot of photos. Well I did, but our cabana came with 3 bottles of vodka (subsequent bottles were $700 each!!!) so most of my photos looked like this:
IMG_20141012_013209Our servers mixed our drinks really strong (so we’d deplete our bottles faster) and I think we all got tipsy waaay quicker than we were anticipating. It’s almost admirable how slickly Las Vegas extracts money from you.

Quincy had drunk a bit much so Chi Kai bought her a bottle of water. $10!!!

Still, it was such an awesome night! The servers came round with an armful of glowsticks for us, and the boys got so excited.
IMG_20141012_014503

At one point James went inside and when he came back he’d managed to acquire another glowstick. Then later when he went to the bathroom he hid his two glowsticks under a cushion like a squirrel hiding an acorn.

Initially I thought this next photo was surprisingly nice given how drunk we both were. But then I kept looking and realised that James was still refusing to let go of his stupid glowstick!

IMG_20141012_022901He even brought two of them home with him. =/

I was very impressed with ourselves for staying up as late as we did. But when we left at 3:30am there were still people lining up to get in! One of the guys working there told us that apparently now there is such a thing as a “day club” – where people go after the night club closes to keep partying. Clearly I’m out of touch.

It was about 4:30am when my head hit the pillow and we’d been up almost 24 hours at that point.

Sunday

We started the day off with brunch at the Wynn. The line to get in was really long but luckily Mike, Quincy and Chi Kai had gotten there earlier and pre-queued because the rest of us took awhile to get mobilised. The Wynn is freaking gorgeous.
IMG_20141012_145403Our group was seated in the atrium, which was the furthest from the buffet but the nicest area because it was all decorated and sunlit.
IMG_20141012_122734The food was great – the group favourites were the roast beef, the thick pepper-crusted bacon, the fried chicken and the desserts (we got them all and shared them so we could taste everything). James and I had to walk a fine line because we were eating at é for an early dinner and didn’t want to be too full! I had three plates of food plus dessert, so I feel like I got my money’s worth.

Afterwards we walked through the Venetian to look at the canals and the singing gondoliers.
IMG_4860The guys found a machine that would clean their sunglasses for $2 and so they took turns putting their sunglasses in and oohing and aahing.
IMG_4871

There was also an oxygen bar which Greg, James and Roula used. Apparently the oxygen didn’t really do anything, but they had a great time because one of the gadgets they were given had these adhesive pads with a handheld device that could deliver these painful electric (?) shocks. I think they were supposed to relax your muscles if you use them in moderation? James said they were legit painful – on one setting it felt like you were getting pinched, another one felt like you were getting punched, and another felt like you were being whipped.

Greg suggested they do a “trust exercise” where they each held each other’s devices. It turned out it wasn’t so much a trust exercise as the three of them just continually shocking each other.

It was supposed to be a nice, normal photo but James and Greg happened to get simultaneously shocked.
IMG_4886
James said that of the three of them, Roula was the most ruthless. Also apparently he could feel ghost spasms in his back for the rest of the day!

They were only supposed to get 15 minutes with the oxygen but James and Greg got to go for longer (Roula started a bit after them) because for awhile we were the only ones there and I guess they don’t want the bar to look empty. Roula was shocked so hard that she fell off her chair twice, and they were all laughing and having such a good time that a random photographer came and took photos of them!

Afterwards we had to go and get changed for dinner at é. I’ll do a big blog post about that soon because it was such an interesting meal it deserves its own post. =)
IMG_4892[1]After dinner we walked back to Treasure Island to meet up with the group and watch a Cirque du Soleil show. It was a great end to an amazing day.

Monday

Monday was our final day in Vegas. I wanted to do some of the Stratosphere rides but I think I was the only one, so I was happy enough to explore the strip with everyone else.

A Jeff Koons at the Wynn:
IMG_20141012_114921An enchanted forest, also at the Wynn:
IMG_20141013_134750The chocolate fountain at the Bellagio: IMG_20141013_134430The volcano at the Mirage:
IMG_20141013_164441A shoe at the Cosmopolitan:
IMG_20141012_202704 Frescoes and statues at Caesar’s Palace:
IMG_20141013_115645

And of course, a flamingo at the Flamingo:
IMG_20141013_163311(There were also real ones but the photos didn’t really turn out)

Then we got alcoholic slushies (coral crush and strawberry) and met up with Paul and AJ for lunch.
IMG_20141013_142205Afterwards we did some gambling before it was time to catch a taxi to the airport.

Everything is so over the top spectacular in Vegas and it really gives you an appreciation for how much people must lose gambling. James and I made our own contribution this weekend, but luckily managed to come out of it with a little something.
IMG_4845Don’t worry, we won’t go spending that all in one place.

Vegas shouldn’t be nearly half as enjoyable as it is – it’s super tacky, everything is expensive, there are monster lines, it’s too hot, all the tourists are wasted, it smells like cigarettes and you need to tip everyone – but it all somehow works. Everyone you meet seems to be having the time of their lives and honestly I’ve never had so much fun spending such a shitload of money!

I Left My Heart in San Fran Seattle

16 Sep

It’s been a pretty hectic few weeks. James and I spent the last few days in Seattle doing some whirlwind socialising (more blog posts on that later!), culling our possessions (argh – stuff creep despite our best intentions) and organising the final details of our move. I’ve been in a bit of a funk since moving and don’t have my blogging mojo back yet, so here’s an abbreviated, somewhat depressing, update:

The Bad

I miss Seattle and our friends. I spent the first week in San Francisco intensely homesick. That didn’t happen when we left Melbourne, which is strange because Melbourne to Seattle is a way bigger move and we were leaving close friends and family for a whole other freaking country. I don’t know why it hit me so hard this time. I actually try not to think about Seattle because then I start crying and I can’t stop.

I’m sure that eventually I’ll get used to it, but right now I’m pretty upset at the prospect of spending almost double to live in a city I don’t love as much and having to make friends all over again. I don’t want new friends – I want our friends. =( So yeah, James feels awful because he felt like he’d pressured me into moving here (which he totally didn’t) and I feel horrible for ruining what should be a really exciting time for him. James always tells me that my one job is to be happy. He’s always given me anything I’ve wanted and I can’t even manage to do this for him.

I haven’t found a replacement gym either (which I’m sure isn’t helping). I should probably start doing some bodyweight exercises so I don’t waste away into nothing. I bet I can’t even do pull-ups anymore.

The Good

James loves his new job. He said he gets to use really innovative technologies an the projects he’s working on are even more interesting than they had led him to expect. He really enjoyed his time at Amazon, but he said Google is on a whole other level.

I can see how much happier he is working on something that he’s passionate about – the famous (and in no way exaggerated) Google perks are just the icing on the cake.

Moving Forward

James said that if I still hate San Francisco after 18 months he will transfer to the Seattle office. He said that my happiness is his number one priority, but his happiness is my number one priority! I really hope that I can learn to appreciate it here – I know that Seattle didn’t feel “right” to me until we moved out of corporate housing so maybe that’s the case here. We have two more months of free housing and I don’t want to give up the ability to save all that extra money even if it means being occasionally homesick and mopey.

Maybe in six months I’ll be able to look back on this post and laugh at how silly I was being. I was hoping I’d have a happier update for you guys, sorry. =(

Boring Fitness Update

2 May

I didn’t realise how much I’d been living with sore quads during winter. At the end of the snow season I spent 2 hours foam rolling my legs, another 1.5 hours later that week and I still felt like I could have done with more. Next season I’m going to be more proactive about foam rolling every week and see if that makes a difference.

With the end of the snow season I’ve had to add some cardio to my fitness routine lest I become tragically lopsided. So now I’m at:

Yoga 1-2x a week
Weights 2x a week
Hill Sprints 2x a week

Gym-wise I’m (very slowly) going up in everything except squats. Due to a combination of bulged disc, inconsistent gym and regular snowboarding I’ve dropped over 10kg from my max. =( Doing reps of 5 I’m at 130% bw for deads, 70% bw for bench and 105% bw for squat. On the plus side I’m starting to do pull-ups and weighted chin-ups (1kg! Woo!) again.

And ooh! This is my new favourite gym top:

ribs-knock-out-top-pre-sale-1369790997_1024x1024

image from Blackmilk Clothing

I get so many compliments on it. The top says to handwash but there’s no way that was going to happen. I just chuck it in the wash on a cold, gentle cycle and hang to dry. It hasn’t exploded yet.

My favourite change this year has been getting regular massages. Because of my shitty back and neck I got a massage prescription, which seems to be how you get insurance to cover most of the cost. Like seriously, I’m paying $5 (plus tip) out of pocket. That’s insane!

I’ve also been doing a lot of green smoothies for breakfast just to make sure I get my daily quota of vegies. My current go-to mix is frozen kale, baby spinach, almonds, ginger, frozen pineapple, frozen banana and chia seeds with enough water to make it blend. Sometimes I get fancy and have some homemade almond or coconut milk ready to use.

It pretty much always looks like this.

photo (6)Now the sun is out later and the weather has gotten warmer (it was 31C yesterday!) maybe James and I will start running after work again. We’ll see. I think I’m feeling energetic because I just drank a green smoothie and now I’m cold and full of vitamins.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 174 other followers