Stranded in SF

Back in February, when I went back for Lily’s bridal shower, I ended up getting stranded due to my flight being cancelled, thanks to one of the many storms we had in Boston this past winter. I was thankful for the forced vacation, and had the chance to just hang out and explore San Francisco.
I started Sunday out with some Philz Coffee, then went to RSF and ran into Erik from Boston. That was a fun surprise. Then I went to lunch with Lindsay and Jia Min at West of Pecos, and Lindsay and I met up with Kristyn and Tanya for a mini women’s group reunion at Tartine.

On Monday, Dad and I met Steph at her work so that we could grab lunch together. We had burgers at Flipper’s and they were very good. Then Dad and I got some Blue Bottle Coffee and I had him drive me around the city. Then I got to end the night by catching up with Eric and Franklin over pho in good ol’ downtown South City.

The next day I took BART to Berkeley and met up with Gabriel for a little bit, then had Indian for lunch with Sierra, just like our Jamba days. It was so good to catch up with both of them. When Steph got off work, we headed over to the Outer Sunset for boba at Purple Kow. Oh how I miss SF boba.

I spent my last day of freedom walking around the city alone–perfect introvert time. I walked to BART and started the day in the Mission with coffee from Four Barrel. Then I went to Tartine, Bi-Rite, and Dolores Park. From there I walked to Thorough Bread, one of my favorite little places in the city, and sat in their back patio (one of my favorite former pastimes). From there I walked to Alamo Square Park and waited for Steph to get off of work. We hung out for a bit, and then it was time to pack up. I had sushi with Tiff and Noelle, and then Tiff and Sarah took me to the airport.

Forced vacations are the best.

The Treacherous Trek to Vermont

I wanted to go on an adventure for MLK weekend. Many of my friends weren’t available for the whole weekend, but Heidi was going to be at her parents’ house in Vermont, and she said we could stay a night there if we wanted to. So Sunday after church, Joey, Misael, and I set off for Vermont. We figured we’d at least have the evening there and then the whole day on Monday. We set our destination to Worthy Burger, which my roommate Megan had told us about. We estimated that it would take us about 2 and 1/2 hours to get there. We had snacks, we had Spotify playlists, and we had a thirst for adventure. We started off, just as it started to sprinkle. As we drove along, it started to rain harder and harder, and eventually we hit so much traffic that we were at a standstill. Our spirits were still high, though, and we enjoyed listening and singing along to all the songs.

About five hours later, spirits a little lower and stomachs grumbling, we pulled off the highway into South Royalton, Vermont. We drove down dark dirt roads until we finally arrived at our destination–smack in The Middle of Nowhere. Thanks to a teeny, tiny, hand-written sign, we found the parking lot for Worthy Burger. The only problem was that the road had turned into an ice-skating rink. Meaning that it was covered in thick, slick ice, and we quickly learned that The Yaris does NOT do well in such conditions. I put the car in neutral and we rolled down the hill, and were magically able to make it into a parking lot. We skated over to the restaurant, and had some really good burgers. Or as Joey put it, the best burger of his life.

Refueled and reenergized, we were ready to hit the road again. As we drove along, it started to snow, and then it kept snowing, and then it was snowing harder and harder until the road was covered in snow and we were going about 20 MPH. And then we were swerving and being tossed about by wind and snow and finally ended up going 10 MPH without even touching the accelerator. I really thought we were going to die. Our trip that should have only taken us about four hours was now stretching into eight. I was confident that we’d get there eventually, but wasn’t sure how we’d make it up and down the dirt roads of Jericho.

pc: Heidi

Finally, Heidi suggested we stop at a Park & Ride so that she could come pick us up. Two hours later, we finally made it to the Richmond Park & Ride, alive. We kissed the ground and celebrated, and then Heidi came to the rescue and picked us up. I wanted an adventure, and I got it.

pc: Misael

Safe and sound, full of hot chocolate, we went to bed. The next day, we awoke to a magical winter wonderland. The snow was so beautiful. We went on a wintery forest walk and had the loveliest time.

After our walk, we headed to Burlington. We went to August First for coffee and lunch and it was so good. Then we stopped in City Market, which always makes me feel like I’m in SF. Heidi drove us to the Park & Ride so that I could get my car, and we were on our way back to Boston. It snowed while we were in Vermont, but it wasn’t anything like the conditions on our way up there, so I was a pro at that point.

Overall, it was a really fun trip, and I’m looking forward to visiting Vermont again soon. I will not, however, be driving through a snow storm anytime soon. The Yaris and my heart cannot take it.

Winter Rachel Is Gone

I used to love the winter. The bundling up to go anywhere, the snow, the temperatures that hurt your face when you stepped outside. I used to love it all.

But I’m done now. Especially as my car is parked in snow that isn’t going anywhere soon. Especially as I lay in bed with a cold (at least it isn’t the flu?). Ugh.

Farewell, Winter. I’m ready for Spring.

Mom in Boston

Way behind on updates, as usual, here’s the story of when my Mom came to visit. I was off from work Wednesday 12/30-Sunday 1/4, and didn’t want to waste all those days off by just staying home, so I was trying to decide on where I could go. It turned out that my mom had  those same days off as well, so we spontaneously booked her a flight out here with some miles I had acquired (thank you, Virgin America).

We had a very relaxing New Years just hanging out together at home. I finally got to go to Estelle’s. That place is always packed on week nights and weekends, but since I was off on a Wednesday (and it was New Year’s Eve), the place was empty, and it was pretty good.

On New Year’s Day we explored Boston a little. We snagged a great parking spot in the North End and had lunch at Cantina Italiana. My mom loves Quincy Market, so after lunch we walked over there and hung around in the shops. We got some cannolis from Mike’s on the way back to the car and ended another relaxing day with an evening in.

The next day we headed to Newport to go on some mansion tours. We toured The Breakers, Marble House, and the Elms, then had lunch at Brick Alley, where I had some of the best lobster mac & cheese. We walked around some more, stopped in at Alex and Ani for some bracelets, then stopped in Providence for dessert from Scialo Bros. Bakery.

The following day we drove up to Portland and stopped at the Portland Head Light. It was SO cold, but I never get tired of that spot. Then we had the best brunch at Hot Suppa, I got some aeropress coffee from Tandem, and we of course had to get gelato from Gelato Fiasco. We walked around, stopping in all the little shops, and I got some moose earrings, which I love very much.

One the way home, we stopped in Costco and then drove through the snow storm (and it was my first time driving in snowy conditions). It is also worth mentioning that I then got the best parking spot right outside my apartment.

Sunday we went to church then had brunch at Stella. Then it was time to drive mom to the airport. Our quick little visit was very nice, and a very nice way to ring in the new year.

SF Week

After my weekend in LA, it was time to head home to SF. Christine dropped me off at LAX. Dad picked me up and noticed my nose ring in approximately 1.5 seconds, haha. We got food from In N Out then hung out at home. Steph came home from work and we got more food for dinner, and then Sarah and Tiff picked me up and took me to get boba at Sharetea in San Mateo. It was good. Oh how I miss In N Out and good boba. And my friends and family, of course.

The next day, I borrowed Dad’s car and went to Emeryville. I made a stop at Peet’s and then went over to Jamba. It was weird being back. It was like I had never been gone. I walked in, and everyone was already waiting for me at the lunch tables. It was so nice. After lunch, I walked around saying hi and ended up staying there for like three hours, haha. From there I went over to Gilbert & Kaitlyn’s and got to meet baby Ethan. He’s so cute! It was nice catching up with them. From there I took BART with Tiff and Noelle over to Southside Spirit House and we met up with Franklin, Sarah, and Brian for trivia and Jenga (I am NOT good at Jenga). It was fun, but for a moment I forgot that I wasn’t in Boston, and considered texting Amelia to see what she was doing, and if she wanted to come meet us, haha. That was weird. It had been a busy, but fun, day.

photo cred: @erikaella

The next day, I got up early with Steph and we went and got juice from Jamba. Then I took BART to El Cerrito to get my car, since Mom had left it for me. I made a pitstop on Treasure Island to enjoy the view of the SF skyline, then went over to Philz for some wonderful coffee and journal time. Haha. It was very nice. Then I went over to the RSF Office and met up with Kristyn. We got sushi from Mikado Sushi. From there I went to the Sunset and hung out with Erika and Isabelle. She’s getting so big. Oh how I miss them.

photo cred: @lilyland

Then it was time to drive to Fairfield. Two and half hours later, I was home. I went to the store and then cooked. Lily and Alex came over so that we could have a cousin sleepover. That was super fun. Mom and Steph took the next day off, so we just hung around the house together. We went to the Fairfield Farmer’s Market, got some Chick-fil-A, and got some groceries. Later that night Mom and I drove to SFO to pick up Christine and Summer.

The next day was Kristen’s wedding. We got up and made breakfast and hung around the house. Then we drove to Roseville and stopped at Mary & Mario’s house to get ready for the wedding and to hang with them. It so nice seeing everyone. From there we went to the wedding. Kristen’s wedding was beautiful–it was just what I imagined her wedding would be like. And her husband is perfect for her. So wonderful.

The next day was Napa Day. Our first stop was Bouchon Bakery. We ran into Melissa, which was fun. Then we went over to V. Sattui and bought wine and bread and cheese and prosciutto and ate and drank it all on one of their picnic tables. It was so lovely and relaxing.

From there we visited Castello di Amorosa. Then it was off to the Oxbow for the best ice cream ever (Three Twins Land of Milk & Honey). I got some to-go and then we went to The Habit for dinner.

The next day we went to RSF for church. It was nice seeing everybody. Afterwards we got burritos at Casa Mexicana. This trip involved lots of eating. Then we got ice cream at Bi-Rite and went over to Bernal Heights Hill to look at the SF views. It was very wonderful. Then it was time to take Christine and Summer to the airport. That was not so wonderful. Valerie and Renee brought Rohan and Elle over for a sleepover, so that was fun. The next day, we all got breakfast, Renee picked up the kids, and then Dad drove me to the airport.

And that was my trip. Being back in SF was really nice, but it was also kind of weird. When I arrived, I got this feeling that “I don’t belong here.” Boston very much feels like home, and while I loved seeing everyone and visiting all my favorite places, I no longer feel the pull to SF that I felt a few years ago. It’s bittersweet, but I’m so glad that I live in Boston.

photo cred, unless otherwise stated, goes to Summer’s phone, Christine’s phone, Christine’s camera, and Mom’s camera, as well as my phone

South Deerfield, MA

The weekend after Franklin was here, Sabrina and I rented a car and drove out to western Mass to visit our friend Kristin. She lives in South Deerfield, so we spent some time there hanging at her house, had lunch in Northampton, and then dinner in Amherst.

Sabrina and I left Saturday morning in our car, which we rented from Dollar Rent A Car. After a Starbucks pit stop and some getting lost, we arrived at Kristin’s. She had told us that she lives in the country, and she was not kidding. She and her roommates live in a giant beautiful house, surrounded by cows, land, and dirt roads.

We headed into Northampton and had pad Thai and Thai iced tea for lunch at Thai Garden. We walked around a little, exploring the area. We stepped into a thrift store and strolled through it for a bit. But mostly we pet the store’s resident doggy. And watched whilst Sabrina attempted to take a selfie with said doggy, haha.

From there we went to Whole Foods, got some groceries for breakfast the next morning (and pie for later that night), then went back to Kristin’s house to hang out. Sabrina left to meet up with a friend, while I relaxed in the quiet of Kristin’s country family room. Kristin, her friend/roomie Jaime, and I then headed to Amherst for dinner. Amherst is a college town, so there were plenty of places to choose from. We ended up eating at Judie’s, since it claimed to be home of the popover, and I did not know what a popover was. I didn’t end up getting a popover, but the food was good, and we saw Judie herself, so that was kind of fun. We headed back to the house and hung out with some of Kristin’s roommate’s friends.

The next day, Kristin made us breakfast and we sat and ate and  chatted. Sabrina and I left and headed to Fenway for church.

And that was a our lovely weekend in the country. Though I definitely prefer city life, I look forward to my next retreat to the country.

photo cred: Sabrina Brooks