World Travels || San Francisco 2015: Day 6

Writing about my last day in California makes me kind of sad that 1) I am done with writing about it, and 2) I am back in NC where it is rainy. I really had an amazing time in CA, and I can not wait to go back.

On Saturday, first we went to my cousin’s karate tournament. I was a bit skeptical at first, because I’ve been to anything like this, and I’ve never really found karate that interesting. However, I really enjoyed watching the karate. My cousin didn’t do sparing (the one-on-one fighting) but he did do kata which is more like a dancing karate. There are specific things that they have to do, like requirements to put into their routine but other than that, it seemed like it was pretty much up to you. There is a lot of screaming too. Not fan scream but like karate grunts.

I have to take a second here to brag on my cousin though. This kid has insane dedication. He is only seven years old, and is already a purple belt. Now, I’m not an expert in karate, but a purple belt is pretty far up there on the scale, only a few away from the black. And watching him do his kata made me think, “Woah! This kid is fierce! He looks like a true warrior!” In all seriousness, he is awesome! He won his first set, and then moved onto Grands, where he may not have won, but he did a heck of a good job.

After my cousin’s karate tournament, we all pilled into the car and headed up to Sonoma: wine country. While we were there, we visited two different wineries. One was more of a family winery and we took some pictures in the vineyard. The second one was more upscale, but it was absolutely gorgeous. Honestly, I never thought long stretches of relatively flat land could be so beautiful (I am definitely a mountain girl). There was just something about the lighting that day that made the grape plants glow. I really enjoyed the wineries, and while I could never really see myself being a member of one, it sure was fun to pretend that I could have the vineyard life.

After visiting those to vineyards, we all drowsily climbed back into the car (after I made a mad dash to find my phone that I had lost) and drove back to Sausalito. Now, I know that I’ve been saying that we went back and had a chill night, but the last night was definitely the most chill. After stopping by the grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner, we came home, put on our pajamas, had dinner, and just chilled. My aunt showed us a slideshow (with an old school projector and slides) of pictures her father had taken while in Vietnam, some the aerial shots of the destruction of the Vietnam War were probably my favorites. I was history-nerding it out over those pictures (we had just learned about the Vietnam war in US History). After we looked at a bunch of Vietnam pictures, I hooked up my camera to the TV and we did a slideshow of all the pictures I had taken while I was there. It was fun to share them with everyone, as well as get compliments on some of my more artistic photos. It was like a quick recap of one amazing week in San Francisco.

So, that is that for the San Francisco series of my world travels. I have shared my memories, and even if no one reads this, I can come back a year, two years, even twenty years from now and remind myself of this trip. Thats the whole purpose of blogging anyway, right?! I hope you enjoyed these posts, and I should be getting back really soon with a prom re-cap post. I’ll put on a bunch of pictures, and share the wonderful adventures of pre-prom, prom, and post-prom. It surely was a night to remember!


World Travels || San Francisco 2015: Day 5

On Friday, we took a hike out to a lighthouse on the Marin Headlands. It was absolutely gorgeous and I got to take a lot of pictures. Unfortunately, we were unable to make it all the way to the light house as part of the trail was closed, but I still thought the whole view was beautiful. There isn’t a whole lot to write about for this part of the day, so I’ll just cue the photos.

After visiting the lighthouse, we went on a grand search to find a location to scatter my Granddad’s ashes. Just a little disclaimer here, my family is a bit impulsive and they also don’t care how crazy they look in front of people (sorry Uncle Pip, if you’re reading this). So, anyway. We drove to a beach not far from the lighthouse, walked down to the water, ignored the people surfing and walking on the beach, and my uncle scattered the ashes on the sand. However, in an effort to keep his shoes dry, he scattered the ashes just out of reach of the waves. We waited and waited for the surf to reach the pile of ashes and finally, just as we were beginning to leave, a wave comes out of nowhere and takes my granddad into the sea. It was a fun occasion (maybe not the word you would think of when scattering ashes, but hey, every family has its quirks) and I feel like if my grandfather was there, he would either 1) be laughing with us, or 2) looking at us with a scornful eye. It could go either way.

So, after the waves took my grandfather away and we told a few stories, we got back into the car and headed into the city, where we had a lunch date with one of my mom’s old tutees (that is a strange word). We had a very nice lunch at The Slanted Door which overlooks the bay. It was fun to see them and he gave me advice as a former student at NC State’s College of Design, making me even more excited for the fall. After a nice lunch, and a lot of catching up, we said our goodbyes, got the most delicious coffee I have ever tasted at Blue Bottle and took the ferry back to Sausalito. It was the end of another beautiful day in California.

World Travels || San Francisco 2015: Day 4

Oh goodness, it looks like my streak is broken! I actually do have an excuse for yesterday though. Lets see, where do I start. I guess, you all should know that today is prom (WhoopWhoop!) however, prom is quite stressful. I ordered my dress about a month ago, feeling that I might be pressing for time, but my dress shouldn’t have a problem finding me by the 18th. However, my dress did have a hard time finding me and a spiraling series of events lead to the fact that I did not have a dress on the day before prom. So, yesterday I had to go to Asheville and search for a dress. Let me tell you, finding a dress this close to prom is really hard, and I do not suggest that anyone do it. Anyway, after about three hours of searching everywhere I could think of, I finally found one that I am happy with. I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about it until I got all dressed up today and put it on. It may not be the most fancy prom dress, but it is elegant and quite frankly, I think it looks hella good on me.

Now to the stuff you actually want to read:

On Thurday (the fourth day), we took a break from the city to go and see the more natural wonders of the San Francisco area. Our first stop was Stinson beach. If I may say something, California beaches are fantastically more beautiful than North Carolina beaches. Now, I am in no way shape or form agreeing with the saying “West Coast best coast” because I love me some North Carolina, but Cali does have gorgeous beaches. We spent about an hour at Stinson (there was no swimming because the Pacific is freezing cold). We tried to build sand drip castles (the sand was a little bit too coarse) and then ended up building a “castle” with a moat. When a wave came and filled in the moat (and in the mean time, destroyed our “castle”) we decided to call it quits and go to our next destination. On our walk back up to the dry sand, we found a few crab claws (not something you find in NC) but sadly, we were not allowed to bring them back (they smelled like rotting seafood).

After going to Stinson beach, we grabbed lunch and soaked in a little sun while we were there. Then we headed up to Muir Woods to check out the famous redwoods. Redwoods are quite fascinating trees, really. They are the tallest in the world, but they aren’t very full. Like, they are practically just giant sticks that reach the sky. But, they are beautiful.

After walking around in the woods for a while and playing “slingshot” with my cousins, we loaded back up into the car and headed back to Sausalito. We had a quiet night and then went to sleep, and counted many many sheep in my dreams.

World Travels || San Francisco 2015: Day 3

Today is a great accomplishment for me everyone! I am officially three-for-three this week on my blog! Three days, three posts! I am feeling on top of things!

Wednesday, the third day of my San Francisco trip was one of my favorite days. My mother and I took my two younger cousins on a “cousin auntie day” to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf. There we had dungeness crab and steamed shrimp, and got seafood all over our hands. The mess didn’t bother me simply because the crab was absolutely delicious! If you have never tried crab, I enthusiastically suggest you try it. Plus, the fact that you really have to work to get all that delicious crab meat makes it taste so much better.


After crab, we walked up to Ghirardelli Square and had a heaping cone of ice cream. It was an absolutely beautiful day so we spent some time by the fountain eating ice cream and just enjoying the sunshine. Then we heard that an acapella group would be singing in the square, so we stayed and listened to that. They were amazing, and my cousins were so intrigued when they learned that they made all the music with their mouths. After a few songs, my aunt came to take one cousin to karate practice.

My other cousin decided that she wanted to come explore the city with us, and then we headed over to Lombard Street. The street was so curvy, and I am now imagining stories that would explain why they decided to make just that one street so curvy. I couldn’t imagine living there though. There was a constant stream of traffic going down the street at about 2 miles per hour.

After walking up and down the street, and taking some pictures, we got a ride on a cable car all the way into the center San Francisco. Unknowing of the fact that the cable cars only go one way, we waited for a long time to try to get a ride back to the other side of the city. Fortunately, my aunt came to our rescue and picked us up and took us back to the quiet life of Sausalito. On our way back to Sausalito, I let my cousin experiment with my camera (I had about 100 pictures to delete after that) and I took hundreds of pictures of the Golden Gate. Bridges are cool, and the Golden Gate is a beauty.

This is my favorite picture that she took. A picture within a picture. Gotta love technology!

World Travels || San Francisco 2015: Day 2

Look at that, two posts in two days! I am on a roll here! Hopefully I’ll get one day of my San Francisco vacation on here every day this week. Thats my goal at least.

The second day of my explorations of San Francisco took me to the city to go play at the Exploratorium. When I walked in, I was a bit shocked about how many kids were there. I was glad that I had my two cousins with me as an excuse to why I was there. But, regardless of how many children were there (all their parents seemed to vanish once we got through the doors) I still thought that it was really cool and had a lot of fun (I have got to come up with a better word than “fun”).

About half way through the day, my uncle called and offered to take us all out for lunch while we were in the city. We went to an oyster restaurant and because I am not really a shellfish kind of person, I went with my southern heart and ordered shrimp and grits, and I have no complaints.

After lunch, we went back to the Exploratorium and played with some really cool sciencey/math things that made me think of how amazingly the world works and how we are able to manipulate things to show a certain property of natural laws or the human brain. If I had the choice, I could have stayed there for three days and still had a good time learning about how stuff works.

Then my mother and I headed back to Sausalito and spent a relaxing night with my cousins and aunt and uncle.

World Travels || San Francisco 2015: Day 1

Well, its been a while again… My life has gone a bit off the wall lately as AP tests approach and filling Etsy orders has taken every last minute of free time that I have had. All of my teachers have started to review before the AP tests in just three weeks, which means that I am doing a heck of a lot of studying. I am really beginning to wonder how I am able to fit all this information in my brain.

Last week, I got a little break from my crazy life and went to California with my mom for spring break. Coming back makes me really appreciate my small town, but also makes me that much more excited to really start exploring the world. The California life definitely is different than my seemingly relaxed life in North Carolina, but I still loved every minute in the Golden State. Plus, I got to visit and really bond with my cousins that live in San Francisco. I thought I would share some pictures with you and make like a journal of my trip, even if it is just to remind me of everything.

So, the first day we got to San Francisco (well, we actually stayed in Sausalito) my mother and I roamed the streets of Sausalito and acted like classic tourists. We went into all of the little shops and had a lot of fun telling each other what we would buy if we had endless amounts of money (wouldn’t that be nice). After having lunch at a local burger joint with my aunt and cousins, we hopped in the car and drove around the area, running errands (silly me, I forgot my memory card and so I had to buy one) and dropping my cousins off at gymnastics and karate. I also got a quick tour of the area too, which was fun. Before we knew it, it was time for dinner and we went to my aunt and uncles beautiful house for dinner.

Since I forgot my memory card, I didn’t take any pictures that first day, so I’ll just leave you some with the hidden stairs of Sausalito.