Current tunes: The Paper Kites, Bloom
A strange thing happens when it hits 70 degrees in San Francisco. SF weather is often overcast with occasional pops of sun or sprinkles of rain during any given day of the year. However, when the sky is clear blue and the temperature heats up, it’s as if everyone comes out of hiding, becomes intoxicated on sunshine (among other things), and absolutely loses it. Okay that’s dramatic but honestly, Dolores Park on a sunny Saturday is like visiting an amusement park. For example, I am typing this up in Dolo Park and this is a 360 view of my current surroundings:
Imagine a faint hint of cannabis in the breeze, with picnic blankets full of young adults openly drinking from undisclosed alcohol containers, dogs catching frisbees, preteens rolling down the grassy hillside, an old woman with dreadlocks selling edibles, a group of moms with their toddlers on the swings, girls in bikinis sunbathing, a hoard of shirtless males in an intense game of spikeball, a couple to my left whispering sweet nothings in French that definitely should just get a room already, and a man with a rat’s tail selling tall can Modelos out of a garbage bag and bumping Alicia Keys from a portable speaker. And to those three dudes at 10 o’clock- WHY ARE YOU PRACTICALLY NAKED? Maybe that’s why some locals call it Dolores Beach. Talk about diversity. I mean I love me some airport people watching but Dolo Park is a whole new level. But I absolutely have fallen for this eclectic park. Although I initially mourned and pouted over my San Diego withdrawals for weeks, I’m slowly starting to admit that yea, SF, I guess I am starting to kind of fall for you too.
Last time I was in this park, I accidentally left my phone lying in the grass. As my friend and I hopped in our Lyft, I frantically dug through my purse only to find that it was gone. Classic Miriam. Thank goodness for the Find My iPhone App and that pink haired chick that showed me chivalry is not dead and returned it to me. Needless to say, I am a chronic loser. Wait, let me rephrase that- I have a bad history of losing things. Or perhaps I am just ignoring the signs of early onset dementia. Whatever. But seriously, there’s that scarf I left on the London Tube, my favorite swimsuit that was left hanging on the backdoor of my hostel in Vietnam, a pair of kicks left to the baboons after finishing a Kenyan Safari, and even my phone (again), this time with my ID/credit cards conveniently stashed in the phone case slot, that was swiped in a crowded fast-food joint in New Zealand. I should probably stop there as it makes me sound like a terrible, absentminded nurse. But I guess I always somehow manage to leave things behind. And while the list above are all tangible items that can be replaced, travel nursing has shown me that I also do this mentally. Instead of feeling like I gained something new from each experience in a different place, I often feel as if I’ve broken off little bits of my heart in a trail behind me. And it kind of stings. It can be somewhat positive too, as it allows for what I feel are deeper, meaningful connections with strangers that turn into dear friends. BUT, travel nursing has also lead me to realization number two: I am terrible with goodbyes. I am a memory hoarder, a clinger to nostalgia, and easily get lost in my own thoughts as I relive past experiences from people and places I have had to let go of. Which is not incredibly ideal for the nomadic life that travel nursing brings. I aways prided myself in my ability to adapt to change and being open to the idea of befriending anyone that crosses my path. However, creating community in each new environment only to say deuces a few months later has definitely been a challenge. I suppose everything in life comes and goes in seasons.
I bring this all up because my time in San Francisco is slowly closing in on me. Thirty days left and my applications for my nursing licenses in other states- states more than a stone’s throw away I might add- are in the books. Where or where will these little feet go? Okay fine. I know I have the feet of Sasquatch stuck on an average height body…but still, where next? I’ll let you know when I do. And while I believe that my path is being directed by an all-knowing and loving God that has a plan and knows my heart, I still am starting to have some anxiety about it. So prayer/thoughts/good vibes sent my direction would be much appreciated!
Because I don’t have that much time left here, my roomie Kaitlin and I have made it even more of a priority to checkoff more places/sights on our list. Over the last few months I have been fortunate to have gone hiking near Muir Woods, wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma, have biked over the GG Bridge (twice!), and have continued to brunch or die when I am not working the weekend shift.
f you’re not familiar with SF, this 7×7 mile city is broken into pocket neighborhoods, each with its own heartbeat. Some perceive the Mission District as a bit sketch or dirty, but it has become my favorite neighborhood in the whole city. Last month for Kaitlin’s birthday we dedicated a whole day to what I called Mission: Mission (…I really thought I was clever with that one.) Mission: Mission was a glorious day in which we ate our faces off and committed to finding some of the best sips and eats in the neighborhood.
Known for it’s large Spanish community, the Mission District is flooded with amazing Latin eateries, from dirty hole in the wall kitchens to upscale tapas. It lacks the suits and pretentious feel of the Financial District and the “Bro City” vibes of the Marina. There’s something for everybody. In some parts of the Mission you’ll find little tents selling Mexican art and chicharrones, on the next street there’s adorable housing, and then turn the corner to find amazing graffiti or an alley covered in giant painted murals. And last but not least is the park I described up above, the beloved Dolores Park. They recently finished renovations to this lovely patch of green and it is a staple hangout location for all the locals of SF. Anyways, next time you’re in The City I advise skipping the overly touristy Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 and hightail it to the Mission for some real art, food, and culture.
*I admit, this list was not all experienced on the day of Mission: Mission. If we had it would have been an incredible feat but we probably would have died of gastric explosion and went to foodie heaven. The Yelp Nerd in me has written more detailed reviews of the places in linked in blue and there are some pics down below. Now go on a mission. Go eat.
The M List: Mission District, San Francisco
- Lolo: One of my absolute favorite restaurants in The City. Follow my lead- avocado panko tacos, ceviche, and diabla shrimp.
- Trick Dog: Listed on Esquire Magazine’s “Best Bars in America 2015.” So unique. So fun.
- El Techo: ROOF TOP BAR. Doors open/Happy Hour starts at 4pm. Get in line at 4pm. I repeat, 4 pm. (Side note, located above of it’s fancier big sister, Lolinda).
- Lolinda: Beautiful interior with dim lighting. Brazilian grilled meats and tapas galore.
- El Farolito: Dirty, late night Mexican. Steer clear of the horchata but the quesadilla will change your life.
- Little Star Pizza: Deep dish pizza that I sometimes have dreams about.
- Pica Pica: Venezuelan arepas with a full menu free of gluten but full on taste.
- ChaCha: Eclectic wall art but their real winner is the sangria.
- Bebe Bar: Brazilian owned acai and smoothie joint that has satisfied the acai addiction that started in San Diego.
- Gracias Madre: Vegan, Spanish eats and sister to SoCal’s famous Cafe Gratitude.
- Foreign Cinema: Fancy, schmancy with twinkly lights and old school movies projected on the brick walls. Plus edible gold in one of their craft cocktails. Great for date night.
- Dalva/Hideout: Let’s just say I ordered one drink and left with four. Bartender Dave, you rock. Tip: in the back of the bar is a a separate room which houses the dim hidden speakeasy called Hideout.
- Curry Up Now: Indian fusion. Get the deconstructed samosa.
- Bi-rite Ice Creamery: An SF staple and the line is long for a reason.
- Etcetera Vino Bar: Cozy and love the map ceiling.
- Urban Putt: Think specialty cocktails meet indoor mini golf. Great for double dates.
And so the one month count down begins. Oh and Happy Nurses Week to all my fellow nurses! We are a strong, strange, and crazy breed that could only do what we do out of passion for people. I mean really, Kaitlin and I counted and yesterday we collectively cleaned about 16 bowel movements in twelve hours. We are the poo ;] Read my last post on nursing, Five Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became A Nurse, here.
Cheers and keep on wishin’!