Sunday, June 7, 2009

Suburbs to San Francisco adventure

Earlier this week we were invited out Saturday night for a friends birthday. We were to hit some bars in San Francisco. Hubby and I were of course all about it. I invited one of my girlfriends to join us and we decided to do a shopping adventure that afternoon before going to the bars! I was so excited! The shopping around here consists of malls and normal stores, but the shopping in San Francisco consists of all these super cute boutique stores! I've been dying to get on the scene for a while now.

I decided to take Caltrain up to the city to meet my girlfriend and then hubby would drive up with the car later that night. Well, yesterday morning I got a bit scared because I've only ridden the train twice before and always with hubby. Plus, I had to transfer at Milbrae to get on Bart so I went to the right part of the city: The Mission. Hubby did this transfer before from the airport when I couldn't break away from work to get him after a backpacking trip. He generally has a bad sense of direction, so I knew I would probably rock the transfer.

Well, I successfully got on the Caltrain at 12:23, found a seat and pulled out my new Livescribe pen & notebook. I had some thoughts from my venture I wanted to write down. The first few minutes of the ride my arm was shaking a bit. I told myself to calm down. Ah, I didn't look to see what the stop was before mine. It was difficult to hear the announcer. Deep breaths girl. You'll be fine. The other two times I took Caltrain was to go to the Giants vs. Cardinals baseball games and for that, you take the train all the way to the end.

The transfer to Bart went fine. Me and 15 or so other people stood around like, HUH? What do we do? The tracks were not labeled well, the track I was suppose to be on had a light rail train on it that said out of order...what now? Well, of course a woman was working there and instructed us to stay put. We were in the right place and she was getting information for us. Turns out they were having problems at the transfer point and they were going to use that train. We could board it in a few minutes and it would take off in about 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes! That's a long time. Well, I had never been on Bart before either, so I'm all full of adventures today. I texted my girlfriend and told her what's up. Of course she said no biggie. I thought to myself, I should have taken the earlier train. D'oh! How will we have enough time to shop and get our nails done!?

When I got off at 16th and Market in San Francisco I was in the heart of The Mission! It was the first time I walked around San Francisco and felt like I was in a foreign city. The rest of the city is pretty regular and maybe bland, but The Mission has a lot of character! I felt like I traveled way farther than probably 40 miles from my house! I found my girlfriends place quite easily and we headed out to Noe Valley for some shopping! I was so excited - I need some new clothes that fit.


We stumbled upon this beautiful jewelry store called Qoio. She had the most beautiful jewelry I'd ever seen. The owner makes all the items herself and her inspiration is her home country of Guatemala. She was explaining to us that all the different villages have unique colors and Guatemala is know as the colors of spring. I thought it was beautiful and quite reasonably priced considering the details and hard work she obviously put into each unique piece. If I ever need, and I hope I do, a beautifully piece of art to wear, I will visit Qoio again and do some serious shopping.

So at the end of the day I had a manicure & pedicure and bought a beautiful, black, floppy sun hat and a new bronze colored woven clutch. I didn't find any clothes. I realized I'm a very traditional, preppy Banana Republic / J.Crew style after all. Maybe I can go back to Qoio and get something interesting to mix it up! Nothings wrong with that.

So my adventure worked out well yesterday after all. I mean, I knew it would, but it was good to be out of my element and taking public transit alone. I needed to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I remember back in High School and College, I use to travel all over the world and I was fearless. So fearless in fact, it scared my parents a bit. Ya know, this was before the internet was big and I went on all these trips knowing only a few things: where I'm staying when I get there and what the weathers like (based on average temperatures from the encyclopedia and not real time weather). I didn't research transportation or restaurants or anything. I just went and figured it out there. So, when did we become fearful? Well, hopefully I'm on my way to discovery and breaking down the fear inside me and bringing out the adventure in me again! I can't wait to discover what's next.