Fun, fun, fun

by Heather Vandenengel

ON A TRAIN SOMEWHERE BETWEEN SAN FRANCISCO AND LOS ANGELES, CA — The past five days in San Francisco/the East Bay were the kind of surreal days of this trip in which I feel stupidly spoiled by how, and with whom, I’m spending my days.

I stayed with my friend Shereen and her boyfriend Erik in their incredible house in Berkeley Hills overlooking the Bay. More specifically, at the top of a very steep hill, the last three blocks of which I cursed at every time. Between the hills, a 10-mile training run and many miles of biking and walking, my calves will not soon forget San Francisco.

I did some beer stuff: met my awesome editor at Magnolia, hit up Toronado, The Monk’s Kettle, The Trappist (in Oakland) and The Rare Barrel (in Berkeley), went on a few runs, and otherwise just had straight up fun.

Thursday night we ate at Burma Superstar in Oakland, befriended the couple sitting next to us and spent the night sharing PBR pitchers and Jameson shots (thanks to our new friends who were bartenders on their night off) at the most spookily decked-out dive bar I’ve ever seen. On Halloween, I jumped in a rapidly deflating bouncy castle and danced at a silent disco on the roof of a convent-turned-co-op, sampled herbal teas (not a euphemism) in the chapel room filled with blissed-out Bay Area art kids and drank an Anchor Steam in the confessional room. Saturday we biked from the Ferry Building along the pier, through The Presidio, down one of the most incredible downhills I’ve ever biked, past the bison in Golden Gate Park, to the beach at sunset. Sunday we walked around the Mission, picnicked at Gay Beach in Dolores Park with some of Shereen’s friends, thrifted, walked past the altars at the Day of the Dead celebration and along with the procession.

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I’ve always said I would move to San Francisco in a heartbeat if it wasn’t so expensive, but I think there’s something else holding me back too, the same kind of feeling I get when I think about moving to New York City. Everywhere I go, I picture what my life would be like in that city or town, and I can usually imagine it pretty clearly. I don’t know what San Francisco Heather would be like and she feels far from where I am right now. It also really is very expensive.

ETA: Is fun not the weirdest word in the world? Funfunfunfunfunfunfunfunfunfun.