For our Spring Break this year Bill planned a road trip to the Bay Area—yes! We last went before Eric was born to visit friends and family who live in San Francisco and Berkeley. Whenever too much time goes by, I start longing for these places and my sense of wanderlust craves the open road and the Bay air. What a treat to take a trip there this year!

 

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Car-tivities! I love road-tripping with my kiddos. The car is the perfect place to learn and spend hours of focused and quality time together. It is the mobile classroom. After our 18-state excursion to Pennsylvania and back to California this past summer, the seven hour ride to the Bay Area was no sweat!

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First stop: STANFORD! Katie has seen my alma mater a couple of times, but Eric never has. The fresh tree scent in the air…feels like home away from home. I am like a child at a playground, running around and showing my kiddos all of the locations of my favorite classes, where I worked (the President’s Office), my dorms and houses, my favorite studying spots… There are layers upon layers of memories now at that campus, not only from when I was a student there but also from the first time I toured it with my mom, Admit Weekend, a week-long A.P. conference I attended with Connie and Meline after I started teaching at TVHS, and times when I have brought my family. The campus develops, but its core spirit stays the same. It is a place to reunite with parts of myself. I can show the kiddos places where, for example, I wrote a letter to Nana…or the route I used to take with my Earl Grey tea to Latin class…or the places where some friends and I once played Hide-N-Go-Seek at midnight.

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Introduction to Fountain Hopping 101… Katie has done this before, but this was Eric’s first time with fountain hopping! We only dipped our feet—there was a nip in the air!

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When I graduated my dad brought up a rock that once resided on our Valley Center family land. We placed it in a special location known only to all of us. Every time I have ever visited Stanford in the past ten years, I always visit our rock last. I used to keep a running letter to myself under the rock, but time or something has gotten to it and there are only remnants left. Seeing our rock was emotional this year, as it came from the land we no longer own as of January. This rock always endures. Every time I visit it, my life has changed so much from the time before. This time, I have two children. This time, it represents a piece of land for which I will always mourn. I thought so much about Grandpa Don this time. I always do, but he was so much on my heart this trip. When we placed the rock there, he was alive. I have been back to see it since his death…but the weight of that symbolism really got to me this time. When we rode the cable car in San Francisco on this trip, I went past the very spot where he had jumped onto the cable car when he and my dad came to visit me while I was still in college. I found the restaurant in Chinatown at which we ate. I found myself crying at various moments, for both him and for my Uncle Eric (who also lived in San Francisco for a time). So many layers of history and life threads up here, for me…

 

 

 

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With my Eric and Katie by The Claw… something so surreal about having my children here with me!

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Katie took this for us. I never did participate in Stanford’s annual tradition of Full Moon on the Quad (kissing strangers isn’t really for me), but I did start my own tradition: True Love on the Quad and kissed my husband.

Next stop: SAN FRANCISCO!

We got up early and made the most of our day in the city, parking under Union Square; eating breakfast at Lori’s; catching the cable car; exploring Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghiradelli Square, Chinatown, Lombard Street, and Golden Gate Park (Koret Children’s Park, Japanese Tea Garden); and visiting with my beloved Marguerite over dinner at Patxi’s on Irving Street and dessert in her Glen Park neighborhood at Rocket Swirl. We even managed to briefly re-visit The Haight. I adore the city, and I was telling my children all about the Stanford tradition of having a big scavenger hunt all over the city at the start of every new school year. Great memories!

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Trying the concrete slides at Koret while sitting on cardboard. The boy in the blue was telling me how to make the slide be even faster…

 

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Chinatown

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Babies on a cable car. San Francisco 2013.

 

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Marguerite in her neighborhood. Visiting Marguerite in San Francisco has been on my bucket list for awhile. We visited her back in Alameda, and she has visited here and we’ve seen each other at various get-togethers, but I really wanted to see her here, just living her vibrant life. As I have grown older, I just really cherish who my friends are, and I want to celebrate their unique lives with them. Marguerite and I go back to middle school…she is one of my treasures in this life.

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Dylan and the kiddos at Rocket Swirl

 

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Japanese Tea Garden

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Daddy and Katie hand-in-hand strolling in the city

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The very spot in Ghiradelli Square where Bill and I talked about Pigeon-Hat and having our children…and now here they are, sitting in that spot. Full circle.

 

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Hyde Park, with the Golden Gate Bridge way in the background

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Waiting on line for the Powell cable car. The cable cars and the city really made a tremendous impression on Eric. I have been asked at times about traveling with such young children, and my experience is always that their little minds and hearts just soak it up.Traveling with young kiddos has truly been my favorite kind of traveling ever in my life, because everything is so magical and big and novel and good for them. Eric exclaimed as he looked around, “Me like city!!” and both of the kiddos have been incorporating parts of the city in their play ever since. Plus, we made many new storylines for our nightly oral tradition of The Grand Adventures of Katie and Eric (which we like to tell after reading stories). Their current new favorite installment is how Katie and Eric find the source of the best chocolate in California and how they have to ride the cable car to get there…

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Ghiradelli Square. I had a salted caramel hot chocolate and it was gooooooood.

Final stop: BERKELEY

I adore Berkeley and almost went there myself. As it was, I used to visit Shil and Steve during our undergrad years and watched Shil perform in a couple of his Indian dance cultural events there. Years later, I got to live vicariously through my brother who did attend and who would spend most summers pursuing multiple majors. After his freshman year, he stumbled through excellent fortune into an amazing apartment that overlooked a Buddhist retreat and a preserve (which featured grazing deer) at the base of the foothills. Only my brother is ever that lucky, I swear! And we were lucky, too, because my mom and I (and sometimes Dad) would visit him every summer for many days around his birthday. Bill and I also got to stay with him when Marguerite got married to Dylan at Tilden Park. Eventually Aunt Jen and Aunt Anna moved to Berkeley, too, and we had a whole bunch of family to visit and to show us local places. I feel in some ways that I know the surrounding areas of Berkeley in a more intimate way than I even know Stanford. The campus also became a link to my motherhood life, as I remember walking around while pregnant with Katie and journaling around campus on one of our extended visits. It was during those summer visits that my mom and I hiked Muir Woods and discovered Point Reyes…that lighthouse is so much a part of my soul that it is one of the places I would imagine and visualize while having labor au naturale with both my babies.

 

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My Aunt Jen took us to Little Farm at Tilden Park to feed the goats and cows. Katie made a goat friend and has talked about her every day since.

 

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Eric walks with Aunt Anna at a park nearby their house

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Walking from Telegraph onto campus… Katie’s world was rocked in a good way seeing a lifestyle so much different from hers as we passed People’s Park.

 

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Seeing the Campanile…Katie also really loved the library and the pretty ceiling in the Heyns’ reading room. We also lingered at Sproul Hall and Sather Gate…so much history on that campus! Now that she has met all of my good friends and spent time with them, it was so much fun to tell her about Steve and Carol meeting at school and getting engaged here…and about where Shil danced and lived…and how Marguerite and Dylan got married at Tilden Park. We also showed her Uncle David’s apartment complex and where his graduation ceremony was (which she attended when she was under a year old). She can picture everyone now. All our histories become woven. I have former students who are Berkeley alums and current students. I loved picturing them here, too.

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Katie and Aunt Jen at Little Farm

We also visited Mr. Mopps’ toy store and had Indian food for dinner. Shil first introduced me to Indian cuisine while I was visiting one weekend many years ago, and we went to Vik’s Chaat. I have had an abiding love for this delicious food ever since and can’t come to Berkeley without craving it at least once!

Such a fun trip! Thanks, Bill, for planning it!

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