Cherry Blossoms in San Francisco!

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My friend Teresa flew in from Mexico City for a week-long vacation in the Bay Area. She’s a teacher and a writer with a love of books and travel. The last time we saw each other must have been at my farewell party in Condesa. It was wonderful to reunite and chat about everything–the good old days of pre-blog internet, the reasons behind why we settle/move, and the adventures yet to come.

I really love hosting out-of-town visitors, especially because it’s a perfect excuse to explore new neighborhoods. Teresa arrived just in time to catch the first weekend of the 2014 Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco. After a huge brunch, we walked by the Golden Gate Bridge, and headed into catch Japantown’s festivities.

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Teresa snapped the above photo of me by the Golden Gate Bridge. Below are the adorable recuerdos she brought for me from Mexico City: a huizache-dyed scarf, Ricardo Liniers’s charmingly illustrated children’s book, and a handmade wallet.

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Teresa basking in a plate of fried chicken & waffles (of course, smothered in hot sauce and syrup)!

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Some places we visited, captured on Instagram (Top to Bottom):

1. Crown & Crumpet Tea Stop Cafe [x] 1746 Post Street, SF
2. Tan Tan Coffee Shop 1825 Post St, SF
3. New People Mini Mall [x] 1746 Post St, SF
4. Kinokuniya Book Store 1581 Webster St, SF
5. Boudin Sourdough Bakery & Cafe [x] 619 Market Street, SF
6. Enssaro [x] 366 Grand Ave, Oakland
7. City Lights Bookstore [x] 261 Columbus Ave, SF

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“Not all those who wander are lost.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

Hello from California!

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It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?

I’m home, at last. My boxes from storage have been unpacked, suitcases are hidden in the back of the closet, and dusty books have been neatly tucked away. To make my west coast dreams truly come true, my new place has a backyard garden, complete with an avocado tree and an apple tree.

Thank you for still remembering me. Here is a belated hello from the sunny side of the San Francisco Bay!

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Here’s a sneak peek of my studio space!

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During my hiatus from blogging, I’ve been keeping up with my instagram and making time for snail mail. With spring’s arrival, I’m emerging from my hibernation.

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Isn’t my new Snugg case the perfect shade of violet? I love having these card holders on the side, where I usually carry the illustrated owl tag made by my talented friend, Jannese.

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“It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

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More soon!

Sayonara, Kyoto!

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Welcome to Tachibana-san’s lovely garden home in Kyoto, Japan! She opened her doors to me when I was just 18 years old, inviting me to stay with her and her cat Shima-chan. She gently pushed me when I was prone to getting lost, helping me come up with strategy for returning home. I learned to explore the city alone on a bicycle with a small map in hand, making friends with monks and solitary travelers along the way.

After all these years, it was wonderful to be able to return to the place I once called home. I arrived from Kobe by evening, walking past the garden in the shadows. The next morning I woke up in the second floor bedroom, laid my feet on the warm tatami mat, and peered out the windows onto the mountains. I walked downstairs for breakfast and tea, and watched Shima-chan nap by the windows. We packed our cameras, put on walking shoes, and headed out for a stroll around the neighborhood.

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“Are we to look at cherry blossoms only in full bloom, at the moon only when it is cloudless? The moon that appears close to dawn after we have long waited for it moves us more profoundly than the full moon shining cloudless over a thousand leagues. And how incomparably lovely is the moon, almost greenish in its light, when seen through the tops of the cedars deep in the mountains, or when it hides for a moment behind clustering clouds during a sudden shower! The sparkle on hickory or white-oak leaves seemingly wet with moonlight strikes one to the heart. One suddenly misses the capital, longing for a friend who could share the moment.” - An excerpt from Essays in Idleness by Kenkō

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That summer must have stirred something within Tachibana-san, too. I was astonished to find out she had started studying Korean history and language. We were able to make a small conversation in Korean while looking for a teashop in Gion. She remains just as adventurous as ever, chatting about her travels and an upcoming trip to a tiny island community.

I hope to see her again soon, perhaps here in California!

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