Daisy Dukes, Bikinis on Top

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, California

We have a lot to catch up on. In the interval between my last post and this one, I completed my second semester as an MFA student, flew to Bali for my sister’s wedding, spent three weeks in Malaysia being reminded of how much I love Malaysia (and my house, and my friends, and my family), then returned to Philadelphia to pack up our apartment and move to the San Francisco Bay Area. So much happened in the last two months that though I wanted to blog a couple of times, I didn’t have time to catch my breath before I had something new to think about. All the while dealing with the major jet lag that comes from adjusting to a 12-hour time difference (Malaysia-Philly), only to immediately switch to a 15-hour time difference (Malaysia-SF.) Ouch.

We’re in the Bay Area because hubby has a summer internship here, followed by a fall semester in SF. And because our stay in each place is only for a couple of months, we’re using AirBnB rather than signing a lease, which means we’ll be moving to a new place every month until September (I know!)

I was really bummed out when I realised my kitchen activities will be limited for a while. There isn’t a grocery store nearby, the fridge is shared with three other roommates, and I don’t have a pantry, or my pots and pans. I can hear my Le Creuset calling me from my storage closet 3000 miles away. I miss you too.

This and the fact that my housemates leave their dishes in the sink all day threw me in a week-long funk.

Plus: I had long ago come to terms with the fact that I’m a city girl. I used to think that because I hate shopping, love cooking, am a bookworm,  and can appreciate the occasional waterfall, I’d do okay in the suburbs. But then I spent a year working in a rural hospital in the tiny town of Kuala Kubu Bharu. It took less than a week for me to decide that it was worth the 60km commute—half of that over rough terrain— just to live in urban Petaling Jaya, where the shops stay open past 7pm.

Living in the suburbs without a car (to bring you to the nearest city, or at least the nearest Trader Joe’s) isn’t great. There isn’t much to do here. Walking around Mountain View, we saw lots of people cycling around for fun. One guy was pushing a pram while roller-skating. I saw a father kicking around a football with his son in their front yard. Here, people exercise for fun. Methinks fitting in here would need a major transformation.

What else has got me down? The cost of living here is really high. Rent is double what we pay in Philly, which, you recall, was quadruple what we would have paid in Malaysia. A ten-minute Uber ride costs 8USD. Meals cost about 12-15USD/person; cheaper meals require an Uber.

It also wasn’t fun to begin a new semester the week of a major move. I’m taking two courses for the summer semester, and the workload is much heavier than I expected. I have six assignments due within the next three weeks, on top of weekly essays and group discussions.

Plus: A husband on a show I’m watching died. The next day, I finished a book on my reading list where the wife died at the end. And the next book I opened was about two brothers who kill people for a living. None of this helped.

So I haven’t been in the greatest mood lately.

The clouds have begun to lift, though. We found a sushi place about 18 minutes’ walk away from our place. We watched Wonder Woman in the nicest cinema we’ve discovered in the U.S. so far, and the tickets were surprisingly cheap. We rented a car and took a mini road trip to San Jose, Santa Cruz, and Monterey Bay.  I visited the cute androids at the Googleplex.

Now I just need to find an ice-cream place. That should cheer me up.

Because there’s ARFI.