Scenes from Memorial Day Weekend (Northern California)

The AUA (American Urological Association) held their annual conference in San Francisco this year; as soon as I learned Aron would be attending, I started scheming to figure out how I could tag along and how we could visit with friends and family. We packed it in–which may have contributed to the sense of pure exhaustion experienced by both of us upon our respective returns to New York.
We flew into Oakland, rented a car, and drove to our friends’ house in Alameda. Much laughter and a delicious dinner of Burmese food was followed with some valuable bonding time with Dave’s and Katy’s adorable (nearly one-year-old) little girl. She had met us once previously, but wasn’t quite sure what to think; I’d like to think we became fast friends with our faux cell phone chats.
After saying goodbye, we drove on to Sonoma–both to take in the beautiful views of the valley and to pay a visit to Buena Vista Winery (a family favorite). We decided on a few bottles for our luggage and then decided to become members for the year. Eek! Very exciting…

From Sonoma, we drove to Aron’s hometown of Davis (site of our alma mater). We met up with his parents and, with some updates on the town’s new developments, went for lunch. We proceeded to spend as much time as possible out of doors in the sunshine–welcoming summer with a fresh crop of his mother’s blackberries (like jam off the vine) and sweet peas–catching up on each others’ news and sampling strawberry shortcake before dinner with family friends.

After a quick slideshow of our India photos (relatively quick, that is–we have over 600 in our “edited” folder), Aron and I visited with some other close friends, Ben and Stacey. Ben’s parents were visiting from Germany–and we made introductions over Madeira and chocolate (Ben butters his toast before adding Nutella, fyi). They were nice enough to listen to us discuss some of the challenges of being somewhat bicoastal and we were sorry to say goodbye.
The next morning, we left for Berkeley, where we would reconnect with friends from Los Angeles. Brian and Amy had family visiting as well, so we were glad to be included for sandwiches and some gymnastics practice. Their daughter continues to be one of the coolest little girls I’ve ever met and we seemed to pick right off where we left off. They have a new baby boy, who also seems quite adept at being a charmer.
After a few hours–too few–Aron and I drove to San Francisco. We had planned to return the rental car at Oakland and take BART into the city, but instead found we could drop the car across from the hotel. We learned that we had narrowly escaped some heavy rains; the city was all blue skies and warm sun. We checked out the Top of the Mark and then walked along the Embarcadero before having dinner at Town Hall in SoMa. We found ourselves constantly drawing comparisons between this city and ours.
The next morning I went to meet my friend Marija in the Mission (the neighborhood which felt the most like my New York home to me) and she introduced me to a lovely little bakery called Tartine, and to the pleasure of spending a sunny SF day in Dolores Park. We both showed up in very similar striped shirts, which was absolutely hilarious but also bit distracting during conversation. Mental note to self: consider storing striped shirts until trend dies down a bit.
Around the time that Marija and I parted ways, my parents arrived in town! We met them back at the hotel and the four of us checked out the Ferry Terminal for some awesome views of the bay, and beers and cheese from Cowgirl Creamery. (My dad found Red Hawk to be too stinky; we love it but couldn’t have agreed more when we made the mistake of trying to save some of the round in our ice bucket back in the room.)

My parents and I made our way up to Coit Tower to check out the murals and the fantastic vistas. We walked back to Union Square and then met Aron for dinner at a cute spot on Nob Hill–1550 Hyde.
The three of us were on our own for some of the following day as well, but we all got together and rented a zip car to drive around the city. Though we’d been to SF many times over the years (Aron lived there for six months while I started graduate school in Los Angeles), I felt like we needed a refresher/overview. We decided that, if we were ever to live there, it would have to be outside of the fog belt. One highlight was stopping at Gelateria Naia in the Castro with my parents for their “young coconut” sorbetto–incredible.
Soon afterward, on Monday afternoon, I made my way to the airport for my red-eye flight back to NY; my parents headed back south to Long Beach the next morning.
Aron presented his research and went to other professional meetings (including an all-important bowling match). Before he left, he found time to meet up with our friend Phil and dish about his new little girl, Ruah, as well as bike over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito with two other residents.
Aron may have been a bit busy, but I must say: I love these professional meetings!

Have a good weekend!

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