Monday, March 21, 2011

Life in the Big City

Well, hello there! We are in San Francisco! Rob has his big national allergy conference and we have all tagged along to hang out in a beautiful city and have lots of fun. This is the same conference that took us to New Orleans last year, so apparently this is how we go on vacation now.

I am pretty much healthy finally, for which I am SO SO THANKFUL. Seriously, that cold totally had my number for a good two weeks. I am really overflowing with gratitude that I finally kicked it, especially given the demands of traveling with small children. The day that we had our flights was still rough, but I have been largely healthy since then. This is a decent time to travel during a pregnancy; I don't have the super-specific food aversions and needs (i.e. "must. have. crackers. now. or. will throw up.") and headaches and extreme exhaustion of the first trimester but I'm not really big enough to feel awful lugging my gigantic self around an unfamiliar city. So, hooray for all that.

San Francisco is such a beautiful city, and we really love it here. We spent part of our honeymoon here (after spending most of it in Yosemite), and of course Rob grew up in a more suburban part of the Bay Area. Rob's parents moved out of the metro area to Sonoma County a few years ago, so although we have flown in and out of Bay Area airports about once a year, we have always immediately driven a few hours inland and have not actually spent any time in San Francisco itself since our honeymoon.  It's been so fun to be here, and I hereby resolve that this trip I am finally going to make it inside Britex Fabrics. Every other time I've been here, I have walked past it or glimpsed it down a street but I was with companions who were not really into fabric shopping. I don't care this time; I am going.

This trip is making me realize anew how much I love big cities. I do; I love the bustle and the tall buildings and public transportation and the diversity and museums and that feeling of there being an infinite number of things to do and see and eat and experience. Rob tried to convince me the other night at dinner that San Francisco was an even better big city than New York, which was obviously crazy talk (New York is really one of my favorite places to be in the whole wide world), but it is lovely in its own right. What else I have realized anew is how mentally/emotionally draining big cities are.  There are the mentally ill homeless (which seems like an especially big problem here, but then I wonder if I have blocked that out from visits to other big cities) but also just the increased level of effort it takes to do things, which is kind of draining. I find that effort to be one of the invigorating things about travel but at the same time it uses up the mental/emotional energy reserves pretty fast. So here is my analysis of Salt Lake City as compared to San Francisco: colder/snowier in March, proportionally more white people, proportionally fewer homeless people, fundamentally easier to live life and do things. These things all have their positives and negatives, of course. (Well, except for the lack of diversity thing-- really nothing good about that. And the homelessness. OK, just scratch that sentence altogether.)

They announced that next year's meeting will be in Orlando, and I can't decide if we should all go along for that or not. Are we Orlando kind of people? There is Disney, of course, but I don't know off the top of my head if doing Disney with Violet at slightly more than 3 and this new baby at about 6 months would be fun or misery. (Grace, I think, would probably love Disney next year.) And is the other option in Orlando a beach-y vacation? This is all just off the top of my head; I have done zero research about Orlando as a possible destination. A warm beach could be fun. Right? Wouldn't it? I have never taken a beach-y vacation ever in my entire life, with the only possible exception being the day or two I would take before an observing run in Honolulu with Waikiki Beach and so forth. I could see a beach being fun with three children. Oh my gosh-- THREE CHILDREN. We are going to have THREE CHILDREN. What are we going to do?!


amydove said...

You were making me sad about not being in a big city until you pointed out the downsides. Plus, NYC!

Yes, you should totally go to Orlando! I can't believe that you haven't been on a beach vacation! It is so relaxing. And for what it's worth, my parents took me to Disney a bunch when I was too little to remember and they escaped unscathed (even when my little brother got chicken pox there). I think they did it mostly for themselves because my mom loves Disney. Having been more times than I can count (3 times for high school trips alone) I say go for it. Also, Kennedy Space Center!

Carlie said...

Orlando is a cool place. A's parents are wild about Disney which is okay but not my favorite place on earth. The beaches are nice and the seafood AND...exactly how far away are The Everglades? That sounds cool!

Three kids is insane...and yet totally doable. You'll flip out and be fine. *wink*

Eva said...

Wow, I cannot think of a vacation without some beach attached to it (the others are trips, no vacations). You should definitely give it a try. Who knows, maybe three kids is the critical mass in which they start taking care of each other and you actually get some time off (yeah right).

I hope we'll get to see some photos of your trip and your belly.

Fretman said...

While you're in SF be sure to visit the California Culinary Institute for lunch. It's a lot of fun, the food is good, and Grace would enjoy it. But I'd take the bus to get there.

Sharon said...

Oh, I so miss the Bay Area. I want to go back to Napa for our 10th anniversary in December but I think it won't work out.
I agree that SF is beautiful, which is why the sadness of homelessness provides such a stark contrast. And yah, I think the population mentally ill people is relatively high.
One last thing: I totally agree with Rob! SF is (vastly) better than NY - except for the whole public transportation thing.