Every year, my mom and I take a trip- just the two of us. For almost 12 years now, I've suffered from OCD, anxiety, and dermatillomania (skin picking). Trichotillomania Learning Center is the only charity in the world for disorders such as skin picking, hair pulling, and nail biting. San Francisco was the location of their 2011 conference, and our 4th time around. We decided to spend a few extra days, visiting the beautiful city and meeting with my mom's older sister in the area.
The conference, as usual, was a magical weekend with old friends and new acquaintances. Whether eating at a table of 10 at Mel's Diner, watching the royal wedding at 2 in the morning, hiking up to Coit Tower, eating lunch at a French cafe on the edge of Chinatown, or chatting on the phone with my English friend Rebecca as the news was announce that Osama Bin Laden was dead, I have plenty of amazing memories from a time period of less than a week.
This trip exemplified what I love about travel- the unexpected. Rather than planning the details months in advance, we grabbed a map, pointed to a restaurant, and tried what ended up being the best waffles in the world. We wandered around the area, finding an Italian restaurant in the old mint building. My favorite example was on the Sunday before we left the next morning. My mom and I had made reservations for Alcatraz tours, and waited in line for an hour before an emergency evacuation. Instead of wasting the last day in our hotel room, disappointed and alone, we struck off. Following no map, we headed towards Coit Tower rising above the city. We rarely asked for directions, and found a lovely path through backyard gardens up the hill. Sculptures were resting in the shade of trees, hedges were shaped like terriers, and even as the stairs grew steeper, we could always turn around and glimpse the sunlit bay (see attached photo). Finally, we reached the top of the hill. The worst part was a free bus passing us by at the base of the tower. I wouldn't have had it any other way though, because a bus would've hidden a natural opportunity from us. Next, we collapsed on the fresh green grass before heading inside to view a panoramic view of the city by the bay. We followed a similar path on the way down the hill, heading towards Fisherman's Wharf, and a vague memory of a visit to a penny arcade museum years earlier.
We finished off the best weekend I could ever imagine with one of the coolest yet underrated museums of all time (Musee Mechanique) a fresh half-pound of Boudin's sourdough bread (we weren't suckers for the cool alligator-shaped loafs), and an hour's wait for the bus with my best friend in the whole world.
After high school, my mom and I plan to save enough money for a trip to Europe togethe, before I (hopefully) study Film and English at Ithaca College.
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