I’m constantly torn between words and photos when I’m writing a blog post. Sometimes when I put in a lot of pretty pictures I feel like I’m cheating but then I know that, for me at least, the chances of me finishing to read any kind of blog increase tenfold when it has pictures. At the same time though the internet in this flat is so slow and it takes me so long to upload photos, change the size and put them in the correct order that I end up feeling like I could probably recreate the same photo in paint on the computer (is paint still a thing?) in the time it takes them to upload. Seriously. Plus my photography skills are non-existent, how people ever manage to take pictures of food and make it look appetising I will never know (Martha Stewart also cannot do this- see this hilarious buzz feed).
For any of you following me on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter you’ll know that I’ve been taking part in the ‘100 Happy Days‘ challenge. The idea is that you post something that makes you happy every day, and that by making it a challenge you will either either be encouraged to be aware of what has brightened your day or else it will push you to make sure that you actually do something that puts a smile on your face. While most days this works out well there have been some highly questionable entries from me, most notably a picture of an empty jar of peanut butter with a spoon sticking out of it- peanut butter is my jam (see what I did there). Although to be honest that was bittersweet because I had no more in the cupboard and a day without peanut butter isn’t worth living. On other days I find myself staring at a nice cheese sandwich wondering if I should take a photo of it because that might just be the most exciting thing to happen to me all day.
I had another fun weekend recently- the second fun weekend in a row! Don’t worry though I made sure to make myself miserable for the next week to make up for all the fun times. Study abroad isn’t about having fun guys. I went to Point Reyes, a National Park just above San Francisco, for some hiking and it was GLORIOUS- the weather was amazing and the trail was a stunning mix of woodland and coast. Thankfully it was proper trails and none of that paved malarkey, the only downside was some dodgy trail markings that resulted in us adding an extra three miles onto what was already a 13 mile hike. We asked a guy for directions, but being unconvinced by his answer proceeded to wait a while for him to leave before walking in the opposite direction to what he suggested. We, of course, passed him a few short minutes later and I wanted to climb up in a tree and hide so that he didn’t see us. That must be a very British problem though as the American I was with couldn’t understand why I would rather lie on the ground and cover myself in leaves than make eye contact with this guy. The good thing about the added miles though was that it helped us to justify the vast quantity of dough consumed upon our arrival back in Davis in the form of Hawaiian pizza and some kind of weird cinnamon apple pizza concoction. Perfect. I’m all for immediately negating any exercise with food.
On the Sunday we went for a trip to Napa and Sonoma. We drove there on the freeway with the top down on the car and I basically felt like I ruled the world. I possibly didn’t LOOK quite so cool though as I kept insisting on taking photos with my face like this:
No shame. No regrets. Okay I had one regret- I let my hair whip around in the wind like some kind of crazy horse-girl hybrid and it ended up taking me a solid 20 minutes to get the knots out of my hair the next day. I actually broke my hairbrush in the process. If you’ve ever seen the first Princess Diaries movie then just think about the scene where Pablo breaks his brush on Mia’s hair. It was just like that.
In Napa, after spending the first hour wandering around sobbing outside all the amazing wine bars we couldn’t drink in, we found an absolutely amazing coffee shop. This place was brilliant, a really quirky cafe with amazing coffee and biscotti and, as an added bonus, they weren’t complete knobs about the coffee which is something I feel happens quite often in Glasgow (I’m looking at you Artisan Roast, I’m looking at you.). I left this place wanting to open a coffee shop (now with a bookstore attached because I just read Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore and loved it). There was a Starbucks directly across the road from this soulful, delightful store and while I’d love to say that no-one was sitting in it and the only people inside were idle workers, in reality it was heaving. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? I haven’t bought anything in Starbucks in over two years (god I sound like such a prize tool when I say that) and I’ve managed to survive just fine without Instagram-ing a picture of a takeaway cup. I could rant but I’m not going to (mostly because I’ve already mouthed off about this to more or less every single person I know). It annoys my Uncle George no end, to the point where he gave me the choice between travelling first class home from SF and having a Starbucks, or sticking to my principles and travelling in economy. Those of you who have met my Uncle George will know that there is no question here- I’d sooner walk back from SF than give him the satisfaction.
I’ve also been getting out more in Davis and have discovered a couple of cool places, my favourite being a hippy coffee/food place ‘Delta of Venus’. Holy crap the potatoes I had for brunch at the weekend were like nothing else, I’m salivating just thinking about them (despite the fact I’ve just had about seven spoonfuls of peanut butter).
It was the Super Bowl last weekend (I referred to it as the ‘Super Bowl Final’ to some American friends and they laughed at me. Dicks.), but I was in a spectacularly grouchy mood so instead of embracing American culture- watching the game, eating pizza and drinking beer, I sat in the dark, watched Sherlock, ate half a block of cheese and drank tea. It was bloody brilliant.
That’s about it from me folks. The fam are coming over to California next week- wahooooo free meals! We’re going to see Biffy Clyro in SF next Wednesday (OH MAH GAHD), it’s Ewan’s birthday on Thursday (he’s celebrating his 18th in a country where the drinking age is 21. Rough.) and then we’re off to Monterey for a long weekend of food and chillaxing. I phoned up two restaurants today to book tables and man it was a painful process. For the first place it took me about 10 tries for them to get my name right, and then in the second I asked for a table with a ‘bay view’ and they kept asking me if I was bringing a baby. Oh, and the reservation is for ‘Christine’. I gave up.
Hope you’re all swell.