Postcards from San Francisco

san_francisco_sophia_hsin_Golden_Gate_Bridge_SunsetDusk at Golden Gate Bridge. 

San Francisco is the city of golden light. It is the place where you embrace the west coast the moment you step out of the airport. The air is not humid like New York, there are palm trees, bursts of colors, fog and sunshine. 

You know you are in California when you take photos of bougainvillea and palm trees. san_francisco_sophia_hsin-98.jpg
Stumbled across the newly opened flower shop Marigold. A golden space.
Cannot get enough of the flora and street art. 

San Francisco is bay windows, lemon trees by your door and Hispanic grandmothers chopping selling fruit spiced with chili powder on the street. It is tacos for three square meals and tracing the light from your morning coffee cup till it disappears behind the Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco is watching fluffy dogs leaping around in Mission Park with fresh nectarines in your bag and juice dribbling down your chins. 

San Francisco is the packed streets of Chinatown, the familiar smell, and the line up for delicious boba tea. It is the quiet across the water, the trains, the buses, the people that cannot block the chilly of summer and light that streams between endless buildings and museums that make up this city.

Beautiful produce at Ferry Building Market. Explored the area with new friends, sampled six different kinds of peaches. A place where you want to eat and photograph everything. san_francisco_ferry_building_market_sophia_hsin-12A white eggplant!

San Francisco is where I crossed off another city on my list and went home with satisfaction knowing that my world grew smaller but my perspective enlarged. It is the city where you know you’d made it just to be there and the place where you remind yourself to stop, take in what’s around you, and know that at this moment you have never felt so alive. It is a moment to relive again and again. 

Catching light at the Conservatory of Flowers

Till next time, San Francisco. 

Some recommendations:

Ferry Building Marketplace: A mecca for chefs, food lovers and tourists like me.
Tartine Bakery: Everything is delicious here! Coffee, artisan bread, everything. I loved people watching here. Will visit again and again.
Pancho Villa Taqueria: Local taco place recommended by a friend. Though I have to say all the tacos taste good in the Mission District.
Palace of Fine Arts Theatre: I did a terrible job visiting museums on this trip but the stunning architecture caught my eye! Will visit for photos next time. Tell me how it goes.
Conservatory of Flowers: If you love plants, come here for a half day trip. Beautiful and photogenic too.
Boba Guys: I don’t even drink boba in Taiwan but this place was really good! Impressed with the quality of my matcha tea and almond jelly.
Buffalo Exchange: Not one for thrifting but loved this place like a grandmother at a fire sale. So many goods! Skip the trip to Nordstrom and make a stop here. Recommend 100%.
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Postcards from Virginia: A Holiday With my Irish Family

washington_dc_ Shenandoah_National_Park-3The wonderful view from Shenandoah Park, Washington, DC

Hello from Virginia.

I have been spending the last week in our cottage in the mountains with my Irish family, whom I met in China a few years ago and it’s been a jolly time. I feel fortunate to see to new places surrounded by family, and am learning lots about British culture and Irish tradition.

A few curious things I have learned about the Irish:

• Tea and biscuits are to be had at least three times a day
• The Irish find humour in everything
• Peanut butter is deemed a North American evil. The smell — just as rotten as veggie mite
• To be Irish you must have a love for potatoes and butter
• Every kind of fabric in the house goes under the iron. Towels, jeans, socks, sheets, ties, you name it

madison_county_usa_1Mornings around the breakfast table. Toast with butter and jam are staples.

Virginia is a peaceful county, it is a land filled with blue skies, sweet corn, and rolling hills dotted with animals. It is a nice change of pace from my previous week in New York. It is one of the first places in North America where I can hear summer cicadas that remind me of Asia — an unfamiliar yet peaceful place.

washington_dc_ Shenandoah_National_Park-4washington_dc_ Shenandoah_National_Park-10My Irish family. All three generations

We will spend the next few days visiting historical places, civil war monuments and local towns that hold much Southern charm. Most of the time it feels like I am taking a crash course in American history and but I am gaining an insight into a culture that is different than what I have learned from Hollywood films. It is an educational and eye opening experience.

Chatham Manor in Fredericksburg. This place has the loveliest gardenscharlottesville_virginia_usa.jpgA little corner from Charlottesville, Virginia. A beautiful little town despite the recent riot

With all the negative news that comes from the media these days, I find myself especially thankful to be here. I am reminded that even though the world is not always a peaceful place, there is much good and beauty to be captured and look forward to.

Till next time.