I spent the last weekend back in California. This trip was not an easy one to make. I left on Friday morning—following a string midterms before—exhausted, sleepy, and worried about the unfinished paperwork that needed to be done already and that still came ahead. The flight stopped briefly in Hong Kong before completing its fifteen hours in the air. Fortunately, the ride was a comfortable one with both plenty of room and good companionship; it is not often I have conversations with another passenger on one side, or have an empty seat on the other. Customs, however, is as insufferable as ever.
Once I arrived in San Francisco, I was immediately greeted by the cold air and warm company. I spent the next few days snuggled up in sweaters and blankets. It was easy to push away any serious thoughts, and simply relax and bath in the ambience and Spanish, country-inspired decor of my sister’s home.
Saturday morning, I went with my brother to the farmer’s market in downtown Palo Alto, where we picked up some greens and some grapes, and where we stood under the chilly, sunny sky listening to a few quick tunes of a street band—an ensemble of guitar, violin, and accordion. We then sat down with a friend at a local café. We wrote out a menu and picked up a few more grocery items we needed before parting. That night, a delectable vegetarian four-course meal was had, and my family and I delighted in the presence of my brother’s special guest.
I slept through most of Sunday. I really needed that long, long rest. I also did some things and met some people.
On Monday, my sister drove my brother and me to get a few gifts for friends and family in Taiwan. After lunch, my brother went back to school, while my sister and I looked for a particular sensual massage oil and strawberry flavored cream. Then, I accompanied my sister to a luxurious salon in downtown Saratoga. The place is beautiful, and my sister’s hair, adorable. When the sunset, we spent the evening at a vibrant, lush shopping mall.
I missed the bay dearly—its European veneer, Bohemian moxie, and gorgeous streets. The weekend getaway was a much desired and subtly-necessary moment to unwind before diving back into the fast-paced lifestyle of Taipei and of a medical student.