My girlfriend, our friends, and I excitedly arrived at the airport for our flights from Cleveland to California. It was four in the morning but jokes still bounced from the mouths of our friend group like we were playing hot potato. Originally we were all on the same flight to San Francisco, but unfortunately it got canceled and as we all scrambled to get a new flight we ended up on different flights. That wasn’t going to dampen the moment though as we still were all going to end up in the same location. My girlfriend and I were the first ones to arrive and after checking into the hotel we quickly searched for food spots to eat. While one might think there were plenty of options since we were in a city, we were sadly mistaken because it was Christmas Day. We ended up eating at a Chinese restaurant and the food was amazing; we ventured through the city for dessert and found a place that made bubble waffles. Before San Francisco, I had never known of the existence of bubble waffles, but it is safe to say that I will be eating quite a few bubble waffles in the future. Our friends arrived in San Fran shortly after the bubble waffle experience, and we all met up and began to walk through the city. The more blocks we traveled the more we laughed. As the day turned into night we settled into a movie theater and watched House of Gucci. Under the Christmas lights of San Francisco, we all gave our takes on the film as we walked back to the hotel. Happy and eager to see what tomorrow would bring while enjoying the moment.
Ice skating is painful. That was my lesson on day two of the trip. The blade of the skate pressed against my foot, the side of the skate rubbing my skin raw. It was painful, but I still found fun in it as my friends supported me through an ice skating rink. I felt like I was constantly on the brink of understanding how to skate and falling on the ice. Through all the almost falls I found smiles, though, as I was experiencing this journey with my Oberlin family. After risking my life in an ice skating rink we all decided to go to different stores in the city. Acting like each other’s stylists in Zara and going into stores with sale signs posted in their windows. Walking by a Gucci store led to House of Gucci references. The joking suggestion that we should actually go in the Gucci store led to me singing the chorus to 50 Cent’s song “Window Shopper” to let everyone know there was no way I’d buy anything from the store. Hunger overtook shopping, and we soon found ourselves in a sushi restaurant. One of the members of our group is an Executive Functioning Tutor so we jokingly told her she needs to be in charge of the planning of the trip. Truly though we have enjoyed the lack of planning that has existed. While we do have events that we want to do, the main aspect of the journey so far has been spending time together. Through the slips of the ice rink and singing of 50 Cent songs, we all have had smiles on our faces.
In the coming days, we found ourselves on a mission, and that mission was to make it to the Golden Gate bridge. Did we take the simple route, the tried and true route of taking an Uber? No, no we didn’t, but we were going to make it to that bridge. And after three busses, a half-hour of standing at a bus stop, and a half-hour of walking we made it…. to the highway next to the bridge. We all burst out laughing as we got off the bus and realized where we were. Luckily, this particular highway contained a pathway that one could walk and end up directly in front of the bridge. After about ten minutes of walking, we completed our mission and all took photos in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a great moment, but what made it so great wasn’t the bridge itself, it’s what led up to the bridge. We might not have taken the easiest route to the final destination, but what mattered more than the route was who was on the journey.
I spent the last day in San Francisco at the pier with my girlfriend. We watched a show by a comedian who continuously stressed that there wasn’t enough parking in San Francisco, and then we saw sea lions battle for positioning on rocks that were in the waters of the bay. One thing we made a point of emphasis on this day, though, was to eat at a restaurant called City Chopsticks one last time. At first glance, this restaurant appears rather unassuming. It didn’t pop up on any of the Google searches we had done looking for the best restaurants in San Francisco, but let me tell you, do not sleep on City Chopsticks. The first time we ate there was because we were starving upon arrival and it was right next to our hotel. We ate there two more times before leaving San Francisco. The place is really that good. After saying our goodbyes to City Chopsticks, we said our goodbyes to the city of San Francisco as we got on our flight to go to Cleveland.
Cleveland was not the end of our trip, though, at least not yet. After arriving in Cleveland we hopped in the car and drove to Chicago. We were on a mission to acquire deep dish pizza and see fireworks as the clock brought in the new year. After a quick call to an Oberlin alum who graduated last year, we knew just which pizza place to go to. Once we finished enjoying delicious deep dish pizza, we prepared ourselves for the firework adventure. When I was a freshman in high school I lived near Chicago and used to go to the city with my Dad often. I am telling you this now as after this trip I have a new appreciation for his ability to navigate the city. I was very lost as I attempted to drive to the riverwalk where the fireworks were supposed to go off. Somehow, I don’t know how, but somehow we made it to the riverwalk right as the fireworks exploded. A New Year was officially upon us, filled with promise and potential!
After spending another day in Chicago we made our way back to campus. As the year begins the semester is coming to an end. One door closes, another door opens. I’m excited to continue telling you about my adventures with my Oberlin family and the exciting events that are occurring on and off-campus. Make sure to leave a comment below saying what you are most excited about as the new year begins!
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