Royal Exchange

After recovering significantly from jet lag and getting back on a normal sleeping schedule (well 3 a.m. to 11 a.m....), I went to my favorite San Francisco pub, Royal Exchange, for some Big Game eve celebration. On the way there, my trip seemed to come full circle a little bit. As when I arrived at Oakland airport almost three weeks ago, I didn't have any change for the AirBART shuttle and asked the entire bus if anyone had change for a $5 bill. Mercifully, someone did. Yesterday, while on the J-Church streetcar going downtown, another woman had the same dilemma, and I actually had change for her.  Royal Exchange was great, as I've never been there when Cal Band has, and I actually got to play a few songs. But I haven't played since ski trip in January, so I knew I really needed to practice when I couldn't feel my lips anymore on "Separate Ways." Pictures later. 

Anyway, today is my absolute FAVORITE holiday: BIG GAME! And I'm actually home for it! (The trip's dates might have been slightly arranged around today...) GO BEARS! BEAT THE CARDINAL! (Please, pretty please!)

City by the Foggy Bay

After 8 hours across the Pacific Ocean, my mom and I are back in San Francisco, where it's foggy. Really foggy. I miss Tokyo. Neither my body nor my iPhone has any idea where it is or what time it is. Usually there's a saying about Big Game Week: No sleep until Big Game. Well, I seem to be succeeding at that without really trying. (And, honestly, I'd really like to get some sleep.) But I'm headed to Point Reyes to visit Janet Fang, star intern at the Point Reyes Light. I get to ride Golden Gate Transit for the first time. Hopefully the fog will clear up a bit later.

P.S. Can anyone tell me what's happened on Gossip Girl and The Hills in the past three weeks? Like in five sentences or less?

Wide World of Sports

For the first time since Sunday, November 3, I got a full night's sleep (even if it was from 9pm to 6am). Most, MOST, unfortunately, I wasn't able to watch the Cal-USC football game at 9 a.m. on Sunday (5 p.m. PST on Saturday) on ESPN here. I got hope on Friday since ESPN was airing the Virginia Tech-Maryland game, and they were airing a Pac-10 football special, which I didn't get to watch since we left for the dentist.  However, when I woke up this Sunday morning, much to my dismay, it was obvious there would be no Cal football for me. I perfectly understand ESPN airing more UEFA football, which I have been watching a lot here and has been far more entertaining than the Asian cricket tournaments I had to sit through in 2003. But instead of world football or American football, ESPN has decided to air…the National Spelling Bee. Great. Just great. As I mentioned before, if you think Christmas season starts early in America, its nothing like here. My mom said that Christmas (as there are no other winter holidays celebrated here really) decorations have been up in malls and around city streets since September. Filipinos really go all out for Christmas here, and it does make the city a bit brighter for a few months. For a very small taste, imagine entire department store floors of home and tree decorations and manger scenes and Christmas carols blaring in mall hallways. My favorite decorations are always the green, red and yellow paroles (large stars usually made out of capiz) either hanging in people's windows or from treetops along the roads.

The only city in the United States where I have experienced the winter holidays really take over is New York City. When I watched Today this morning (I think was Saturday's episode) one of the anchors mentioned the opening of the Rockettes' show at Radio City Music Hall. I mentioned to my mom that I was planning to go with some friends, and she said she'd love to go, but doesn't have the patience to sit through live shows anymore. "If there's not a remote control, I can't sit through it."

Election Night in America

I am truly proud to be an American again. I feel privileged to have been able to not only witness, but to vote for history and see an African-American become the president of the United States of America. This is not only a message to the world that we want change and to repair our image, it is a message to Americans on how far we have come and that anything is truly possible in this country. It reaffirms every value of this nation. And I'm especially glad that I was able to experience the night in Berkeley. Telegraph Avenue went absolutely insane! There were people crowded on the streets, people hanging from street lights, jumping on to the sides of buses. But it was all peaceful. Not to mention it was the only time I was happy to see a tree-sitter. (Video below soon...) I saw so many of my friends I haven't seen in months. Everyone was cheering "YES WE CAN" and "OBAMA" and "USA! USA!" as if we had just won every gold medal at the Olympics. The only thing that would have made me happier would have been to see Sarah Palin board a one-way flight back to Alaska. Or maybe to Russia.

elections-berkeley-telegraphUnfortunately, the evening was bittersweet. While I am proud of my country, I am ashamed of my home state. While even at this moment (9:51am PST), the San Francisco Chronicle still won't call the Proposition 8 race, it is clear that California will write hatred into its own constitution and literally divide us into first and second class citizens. It is applalling from the state that has a reputation and prides itself on being on the forefront of social change and being one of the first states to repeal laws against inter-racial marriage. Now it's a sham. I am not as proud of being a Californian as I was even just yesterday.

Nevertheless, the United States is on the right path again. For the last eight years, while I have always loved my country, many people including myself questioned the direction it was going in. I am very aware that the problems we face now will take years to repair, but I am confident now that it will get done.

And despite my renewed love and pride, I am leaving -- but just for two weeks -- as I'm boarding soon for Manila, via Tokyo Narita Airport. Unlike past trips I've taken outside of the U.S. in the last eight years, I'm not longer afraid of people heckling me. Peace out, America!

Leavin' on a JetBlue Plane

In six hours I will be in San Francisco for 22 hours, upon which I will eat all of the Mexican food in Berkeley. First off, as I sit in JetBlue's new Terminal 5 at JFK airport, I am very impressed with the new interior design. I have been to airports in third-world countries that were newer and cleaner than the old JetBlue terminal. Well done. Also, thankfully, I received my absentee ballot (unlike a lot of unfortunate friends) and I've already voted. I was deeply disturbed when I got a robo-call from the Yes on 8 campaign using Barack Obama's statements to endorse their campaign. While I know he has stated that he believes marriage is a union between a man and a woman, I never remember reading about him campaigning for this elimination of people's rights. Not to mention they called me at 11:55pm EST, when I could have been sleeping if I weren't packing. Anyway, all I ask is that Californians vote No on 8 and keep marriage a right to all who want to marry the partner of their choice, as well as No on 4 and not restricting a woman's right to choose, regardless of age. 

Also, please vote for whatever prop the high-speed rail train bond is. I would really like to take a train between SF and LA in 2 hours for less than $70. 

Finally, I know you have all been waiting for this, but I am officially endorsing Senator Barack Obama. It is certainly change we need, and I hope Americans are smart enough not to realize that moose-killer from Alaska is not capable of running this nation, should she ever be given the chance. Look, Manhattan Mini-Storage agrees with me:

palin-manhattan-mini-movers