Rainy Day, Dream Away

in which I spend a lovely Saturday in Berkeley, despite the weather’s best attempts to ruin things.

Fellow CREEES grad students Maria, Rebecca, and Jeff, on Telegraph and off to the Big Game. Go Cardinal? Indeed... 48-14 is pretty solid. Pretty sure they don't share my passion for Berkeley. Which probably explains why I was wearing no Stanford shirt and no fan gear. Well, the real explanation: I don't care.


Much to its great credit, I think Stanford is an institution that has thought long and hard about how to make sure its students lead good, healthy lives. My Uzbek teacher and I have discussed this, and she feels otherwise, but I honestly think she has no idea what life is like at the pressure-cooker universities on the other side of the country. This is all to say that I  truly appreciate Stanford’s decision to grant its students a full week off for Thanksgiving. A small thing, really, offering those extra two or three days. But what a difference it makes! Ticket prices get slashed. I actually feel like I have time off that is not dedicated merely to eating. And with a whole week off, I felt completely justified in slacking off through my first weekend. Berkeley being the place to be, I hitched the ride and found myself wandering campus in the direction of Downtown Berkeley, where I met Tom, my Harvard-09 turned Berkeley-Econ-PhD-student friend. The plan was pretty much to take it easy, and we started by heading back to campus he took me up to his building for the views. Though the day was not clear, the views were still pretty. The rain had not yet come in full strength.

View over Berkeley and across the Bay Bridge. I kind of love San Francisco's skyline. Here's to you, Transamerica Pyramid.

The day was then spent making the most of what we could. We wandered some of the hills, vaguely in the direction of the science museum, but we got distracted instead by views of the game and ultimately lunch (of dolsot bibimbap!).

Around halftime, when the score was, I believe, 31-0.

After lunch, we headed onwards to the Pyramid Brewery, where we joined the extremely brief tour 7 or 8 minutes late and appeared to have missed half of it. Probably the best tour length to beer ratio of all the various breweries I have visited (which is now quite a few). The beer samples were fine, though nothing out-of-the-park, but it did give us something to do.

600 bottles a minute? Pshah, the Budweiser Factory in St. Louis puts you to shame, Pyramid Brewery. Although definitely at the cost of beer quality...

By the time we walked out, however, the rain had begun in earnest. A hard, cold, pouring rain. We huddled and cowered under the bus stop, waiting for what seemed like an eternity, and hopped off downtown, where Caitie was so kind as to pick us up and take us to dinner, where we dried off and warmed up. The three of us then continued back to Tom’s apartment where we enjoyed drinks and the company of Tom’s roommate, making for an enjoyable end to a nice day. Trust me, in that weather, doing just about anything else was pretty much out of the question. I even had hot chocolate.

When the time came, Caitie and I continued back to her place, where we chatted in the company of her dogs, Heineken, and peppermint ice cream (not all simultaneously), before calling it a night. The next morning, Caitie made breakfast and drove me back to Palo Alto. The rain of the previous afternoon had come to an end, making for a pretty day as we crossed the bridge into San Francisco.

The tinting on Caitie's windshield added an interesting effect. Sadly, I caught this only after the fact.

Upon arrival, she even took me grocery shopping, landing me with an incredibly well-stocked kitchen. It had been a lovely weekend, a firm reminder of both my love for Berkeley (which I find somewhat inexplicable, but whatever, so it goes) and that I have pretty great friends. Especially that second part. So glad to be in California.


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