The California Adventures

Three weeks in California, with only two days worth of pictures (but 950 pages of documents and many hours in the library!).

San Pablo Bay from the car.

San Pablo Bay from the car.

After my sister’s graduation, I spent another day in Columbus. There was the requisite trip to Jeni’s with Margaret, my classmate in Kazakhstan last summer (an OSU student), and a little more time with the family, but over the course of those 24 hours was the complete breaking of the fellowship. On Monday, Ruth flew back to Minnesota, cousin Alex headed towards Pittsburgh, Daniel and Lila set off for Wisconsin, my father and grandmother headed to DC for a West Point reunion for my grandfather’s classmates. I set off Tuesday on a very early morning flight to San Francisco, where Maki found me (ON TIME!) in the ol’ Grandmobile (a ’93 Chevy Lumina) for what was to be four glorious weeks in California.

Towards the Bay from Marin.

Towards the Bay from Marin.

We spent the afternoon on errands, but in the days that followed, I returned to work, this time in the Hoover Institution Archives, which house what I assume is the largest collection of Soviet documents outside the former Soviet Union. The weeks that followed were full of research and workshops, with documents and papers to read. It took me a few days to feel at home again, but slowly I met new people and settled into old habits. The first couple weekends were spent around Stanford, and the only picture I have to show for it is one stolen from Facebook. But look, here we are, with Simon, at a history grad student cookout.

Sometimes I miss wearing sunglasses every day.

I miss wearing sunglasses every day. Picture thanks to Vladimir.

Also taken from someone else: we also ran a half marathon! Which I totally forgot in the original version of this posting. How embarrassing! A hilly, intense trail run! A grueling 13 miles! But we came out smiling!

2:51 might seem not especially fast, but I will say, I ran better than my two 2:07 half marathons! Much better!

2:51 might seem not especially fast, but I will say, I ran better than my two 2:07 half marathons! Much better!

Maki worked on his writing, we ran errands, I caught up on sleep. The usual stuff. Luckily, we finally had some time for real adventures the third weekend I was there. Friday night involved drinks and dinner out in the city with Caroline and others. Sadly, as we were packing stuff on Saturday for Maki’s forthcoming permanent departure from California, Maki received news of his grandmother’s death in New Haven, which obviously altered our plans significantly for the week to come. Still, helplessly in California with a few days before the funeral we decided to finish off Memorial Day weekend as planned. This commenced with a morning hike with Eliot and Aneesha, two of Maki’s close friends from college. We met up in Muir Woods for a low key 5-mile hike.

After hearing so much about them, I finally met them!

After hearing so much about them, I finally met them!

And here we are, too:

2012-05-26 muir woods and sonoma 04

We then had a nice lunch all together in Mill Valley before Eliot and Aneesha headed back to Walnut Creek, and Maki and I continued on our adventure to Sonoma. Our first stop was the winery that was started by my great aunt and uncle, and I was delighted upon arrival to see my mother’s cousin, Meredith and her daughter, Katie.

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But an even bigger surprise came when Meredith told me her parents, my great aunt and uncle, were unexpectedly in town. And they came down from the house to say hi. We had a nice chat in the back.

Me, with Aunt Diane and Uncle Henry.

Me, with Aunt Diane and Uncle Henry.

We walked out with a few bottles of wine, one for Caroline’s parents, the rest to take to the funeral. And from there, we headed over to Caroline’s house, where we were wonderfully hosted by the whole family.

Oh, Sonoma! As I type, jetlagged, in the Amsterdam Airport en route to Moscow, this seems impossibly far away.

Oh, Sonoma! As I type, jetlagged, in the Amsterdam Airport en route to Moscow, this seems impossibly far away.

After drinks, we headed out for a nice dinner in town and then proceeded to spend the evening in the hot tub. It was pretty glorious. And did we ever sleep well! The next morning, we did a brief photo shoot with Maki’s car, the beloved Grandmobile, as Maki’s planning to sell it in the next 10 days, before he leaves California. Not before we set the scene:

2012-05-27 sonoma 32

As it was once the car of the very grandmother whose funeral we attended last week, it is a little bittersweet. First, in glamour shot form! Who wouldn’t love that car? (Or that driver?!)

2012-05-27 sonoma 27

His ad to the history grad list pretty much says it all:

Since I’m leaving the Bay Area this summer, I’m looking to find the semi-legendary “Grandmobile” a good home. It’s a 1993 Chevy Lumina that has impressively low mileage. The car is in excellent shape, has had two owners (myself and my grandmother), and has gotten me everywhere I have needed to go in the Bay Area since it came out here in 2009. And it has character–cloth interiors, faux wood paneling, manually operated windows (in case of power outage!), small garbage can so your passengers can keep the floors tidy, powerful AC, automatic transmission, AM/FM stereo… it is full of marvels that harken back to a simpler time, a time of Clarissa Explains it All, jean jackets, and a Canadian baseball team capturing the World Series. Fully compatible with a GPS. Low maintenance and reliable.

We’re pretty sad about seeing it go.

But boy is that a sexy car!

But boy is that a sexy car!

But alas, adventures called us onwards. And after a nice swing through downtown Sonoma, it was time to head home. Our California adventures were coming to a close.

2012-05-27 sonoma 36

The way back.

That evening, we booked tickets for the following Wednesday to New York City, arriving bright and early last Thursday morning, and our final 48 hours were spent in a frenzy of packing and preparing to go. Oh California, I miss you already. But I’ll be back, whenever that may be.

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2 thoughts on “The California Adventures

  1. Nice post–good to catch up on your California adventures–now on to Moscow. You do get around, girl. Love, Mom

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