But as the rain comes, I am going back to Canada for a visit. I'm terrifically excited to see my friends and family. I got spoilt in Ottawa and Toronto - I've such deep, inspiring, emotional friendships that I got used to connecting easily. Here, I've really had to show the best of myself - I have to wait until I've hung out with someone at least three times before I get drunk and throw up on their shoes, lest I ruin an early friendship.
But I've still managed to connect to some of the amazing people here, including the awesome folks at swing dancing in Golden Gate Park, my former roommate Liah who quit her job as a computer programmer to make whimsical masks and earrings full time, and my friend Eric, who leads an incredible NGO called EMERGENCY USA, which helps build high-quality medical facilities in war-torn regions.
In fact, one of my new friends went with me to Lake Tahoe for skiiing. If you aren't familiar with Lake Tahoe, it's THE outdoor playground for pretty much everyone in San Francisco and area. And there's a good reason - it's astoundingly beautiful. Big ole snow-capped mountains that surround a rough blue lake, with a whole pile of ski resorts nearby. In the summer, people come to swim, sunbath (probably) hunt and (probably) get liquored up. Plus, lots of the small towns nearby easily and happily have started their own um, agricultural economies of a certain green plant. And if you get bored of all that, there's always the terrifically depressing gambling town of Reno to visit - what's not to like??
But back to the skiing. I hadn't been downhill skiing in about 12 years and imagined I'd look something like this. And, true to my prediction, I fell at least twice while getting off the ski lift before I was gently encouraged to lean forward when pushing off the seat. I did surprisingly well, having only one wipeout and even managed to go faster than some of the 5-year olds learning on the beginner hill beside me. I laughed heartily at them and then felt pretty good about myself.
I also did a gorgeous hike on Mount Tamalpais, about 45 minutes north of San Francisco. And this is the beauty of the coast - you can ski in one place, travel half a day south, and lie on the beach somewhere else.
I'll miss California while I'm gone, but I'm looking forward to giving hugs so big and fierce my arms threaten to fall off. Sayonara San Francisco - save me a piece of sourdough for when I get back.