Saturday, November 19, 2005

Christmas in November

It really wasn't meant to be an awesome day.

It starts out a normal Saturday morning at the Gilroy outlet stores. I don't expect to accomplish a lot by going there, but in the end we get everything we were looking for, plus something more. Remember to check out Harry & David's Orange Cranberry marmalade while you're there. Then we decide to head to Monterey and see the sights. It isn't our first time there, so you could imagine our half-hearted spirits at the onset. You visit "the other" Fisherman's Wharf with its idle docking boats, take a picture with the monkey, maybe sample some chowder, scrutinize and carefully consider actually buying a Monterey fleece sweater...what more could there be to do?

We then wander to downtown Monterey, and there are quaint little shops running along the sidewalk. One sells British cups and tea goods, while another jewelry and clothing. Everyone in the stores treats us "extra special" by offering us cookies. Is it because we're really special? Eventually, we wander into the Venture gallery which is packed with locals discussing art. Someone very sharp spots some food around the corner. Besides the cookies (of which I am still mystified), there are mini turkey sandwiches, and a lady is standing there offering us wine and cranberry juice! So strange. The evening chill sets in, and we walk out of the crowded gallerey--into an indoor courtyard of a hotel with seating to spare.

Back outside, we look over the shoulders of an artist at work. Beautiful melodies of harp and piano hit our ears. Then we see an announcement on the bench:
NOV. 19 [isn't that today?]
Caroling Under the Stars and Holiday Open House. 3-7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19 at various businesses on Alvarado Street and Alvarado Mall. Strolling musicians will perform holiday favorites until 7 p.m. From 7-8 p.m. in the Alvarado Mall, Frosty the Snowman, Mrs. Claus and carolers will sing and give out hot chocolate and cookies. Free. 372-3158.

Hahaha. Or should I replace the "a"s with "o"s? We did see Frosty and have hot chocolate. We did sing along with Mrs. Claus, who had a Christmas tree skirt thrown gracefully around her shoulders. She was a pretty good singer. Everything unfolded out like a nice dream and it was a good feeling to take part in something traditional and familiar.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A New Life

First, I really wanna thank my brother for reminding me about this blog. I didn't realize how long I haven't blogged here. Life has been so blurry when it was happening.

Now that I think about it, God had a few surprises up His sleeve for me during the past few months. One was rooming with a friend in San Francisco for a while. I once had to take the bus home from work and didn't know what to expect. Turns out I got to enjoy the whole expanse of the SF pier just like a tourist. Pier 39 was also walking distance from the apartment, and whether I was sharing a crepe with my roommate or buying Ghirardelli chocolates for my co-workers, there was a strange sense of familiarity there. I've visited Pier 39 as a tourist but never as a so-called local. It was so relaxing to breathe in the sea air after a hard day's work.

Another time when both of us returned home, the cat Miao Miao was darting back and forth. This was because there were sounds like gunshots outside. At first we thought it was construction noise, but why did it last so long? Suddenly, I caught a reflection on the windows--spurts of colorful patterns up in the sky! You guessed right--fireworks. But what was the occasion? Ignoring everything, my roommate and I rushed out of our building and moved toward Fisherman's Wharf. The seals tried to hide in the water that night. We walked very close to where the fireworks were released so that it felt as if everything was blasting right in our faces! The momentous thundering was quite alarming but also very exciting. Turns out that the Fireworks Committee had some meeting there, and they released the fireworks as a sort of grand finale to the whole occasion. What a treat for us!

Right now I'm going through another round of living in someplace-familiar-as-a-tourist but as a local. We'll have to see how that goes. So everything's new, everything's fresh, everything needs to be dedicated to the Lord once more. :)