I know, I know. I’ve been on the west coast now for two weeks and I’ve totally slacked with Goodbers. Sorry bout that, but I’ve been damn busy.
So the apartment in LA (Sherman Oaks suburbs actually) is quite the cutsy studio. Love the Murphy’s bed… I think I wanna live in a studio just so I can use one. As usual, Metapa was good to us. Nice apartment with tennis courts, a gym, hot tub, heated pool, the works. After the first week in LA, we drove up last weekend to San Francisco. Susan came out to hang, and we met up with my college bud Josh as well as John’s college roommate Bri. I had a lot of fun getting together and hanging out like the days of old. SF is definitely better the second time around. My first impression (during our honeymoon in April 2003) wasn’t that great. The city was much colder than I had imagined (I was wishing for FL beach weather), and the bums sorta got to me. Fast forward a year and a half later and it’s still colder than I had imagined (still, FL beach weather) but at least Shanghai’s prepped me well for the panhandlers. Josh took us around and we saw some terrific sites in SF and across the bay in Marin County.
There are many things to like about SF– the mountains, the waters, the dogs, the progressive politics, the organic goods, the diversity… But SF is expensive as hell, and a bit yuppie for me. I know, it’s like the kettle calling the teapot black, but hey, I try to live modestly and keep my feet planted. John’s the Starbucks aficionado.
I’ve walked through Chinatown every day this week; disappointingly, I have yet to hear some freaking Mandarin. It’s all Cantonese, which I think sounds like clucking chickens . Okay, not that bad but certainly not as melodious as the other billion dialects. It seems John is itching to get back to the States. He wants his Lexus convertible and fast internet. What a sucker for the cush lifestyle. It’s not that I don’t enjoy luxuries– I just don’t want to have to NEED them. Anyway, this week in SF, I’ve been taking some classes/seminars on NGO stuff: grantseeking, proposal writing, fundraising, etc. Very general but quite informative and good. I’m learning all kinds of interesting factoids. For example, in 2003 Americans gave $240 billion to charities. Of that amount, individual donations accounted for 75%! Can you believe? Corporations only account for about 5%. I think it’s pathetic. And of the individual contributions, 60% came from households earning less than $50k/year. How’s that for Reagan’s trickle-down economics bullshit. I also met with some SF NGOs this trip. Super cool peeps out there and it feels great to connect. I’m realizing that networking skills are super money for NGO work. I gotta work on that. I wanna put together some elevator spiel. Any of you got one? How do those things go anyway? I’m enjoying my time here– feel like I’ve learned a lot. Plus it’s always cool to meet up with like-minded peeps.
Ok well I’m getting tired. Flying back to Sherman Oaks tomorrow night after a full day of seminars. I’m looking forward to a warm weekend in LA.