Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Exit Interview: Goodbye, San Francisco! :(

Fisherman's Wharf on our last day in San Francisco

On the eve of our departure from US, I thought it would be apt to conduct an exit interview with ourselves.

1. What is your greatest takeaway from this 2-year stay in US?

Me: My greatest 'takeaway' is the extra 4kg on my butt, my arms and the waistline. I blame it on the huge serving portions, and the cheap Ben & Jerry's at Safeway ($3 for a pint!).

On a serious note, I think my worldview has broadened so much. It's all from the people I meet. It was awesome making friends with kids as young as first-graders and people as mature as retirees. I grew so much as a person just by talking to them, taking in their perspectives. The world is a whole lot bigger than we thought, and I think we do ourselves injustice by not exploring it.

Panda: Friendship, definitely. We established a lot of strong friendship here. Most of us are so caught up with our lives back in Singapore. We don't spend as much time really talking to one another. I like it that people here really put in the effort to know you as a person.

2. What will you miss most about this place?

Me: I will miss everything. The weather, the shopping, the travels, the parks, the car (Turbo!), the friends. Most importantly, I will miss myself - the carefree self whose only task in life is to cook and wait for the hubsand to come home, then enjoy an uninterrupted conversation with him. Life is meant to be this simple.

Panda: All my friends, including my co-workers. Everyone says they will miss me!

3. Are you looking forward to going home?

Me: A few weeks ago, I would have said no. But Grandpa is sick and I want to be there for him. Also, I think I really should get back to work. It is important for a girl to be financially independent.

Panda: Yes. I mean, we are leaving with good memories. We mustn't look back; we must look forward. So, I am looking forward to returning home.

4. What other last words do you have to say before closing this chapter of your life?

Me: Goodbyes are not forever. We came two years ago with five fat suitcases. We leave two years later with 20 additional boxes of belongings, a shipload of memories, and a belief that one day we would be out there exploring again. Maybe that's our greatest takeaway, that we are never too old or too late to be adventurous. 

Panda: I thank my wife for spending these two years with me. I think we have great memories, and we will continue to build new ones!

Last lunch at Little Italy
Christmas spirit at Pier 39

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Photoshoot in San Francisco

Remember the time where I was looking for a white dress, because I wanted to do a photo shoot in beautiful San Francisco? Well, my wish was totally granted! As a farewell gift to Panda and I, the girls bought us a 2-hr photoshoot with Laurie Ann Martin Photography. (Love these sweetie pies!) We could choose one or two iconic places in San Francisco to snap away our goodbyes to this beautiful city.

Immediate thoughts: Where should we go?? What should we wear?? We toyed with the crazy idea of dressing in our trusted hoodies and pushing carts in front of Costco, Marshalls, Safeway and Target. Honestly, these megamarts are a huge part of our US life and something we will sorely miss! On the other hand, there are so many other quaint little places in the city. We wouldn't want to miss those out either. What a dilemma.

After speaking to LA, the photographer, we agreed on Washington Square Park, Little Italy. I have always loved driving past this colourful neighbourhood, lined with restaurants and alfresco cafes. I imagined us doing funny shots at the cafes and alleys.

In the morning of the shoot, however, it was pouring so badly that we had to change locale. We ended up at the Palace of Fine Arts, a popular location for engagement shoots with its dramatic columns and dome.

Thank God, the weather cleared as we were reaching. We had awesome sunlight through the huge rotunda, and the water puddles gave us such lovely reflections. With my off white dress and Panda's suit, we did end up like we were getting married all over again!

Sneak preview from Jo's iPhone. (Thanks for being our assistant for the day!) Actual photos to come in 2-3 weeks. Thanking the girls once again for this thoughtful gift!