Although it was far too quick a trip, it made my week to see my good friend, Natalie, and to meet her fiance, Daniel. (Nat and Daniel had already been exploring extensively: through Las Vegas, Death Valley, and into Oakland and San Francisco!) I must say, there’s just something about those men from Northeast Ohio. She’ll be number three of our good friends from Nebraska to marry a lovely gentleman from Northeast Ohio!
We started off our evening with a lovely Italian meal at Locanda in San Francisco’s Mission District. The Mission is known for its delicious and varied food choices, and our expectations were met! It was so nice to finally get to meet Daniel in person after hearing such lovely stories about him (and his dog, who really is the reason they met in the first place — good dog!) and chatting on the phone, but missing each other during trips to Nat’s and my home in Nebraska. Daniel is one of those people who when you meet him, you feel like you must have known each other before because he’s so open, kind, and easy to talk to. (I feel my serious sappiness here, but really, it’s so nice to meet someone important to one of your close friends and think, “Yeah. They fit. That’s a person that will be fun to share experiences and stories with over the years.” Although to be fair, I am biased to like Daniels from Northeast Ohio!)
After dinner, we took a stroll to Dandelion Chocolate for dessert. Daniel is my type of friend — ordering a variety of chocolatey treats to share.
With full and happy tummies, we wandered around Dolores Park to enjoy the beautiful view of the San Francisco skyline.
My brother joined us, as he lives near the park and we chatted, caught up, laughed. And laughed. A lot. Thanks to just that short time with Natalie, I was encouraged as I prepared to start the next step in my professional life (a career step we are both mirroring as she begins work as a full pediatrician and faculty member and I move into a leadership role at Stanford), to rethink my wardrobe and clean out my closet (she recognized the clothes I was wearing from our days living together back in undergrad…), and to try out a new shopping tool. And thanks to both Natalie and Daniel, I’m excited to plan a trip to Las Vegas. Although I’m not sure I’ll get the same luck as them to be upgraded to a sweet suite. Pun intended.
We were having so much fun that we really and truly lost track of time, as you can only do with dear friends. With just under 20 minutes to spare to pick up my bike and make it to my train home, we took off at a clip. As we were power walking, it became clear I just wasn’t going to make the train. A wonderful gift, as it gave us just a little more time together before we sent Natalie and Daniel off on their BART train. I’m so excited to celebrate the start of their marriage later this year!
It’s certainly a good thing my brother lives in the area! Missing my train gave me an added bonus of a fun, impromptu sleepover at my brother’s house, complete with a trip to the Castro and a visit to Hot Cookie and a night of good conversation. Happy times!