tour del gelato

On a whim, I decided to walk down to North Beach (Little Italy) and eat gelato at my favorite gelateria today. The weather was perfect for walking around and I was close to the neighborhood anyways so I just went there right after work. Eversince I learned about Tour del Gelato, I was really excited to write about Gelateria Naia for hands down, I think they have the best gelato in San Francisco.

This place is almost always packed so I was ecstatic when I saw that I was the only customer there. One of the best things about Naia (well, aside from their gelato of course) is their colorful presentations. I mean, they arrange all these different flavors in so many creative ways that it such a visual delight. Take a look at this one for example, my favorite is the rose-flavored one with a real pink rose on top:

Since I was the only person there, I was able to sample a lot of flavors. They also have dozens of flavors of sorbetto (fruit version) and soy gelato. I opted for the ones I haven't tried before, just to be a little adventurous, and ended up getting a mix of peach and mango sorbetto. The peach one actually had real seeds in it! I was so happy in my own little gelato world that I almost forgot to pay. Yes, I was already out the door when I realized it. Thankfully the guy was really nice and he said he'd figured I'd go back anyway. The poor guy had to deal with me taking too many pictures AND almost not paying for it. Tsk, tsk. And their prices are not bad either, I paid $3.50 for a small one with two flavors.

Anyways, after I got my sorbetto, I decided to take it around Little Italy instead of sitting outside the gelato place. I stopped by Washington Square and took this picture with the famous Sts. Peter and Paul Church in the background. Don't you just love the little orange cup?

Read about Tour del Gelato at Ms. Adventures in Italy & At Home in Rome

multicolored heartbeats

Yesterday was the official start of summer school. I spent the entire time going from one school to another, checking to see where my kids are, driving all over the place, up and down the hills, in and out of streets that I've never been to before. It was craziness, in a fun kind of way.

I've heard some really bad stories about summer school and a couple of therapists that I know refused to work at this time of the year anymore. But so far, its been mellow for me. Or maybe I'm just really happy that its summertime already that nothing can faze me anymore, not even trying to find street parking in the Mission district or at Chinatown where some of my schools are located. And besides, my caseload is somewhat on the average side and I share two of my schools with another therapist so its not too bad.

Today, I was talking to one of the other OTs about how beautiful the weather is these days. And how much we love San Francisco. It was so good to know that someone who has lived here for more than 5 years still feels the same way as I do. She even went so far as, "I know that no matter where I go, I'll never be as happy as I am in this city."

For all my vagabonding tendencies, I really do feel the same way. I've always said that I can't stay in a place longer than 2 years, but just even thinking about leaving SF is making me feel really sad. If you ever come here or has been here before and has stood right on top of the hill in Dolores Park, with the entire city stretched out before you, then you will know what I'm talking about. There's just something about this place, as the song says, that makes you leave your heart here.

And if my life is a music video, this would describe it perfectly right now:

multicolored bouncy heartbeats spontaneous lightness wonder.


It's Poetry Thursday. And I wanted to write a poem, I really do. But you know what I realized, after not writing poetry for so long, its really hard to switch back from essay-writing to poetry, my brain is so used to writing in sentences now. Maybe it'll come to me easier next time. But for now, here is what I ended up with. Not quiet a poem. Yet.

* * *

Holding a cup of water poised to give my little potted plant a drink, I stopped to dip my index finger inside. The water felt like cool, silky sheets, inviting the rest of my fingers to join in. Pretty soon I was gathering rivulets of water between my fingers, dropping them on a leaf, slowly, like a soft kiss of rain. I tried to imagine how the leaf must have felt as drops of water touched its dark green cheek. Will it be startled? Delighted? Refreshed?

Suddenly, an image came to me from a different time, a different rain. My siblings and I, our little bodies drenched to the skin, taking a shower underneath a tropical rain. We ran around with arms outstretched as cool drops of rain touched our upturned faces. When the rain came down harder, it drowned our mother's voice and we didn't hear her calling us to come inside. So we stayed out longer and played some more. I tried to remember the warmth of a towel and getting dressed, the steaming hot cocoa that our mother always prepared for us, but all I can see were the lined
paperboats we made, sailing along a little river that the rain left behind.

Photo from Flickr

north beach

San Francisco is all about its neighborhoods. Much like Paris and its 20 different arrondissements, the neighborhoods here are so diverse, each with its own distinct culture and personality. Just going from one to another makes me feel like I am in a different country already.

Last Sunday, I listened to the traveler in me and attended the North Beach Festival. Also known as the city’s Little Italy, North Beach is one of the main reasons why I fell in love with San Francisco. I remembered my first visit here as a tourist, walking from Fisherman’s Wharf all the way to Columbus and Broadway Street to City Lights Bookstore and feeling so happy just being here. Now, a year later, I still feel the same.

Photo by saturdave

So what's makes it special? First of all, there's the neighborhood's rich Italian history. You know you're in North Beach when you see those red, white and green stripes that are present everywhere. There's also tons of family-owned restaurants, art galleries, jazz clubs, and sidewalk cafes - perfect for leisurely meals, people-watching, and some taste of la dolce vita.

Which brings me to the next reason why I love this neighborhood: coffee and dessert. North Beach is home to some of the best-tasting espresso and capuccino. And because I Iove eating dessert, I must say that I've never tasted soufflé as good as the one I've had at Café Jacqueline's. You can skip any other restaurant in North Beach, just don't skip this one. And now that I thought about, don't miss eating gelato at Naia too! They're heavenly.

Last but most certainly not the least, there is the Jack Keroauc factor. After reading On the Road, I knew that I just had to see the neighborhood where he used to live and where Beat literature had started. There's an alley in North Beach that's named after him and every time I come here, I always feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. For never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I'd come to live in this city and yet there I was, standing in Jack Keroauc's little alley, thinking about his words and how they changed my life profoundly. I am indeed blessed.

Note: Click here for a slideshow of pictures that I took from the festival.


There's a song that’s been playing inside my head for days now. Over and over, taking me to another place and time, to an evening of conversation, of words flowing freely, and meeting of minds.

Still my heart this moment or it might burst, sang the song.

I knew that feeling. That recognition of ‘finally’. Finally, out of all the people in this world, there was someone who totally gets you. Someone whom you can be your truest, craziest, neurotic self with and still know, deep inside, that you’ve never been better. Or more alive. And even if there wasn't more to the story than that, just to have known it, at one point in time, is magical. One that I will always remember with a smile.

Meanwhile, check out this live performance of the song at YouTube. Its called Gorecki by the British band Lamb. Hope you all will enjoy it as much as I did. And watch out for the fireworks towards the end, its amazing.


Guess what I found while traipsing the blogosphere today - an online poetry project! I was so excited I even skipped lunch (cue stomach growling) to read most of the poems shared by its participants. The object is to post anything related to poetry in your blog every Thursday and share it with the rest of the crew. I haven't written much poetry lately so this seems like a good place to start. They have lots of ideas and prompts that will help you write a poem or just be inspired with the written word.

So, here's what I've decided to share. Something that I wrote a year ago when I was still living in L.A. Revisiting this poem, I realized that I am in a completely different place now than I was when I wrote this one. Its amazing really how much a year can change you. Reading this took me back to those days in good ol' Carson when I really didn't know what I wanted but all I could think about was to be someplace else.

* * *


I am swirls of orange and red
dancing, rearranging
like makeshift words
a poet's pen
I waver, I sigh
beneath your sundrenched
sky, golden beams
my restless spin.

in their eyes

Today is World Day against Child Labour. I just learned about it through CARF's photostream on Flickr (thanks Dae!). Looking at their pictures, I was reminded once again of the paper that I wrote in grad school and about my dream to one day start a project together with the working street children back home. Grad school seems so long ago, I was very idealistic then and couldn't wait to change the world. Now, I honestly don't know anymore. Reality is so much messier than your dreams.

What I do know, is this: an estimated 218 million children between the ages of five and seventeen work in developing countries and these children are often engaged in work that are hazardous to their health and well-being. Seventy percent of this 218 million children work in agriculture, frequently working long hours under scorching heat and exposed to toxic pesticides. Millions of women and girls are engaged in domestic work where they are deprived of schooling, play or social activity, and are separated from their family and friends. And in some parts of the world, children are forced to become soldiers and participate in armed conflict.

These numbers, as reported by UNICEF and ILO (International Labour Organization), continue to grow everyday. And it amazes me how people nowadays are so apathetic about the bigger picture that they'd rather follow Paris Hilton's latest escapades while children are being killed every minute in places like Darfur. Yeah, I know there's nothing much we can do about it, but at least be aware that the rest of the world doesn't have the luxury to enjoy what we have and stop complaining that you don't have this and that.

Sorry for the rant. On a brighter note, its so good to see how online communities such Flickr have come together to support organizations working with street children. Read more about it and see the pictures here.

a whole lot of paperwork... and that boy

Two more days and school is over. That means a gazillion of reports and last-minute paperwork for a school-based therapist like me. I've gotten a couple of paper cuts already and my eyes are hurting from staring at my computer screen for hours. But who am I to complain? We get a 2-week break before summer school and then 3 more weeks of vacation before a new school year starts in late August. Not too bad, huh? If only I can get all this reports done, then I can definitely start planning my summer break.

And speaking of school, I watched Half Nelson this weekend and fell in love with the scrawny Ryan Gosling all over again. My friend Dae will surely laugh at me when she reads this. She has this theory that I am only drawn to those emotionally-distraught-skinny-jeans-wearing-artistic-types and Ryan Gosling's character in this movie obviously fits this description to a T. But seriously, his performance was mesmerizing as an inner city history teacher who spends most of his after-school hours in a cocaine-induced stupor that you'd almost want to save him from himself. Excellent soundtrack too.


Yesterday, I got tagged over at neverending growth so I'm playing on. Here are 8 random facts about me:

~ I fractured my left foot when I jumped to avoid a water puddle. This happened during my internship and I had to treat patients while I was in crutches. For 2 months!

~ When I was little, I used to hide inside my closet and no one would know where I was.

~ I was late for school everyday during my senior year in high school. Well, maybe not everyday but about seventy-five percent of the time. LOL.

~ I get migraine headaches when I'm really hungry.

~ I've eaten ice cream for dinner. Lots of times.

~ I play with my hair or bite my lower lip when I'm nervous.

~ I have no body or spatial awareness whatsoever and I bump into everything and everyone.

~ I fell in love with a boy that I met at an International Expo in China when I was 21. Very much like the movie Before Sunrise. We did exchange phone numbers but of course reality happened and we lost touch after weeks of e-mailing.

So that's my 8 random facts. Now I'm tagging:

* Feli
* Francine

long beach weekend

This entry may be a little late, but I just want to post a big shout out to Phil and Dae for being the coolest hosts ever during my Memorial Day weekend.

Phil just got his sailing license and decided to take us on a spin aboard Dark Horse, a sailboat that looks exactly like the one in this pic. It was my first time to go sailing and I didn't realize how much hard work it actually is. Lucky for us girls, Phil and his friend Kyle did all the work, while we just sat there enjoying the breeze. That is, until the waves came and the boat started tilting and we had to hold on for dear life. We got all wet but it was so much fun. I can't wait to do it again. And a little note to self: take swimming lessons ASAP!

The sea and all that sun made me miss SoCal again, especially at this time of the year when its cold and foggy here in San Francisco. If you think you can wear shorts and flip-flops in SF during the summer, think again. Summers are actually cold here. And for someone who craves the sun like I do, that's such a major disappointment. It made me want to think of moving back south again, but only for about 2 seconds. Hee hee. I heart my city by the bay.

Anyhow, here's some pics of all the fun we had in Long Beach:

This is the view right across Dae and Phil's place. Aren't they lucky?

Thanks to Dae and Irish for the pics!