Park Here for Life…

Recently, San Francisco’s minimum wage has climbed up to $15 an hour in response to outrageous housing prices. Sadly, in the future, if I choose to work in San Francisco, I would need to have no car, no internet at home, no Netflix, no kids, no vacations, and just live stubbornly in a one-bedroom apartment with rent control. Okay, I might be exaggerating, but maybe not about the car part. Getting around the Bay Area via mass transit is pretty easy if you don’t mind sandwiching like jelly between your bread buddies during rush hour. Plus, a lot of places are walking- and biking-friendly. I mean, people live in San Francisco because it’s home, they enjoy their jobs, and they fit in with the lifestyle/community there, not to mention the endless tech job opportunities and to-die-for scenery and food. Or they can’t move, period. Anyway, it is not cheap to live in San Francisco, but I believe it is manageable if you are smart and thrifty. Live with roommates or find an affordable studio. Shop at Trader Joes (Chinatown works too). Work hard. Like crazy hard. And then you may not need that six-figure salary to get by…hopefully…

Trending in San Francisco this summer, bake cheese tart is turning out to be everyone’s favorite. It’s actually a creamy and sweet cheese mousse Japanese pastry made with a shortbread crust that can be enjoyed fresh, chilled, frozen, or warm. To get a feel of its popularity, you can wait up to 30 minutes to get a hold of one of the shop’s tarts. I really admire San Franciscans’ patience. They are willing to branch out of their comfort zone to try something new and do not give up until they experience the hype themselves. In the face of issues, I shall try to be more determined and persistent like San Franciscans so that problems can be solved more easily and without much conflict. In other words, keep calm and be patient. Great things take time.

This past weekend, I journeyed to Golden Gate Park, which is home to breathtaking gardens, lakes, trails, playgrounds, and picnic groves. (It is actually larger than Central Park!) Pictured below is a gorgeous mini waterfall shrouded by trees, the water laughing the day away as wood fairies light up the pool.

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Another attraction includes the Conservatory of Flowers, the oldest building in Golden Gate Park and houses various exotic plants such as giant water lilies and carnivorous plants. Say hello to beautiful monsters!

The Rose Garden is also a place not to miss! Lengthy rows of blossoming beauties await as you can carefully examine species such as lavender-pink roses, elegant Sally Holmes, and fiery Eglantine rosebushes. What a magical corner of perfume!

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The De Young Museum (the tall, aesthetically weird building to the left in the picture below) contains a wide range of American paintings and sculptures, including Native American and Spanish colonial art, New Zealand Maori wood carvings, and Australian Aboriginal rare paintings. Basically, I get to feast my eyes on various interesting interpretations and perspectives spanning multiple cultures and time periods.

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Below is a closer look at De Young’s fantastic surroundings…towering palms reaching for the sky and a serene water lily pond teeming with exotic life…How good it is to be outdoors…

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The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park is the oldest public Japanese garden in the U.S. Entering its gate, I was forever changed by its tranquility and harmony. Everything from the koi ponds to the arched drum bridge was carefully selected and placed. In the picture below, the different plants assemble to tell a landscape story. The round plants are supposed to represent clouds while the bamboo grove in the background represents a mountain. May I say that I’m heavenly blessed!

I feel that I am learning to integrate plants with art expression and storytelling through the garden’s rich Japanese symbolism. The nuances in even the simplest facets of nature make me appreciate observing and learning carefully. So as the saying goes, “Stillness speaks. Be the quiet presence that listens…”

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