Day -4 to 0 - San Francisco

San Francisco Travel Blog

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We FINALLY made it to San Fran!!! I drove here with Mulch and had a good time listening to acappella music (he digs the stuff as much as I do- too bad he's going north). For the first night, we stayed at a few Pi Alphas' house in Oakland. It turns out that their house belongs to Reggie Jackson! He's even come by with his kids to show them around and show them the amazing view of Oakland/San Fran (it's pretty much on the side of a mountain). The Pi Alphas even bought us dinner and one of them took us around UC Berkley and gave us a little tour. The next days were spent in the dorms at USF. The crew- especially crew chiefs- had TONS of errands to run. I felt like I was always on the go! From car rental place, to grocery store, to Target, to Walmart, to home depot, etc... There were always TONS of things we had to be doing. I was REALLY surprised at how much work and running around we would have to do!! I think I averaged 3 to 4 hours of sleep or so during that time.

 

It was so great when the cyclists finally came. We had a lot of fun meeting and getting to know all of them.  We got some much needed time off for touring San Fran on Friday night. I went out with a few of the guys to Japan Town (a little overrated), Fisherman's Warf (fun, but shops were starting to close up), and China Town (really cool!). We did a little dinner tour and split entrees at all of those places. Everything from sushi to In-N-Out. In China Town, we stumbled upon a little tea shop that gave out free samples. After trying just a few, most of us bought tea and sent it home. I never really had tea like that before and it was really soothing and delicious!

 

We had our very first friendship visit (FV) while we were in San Fran. The FVs and other programming are generally the same year to year, so I had been there before in 2003. To sum it up; it was amazing! I’m not sure what it was, but I just had such an amazing time. I think that since this is my second time, I was able to sit back more and see the way the clients' faces and the cyclists' faces all light up and how happy everyone gets. I remembered one client in particular, Andy, and he's such a super energetic and fun person. He had little kids come up and ask him if they could chase him around and he'd just run around with them for the longest time. He’s like a giant teddy bear, because he's around 6 & 1/2 feet tall and over 40 years old. He's part of the Brainstorm program which services people who had no disabilities growing up, but either had an injury or something that caused brain damage. Andy had no short term memory. He had to relearn EVERYTHING. He's not even allowed to walk out of the front door of his own house, because he would not remember how to get back in! It just really goes to show how fragile we can all be... he was just like me one day and the next he had to relearn how to do everything! Even though he won't remember my team or me, I know that he had a lot of fun with us. It's just such an incredible and humbling experience to be doing what we do with people with disabilities. Any doubts or reasons I ever had for not doing Journey of Hope this year was relinquished at that friendship visit. I could come home to absolutely nothing and I'd still be way better off than when I had left.

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