Friday, 1 August 2008

826 and San Francisco

I've been in San Francisco for almost a month now, and I'm having a great time. Monday to Thursday I volunteer between 10 and 3 at 826 Valencia, a non-profit writing workshop and San Francisco's only independent pirate supply store, tutoring kids between the ages of around 6-10. It's hard work but very rewarding, and often hilarious (my favourite incident so far was when Priscilla, an adorable but irrepressible 7 year old told me that the pen she was colouring with "smelled like shit." Genius!).

I've also been exploring the city when i get the chance, as well as wandering around Berkley, and as usual, it's the little differences that make the place so interesting. While it is far from my first, and hopefully very far from my last time coming here, I'm still surprised by people's willingness to speak to other people on the street, something which almost never happens back home in the UK.

I haven't been able to see everyone I wanted to during my stay; Bryce, a friend from 4 years ago who i was planning on meeting up with, is helping his parents move house to North Carolina, so no happy reunion, and Elizabeth, another friend from Aim High, is busy doing her final piece of teacher training before become Miss Colen to a group of 5 year olds come September! But I'm meeting new people and hanging out with old friends, so I'm not too devastatingly lonely.

All in all I've been having a great time, eating good food and not drinking (damn laws!) and making lots of new literary friends. I met Dave Eggers after a discussion of a book he helped to edit, and was surrounded by people who were just as excited by that as I was, again something that probably wouldn't happen in the UK!

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