April 8, 2013

My proper farewell to Daly City, CA

What Mandy Thinks: "Oh The Places" post
Y'all know how the process of moving goes: you just want to get it over with.  I know a thing or two about moving because from birth to now I have moved a total of six times through five states. My latest move was about six months ago, but the way I rushed my way down to the Palo Alto area has me regretting not giving DC a proper goodbye.  I called it home for four a half years, my entire college years.  I've been itching to pay tribute to my first true introduction to the Bay Area so I thought I'd blog about it.

What Mandy Thinks: Image of Daly City, CA: "Goodbye, old friend."
Goodbye, old friend.
My roommates and I had known several months before the move-out day that we would all part for bigger and better non-college days.  We packed things slowly but could not all completely move out at the same time.  One left a month early, the other left two weeks later, and I was completely moving out the moment I turned in all the keys and paperwork the last day.  What I did not expect was how I let the stress of the move get to my usual nostalgic self.  Nostalgia Mandy would take in her surroundings slowly as if it were the last day of school, reflecting on all the memories I had.  Stressful Moving Mandy instead showed up and rushed to pack everything up and get it all OUT and just get the keys in on time so I could just LEAVE and finally start the next chapter in my life I've been craving.  Maybe it was my early excitement for moving months before the move-out that had me initially excited but waned to the stress as time went by, but I never got a real chance to say goodbye Nostalgic Mandy style to Daly City, California.

My little living space and surroundings of Daly City had some fine qualities that will stay with me like:

  • The fog.  It would engulf everything in sight or let a square mile axis stay clear so it was like the world ended at the gray surrounding you.  Sometimes it would be misty, other times there was a chunk of fog for a block to so to make you think it would be a pale gray day but then BRIGHT blue sky and sun would smack you in the face out of nowhere.
  • The Boulevard Cafe.  This little restaurant located on the outer edge of my apartment complex's lot is super popular and always packed.  It has the BEST peanut butter cup waffles and a Greek soup with a name I can't pronounce.  I would always see residents from my complex eating there, including college kids who would literally wake up with all their groggy morning glory and walk over in their PJ's to get some breakfast.
  • The John Daly Blvd bridge.  This bright blue monstrosity lead me to the train station every school and work day into the City.  Seagulls would perch to rest.  Taggers would call it theirs.  Moss added a little bit more color.  One pesky hawk would show up every spring and peck at people's heads for no reason (the rumor was she had a nest there a while ago).  Several dozen snails would be slaughtered by hurried commuters on the sidewalk after a rain storm.
  • The tunnel underneath John Daly Blvd between the bridge and the train station.  It was always freezing cold, wet, dank, and smelled of piss and other unmentionable smells.  When it rained or drizzled in any way, each entrance would great you with a lake of rain water you'd have to jump comically over if you didn't wanna dirty up your shoes.
  • The trusty gas station.  Gallons of milk, candy, and ice cream bars were always steps away.  The 90's style radio with the clerk inside always had smooth R&B songs playing behind the register.
  • The random people I would recognize around but never met so I made up nicknames for them.  Sweatpants Man (who recently graduated to jeans), Garbage Man (a little Asian man with a giant orange jacket who always had trash bags in his hands), and Smiley Lady (who always showed her teeth no matter who was or wasn't looking) are just a few of the faces I saw on a regular basis.
  • The walking distance to basically everything.   A shopping center with grocery, craft, and retail stores and restaurants was a five minute walk away.  The movie theater was a 10 minute walk.  The train station that could take me anywhere was a 15 minute walk.  Lake Merced took 20 minutes of walking to get to, and Ocean Beach was 20 minutes away by car.  My bank was even five minutes away for that first year until they MOVED on me.
  • The awesome postman.   I regret never taking the time to ask his name (or eye his name tag at least) but he was always so happy to be a mail man.  This middle-aged Asian man greeted anybody who passed him and would wave in recognition when he saw me around the complex.  One of my roommates is originally from Hawaii, so when she got a package, our awesome postman would great her with "Aloha!  Post for Aloha!" since most of her postage came from Hawaii.
  • The apartments.  I lived in two apartments in two different buildings in the same complex.  The first (a studio) was before the entire renovation of the complex, so for two years my walls were covered in wood paneling, the kitchen sink backed up every time somebody above me did the dishes, and the toilet would break every three months.  The second place (a one bedroom) was super white and renovated all fancily, but for two and a half years I had a balcony with absolutely no view but a bit of sky (or basically grayness because of the fog), a stove and microwave that were BEASTS (everything had to be cooked at half the time or your food was burned), and two awesome roommates who I consider two of my best friends.

So this is my long-awaited farewell.  DC is only a 40 minute drive from my current place, so I declare that I will visit as often as I can.  You were a fantastic place for me, Daly City.  Stay classy.

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