thanksgiving homecoming

The month of November has always been a gluttonous month for me. First there’s the leftover Halloween candy to deal with. Then there’s the fact that my birthday and my brother’s birthday both are in November. And what is a birthday but an excuse to eat, drink and be merry multiple times? Then of course there’s the granddaddy of all gluttonous occasions, Thanksgiving. So I think on average I gain like five pounds every November.


This year my family got a jump start on the Thanksgiving holiday. My dad was scheduled to work on Thanksgiving, so we decided to celebrate one day early. I ended up taking the day off and driving to San Francisco on Wednesday morning, and that evening we had the traditional Thanksgiving meal (plus some Korean sides.)


My family doesn’t have a whole lot of traditions, but back before I moved away for college we used to drive down to Half Moon Bay to buy crabs off the commercial fishing boats. I guess you could consider that a tradition. So on Friday we made the scenic drive down to the harbor at Half Moon Bay.


When we got there we found that there were no crabs this year. The boats were all parked in the docks but there was not a fisherman in sight. I later read in the SF newspaper that the crab fisherman were basically on strike because they felt that they were not getting enough money from the commercial fish processors. Bummer. I was really looking forward to eating some good ole dungeness crab.


This year I wanted to try to get through the month without gaining a ridonkulous amount of weight, so I guess not eating all that crab was sort of a blessing in disguise. In addition I even resorted to the dreaded ‘R’ word (running, which I hate), going for a run to the nearby park during each day of my vacation gluttony. When I was a little kid this park felt so far away, but now I realize it’s pretty close, just about a ten minute jog away. The park felt so big back then, but it feels so small nowadays.

When we were kids my parents enrolled my brother and me in the park’s latchkey program. We grew up in a somewhat ghetto neighborhood, and there weren’t too many Asians in the neighborhood back then. I remember there were only two other Asian kids in the program, a pair of Chinese brothers. My brother and I would have epic ping pong battles against them– it was almost a matter of national pride, to us it was like China vs Korea in the Olympic finals.


I brought my bike to San Francisco so I could go for a ride around the city. I ended up biking across the Golden Gate bridge with my old friend Tim. After a church retreat a few years back, Tim and I rented bikes and biked across the bridge with Lynn and Clare. Back then they had it easy with their road bikes, but with our crappy rentals Tim and I were struggling. Not too long after that trip we both bought road bikes.


After we crossed over into Sausalito we saw that the ferry was about to head into San Francisco, so we decided to catch a ride, partly because of laziness but mostly because neither of us had ever taken the ferry before. It seemed like the ferry was almost completely filled with people who had rented bikes to cross the Golden Gate. I wonder if I had known about the ferry three years ago, would I even have a road bike now?


The ferry ride was pretty cool, there were great views of almost all of the famous bay area landmarks. I wished I had my SLR with me instead of just my cellphone.


The ferry took us pretty close to Alcatraz before docking at the SF ferry building. From the ferry building we rode along the fisherman’s wharf area back toward the Presidio where my car was parked. It was awesome riding through fisherman’s wharf, with the smell of seafood and fresh baked sourdough filling my lungs. It brought back more memories of my childhood. When I was in middle school my dad used to work near the wharf. On school holidays my dad would take us to his work, and my bro and I would bike around along the piers and try to catch little hermit crabs off the rocks.

This Thanksgiving I was reminded a lot about my childhood. I’m really thankful that I got to grow up in San Francisco, even if most of my childhood was in sort of the ghetto part of town. The weekend also reminded me to be thankful for the things I take for granted, for family, for friends, and for old memories. I’ve come to realize that who we are today are largely dependent on these things that we normally take for granted.

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