Adventures in San Francisco

Outside the Oakland temple
Well, here we are! In San Francisco! It still hasn’t quite hit me and sometimes it doesn’t even feel like we are in the States. We arrived on Friday afternoon and right now it is Tuesday. The days and times have totally messed my head up! We are staying with Bryton’s cousin, Ngaio, and her husband Brad. They live in San Jose. They both work for Salesforce so they are all going to the same Dreamforce conference together!


Uncle Mike picked us up from the SFO airport. He took us around downtown San Fran and told us about some of the buildings. I was starving so he took us to In-N-Out Burger. Oh my gosh. Those burgers are just so bad for you but they taste so darn good! He then took us to a look out over the Golden Gate Bridge. The weather is super hot here right now. It’s kinda crazy. Coming from cold and rainy NZ, it was really nice to be able to get out of the car at 10pm and not be freezing my butt off.


I’d heard a lot of good things about San Fran. I was excited to explore the city. But from what I’ve seen so far, I’m not a fan. I probably won’t come again unless it’s to see family. But I think one visit is enough for me. Downtown San Fran was pretty grotty. There is rubbish everywhere! The buildings and shops and even store signs are really outdated and not in the cool old school way either. There are so many homeless people! I know we have them back home too. But these homeless people will come right up to your window while you’re waiting at the lights and ask for money. The city isn’t very appealing to me, but maybe when I explore it some more tomorrow, I will appreciate it more!

We went to IHOP our first night in.















On Saturday Bryton and I drove up to the Oakland Temple. It’s about 45 minutes from San Jose. It is such a beautiful temple!! There were so many people outside taking photos, it was difficult to get photos without anyone in them! We did a session there and it was really small and nice. The temple is quite big and I got lost trying to find places, but the people were so friendly and helpful.

The city in the background

Afterwards we met Aunty Kathy at Bayfair mall. She is such a fun person! She drove us yet again to In-N-Out Burger. We tried the animal style fries and I’m sad to say I’m not a fan. The cheeseburgers were super tasty though. She wanted to take us out to Golden Gate park where there is a museum that is supposed to be pretty interesting. I’m not the biggest fan of museums, but Bryton is. When we drove out there we saw a ton of people walking to the park wearing white. And I mean a TON. When we got to the park we asked the security guard what was going on. He said it was a picnic where everyone brings their own food, wears white, and pays $65. Who would pay that much to take their own food to an outdoor picnic! That’s such a hipster thing to do. No offence. But they did all look pretty cool! I just wouldn’t be up for that myself.

Well unfortunately (or fortunately) the museum was closed when we got there so Aunty Kathy took us to the Japanese Tea Garden instead. It reminded me a lot of the Hamilton Rose Gardens back home. Except you have to pay. It’s inexpensive, but still.

I just love this photo so much!!!
Aunty Kathy then took us to Sausalito across the Golden Gate Bridge. We stopped for some ice cream. I have to admit I was a little apprehensive because my previous experiences with American ice cream has not been impressive. They’ve got nothing on Tip Top! Well I ordered an ice cream sandwich with Banana Caramel Chocolate Chip ice cream. Holy dang that stuff was good. So full of flavour. I could probably do with one right now, actually! We sat and ate and talked. It was super nice to spend time with Aunty Kathy. I’ve only ever met her once before when she came to NZ for Christmas last year. But there was a lot of family over and I didn’t get to talk to her that much. So I was really grateful that she spent the day with us and drove us around. It was awesome getting to know her better! Thanks, Aunty Kathy!

This very strange car we found in Sausalito

People/tourists add things to it all the time.

A real Schnoob



On Sunday we went to church about 10 minutes from Ngaio’s house. When we walked in (about half an hour late. Don’t judge, jetlag hit us hard and 9am church was difficult), a young woman YSA age was giving her talk. She didn’t sound like she had a strong American accent and we later found out her family is from NZ but they moved here a long time ago. Crazy. We were planning on heading out to Sacramento after church so we left after the second hour. On our way out a Fijian-Indian lady came up to us and asked if we were from NZ. We started talking and her daughter served a mission in the Auckland mission. Further along in the conversation, Bryton told her that his mum lived in Fiji when she was young while her dad was the mission president there. Long story short, this lady, Geeta Naidu, served under Bryton’s Grandad! She said President and Sister Palmer were so special to her. He got her on her mission and she had a lot of love and respect for them both. In 2007 she visited Grandma in NZ and it turns out she was actually at Bryton’s house! It was the craziest thing! We come all the way to the other side of the world, to a city I’d never even heard of before, expecting to know no one besides Ngaio and Brad, and there we were. Standing outside the chapel talking to someone who knew Bryton’s grandparents very well. I love the church and the people we meet.

Geeta and her husband.

Afterwards we headed up to Sacramento. Well it wasn’t even Sacramento. Bryton’s dad’s cousin, Greg Pilling, lives out in Placerville. I met him for the first time in Canada at Grandma Pilling’s funeral. He was super cool. When we were planning this trip we didn’t think we’d make it out to see him. He lived too far out and we didn’t really have the time so we thought we’d give it a miss. On Saturday night we messaged him and decided, no, we have come all this way, what’s another 2 hours? HAH. Well I didn’t realize that Placerville is even further out from Sacramento. Haha. It took us a good 3 – 3.5 hours to get out there. But the drive was easy and we didn’t get lost.

On the way out we stopped at the Sacramento temple to get some photos. We had been warned earlier that it was hot out there and there had been a fire. We could definitely see the smoke. But we had been sitting an a car with the air conditioning on, when I opened the car door it was like a heat wave hit me right in the make up and melted my face off – haha ok that’s a bit dramatic. It was super hot though and not a breeze in the air. We got some nice photos though. Bryton’s been a bit of a tourist photographer though and wants to get photos of every single object at every single possible angle. I was getting so fed up because it was hot and I was tired.

We started out for Placerville and it was in the middle of no where. Bryton started talking about bears and I got so freaked out. We arrived at what looked like a mid-century mansion/castle. Greg’s family are so so lovely. We met his wife and children. And all of his really amazing mirrors. Oh my goodness. If our car was big enough and we didn’t have a weight restriction on our flight home, I would have stolen one right then and there and taken it home with me. We had dinner and spent time with the family. He took us down to the back around their farm and to the pond. It was so beautiful. I’m not a fan of the country, but this was really nice and big and it was cool not to have a bunch of houses so close together. They have a few ducks and some horses. That was really cool! We played some games which was fun because we do that a lot back home with Bryton’s family. We started off playing Cluedo (or Clue as they call it here). It had been a long time since I’d played but I got the hang of it and it was a lot of fun but also sucked because I didn’t win. We also played the Scrabble card game. I think we have to get that when we get home. It was fun and competitive but I didn’t win and that hurt me real bad. We finished off playing Dominos. Man I must be getting rusty because I didn’t win anything that night!! Although I’m going to blame the jetlag and hormones for that.

I love everything about this room.

We stayed at their place that night. We had a self-contained unit above their garage. It was so nice. In the morning we opened the curtains and there were 2 random deer sitting in the back yard. We went inside the main house for breakfast. I thought they’d probably start without us because I was exhausted and slept in a bit. When we got in, Greg’s wife Tanya was the only one awake haha. The kids were still fast asleep. She made some very healthy waffles. They were so good!!! I was so surprised haha. I mean, I’m not the healthiest person, and these waffles were made of a whole lot of good stuff and no bad stuff (until I smothered them in maple syrup). But dang these waffles were good. We spent some time talking with the family and then had to leave to get back to San Fran.


We were so glad we got to spend time with them! Last minute spontaneous trips like that are so much fun. They’re an awesome family and we’re glad we got to visit with them!

I will save the rest of our adventures from that afternoon for a separate post so this one doesn’t get too long. I’ll also upload photos to my Facebook page because I don’t think they’d all fit onto these blog posts.Β 

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