Tag Archives: San Francisco Bay Area

A Moment of Reflection

The other day, I went out for a walk after staying home for a good week straight. Upper Great Highway by the Ocean Beach Trail was (and still is) closed to traffic. The skies were a bit gloomy, the air was cold and the waves were hushed. I just stood there in the middle of the road for a moment.

As I’m asthmatic, I’m at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than most. My last major asthma attack was on the night of January 31st. I got tested for the flu and pneumonia, which consisted of an x-ray and a horrid nasal swap. None of which was comfortable, all of which came back negative. I had to go to Urgent Care about a week or so later as my allergy symptoms didn’t elevate since. This took place before I realized that COVID-19 was spreading, fast.

San Francisco and most of the Bay Area have sheltered in place since March 15th but most of my family and co-workers sheltered in place prior to that as a precaution. Life has been different, interesting, amusing, and frustrating. I’ve had to adjust, adapt, postpone and reevaluate my priorities. I’m no parent but I’ve had to help step in and home school my first-grade nephew. It reminded me of why I never continued on the career paths of being a teacher or pediatrician but grateful a million folds for those that are.

As I stood there facing the gloomy skies above the sea, I kept thinking despite it all, this was a reminder of our blessings. We live in a friendly, family-oriented, and supportive community. I’ve been in better touch with family and friends than ever before, just checking in on each other and making sure everyone is OK. I’ve seen neighbors and community members on my walks and even under masks and six feet apart, we see the smiles.

Where our national leadership has failed, our community leaders have risen up to take charge. Our healthcare workers and first responders the world over have been working tirelessly to care for us, even when they themselves need to be cared for. Our grocery stores are stocked, our restaurants are delivering, and even my tiny desk for work was shipped sooner than expected.

The people behind all that goodness remind me of our blessings, much of which we take for granted. They give me hope that we will get through this uncertainty with a bit more faith, gratitude and empathy. The absolute humility that has come out of this pandemic have truly restored my faith in humanity.

And as I stood there in the middle of the road, I saw a small ray of light through the gloomy skies. Seeing it as a good omen, I took out my phone to capture this moment.

I am a firm believer that when God puts us to it, God will pull us through it. So have faith that this too shall pass. Please, if possible, consider volunteering or donating to causes out there supporting our communities, front line and essential angels. Check on your family, friends and neighbors regularly when possible. If you need someone to talk too, know that I’m but a message away. And please, I urge you all to continue to stay home and stay healthy. We will get through this, together!

Video of the Day

Yesterday’s attempt at social distancing.

Yes, we have a Shelter in Place. No, it doesn’t mean we lock ourselves up in our homes. Yes, many of us are working from home. No, it doesn’t mean we are on vacation.

Please be responsible, this isn’t just about you, Felicia. #JustSaying

SF Sundays – Top Ten Musts for 2020

It’s February, can I still say Happy 2020? Probably not but I’ll say it anyways… HAPPY 2020!

It’s actually been a bit busy for me, with my full time work, side projects and recent certification exam (long story, short, I like to keep learning!). However, I have been making a list of all the things I must see, do and eat in the Bay Area when I realized, does everyone else know about these sweet delights in our backyard?

What must we see, do and eat in the Bay? Here are a few off the tip of my very long list for 2020:

50 Years! I can’t be the only one that didn’t realize there is a fantastic museum that encompasses our history as a state just off the Lake Merritt Bart Station in Oakland. The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is a fantastic space housing local art, history and culture with beautiful collections and visiting exhibits. This year, the OMCA is on my must revisit list as it celebrates it’s 50th anniversary of not just being a fabulous museum, but a welcoming “gathering place in the heart of Oakland”.

Let’s Eat! Reem’s has been added to my must eat list after seeing the nonstop hype behind it. Even the local news was all giddy when it was announced that this Oakland staple was opening up shop in San Francisco’s historic Mission District. Like a typical foodie, I went to check out the menu and literally salivated. It’s also worth mentioning that this is an Arab American lady owned business. So I’m biased in thinking it’s up to the hype and I can’t wait to eat it all up!

Up Above the Clouds! Taking a hot air balloon ride has been on my bucket list for a while. In looking to tick it off my list this year, I’ve come to find out I can do just that in the North Bay’s beautiful Napa Valley. We are spoiled for choice, whether going up with a group or privately, for an hour or so. Regardless, you can head to Visit Napa Valley to see which option best suits you, as well as other things to do while you’re up there.

Broadway! One of the longest running shows on Broadway is roaring it’s way to the Bay! The Lion King will be showcasing for a limited time this summer at the Center for Performing Arts in San Jose. As this is a limited engagement, it’s on my must see list because tickets will sell fast. Especially since it’s happening right after Hamilton’s extended run in San Francisco. What? You haven’t seen Hamilton in the Bay yet? What are you waiting for? It’s now extended through May 31st so add it to your 2020 must see list!

Frida! The most anticipated exhibit of the season coming to the Bay has to be Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving. Thanks to the Frida Kahlo Museum (aka The Blue House) in Mexico City, Mexico, we here in the Bay will get to see some of her personal items along with some of her magnificent works of art. As a fan of this prolific artist, this exhibit is on my must experience list, with the accompanying lectures, docent talks and much more at the de Young Museum.

Jazz It Up! The music scene in the Bay last year has been absolutely amazing. So much so, I started 2020 by heading to SFJAZZ‘s annual new year concert series of the legendary trumpeter Chris Botti! This concert was just a peak into the amazing line up happening this season. I’m now a proud member and so should you if you don’t want to miss out on great shows like this…

Hole In The Wall! Did you know, there’s a Peephole Cinema in San Francisco? Blink and you miss it! Peephole Cinema San Francisco is located in the Mission District at 280 Orange Alley, looping silent short films for those who’d like to take a peak. Another one was just added at SFO’s Terminal 1, thanks in kind to the curator, Sarah Klein. If you’re a movie buff or at least appreciate the art form, then add this to your must see list.

Yummy Delicious! The two day Eat Real Fest in Oakland’s Jack London Square has announced it’s dates for the year. What makes this food festival exciting is not only the great food expected to be shared, but the celebration of sustainable local ingredients and the craft behind the dishes and drinks served. I missed last year’s festival so I’m looking forward to eating my heart out while checking out all the cooking classes and demos that are being planned as we speak. Yummy!

Under The Sea! From the depths of the seas, statues of a three headed serpent and a mysterious deity were found, possibly lying in shipwrecks for centuries. The LOST AT SEA exhibit now through March is only happening at the Asian Art Museum. This tops my list as this one of a kind exhibit is only happening in San Francisco through March. You’re welcome to join our InterNations Culture and Art Group as we time travel and explore these wondrous beauties in February.

Just For Laughs! I LOVE the stand up comedy scene here in the Bay! We are truly blessed to get some of the best up and comers as well as established comedians stopping by to make us laugh. Ali Wong and Trevor Noah ended 2019 by coming through with sold out shows! 2020 shouldn’t be any different, if not better. I personally can’t wait for Michelle Wolf‘s return to the Bay later this week. Later this season, Jim Carrey, Whitney Cummings and Ali Wong will be in town too, woohoo!

So what’s on your Bay Area list for 2020?

Disclaimer: This rant was not sponsored or paid for by any of the above mentioned entities unless otherwise noted. Any and all sponsored or paid rants are for time spent, never for a biased take or review. If you’d like me to check out a happening around town or a local eatery to rant about, please email ha@mshala.co.

SF Sundays – Winter Wonderland!

Happy December Everyone!!

I do love the city in December. Maybe it’s the holiday lights, maybe it’s my birthday month. I don’t know, I just love San Francisco in December!

Our family may not celebrate Christmas but we sure love the winter season nonetheless, exchanging presents, and decorating our home as we do for Halloween and both Eids each year.

Before we go exploring the city, I do want to remind you that we’ve had massive fires up in the North Bay thanks in part to PG&E negligence (yea, I said it!), heat waves, high winds and dry brush in the past couple of months. If you’d like to help those in need this holiday season, please support the World Central Kitchen, Islamic Relief Fund and the California Fire Foundation.

HAPPENING AROUND TOWN

If you’ve never seen a movie while the amazing San Francisco Symphony performs the soundtrack and music, have you really seen the movie? For the holiday season, expect to find movies like Love Actually, Ghostbusters and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Oh, I can’t wait for that one!

c/o sfsymphony.org

And as with every year, Cirque du Soleil is back in San Francisco with the production of Amaluna, running now through January 22, 2020. Happening at Oracle Park, with another story as told by amazing acrobatic performers and live music. Get your tickets now, these shows are selling out!

Need a friend or two to join you on these amazing wonderland adventures? You should join me as the consul of InterNation’s SF Culture and Arts Group! We check out some beautiful and fun works throughout town on a regular basis.

I entered the cosmos!

Recently, we were invited to the opening of the As Above As Below exhibit at the Menresa Gallery in the St. Ignatius Church of USF. A small but extremely dazzling exhibit bringing astrology, neurology and the arts together. I entered the cosmos and so should you, as you only have until December 15th to check it out. The exhibit is free but be sure to book your tickets online.

We also checked out the season’s must see exhibit, Soul of a Nation, at the de Young Museum. Our group got together last week and were truly immersed in the powerful pieces, from collages and photography to paintings and sculptures. Many in the group did the audio tour which went into further detail, history and relevance of each piece.

Faith Ringgold, 1977 – Alice Neel

Don’t forget the ice rinks are up and running now through January all across the Bay. Head to Union Square Ice Rink and skate around the beautifully lit tree. For the second year, the lovely Winter Park at Civic Center is back. This is an ice rink that the young ones will truly enjoy among the greenery and lights. The Yerba Buena Ice Skating and Bowling Center is not just open during the holidays but all year long! There are many more ice rinks to skate through the Bay Area, which you can find thanks to TimeOut San Francisco.

YUMMINESS ACHIEVED

Nothing truly scares me like hunger. This week, I want to highlight the food banks that begin their busiest time of the year to help secure food for those in need. I urge you all to check out your local food banks, volunteer and donate.

These facilities are literal life lines to many families and individuals in need, especially those affected by the recent wildfires.

If I missed any food bank or resource in the Bay Area, please include them in the comments below.

Disclaimer: This rant was not sponsored or paid for by the events, organizations or restaurants listed unless otherwise noted. If you’d like me to rant about a happening around town, an awesome organization or a yummy eatery for my SF Sundays rant series, please email ha@mshala.co.

I Survived the Loma Prieta Earthquake

I survived the Loma Prieta earthquake, 30 years ago!

Image result for loma prieta
c/o NBC Bay Area

Today, October 17, is the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. That 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit the Bay Area 30 years ago, yet I remember it like it was yesterday!

I was seven years old, home with family after school, coloring when all my crayons started going all over the place. “Stop messing with my crayons!” I yelled at my brothers but before they could answer, my pregnant mom screamed at us to get under the table, it was an earthquake.

Those were the longest seconds of my young life under that table!

Related image
c/o San Francisco Chronicle

Luckily, we had just gone through the safety drill in school, how one should dock and cover under a table or stand in a door frame as my mom did when an earthquake struck. We stepped outside our small two floor apartment building after the fact, checking on neighbors and friends.

Back in our apartment, still shaken, we picked up all that fell and assessed the minor damages. My mom was so worried with the local news reporting of the rising death toll, major damages and aftershocks throughout the day that she had us sleeping in the building lobby that night to easily escape if need be.

I remember the image of the collapsed section of the Bay Bridge on the news. Seeing it these many years later sometimes beings that flush of fright my seven year old self felt back then. I also remember the ongoing repairs that took place months and years since then. Including the repairs to the Ferry Building, which rang when the earthquake struck in 1989.

Are we ready or prepared 30 years later? How does one get prepared? Make a plan with your family and friends. Know all your exits at home as well as at work and school. At home, have a first aid kit, canned foods, water and other necessary supplies packed in an accessible pantry/space. Make sure your home or renter’s insurance in a state like California covers you should your health or home be affected. And finally, stay informed and ask questions. It can save your life!