Tom was off to a conference to give a talk today, so the girls and I had a quiet day at home in the morning and pottering around Noe Valley (just down the hill) in the afternoon. It was lovely. It is probably top of the list of areas we are interested in to live, and nothing put me off. We found cool bookshops, coffee shops, an English tea room (Lovejoys), a store devoted to refills of soap products, some strange pet-related shops and an enormous Whole Foods - yet another supermarket to create confusion in my brain. The houses are very pretty - coloured with steps and plants in pots, and interesting moulding. I suppose it was a mixture of Hampstead and Stoke Newington - funkier than Hampstead, posher and less challenging than parts of Stokie. (To the non-Londoners amongst you - sorry!)
We also went on the bus. They have a machine to feed your dollar bills into. Exact change only please. That's the downside. I mean seriously no bus driver and no passengers in the UK would be tolerant of people laboriously feeding notes into a machine. The upside however was the effortlessly charming bus driver (take note London!) who suggested that my older daughter was "too cute" to pay for her ticket and then sang - yes sang - every bus stop name as we approached, as well as exchanging pleasantries with passengers as they got off.
Other things achieved today - a phone call home using Skype to landline which cost 40 cents for 30 minutes! A call to a school to check we could tour. A call to a rental agency to arrange a viewing of an apartment. And a general relax for three of us which I think has done us all good. Back to appointments and meetings and so on tomorrow. And Tom - oh lucky man - gets to visit the Social Security Office again but on his own. We have other plans - don't know what yet, but definitely other plans.