Weekends can be days of rest but not right now. Saturday morning saw me rise early to get to the San Francisco Unified School District Enrollment Fair which seemed like a good place to continue our search for a public school for the girls (that's public in the American sense, not the British). This is an annual event and I don't remember anything quite like it in the UK. A large arena was filled with stands for each school, at every level of education, and at each stand was the school's principal, possibly some teachers, possibly some parents. It was actually a really positive experience except for one thing - I'm currently looking for places for two children in the current academic year and most schools are full. Still I met lots of friendly parents, very helpful and interesting principals and some lovely teachers. And I did learn a lot and I hope to have the schools sorted soon. Watch this space.
Meanwhile, Tom took the girls to the Exploratorium which happened to be celebrating its 40th anniversary so was free. It's a hands-on science museum similar to Nemo which we visited in Amsterdam earlier this year, or Techniquest in Cardiff which we went to last year. As you can tell, we like this stuff and this was probably one of the best such museums we've visited. I got there late in the day and somewhat exhausted by the school fair, but spent long enough to get a flavour - it is full of hands-on exhibits, is huge and somehow because it is slightly less slick it feels more Professor Branestawmish and more fun.
Just outside is the Palace of Fine Arts which looked stunning on a glorious day. A mock (sorry America but what can I say) Greco-Roman temple with columns all done very well and on a grand scale in a lovely pinkish orange stone. I'm not sure why but it reminded me of Babar's city Celesteville - a combination of the architecture and the name. Again apologies if I seem not to be taking it seriously enough - actually I loved it. It was beautiful.
Saturday ended with the lease being signed in our new home. We met the landlady who is an artist and whose home it once was. I also met a neighbour. And the flat is growing on me and I already liked it. The stairs are a challenge but they will keep me fit. Along with the various hills around it.
Sunday involved a drive to Berkeley in the truck to swap it for a smaller more reasonably sized car - think small sedan or saloon. Then we went to Ikea. In retrospect we could have done this the other way around and had the truck to load purchases into. However we didn't and anyway, you can only push so many full trolleys. Ikea was a small or is that large piece of familiarity in the US. In fact if you didn't look out of the window and closed your ears to the different accent you could be in Neasden. Thankfully we weren't. We bought what seemed like lots of stuff of the necessary variety but which doesn't add up to much and still no furniture. So we have duvet covers but no duvets and indeed no beds. We have lamps for the sitting room but nowhere to sit. And so on. I have however discovered that should you be buying enough (and God knows we are) you can get someone called a Home Furnishings Consultant to purchase everything you want on your behalf (and obviously with your money) and then arrange delivery. So I am hoping that quite soon and certainly before the end of the month, we will have a fully Ikea furnished flat to live in. Then I can sit down, put my feet up and relax.