Literally, I think I brought a Midwestern heat wave to Palo Alto. Yesterday (Sunday) was a balmy 92 degrees, and that is a temperature that most northern Californians are NOT familiar with. People were walking around the sidewalks of downtown Palo Alto like Ron Burgandy in the first Anchorman:
Many of the houses and stores in Palo Alto don’t have air conditioning because they simply don’t need it. Yesterday, I think many people were wishing for air conditioning. One shop owner downtown proclaimed she hadn’t experienced temperatures like this nearly ever in all her years in Palo Alto. It felt like a normal Midwestern summer day to me (except that I was dressed like a northern Californian in jeans and a black shirt and scarf haha!!!).
Sunday was a fairly uneventful day, yet still beautiful and full of joy. Though I am not one to participate in religious/church rituals, I attended service at First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto yesterday morning as my best friend from college, Abby, is a pastor there. Despite my personal distance from organized religion, I always love attending Abby’s church because it is a chance to see her doing what she loves, and she’s very good at it. Her sermon was a beautiful sermon about the seemingly scary “E word”: evangelism. It was a message about loving people and the community and being willing to go beyond one’s own comfort zone to live in service to others. For Abby and the members of her congregation, this is an act of love that models Christ’s love of people and the church. For others, it is a message not much different than this charge by Don Wettrick to his innovations class at Noblesville High School. (Abby included this video in her sermon as a challenge to her congregation with the note, “even high school students are doing this. So can we.”) #OAEproj
After church we attended a church picnic where Abby’s congregation had the pleasure of witnessing Abby and I at our finest. (Haha! Or something like that…) Upon meeting me, one member of Abby’s congregation said, “Wow! I can see why the two of you are best friends.) After the church picnic, we ventured through downtown Palo Alto visiting shops and just enjoying our time together. Abby and her partner, Nathan, are such dear, dear friends. The amount of joy I feel just because I got to spend the afternoon with them is overwhelming (in the best way possible, of course).
We concluded our evening with Chicago-style pizza as Abby and Nathan lived several years in Chicago, and I made many trips to visit them there. This photo examplifies why we are best friends (haha!):
This morning (Monday morning) I enjoyed an AMAZING vegetarian omelette breakfast next to the fireplace at the little restaurant at Costanoa. The veggies were SO FRESH; the produce here is really incredible compared to what we have access to in the Midwest. As I conclude this post, I am gearing up to drive into the city (San Fran most likely) to get a background check completed by the State of California so that I can work with the youth of Puente, and then I will attend the youth volunteer training “camp” for the afternoon in Pescadero. Abby invited me to participate even though I am not a youth because she said it will help me gain some context about Puente and Pescadero. I am excited to continue these adventures!
Last but not least, I finally was able to have internet access long enough at breakfast this morning to get 2 videos uploaded to YouTube to post here. They are from my first day (Saturday) here, but I think you’ll enjoy: