Hawk Hill

I haven’t been sharing much about favorite or must-see spots in SF and the Bay Area lately. But I am back with a BOOM! Having recently decided that I will return to Europe after my work-visa ends this September, I immediately started making a bucket list of all the things I still need to do and see around here. And there is still a lot to explore!

One of the items on my list was a bike ride up to Hawk Hill, in the Marin headlands across the bridge, to catch the sunrise from there. And so I did. Getting up at 5am on a Saturday might not be your definition of a perfect start into your weekend at first. But lo and behold, what’s ahead of you will be one of the most gratifying rewards for early birds like you!

My boyfriend and I cycled from the Sunset district through Golden Gate, the Presidio and across the bridge. Hawk Hill was tough for someone like me with little practice in climbing. The elevation is 8% at times and I was cursing like a sailor. Don’t get me wrong, of course you can also take a car up there and get a similarly amazing experience. But there was something very magical about riding through a completely deserted city, having the streets all to yourself and not dealing with annoying tourists on the bridge. The 2-3km of climbing up HH is a bitch but do ride all the way to the top. After an hour, we were there and could take in the city on this completely clear morning. A pictures sometimes says a thousand words, so here are six thousand words for you:

Waiting for the sun to rise

Waiting for the sun to rise

Taking in the awakening city, bathed in pink and orange. You can even see Sutro Tower!!

Taking in the awakening city, bathed in pink and orange. You can even see Sutro Tower!!

The San Francisco skyline.

The San Francisco skyline.

Sunrise from Hawk Hill

Panorama view of the sunrise from Hawk Hill

It's called Golden City for a reason!

It’s called Golden City for a reason!

Golden State of Mind...

Golden State of Mind…


So, when in SF, try fitting this experience into your schedule!!



What NOT to do when riding Muni during Rush Hour

There are a couple unwritten rules one should follow when riding Muni. And there are certain unspoken expectations your fellow passengers have in you when you ride it during Rush Hour. Overcrowded platforms and crammed trains simply do not allow any social faux-pas. I have compiled a guide for you on how to properly ride Muni during those stressful hours based on situations I have observed while commuting.

1. DO NOT stand in the middle of the platform gesturing like a crazy person.

There are people around you EVERYWHERE. And one would think that hitting strangers left and right would be enough of a reason for those gesturing crazies to stop, to cease teir ridiculous way of making a point with both their hands and feet. But no. Some people have a hard time getting that message. My bruise is still healing off…

2. DO NOT clean your ears while riding Muni.

I don’t care how carefully you are trying to hide your Q-tip, I CAN WATCH YOUR REFLECTION IN THE WINDOW! It’s 8am, I am crammed into a car with strangers, I do not need you cleaning your ears right next to me on top of all that! That’s what bathrooms are for.

3. While we’re at it, DO NOT pick your nose so obviously…

… and then reach out with the same hand that had just searched for boogers in your nostrils to press the stop button. Just…don’t. I need to push that button next and I am at the point where I might just keep on riding until someone else eventually requests a stop.

4. One last thing about body hygiene, DO NOT clip your toe nails on the train.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but I am appalled by the thought of having a piece of your toe nail get accidentally shot in my direction. Again, that’s what bathrooms are meant for.

5. DO NOT pretend to sleep so you don’t have to give up your seat.

You know who you are! All you people sitting on the seats reserved for elderly or disabled, shutting your eyes just before the train rolls into the next station. Pretending you don’t realize what’s going on around you because you are oh, so sound asleep. And then opening your eyes again right after the seating fight mayhem is over, only to repeat it all over again at the next station. You’re pathetic.

6. On that note, DO NOT pretend not to see a girl in need for a seat.

Hey, not gonna lie. I would like to enjoy my 30 minutes on the train sitting, instead of being pushed back and forth by other passengers. I carry a heavy bag. I am wearing heels. If you see me getting up to offer an older person my seat, and you are a guy, would it be too much to ask to at least offer me your seat? Kindness pays forward!

7. DO NOT try to talk me into a free Jesus-Magazine Subscription

Independent of religious beliefs, neither 8am nor 6pm are good times to talk me into something I have never heard off, will never need and am absolutely not interested in. Especially after I politely decline two times in a row. There is only so much patience you can ask from me while I commute.

8. DO NOT spit on the platform.

Again dude, people everywhere! Somebody will inevitably walk through your freaking spit by accident. Have a tissue on you or wait until you’re outside or near a sink. Come to think of it, most of the typical Muni issues could be prevented through a more frequent use of bathrooms and all they have to offer.

9. DO NOT sit with your legs wide apart…

…blocking off two more seats than necessary. Can’t you SEE that people are tired and just seek the comfort of their own little 646 sq inches?!

10. DO NOT cut the line at a platform.

We have all been waiting in this line, at this platform for a reason, we would all like to get into the next train, we are all trying to be patient. Nothing is more annoying than an overly self-righteous person who just walks straight past everyone, almost pushes the person closest to the doors out of the way and then cuts corners to get a head start on a seat.


True story. I have observed all these things listed above in the past weeks- and some even more than just once. Public transport is already annoying as is, let’s all at least try to contribute our share to making it a little more bearable. ‘Kay? Thanks for riding Muni!



The Unexpectedly Wonderful Thing about Long Distance Friendships…

…is that the long-awaited moment of a reunion will eventually come around! After having had more miles and countries between you for much longer than you could have ever imagined, you can finally substitute that heart emoji on Whatsapp for a real hug. And no matter how long you haven’t seen each other, it will feel like grad ball was just yesterday.

Judith, the co-author of this blog, and I got to see each other in Hamburg after 1.5 years of having actively used all social media tools imaginable to stay in touch. We had 13 hours before I had to catch my flight back to San Francisco and a lot of catching up to do. I got to go to Vapiano with her, just like we used to after a long, much-dreaded final in college. We totally killed a bottle of our favorite wine. We watched the latest episode of one of our favorite TV Shows. We laughed at how old we had gotten when the planned allnighter ended at 3am due to severe tiredness. In the blink of an eye, it felt like we were roommates again. Except, she got herself a roommate upgrade- a handsome and witty guy she calls boyfriend. I approve of him because he took really good pictures of us that night and patiently endured Judith’s and my moments of girly squeakiness.

We wanted to share this moment of reunion with our beloved readers and let you know that more longdistanceroommates adventures are yet to come!

First hug caught on camera

First hug caught on camera

Le boyfriend, our triplet and Vapiano

Le boyfriend, our triplet and Vapiano

PLL and Hugo...college throwback.

PLL and Hugo…college throwback.

Judith, another one of our bests college friends, and I

Judith, another one of our bests college friends, and I


Early-morning goodbye at the airport :(

Early-morning goodbye at the airport 😦


See you…whenever Judith, I am already looking forward to that unexpectedly wonderful moment ❤

Dear Diary,

Today, I went through my old diaries. Jeez. I think you all should meet High-School Ari:

High School Ari was awkward. VERY awkward. Her biggest issues were having neither boobs nor a boyfriend. Naturally, both these things kept her up at night. She would use phrases like “utterly handsome” to describe Robert Pattinson (here’s to all these moments she would pause Twilight only to be able to zoom in and gaze at Robert’s face in Aaw…). She would write things like “I am really slacking in school, I’ve been bringing home nothing above a B+ lately, that needs to improve” … and actually be serious about that. She would crush on a guy for 1.5 years but he ignored her and fell in love with her best friend instead. Still, she would fill her diaries with daily entries á la: “He is still soooooooooooo …. x1.000… oooooo cute. I need to make a move soon before he has a girlfriend!” I never made a move and he never became my boyfriend.

High-School Ari would also be very self-critical and much more unhappy than I remember her to be: “I am kinda the biggest loser in class. I wish the kids would stop bullying me and actually become my friends, but that’s okay. I will get good grades and make it.”

And while I felt sorry for the 13-year-old girl who wrote those lines, I mentally high-fived her, too. Because I did achieve just that. I moved abroad, I am fluent in English. Hold and beware, I even have boobs AND a boyfriend. But these past days, I also realized that these things don’t come free to us. I began to understand the trade-offs we always have to accept when going our own ways and making life choices. I am grown up now. There’s no point denying that. As much as I would like to just stay home a little longer, spend my days playing guitar, laughing with my brothers, getting fed by my granny, drinking wine with my parents, I can’t. Because there is a life waiting for me, there’s responsibilities and people relying on me and promises.

When I was 14, all I wanted from life was to grow up and move away, show ’em that I was right focusing on grades and dreams. But now, I kinda wish I wouldn’t have let myself grow up all that quickly. I wish my biggest worries would still be boys and when I would finally get kissed. Life might have been less exciting at 14 but it was more innocent and it involved less letting go of people and places you love. We all eventually have to accept that our childhoods are over and the sooner we let that go, the faster we can grab the steering wheel again. I lucked out in many aspects of life and I don’t want to complain. But I will try my best to teach my future children the art of holding on and letting go off their childhood!