The few weeks before my departure were absolutely crazy-busy, thus explaining the lack of blog posts since my first day at Kiva Training!
The remaining four days of Kiva training were amazing. It was so energizing to spend 4 days getting to know everybody, learning about how Kiva operates as well as more about microfinance in general, collaborating with so many thoughtful people, and overall spending a fun 5 days together in SF! We were also lucky enough to attend Kiva’s 5th Birthday Party and spend the evening meeting other supporters and lenders. It was so inspiring!
My fellow KF13’s come from all over the world and were truly a pleasure to get to know! You can “meet” them all and see where they’re going on Jacqueline Gunn’s recent blog post on the Kiva Fellows blog.
Do You Speak Whale?
Training ended on Friday, and first thing Saturday Ian and I were up early heading to my birthday present: a whale-watching trip to the Farallon Islands!
The Farallones are a group of islands roughly 25 miles off the coast of San Francisco and – fun fact – are technically part of the city’s Richmond district.
Only researchers can go on the islands, but the rest of us can sail around them and enjoy the wildlife. Ever since I moved to San Francisco I’ve been dying to go. The wildlife viewing is supposed to be amazing – all kinds of whales, birds, sea lions, seals, dolphins, etc… and what I was most interested in… SHARKS!
Yes it is shark season in San Francisco and, despite my general distaste for gore, I desperately wanted to see a great white shark find some lunch, preferably National Geographic style! People- in the late 90s, an orca attacked and ATE a great white shark in front of a whale-watching boat by the Farallones and, as it turns out, in front of our very own naturalist! I was ready for action.
Alas, we didn’t see any sharks. Even better though? A humpback whale decided to take time out of his busy schedule to go “people watching” – he swam right up to our boat and hung around, checking us out. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
Aside from our new whale friend, we saw an amazing amount of wildlife, including other humpback whales, gray whales, a rare blue whale, sea lions, 1 krill, and multiple birds.
Thanks Ian for the amazing birthday trip!
Just When You Think You Can’t Get More Excited!
And just when you thought nothing could beat the excitement of my new whale friend, along comes my 27th birthday. It was a wonderful day started with a relaxing manicure/pedicure with Caitlin, and then off to the Ferry Building to indulge in Hog Island Oysters, sparkling wine, and some decadent s’mores chocolates!
In the evening, I met up with Ian for dinner, my restaurant choice. I chose Shalimar, not so fancy, but definitely a favorite. I wanted to indulge before I left town! After dinner, Ian suggested we drive around the city a bit on my last night there for a few months. It was a gorgeous clear night, so we popped down Lombard Street and up to Coit Tower to enjoy the views! Ian started getting a little sentimental about my leaving (or so I thought) until he turned around and proposed!
So yes, if anything can beat seeing a humpback whale up close and personal, it is your beloved boyfriend asking you to spend the rest of your lives together. Talk about amazing!! Of course, our engagement made it that much harder to leave town!
After finishing packing it was time to head off to MD to spend a few days with family and friends before finally heading out to Georgia. It was great to see everyone there, and celebrate my birthday, mine and Ian’s engagement, me going-away, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all in one big party! Thanks Mom & Dad for a great send-off!
TALK TO YOU ALL IN GEORGIA! (But not in Georgian…)