The more I’m here, the more I realize just how much I love Berkeley. From the “Happy Happy” guy, to Intermezzo, to Kingpin, to Berkeley Bowl, to my Grandparents, to my great friends who live here — I just love Berkeley. I really want to come back here.

In a nutshell, Sarmad and I both safely arrived a few days ago, and we’re headed down to sunny SoCal tomorrow.

His first day here, the 22nd, we walked around San Francisco, from Civic Center, down to the Ferry Building and then up to Fisherman’s Wharf, where we perused the Musée Méchanique (one of my favorite SF sites) before catching the ferry back to Oakland. It was a gorgeous day and we took lots of pictures. Free AC Transit transfer from the ferry ticket provided a lift (via the 51) to campus, where we met for lunch at Naan N’ Curry.

The 23rd, we headed up to Murphys, CA to visit my friend Brynna and her family, in the Sierras. We even went to Big Trees.

Yesterday we drove through the city and had lunch on Fillmore, and drove across the Golden Gate. had a small Christmas Eve dinner and went to church. Came back and had cookies and tea. Bed. Fell asleep watching my newly-purchased Season 1 of Star Trek TOS. No verdict yet (I haven’t seen it before.)

Today was probably one of the most relaxed Christmases that I remember in awhile. Maybe it’s because we (the four grandchildren in the family) are getting older now. Martin, the youngest, will be 18 in March. I’m almost 23, and my brother, Alex, and my other cousin, Nena, are both 19. Just gifts, relaxing, cooking a simple turkey dinner, dessert, and hanging out with everyone, plus my other cousin Babak.

Loot included:

A few books from various people, all look good. A cookbook from Reza. Some great Nigerian figurines (c. 1963) from my grandparents. A World Series 2004 BoSox hat from Heidi. An original 1988 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Michaelangelo action figure (new-in-box). (And from before, a CD of Fresh Air interviews from Maria and Alex.) Thanks again to everyone!

Some photos from the last few days.

Merry Christmas!