Category Archives: Oakland

Bike to Work Day 2012

Free stuff from Bike to Work Day Oakland 2012

Thank you to the two great local bike organizations – Walk Oakland Bike Oakland and East Bay Bicycle Coalition –  that made this possible! Great to see the community and spirit of biking getting more support!

Another beautiful weekend in Oakland

Lovin’ Oakland as usual. Wanted to share some photos from my walk to the Grand Lake Farmer’s Market Saturday morning. About to go enjoy the lake again!


Views of Lake Merritt

Yeah, I love where I live.

The Lake Chalet and restaurant from my friend's balcony.


Lake Merritt and Oakland at night

My view from the office can’t be beat


Sunset from the Go Overseas office, Berkeley Skydeck


Grand Lake Farmer’s Market, Oakland

Have I mentioned before how great the Farmer’s Market by my house is?! I go every Saturday morning for free samples, fruit, veggies, tofu, and supporting locals.

I love finding new, crazy veggies. This is a broccoli/cauliflower mix!


Commuting on Public Transportation

So my new(ish) job is in Berkeley and I live in Oakland. With the start of winter and rainy weather I have considered driving to work instead of taking public transportation. I have three real options:

a) I bike 1 mile to BART train, trip takes about 30 minutes
b) I walk to the bus stop and take the 40 minute bus ride
c) drive (about 20 minutes) but where do I park?! Buy a monthly pass.

I usually bike and BART which is the cheapest and very timely. The bus is only a little more but requires me to wake up much earlier because of the schedule. Driving is almost twice the price to buy a pass for a parking garage plus gas. Another difference between driving and the first two options is I am not leaving any “footprints” on the environment. I think I will stick with public transit for now because I truly believe that every little thing each of us can do to make our world and our communities better makes a difference in the long run. I will continue to do my part, maybe just to make myself feel better, but I hope it does have some positive (non)effects.

December East Bay Bike Party

Last Friday night, I went with a few friends to the Easy Bay Bike Party for the first time.

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect…My past experiences with group bike rides have varied from drunk college kids dressing up and riding laps around the small downtown in San Luis Obispo to a community supporting bicycle culture in Oaxaca, Mexico.

This was a new experience though- a great balance of fun, exercise, and community. People dress up according to the theme with flashing lights and glow sticks everywhere, towing boomboxes and whole PA systems, I would recommend it and do it again in a heartbeat. Going all the way from Lake Merritt BART to the water in Alameda and back was a great workout but still a fairly easy, flat ride.

Mercier Elle 2012

Another bonus: it was the most I have ridden my new bike! (My last one got stolen from BART back in September before I went to Mexico so Christmas came early for me this year. It’s the nicest, fastest bike I’ve had.)

Next article: Harvest Season Around the World

Harvest Season Around the World

As Thanksgiving approaches in the United States, other cultures and people around the world are celebrating the harvest season with their own traditions. While some of these fall holidays preceded the American Thanksgiving, several shared the theme of giving thanks.

Fall is the harvest season when crops are gathered for storage and consumption during the coming cold months. Since ancient times, many cultures have celebrated and shown gratitude for the bounties of harvest season. Take this time to learn about a new harvest season tradition and think about the origins of your own.

In the U.S., we know the American tale of Native Americans and Pilgrims coming together on a cold autumn night to share food from both cultures. The Native Americans helped the Pilgrims get accustomed to the new land, and without such help, the Pilgrims wouldn’t have known how to best utilize native crops and animals or how to survive at all. But modern day American Thanksgiving can be described in very different words: football, turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, the beginning of the holiday and shopping season, being thankful, and family time.

In Canada, Thanksgiving Day has been celebrated on the second Monday of October since 1957. While it is more religious than the American tradition, Canadians still celebrate in similar ways. The three day weekend consists of parades, pumpkins, cornucopias, and other harvest-related festivities. Both Canadian and U.S. Thanksgiving holidays are national secular holidays with religious roots.

The Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival, has spread around the world and is one of the most popular harvest festivals today. Originating over 3,000 years ago from the practice of moon worship, the Mid-Autumn Festival always falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth month on the Chinese calendar, which is in August and also the day of a full moon. This holiday is the second most important in Chinese culture, after Chinese New Year. At the Moon Festival you can be sure to find mooncakes (traditional pancake), Lord Rabbit (a human with a rabbit mouth and ears the icon of the festival), matchmaking (a skill of the moon god), lanterns, and dragon dances. Also celebrated in Vietnam and Taiwan, it has been a national public holiday in China since 2008.

Sukkot, a Jewish holiday, is celebrated with a feast, like Thanksgiving. In contrast to Thanksgiving, it’s a biblically mandated pilgrimage festival that lasts seven days. Sukkot is named after the huts the Jewish people create to represent the temporary shelters Israelites had to stay in while wandering the desert. Farmers stayed in the sukkahs, or booths, during the end of harvest before the rains came. Most of the Sukkot rituals are related to thanking God for the harvest.

There are a number of festivals in India to celebrate the harvest during different times of the year. One example is Pongal, celebrated in South India. Starting on January 14 and lasting for three days, the festival is named after pongal, a sweet rice porridge dish, which is offered to the rain gods and the sun. The last day of the festival honors the families’ cattle by cleaning it and dressing it up with flowers, bells and colored powder.

The celebrations in the other parts of the world vary dramatically. In Liberia, Africa, the Catholic National Thanksgiving Day and the Church’s Annual Harvest Celebration fall on the first Thursday of November. On the same morning as American Thanksgiving, the Dutch hold a Thanksgiving Day service in Leiden; the Netherlands celebrate the hospitality the Dutch Pilgrims received on their way to Leiden after fleeing from the English in the early 1600s. Ceres, the Goddess of corn, was honored with fruit, grains and animals while the people enjoyed sports, music and parades. No matter where you go around the world, there is always a way to give thanks and celebrate the harvest season.

Writing for Go Overseas…

Writing for GO! Overseas for the past few weeks has been just what I need. I need to fill this gap on my resume and think about what I want to do; I need to get in the habit of writing with deadlines, being independent, and setting goals; but most of all I need to write more. This position is helping me get in the habit of writing regularly. It feels good to get recognized for something I like, especially writing.

I am writing two articles a week as the Volunteer Abroad Editor and I am exploring, improving and expanding with each one, so stay tuned for more.

Round up: books, music, movies!

Books: Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins
Best book I’ve read in a long time, couldn’t put it down but didn’t want it to end. How could I not love the cowgirls? All of the characters are brought to life with Robbins’ amazing style and imagination: Indians, cowgirls, the hitchhiker, the concept of time, the hermit/prohpet, the Countess. His pro-female themes also made it easier to love. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.
Next up: Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins. I hope to start dedicating more of my time to reading and another book my Tom Robbins is a good way to get into it.

Music: Los Headaches, Midnite Snaxxx, Wrong Words
Tomorrow, Wednesday 11/16 at 1-2-3-4 Go Records in Oakland (Facebook event page)
One thing I really missed while being abroad was music. I missed my record collection and seeing live music, especially since my taste is so particular. Los Headaches are an awesome garage band from Mexico City. Midnite Snaxxx is a local all-girl band, one that really makes me wish I knew how to play an instrument. I’ve never been to a show here so I am not only excited for the music but to also see how they set it up.

Movies: Thursday 11/17 in Berkeley Raiders of the Lost Ark is playing. It won’t be the first time I’ve been it on the big screen in the last year but it’s a hard one to say no to, especially when it only costs $5.

What a great week for being back in Oakland!