Sold!

 

condo

Our (former) San Francisco home. Top floor.

We are no longer San Francisco homeowners. We closed on Monday!

The real estate market in San Francisco is beyond crazy right now. In order to sell our place, we shelled out 5K for a new paint job (inside) and another 5K for staging, and multiple other dollars for cleaning, gardening and a hardwood floor repair and polish. Was it worth it? Absolutely. It sold for well over the asking price.

livingroom

The living room, all pimped out.

After all the primping, the selling process was quick and easy. We had two weekends of open houses, a few agent showings and accepted bids on one day only (that’s the way it works, there. You do not accept any bids before the official date). I have to say that even with things being the way they are, we were still a little nervous about how everything would turn out. Selling your home is a stressful process, no matter what market you’re in.

kitchen

The kitchen, looking into the dining room.

dining

Dining room looking into living room and foyer.

2ndbed

Second bedroom and office nook.

backyard

The backyard.

Speaking of the crazy housing market, did you hear about the 3-unit building in Pacific Heights that went for $1.7 million OVER ASKING? According to Curbed SF, the list price was $2.095 million and went for $3.801 million, which means that it sold for 81% over the list price. Or the 4-bedroom home in Noe Valley that went for $1.31 million over? Or the 2-bedroom home in Glen Park (not one of the top most desirable neighborhoods in the city) that sold for $600K over asking? The list of these ridiculous offers is getting longer and longer.

pacheights

The Pacific Heights home that went for $1.7 million over asking last month.                                              Photo credit: sf.curbed.com

So who or what is driving up prices? A lot of it is due to the ever-booming tech market (Google, Facebook, Twitter and various IPOs) and foreign investors are also a factor. Another reason is because there just isn’t a whole lot of inventory out there right now. According to a local news article (KPIX 5), real estate agents said that if “new properties stopped coming on the market, San Francisco would run out of homes in five weeks.”

We’ve already started the house hunt here in Grosse Pointe. The market isn’t as bad here, of course, but it’s still a pretty hot market, considering, and there isn’t a whole lot of inventory here, either. For example, a home we looked at least weekend went on the market on a Friday afternoon and sold by Monday morning. But we’re hopeful. That at least we’ll find something by winter (please God!).  Stay tuned.

*photo credit for all our house photos: zephyr real estate

 

Leaving

“In a way I felt I owned the City as much as it owned me.
San Francisco put on a show for me.”
– John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

ourhouse

Goodbye, House!

I leave today exhausted (three hours of sleep. which will be awesome for a five-hour solo flight with the girls), highly emotional (see the part about three hours of sleep), but with a full heart (bursting!). San Francisco has given me so much, and I feel blessed beyond measure to have spent so much time here.

See you on the other side…

Two More Weeks

The dining room.

The dining room.

“There are times when the actual experience of leaving something makes you wish desperately that you could stay, and then there are times when the leaving reminds you a hundred times over why exactly you had to leave in the first place.” – Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way

Hawaii: the Food

For my family (as is the case with most, I imagine),  a carefully planned and prepared meal equals love. The first night of our stay, my Auntie Melinda steamed a large uhu (aka parrot fish, and you can see why) that she got for $39 at Tamashiro Market on an outdoor gas wok as part of our huge dinner spread. After steaming, the fish was topped with oil, green onions and cilantro. My sister and her family came over and also her husband’s parents, who were in town for their annual visit.

Haupia Pie

Haupia Pie. Yum.

In addition to the usual sides of salad, rice and veggies, there was Korean meat jun (the only dish bought vs. made), thin strips of beef coated with egg and flour, fried and served with dipping sauce. AND miso butterfish (black cod), a white, flaky fish marinated with miso, mirin, sake and sugar and then baked or broiled. AND rainbow jello and a haupia “pie,” a layered dessert starting with a macadamia nut crust, then Japanese sweet potato (purple), then haupia (a coconut milk and sugar concoction with a custard-like texture).

Halo Halo + Coffee Mug

Halo-Halo + Coffee = Breakfast of Champions

Waiting for me in the fridge the next morning was a Filipino specialty, halo-halo (“hodge-podge” in Tagalog). There are so many different versions of this dessert. Basically, it’s a concoction of condensed milk plus a bunch of wacky ingredients (kidney beans, rice, gelatin, yams). Auntie’s not-too-sweet version is filled with tons of grated cantaloupe, papaya, avocado and coconut. There are also tapioca beads, palm fruit and some strange pink Japanese gelatin that I always pick out. I put an ice cube on the bottom (if I’m lucky, as I was this time, Mom will have frozen fresh coconut water cubes), dump a bunch of halo-halo on top and eat it with my coffee. Super YUM.

Ramen noodles

The perfect bite.

I love, love, love noodles. Italian pasta and Japanese ramen are at the top of my list. I can make Italian food all day long, but don’t know how to make ramen broth. Whenever I go to Hawaii, I always ask my sister to come with me to Goma Tei, a small noodle shop in Ward Center. We usually sit at the counter and I always get the same thing – Tan Tan Ramen, a basic spicy broth with char siu (Chinese-style bbq pork), green onions and greens (broccoli rabe or spinach or some Asian green that is very similar). SO good. Salty, with a hint of sesame and just enough heat.

Menu at Goma Tei

Menu at Goma Tei

That meal may very well have been my last taste of homemade ramen for 2014. (And dare I say 2015? No way. Surely not). And who knows? Maybe there is a hidden noodle shop in some Detroit alley that makes the best ramen noodles East of the Mississippi. Maybe. But… probably not.

If you ever find yourself in Hawaii, I urge you to try some of the local flavors. They might be weird, they might taste icky, they might taste awesome, but they will most assuredly be made with love.

Home

My mom's house

Mom’s House

We’re back from our short Hawaii trip and I have lots to share! Even though my whole family (except me) was sick with colds, we had a great time. We didn’t leave the house much, but the purpose of the trip was to spend time with family, which we did.

Road to Kalihi Valley

My mom lives in a neighborhood called Kalihi Valley (you might know the area from HGTV. They recently featured a home there, which is currently for sale). The valley is nestled between a lush mountain range, so it gets lots of rain and is very green. She lives in the lower level of a cinder block house and my Auntie and Grandma live up top.

My sister and her family live a few blocks down from my moms, at the bottom of a really steep hill (that used to be steeper before the city paved it a few years ago), in the same house where my grandparents lived when they settled on Oahu. My mom, sister and I lived in the smaller back house until my grandpa had the duplex built (early 80s?).

momsginger

Loads of ginger flowers.

Looking up at mountain range

My grandpa was a natural gardener; it was in his blood. The plants liked him, too. They listened to him and gave back to him. Sadly, he’s no longer around to pass his secrets on to me, now that I’m willing and eager to pay attention. My 90-year-old grandma still tends to her plants when she can. She loves orchids especially.

grandma

Grandma

Every inch of the small front yard has a flowering or edible plant on it and the perimeters around the house are filled as well. There’s ginger, ginger root (which my mom dug up for me to take home), papaya, malunggay (also called moringa. found in lots of Filipino dishes), tomatoes, bananas, eggplant, chives, green onions, edible ferns, bitter melon, bird of paradise, orchids, poinsettias, gardenias, succulents and aloe (I’m  sure I’m forgetting some!).

The green thumb gene may have skipped a generation (my mom is an excellent gardener. me, not so much), but I’m still going to try my hand at it in Michigan (we’ll have a backyard all to ourselves!).

momspapaya

Papaya and bitter melon vines.

momsgingerroot

Ginger Root

momsaloe

Aloe

I never realized how different Hawaii was from the rest of the country until I left home and came back to visit. I know it seems pretty obvious. It’s an island with island culture, but it was simply just “home” to me. Each time I go back, I am more grateful that I grew up there and have roots there. It will always be home, just as San Francisco will always be home, long after I move.