February 28, 2013
by Rhea Marcelino
Photo: Center for Spirituality, NDNU
I’m not really the type of person to attend school events, but when our school has an event to go to San Francisco, know that I will be there. I’m a girl who enjoys exploring and sometimes my urge to experience new things gets shut down due to simple fact that I don’t have a car. I’d walk, but the farthest my feet will take me will probably be within Belmont and let’s be honest, Belmont itself is not exactly the most interesting place on earth. I’d take the Caltrain, but the cost for tickets just start adding up, therefore leaving my wallet a little depressed. So! If there’s one thing I’ve learned to do (okay, that’s an exaggeration), it is to embrace off campus events! They’re almost always free, and let’s be real, who doesn’t love free?!
This past Saturday, a friend of mine hosted an event to go to the Grace Cathedral. I’ve always been into complex architecture and the fact that my friend was hosting it was good enough reason for me to tag along for this event. Plus, it was on a Saturday. I would be kidding myself if I said I was going to stay back and do homework. On a Saturday, anyway.
So, Saturday morning, bright and early (if you would call this early), we met up in the school quad at 10 a.m. Once we were all there, we all walked to the Caltrain station, which is a good 10-15 walk downhill. Once we arrived to the station, we were all provided with clipper cards so that we didn’t have to pay for transportation. We “clipped on” and took the northbound train to San Francisco and that took us a good 30 minutes. During that time, I felt that the main topic for discussion was movies. Sidenote – if you haven’t seen Safe Haven, A Good Day to Die Hard or Gangster Squad yet, I highly recommend them! Once we arrived, we “clipped off” and made our way to the bus stop.
Buses. While I’ve never been one to hate on buses, this bus experience was just plain crazy. When we got on the first bus, we started off perfectly fine. Although, as we continued through the bus route, the bus became more and more crowded with every stop that we took. We eventually had to give up our seats for the elderly. That wasn’t what bothered me though. It was the fact that I was literally smashed between my friends and a few stangers and all I had to keep me from falling over, was that little pole they have running through the bus. End destination: Stockton and Clay. Once we finally got off the first bus, we would either have to walk up a hill to get to our destination or take another bus, and another bus it was. We walk on over to the bus stop that we needed to be at and by then there were a bunch of older ladies waiting for the same bus. Once the 1 came rolling in, we see that it’s already packed, but we, the smart students that we are, decided that we should try to get in. So, we did. Besides the fact that I was literaly standing next to the bus driver during the ride, we made it to our destination just fine.
Photo: Center for Spirituality, NDNU
The Grace Cathedral. I don’t exaggerate when I say that I felt relief. It really amazed me that a building such as that cathedral existed smack dab in the middle of such a crazy city. We walk into the cathedral, and I’m in awe. One thing on my bucket list is to go to Europe to see great buildings and old architecture. Being at this cathedral, I felt, gave me a just a taste of that. The first thing I noticed was the tall ceilings. My eyes started from the perfectly arranged row of pews and went up to see how tall the buidling was. The cathedral was surrounded with artwork of saints and each of the “windows” were beautiful works of stained glass art. During the time that we were there, the sun would move in such a way that when the light gleamed through the windows, little specks of colors would fill the room.
In the front of the cathedral, there was a labyrinth. I’ve never been through a labyrinth before and so I figured I would give this one a try. Also, the purpose of this event was to get more in touch with your “spiritual being.” Labyrinths are supposed to aide in that aspect. We each started at the opening of the labyrinth and going at our own pace, made our way through it. At the end, or middle I should say, of the labyrinth, we all stood there for a few moments to gather our thoughts and get in touch with our inner peace. Corny, I know. But, it’s one of those things that you shouldn’t knock until you try it!
After making our way through the labyrinth, we eventually found someone to give us a mini tour of the cathedral. She showed us interesting details, including a glassed stained window that had an equation hidden on it. We ended at the door where there was a piece of artwork made by an artist who was in a competition and took 20 years (if I remember correctly) to create!
After our time at the cathedral, we ended up venturing out into the city and because we were downtown, we decided to hit up Union Square for some lunch. From there on out, the day went pretty smoothly. My urge for adventure was fulfilled AND let us not forget, I did it, for free!