Loving random American holidays

It’s already been two weeks since I got here! I really can’t believe it. Time is doing that annoying thing of smiling wickedly at me and turning its hourglass to hyper speed.

It’s been a pretty busy week – I had a lot of reading to do at work but I got it all done and now I get a three day weekend! Yay random American holidays that I don’t understand! (I think it’s Memorial Day, but I’m not sure what we’re memorial-izing). Other than work, nothing too exciting happened to me this week. I did have a super long chat with one of my girlfriends at home about life and love and work and school and pretty much anything else that slightly pertained to our lives, which was actually really nice. We vented a lot and decided that if all else fails, we’re becoming wedding planners. It’s a solid backup plan, right?

I was also pretty happy this week because some of my friends from last summer started work at Google, so I have more familiar faces around me. A lot of people I know are starting to float back to the Bay Area now, so I don’t feel quite so alone down here anymore. I went to dinner tonight with some of them and we tried out a Vietnamese place (Pho Garden) on Castro street. I shared a seafood clay pot and garlic noodles and chicken with my friend and it was delicious! I really love our Friday night Castro street dinners, because Castro street is usually pretty lively and it’s nice to go out after basically living at work all week.

I think my only complaint (and it’s very small, more of a peep rather than a complaint really) is that the weather’s been very up and down. Last summer, I arrived in June and essentially lived in shorts all summer, so when I packed for this summer I forgot all about the month of May and didn’t pack very many long pants. Not a smart move. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not really that cold, but it’s been pretty windy this last week and I’m running out of jeans. I need that hot California sun to make its return ASAP and drive away all this pesky wind business, so I can get on with the all important business of getting the tan I can’t get in Vancouver.

Like I said though, a long weekend means more time to do exciting things – like shop! I’m shopping, having a sleepover, tanning, going to a farmer’s market, and making dinner this weekend, among other possible things. I foresee good times ahead.


Return of the Sunshine

Oh, my god. I’ve forgotten how much I’m in love with the sun. I’ve just had the most beautifully sunny and gorgeous weekend ever, and it’s really all because of that giant ball of fire up in the sky. (Yes, I know it’s not really made of fire, but close enough).

I started it off really well by having dinner with my friend on Friday night. Last summer, we had a tradition of Friday night dinners on Castro Street in Mountain View, and I think it’s going to be continued. We went to Barracuda, a Japanese place, and had calamari, sushi and this amazing miso rice bowl with a ton of seafood. The fish in the rice bowl was some of the best white fish I’ve ever had – it was tender and flaky and oh so droolworthy.

Saturday morning I went for a run and ended up at a farmers’ market at the Sunnyvale Caltrain station. I love farmers’ markets – they’re always so fun and the food you get is so fresh. I mostly wandered and checked things out, but I picked up some fruit (which disappeared the same day…into my stomach) and bread. I think my favourite thing about these markets is the vibe – everyone is just kind of bustling around and talking and it gives you a really cool sense of community.

I then proceeded to spend my afternoon at my pool.

I really couldn’t resist. I haven’t seen proper sunshine since last summer sometime. My book and I spent some quality time together, I got a bit of a sunburn, and life was glorious.

I went for dinner with some of the other interns at a southern Indian restaurant. It was pretty interesting because (according to my knowledgable friends) I’ve probably mostly eaten northern Indian food at home, so the food was different from what I was expecting. It was good though! All vegetarian and a lot of rice-based dishes. I couldn’t pronounce anything.

Today, my roommate and I checked out another farmers’ market, this time at the Mountain View caltrain. I could probably go to farmers’ markets every day of the week and not get bored. I picked up some dried fruit and sampled something from almost every stall.

A funny thing happened to us though – we were sitting on Castro Street drinking bubble tea when all of a sudden a random parade began to go by. It was bizarre because there were girls dressed up like Disney princesses mixed with random older people wearing suits or yoga pants and small kids in fancy wear. We couldn’t figure out what it was for, but it was fun to watch it go by. I think it might have been Portuguese-related because this lady came by and handed us cards for Portuguese Day (or something).

I’m also really excited for tonight because I’m reuniting with some of my favourites from last summer, who I haven’t seen in forever! I miss them big time and can’t wait to see their pretty faces.

A Googler once more

Well, it’s the end of my first week! I’ve officially been in California – and at Google – for a week now.

It’s been a really busy week, but I’m remembering just how much I liked the Googleplex. I’m kind of settling into my new apartment now and starting to get a better sense of the area. I’m actually a lot closer than I thought to my old apartment from last summer – so I’m not as far out as I thought I might be. The apartment I’m living in isn’t bad. It’s a bit cramped for four people, especially in the bedrooms, but otherwise it’s a pretty good location relative to work and pretty well stocked with pots and pans and things. I did have to buy a blender though to support my smoothie addiction. The thing is wicked loud and wakes up my roommates if I’m not careful.

I also figured out the bike route from my apartment to work after a few tries between my roommate and I. It’s a half an hour ride but relatively flat, so I think I’ll be biking most of the time. It’s a very good thing, because I am also remembering how freaking good the food is here. I had duck confit and gnocchi yesterday for lunch and it was AMAZING. The whole biking thing will definitely be helping balance out food consumption.

My project and host are really good too, so I’m settling in nicely. I’m tired though – I haven’t quite gotten myself used to waking up earlier than 9:30 – 10, so my body is getting a little upset with me. I’m not very good at this waking-up-at-a-normal-time-like-a-normal-person thing. I’m sure I’ll get used to it though, and I have the weekend to recharge! So far not too many plans, but I’m really excited to see some of my friends from last summer who will be arriving in the next few days. Reunions galore! Can’t wait!

I feel like this summer is going to be another blur, just like last time. A fantastic sunny food-filled mess of friends and Google and whatnot. Even though I’m still missing people at home, it should be a good ride :)

Back in … red. Sunburn red.

Well, I’m back! In California, that is. It’s a little surreal, I’m not going to lie. I don’t think it hit me that I was leaving for the summer until I was touching down in San Francisco and suddenly realized whoa! I’m back in the States! … how and when did this happen?

It’s been pretty much go go go since I got here. I’m remembering how much I enjoy San Francisco, as I’ve been here for the last few days with a friend of mine. It’s really like Vancouver’s outgoing, hippier, more free-spirited older sister. Friday night we had dinner at this awesome Vietnamese restaurant called Tin a block away from our hotel – like a lot of food in San Francisco, it was delicious.

I had to struggle pretty hard though on Saturday morning, as we got up at the god-awful early time of 4:45 to take a day trip to Yosemite. I’ve never been before, so I was excited to go, but I really am the worst morning person ever. I feel bad for all those who had to deal with me, so this is my public apology to them. The early morning start definitely resulted in me passing out several times in the car, which I also felt bad about. It’s a three to four hour drive to the park though so the early start was necessary – we got there at around 10 something. I didn’t realize Yosemite was so big! I was imagining more of a hiking kind of day, but because the park was so huge in reality it was more of a drive-stop-drive-stop kind of trip. The diversity in the park was amazing. We went from mountains to forests to lakes to waterfalls (with a lot of driving).

I think my favourite part was a lake that we found where the water was so still that everything looked like a mirror. It was so beautiful.

I’m glad we went, but it was a very, very long day – we didn’t get back until 1:30 in the morning. I also got a wicked sunburn, as my poor skin hasn’t been in proper sunshine since last August and then was hit with a full dose of 25 degree weather. I’ve managed to imprint my tanktop straps into my poor shoulders.

Today, my friend and I went for breakfast at Dottie’s, this little diner in Soma. There was a bit of a lineup but it was delicious! I had pear-cranberry french toast with pecans. Nom.

I had to run some errands, and as we were getting my phone set up the guy at the counter mentioned there was a street fair happening a few blocks down. It was called the “How Weird” street fair, and it was…very weird. But fun. A lot of … interesting outfits.

We also checked out Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower and Chinatown. Coit Tower was a new one for me – it was a little disappointing that there were windows at the top (as opposed to open air) but it was still pretty neat to get a view of the city.

I also had a stroke of serendipity. Last summer I went to an Italian restaurant with my family that I loved, and as we were walking around I was trying to remember the name of it so that we could go. I was drawing a complete blank, though, and I finally accepted that I’d have to ask my mom later about it. But as we were heading towards Chinatown, something about the street caught my attention. Specifically, this weird intersection triggered something in my brain. I started looking frantically around – and lo and behold, the restaurant that I had been wracking my brain for was right there! What are the chances? We went, I had gnocchi, and was extremely happy. It’s called Franchino, by the way.

Now, if my shoulders will let me get comfortable, it’s time for bed, because we’re dim-summing it up tomorrow morning!