Northbound Celebrations

I’ve always loved NorCal (SF/SJ). It’s probably because of the fact that I was born and raised in SoCal, but visiting NorCal is so refreshing because of how different the environment and culture is up there. No doubt that I eventually want to live in NorCal for a bit just for the experience. Young millennial innovators are meant to be in the tech industry, and opportunities in such areas are flourishing in this part of California.

4/19/13: San Jose (A full day of fun with my Gaucho bestie)

  • Maneuvering my way through SJO: My parents dropped me off two hours early at LAX to make it on time for my first solo flight. Hilariously enough, the process of boarding and getting situated was much easier than getting off and trying to meet up with Jenn… it took me about 15 minutes just to find the exit to SJO (and after circling the floor and going downstairs to a basement on accident, I finally found it). I still managed to be lost when I found my way out of the airport, and it turned out that I was in the wrong terminal waiting for her… after about an hour, we finally were united. Thank goodness for cell phones, or else I would have been in a funk.
  • Villa Montalvo (Saratoga): Thanks to Jenn, I visited one of the most beautiful parks/art centers I’ve ever been to… and it was free. We took a shortcut in our hike due to timing, but this embodied the lush scenery that I miss MOST about SB: extremely tall trees, forestry, jungle-like setting with waterfalls, rocks and large hills. I get excited by beautiful forest hikes very easily, so this made my day. Not to mention that the “Happiness Is” exhibit in an adjoining art gallery was going on as well… I loved how many bright colors and positive sayings, like “Create your own happiness,” were used.
  • Facebook (Menlo Park): All thanks to Jenn’s phenomenal sister, we toured the Facebook headquarters and had a bomb-diggity lunch (we’re talking like gourmet cuisine in any and all cultural varieties… Chinese, Mexican, American, Italian, Mediterranean, etc.). Freshly-made smoothies, a SWEET SHOP (cookies, brownies, cupcakes, ice cream, froyo and toppings), hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, buffalo wings, vegetarian options, pasta, spaghetti… the list went ever on. Oh, and their “pantries” were stocked with these huge refrigerators with almost any beverage available (even IZZE Soda, root beer and Japanese drinks) as well as rows upon rows of goodies like gum, Clif Bars, any brand of candy, granola, etc. We explored the gift shop, the building with arcade game consoles for people to play on lunch breaks, game areas, walked across the campus that spelled out “HACK,” and basically had our jaws open the whole time. Well, I did, at least. Talk about a creative, innovative and awesome work environment. The freedom of not having cube walls has always been something of interest to me… what better way to facilitate continuous learning and freeflow of ideas than to not put any barriers up in the first place? And yes, Jenn and I had Facebook-color coordinated outfits. Yes, we wrote on the huge Facebook Wall as well. 🙂
  • Google (Mountain View): All thanks to Rubi, who has an awesome job. We toured the various campuses (too many to count) and rode the Google bikes around various areas. The cafeteria areas were similar to those of Facebook, although Facebook was pretty damn legit (perhaps because everyone was around for our tour in the afternoon as opposed to Google when everyone had peaced by late evening). Such a fascinating opportunity since I’ve always been enamored with the Google culture.
  • Downtown San Jose: San Pedro Square Market dinner. Reminded me of Reading Terminal Market in PA. Had the chance to meet up with Nina and Kathy/Elizabeth, which was really fun to catch up again. Bonding time with friends never seems to be long enough… and thanks to luck, I didn’t have to catch the CalTrain to SF that night. This resulted in a slumber party at Jenn/Janet’s beautiful abode and a chance to meet her wonderful family.

4/20 – 4/21/13: San Francisco

  • Reunited with Laura! Headed to Sonoma Wine Tours in a party limo bus, suited for 19 people. It was quite priceless… I mean, we were driving across the Golden Gate Bridge, there was a pole in the back of the bus, we played “Slap the Bag,” and we were just living it up. So much awesomeness packed into four wineries, even though I’m not a huge wine connoisseur. The views were absolutely stunning and I couldn’t help by feel classy when we walked into these establishments with our gigantic group. And talk about delicious food… caprese sandwiches, biscotti, bruschetta, quiche, BBQ oysters, fries, chocolate, tacos, all worth the cost of my ticket.
  • Explored Pier 39 (those mini donuts… oh man; and SEA LIONS) and Union Square
  • Power napping
  • Ruby Skye: Nicky Romero concert was legit. We totally danced the night away until around 2am. I was exceptionally happy when he played “Don’t You Worry, Child.” SHM<3
  • Chilling and taking it easy after a nonstop Saturday. Doesn’t mean we’re getting too old for this… it just means that we need to do this more often. 😉

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