In the past three months, it’s been quite the chore to balance professional, personal and NZ-related items equally. I’m less than three weeks out from our family vacation to Hawaii, which means that NZ is only four weeks away. From July until now, here’s a quick summary of some things I’ve dawdled in:
- Attended my third SDCC on July 20 and functioned on only two or three hours of sleep from the night prior. This also marked the first time I ever purchased a Venti-sized Starbucks frappuccino. Yes, I caved. I happily explored the convention floor until the mass swarms of nerds and geeks ended up being a little much for me into the hours. The Weta booth was the main draw for me, which is where I met the lovely Richard Taylor (again) and Evangeline Lilly. Still rather heartbroken that the world premiere for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will be held in none other than LA (rather than Wellington). The horror.
- Disneyland Resort Cast Canoe Races: We may not have made the semi-finals, but this marked the last year that I would get up as early as 4:45am to make it to practice during the summer. OARvengers!
- Travel, Tourism and Hospitality: Industry Insider event with OC PRSA YoPro at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen. My final event with the lovely YoPro committee with a great opportunity to learn more about travel industry trends in Orange County. I’m sure that there will be professional PR organizations in NZ as well, but it’s always bittersweet when you say goodbye to a committee of amazing, hardworking young professionals. Dan, Kara, Ryan (both), Katie, April, Alyssa: Thanks for the memories, it’s been a great year with you! May #PRHH live on… 😉
- Did my last 5K (for CA, at least): Neon Splash Dash in Pomona, although I highly recommend the Electric Run over this one (since that one looked tons cooler).
- Tried out aerial silk classes in Huntington Beach thanks to Groupon. Definitely considering joining a circus in Wellington… half-joking and half-serious.
- A mini SoCal reunion with the Bay Area bestie: Girl talk, Disneyland, giant ice cream cones with sprinkles, and plenty of healthy vegetarian food.
- My hair lost its virginity when I became a dark redhead (thanks so much, Bri!) and then became streaked with caramel-blonde highlights in the past week.
- Purchased a purple ukulele, even though the bugger is impossible to tune. So much for thinking I could take it to Hawaii and NZ and learn more basics… as a result, I’ve become even more infatuated with Guitar Center. My passion for music has grown tenfold and I really hope I can find time to learn DJing, ukulele/guitar playing out in Middle-earth.
- Celebrated my 23rd birthday with a fantastic team and a beautiful day trip to Catalina Island (note: Bonine works great for curbing nausea, but it makes you incredibly drowsy to the point of no return). Already have some NZD now thanks to the best leader in the universe… 🙂
- Spent Labor Day weekend in Vegas: Three clubs (note: never, ever go to The Act nightclub in The Palazzo), David Guetta and Porter Robinson, plenty of pool time, burgers, TONS of food, “fried mac n’ cheese nom noms” (they’re actually real and oh so delish) and a group of 12+ made for a grand “last” Vegas trip for birthdays and a celebration pre-bon voyage. Experienced my first ever “Nightswim,” which consisted of thousands of club-goers in the pool, outside the pool and on the dancefloor. I’ve never had such an insane clubbing experience. We also went to SushiSamba, in which I had the best dinner ever- a mixture of Japanese, Peruvian and Brazilian food (don’t mind the $75pp tab due to all the nomming and sake).
- Disneyland Resort Service Awards celebration on behalf of a dear friend with his 15 year service anniversary. Quite an honor to attend this, especially since I may not ever get the chance to attend this on my own time!
- Experienced a lovely jazz club and felt sophisticated for a great evening with friends from grade school.
- A successful winemaker dinner in Sonoma Terrace of the Golden Vine Winery (Disney California Adventure) to thank our local partners
- Last Bay Area trip, which ended up being an exploration of Emeryville/Oakland/San Mateo/Palo Alto. Despite the 6.5 hours spent waiting at LAX due to a flight cancellation/two delays and three gate changes, I managed to arrive safely to still tour Pixar Animation Studios thanks to some phenomenal friends. For anyone who knows me well, touring these studios has been at the top of my Disney bucket list ever since I was little… to actually be on the stomping grounds of Steve Jobs and John Lasseter was just absolutely incredible. Fenton’s Creamery (featured in Up; http://www.fentonscreamery.com/) was simply delicious, although their portions were just insanely huge (“one scoop” of ice cream looks enough to feed 2-3 ravenous kids). Met up with some of my best friends in the area as well, although it was extremely bittersweet to get on the plane and depart SFO. Emotions are beginning to run high just because I know I’ll miss my core friends… I’ve noticed a recurring theme that I’m extremely sad every time I return from NorCal.
- Met up with a past production legal consultant for the LOTR trilogy as well as my future roommates in Wellington. It’s always nice to have a little more reassurance prior to moving 6,700+ miles across the world to one of the most isolated countries, right? 🙂 Also, Weta Digital for the win!
- Shamefully consumed countless Starbucks frappuccinos, even though the caffeine never seems to help me stay up.
- Wholeheartedly began researching Nixon Inc., which has a fantastic mission statement and aligns with the surf/snow/art/music industries with attention to eco-friendliness. Nixon Austalia looks like a mighty fine company to work for, if you ask me…
My advice to any prospective travelers who also might be making a big move like this? Don’t wait until the last minute to pack. Even though I started packing in July/August, you can never be too prepared. “Keep calm and carry on” never resonated in my mind so much until now…
And as our summer in California concluded (with record level heat, good gracious), I’ll be heading into the first bouts of summer in NZ when I arrive on Oct. 28. We’ll see how “Windy Wellington” ends up treating a California girl with no prior living abroad experience… 😉
More Nerdy: WordCamp
I just discovered that there are worldwide conventions specifically for diehard WordPress gurus– this seems like the most nerdy, awesome thing ever, especially since everyone on here basically loves writing anyway.
In high school, I attended a few JEA/NSPA journalism conventions that were absolutely amazing and life-changing since I realized how passionate I was about writing during those experiences. I would love to have the chance to attend one of these WordCamps… and look at that, some have even been held in Sydney, Auckland and Wellington in the past. 😉
More info on WordCamp:
WordCamp San Francisco (WCSF to save keystrokes) was the first-ever WordCamp, organized by WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg in 2006. Since then, it’s grown to become the official annual WordPress conference with over 30 speakers and 1000+ attendees converging on the City by the Bay.