Travel: San Francisco and San Jose

I am traveling back home today ending wonderful, long trip. This was my last time presenting the project I was working on over the last 2 years and I wanted to take the opportunity to network and have some fun. I spent ~2 days in San Francisco before heading to the conference in San Jose, then I flew to St. Louis for my mom’s 60th birthday.

I had been to San Francisco twice for a conference back in graduate school, but felt so much pressure to participate in the conference all day that I did not see much of the city. I took a ride on the trolley and had a manhattan claw chowder in a sourdough bread bowl down at fisherman’s wharf. I felt guilty doing even those 2 things.

There were peers I felt were doing better than me in the PhD program because it seemed like all they did was work, be at the top of the class and attend every session at these conferences. While a few folks and even my advisor went to the Exploratorium and the Golden Gate Bridge or even Alcatraz. I know now not to listen to those people who would say we were sent here for work not for play. My advisor was having fun, why did I not do the same?

When I arrived in San Francisco, I stopped by my hostel to drop off my things and then set off on a long walk to the Golden Gate Bridge. This meant I walked from one side of town to the other since I was staying near Coit Tower. I took the bus back though. Then I repeated the same sort of thing the next day by checking out many neighborhoods on my way to Golden Gate Park. I love exploring new places and really wanted some time to do so on my own.

The highlights of my 2 days was seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, Japantown napping in front of the painted ladies and the amazing views of the bay. In Japantown I got to check out a Daiso, peruse manga and eat an amazing bowl of ramen. I love the feeling of consuming hot broth on a cold day. I feel comforted by warm beverages and food on chilly days, its one of my greatest joys in Fall.

I took the Caltrain down to San Jose for my first session of the ASTC conference and stayed in an AirBnB near San Jose State University. I caught up with a lot of colleagues and friends, then made some connections to hopefully help out with finding jobs where we move. The sessions on sustainability, education flash talks and my group’s session were all a great time. I also got to see San Jose’s Japantown for dinner one evening.

I was so ready to see my family after a week in California. I will miss them, but thankfully I will see them again in a month 🙂 And then a 3rd time in December! 🙂




I have been writing this blog for a whole year. Sharing my life, product reviews and experiences openly through this venue has felt influential. I appreciate all the likes, comments and support from those who have read my blog. Writing has been a great weekly practice for me and I feel as though I have learned a lot about myself in the process. In addition, this means its my birthday again and I am excited to share with you how I celebrated.

What I have learned…

I really thought of myself for a long time as a weak writer and story teller. I had this assumption that because I had done poorly in a subject (in my case English grammar and literature) when I was in school that I could never write well. I feel that I can communicate my points and keep things concise.

I also thought I was not interesting enough. I do not live a very dramatic life nor am I a thrill seeker, but it seems like that is not what people are looking for. When I look at who I follow on social media and blogs, I realize I am looking to see how other people live to become inspired and feel secure in the actions and feelings I challenge myself on. I get the sense that others are like me in ways I was once made to feel was uncool. Learning from others and sharing myself has made me more confident with my intelligence, awkwardness and capabilities.

I do not let the haters in. I had a few not so nice comments through this blog and Instagram. I wondered how they would make me feel before I began this journey. I really did not think of the negative comments as something about me though. I feel they are more about the pain that person may be going through. Although, I wish they would find a different way to express their pain, I really hope things become better for them. I want a lovely life not just for me, but for everyone.

What I did for my birthday, affordable and balanced

I started this blog on my 30th birthday and tomorrow is my 31st year. I am someone who prefers a low key celebration with close family and friends, such as a BBQ that is focused on just bringing those I cherish together. I like some adventure, while I enjoy the things I love most (eating, moving and laughing).

This weekend my partner came to visit and yesterday, we ate like the French. A delicate pastry for breakfast, a steamed mandoo as a satiating lunch, a shared slice of Bavarian raspberry torte for our sweet afternoon treat and a healthy, hearty dinner of falafel beet hummus salad with a bratwurst. We focused on eating the delicious things that we would miss in this town.

As for activities, we explored a couple neighborhoods and worked on designing a computer for me, since the computer I have been using will be returned to the museum on my last day of work. My partner is a computer and electrical engineer, so he this is something he loves being able to show me how to do, especially because it can be a much more affordable computer. The first computer he built for himself lasted from 2009 until just a week ago… thats 8 YEARS! It cost as much as the last machine I purchased from HP, which only lasted 3 years…

As for tomorrow, my actual birthday. I am going to wake up and have a slice of cake for breakfast. Yep, I purchased a special slice of cake from one of my favorite places just to eat for breakfast on my birthday. It was one of the things I really wanted for my birthday and it only cost me $5. I will Instagram this beautiful slice for you. 🙂

Thank you for reading my posts each week and look forward to more on the way! I am looking forward to what this next year brings 🙂