Pacific Northwest Trip

August 11, 2013 § 2 Comments

Tomorrow we leave for London. I still can’t believe it’s real yet. It probably won’t feel real until I’m actually on the ground there and everyone is speaking with a British accent. The summer has gone by so fast. I knew it would, but still, I wish it could go on just a bit longer. It was so wonderful. 6 weeks of blissful vacation. We ate loads of Mexican food, hung out with family, drank lots of San Diego beers, hiked in Torrey Pines, went to the beach, and took a long trip up to the pacific northwest.

This blog probably won’t be updated again until we’re settled in London so I leave you with a ton of pictures from our trip up north. It was so much fun. I loved seeing our friends, seeing them happy in their new lives out of grad school. They took us to all the yummy food spots in Seattle and Portland. It was a good thing we did a lot of hiking in the Olympic National Park. There were so many highlights I can’t name them all but I would say don’t miss out on Paseo for sandwiches in Seattle and go to the Chihuly glass museum.  I loved Hurricane Ridge at the entrance to Olympic National Park. The views were incredible. Once you’re in the park, take any hike in the rainforest, they’re all beautiful. We also loved the beaches at the Quileute Indian Reservation. They’re so different from the beaches here, but stunning in their own way. In Portland, skip the line at Voodoo and head to Blue Star instead, they made Drew into a doughnut lover. Don’t skip Salt & Straw, we went twice in 2 days :p  One of the best things Drew and I did in Portland was go with our friends to a live action performance of Star Trek. They did the Troubles with Tribbles episode and it was so fun! Unfortunately I don’t think they will be doing it again next year, but hopefully they will think of something equally entertaining. All in all, it was a fabulous trip. Well, I’ll post random things on the social media sites, but for my 5 blog readers, see you next time in London!

seattle 2013

seattle 2013
seattle 2013
seattle 2013
seattle 2013
seattle 2013
seattle 2013
seattle 2013
seattle 2013
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park
Portland 2013
Portland 2013
Portland 2013
Portland 2013
Portland 2013
Portland 2013
Portland 2013
Portland 2013
Portland 2013
Portland 2013
Portland 2013
Portland 2013
Portland 2013

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Onward and Upward!

June 28, 2013 § 2 Comments

Where do I even begin? It’s the end of an era. Drew and I have finally finished our Ph.Ds. We’re leaving Irvine and we’re moving to London. I have such a mix of emotions. I’m so incredibly happy and excited, that’s definitely my overwhelming feeling, but I’m also feeling sentimental, nervous, and a little sad.

I have certainly done my share of complaining during this whole grad school experience. The work never ends, experiments always fail, weekends in the lab, getting paid crap, blah blah blah. When I think about it, though, I’ve had it about as good as it’s ever going to get. I worked with an advisor I respected, who cared about my research, and about my progress as a scientist. I worked with a lab full of people that have become like a second family to me. They’re supportive and kind. Research progress could always be better, but I got one first author publication and I’m writing up my second. All in all, I really can’t complain. I don’t think I will ever find a better lab to work in.

Irvine might not have been the most exciting place to live for 6 years, but in the end, I learned to appreciate it. I love the weather, the food, the proximity to the ocean. Growing up in small town Illinois, I never thought I’d have so many options for great Asian food. Growing up in the midwest with 100 degree summers and 100% humidity, the weather here is paradise. I will miss the beach, paddleboarding in Newport Harbor, and boogie boarding in Corona del Mar.

I will miss all these things about being in grad school. But, I also can’t wait to start this new adventure with Drew. We’ve always talked about living abroad for a period of time, to experience a different culture, to travel, to challenge ourselves. I can’t believe it’s really happening. In late August, Drew will start his job at Google London. Right now, we’re anticipating living in the UK for 2-3 years, depending on how the job goes. It’ll be our first time living in a true cosmopolitan city. Just the thought of not having to drive already makes me super happy. Maybe my dreams of owning a scooter will finally come true. During this time, I want to take full advantage of being on the European continent. With 25 vacation days a year, I have visions of us spending weekends in Paris, summer holidays on the Mediterranean, fall roadtrip through Italy, and strolling Christmas markets in Germany. We’ll have to budget and plan, but I think it’s do-able if we make it a priority.

When I started grad school, I was a completely clueless 22 year old straight out of college. Now, I’m a slightly less clueless 28 year old who still don’t know what I want to do with my life. When I was in undergrad, I thought the only options available to me were to become a doctor or become an academic research scientist. This super narrow vision of what I could be comes mostly from the fact that my parents both worked in academia and that since I was always a good student, I felt like I should stick to what I’m good at, which is being a student. Well, it took me longer than most, but I realize now that the world of options available to me is so much more than that.  These next few months, I have the opportunity to take a step back and re-evaluate what I want to do with my life. I have a love-hate relationship with research so I don’t know if I want to continue. I love learning about science, but I don’t know if I want to teach it.  It’s a little scary to leave grad school, not knowing what I want to do next, but maybe it’s time to do a little experimentation outside of the lab to find the right career path.

In any case, we’re leaving our life in Irvine behind but I’m not leaving this blog behind. I’m sure this will be lots to “like” about the other side of the pond so keep checking back for updates from London and wherever we travel.  As my labmates told me, “adventure is out there!”

Post-Defense // Pre-Christmas Getaway

January 31, 2013 § 2 Comments

End of last year was pretty crazy and stressful so after my defense, Drew and I went on a little getaway.  We spent a couple of nights in Palm Springs where we hung out at the street fair, had an awesome brunch at Cheeky’s, and took a hike to a desert waterfall. Then on our way to San Diego for Christmas, we went by the Salton sea, checked out the International Banana Museum (Guinness World Book of Records for most banana related stuff in one place!), and marveled at Salvation Mountain before grabbing some world famous Dudley’s bread (date nut flavor is my favorite). It was a great trip, the perfect way to relax and have a little adventure at the same time.
hiking to a desert waterfall
hiking to a desert waterfall
hiking to a desert waterfall
hiking to a desert waterfall
hiking to a desert waterfall
hiking to a desert waterfall
international banana museum
international banana museum
dead fish at the salton sea
salvation mountain
salvation mountain

Yellowstone National Park

January 3, 2013 § 1 Comment

I just recently realized that I never got around to putting up these pictures.  Yellowstone is such an amazing place, filled with natural wonders.  The thermal springs and geysers were my favorite part of the park.  We also got a few glimpses of bears, bison, and elk.  I’m so excited for 2013, big changes are going to happen this year, but for now enjoy a quick look at a highlight of 2012.

yellowstone
yellowstone
yellowstone
yellowstone
yellowstone
yellowstone
yellowstone
yellowstone
yellowstone
yellowstone
yellowstone

Rafting the American River

November 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

In the doldrums of winter, let’s take a look back at a glorious moment of summer.  Drew and I had the most amazing experience rafting the middle fork of the American River.  It was just the right amount of excitement for a newbie like me with a few faster rapids mixed in with more easy, slow ones.  If you go, I cannot recommend Tributary Tours enough.  These guys are the best.  They let us jump off some rocks (drew did it, but I was too scared :p), showed us where the wild blackberries were, and where to swim the rapids if we wanted to.  I was a perfect summer getaway :)
rafting the american river
rafting the american river
rafting the american river
rafting the american river

{just one pic} Yellowstone National Park

August 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

yosemitepreview-1Such a beautiful, mystical place.  More to come soon….

yosemite national park

November 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

For Thanksgiving this year, Drew and I along with his family went up to Yosemite.  I had never been before.  It is gorgeous.  I don’t think these pictures do it justice at all.  I was so happy to see the waterfalls were still running, even if at just a trickle.  We will definitely be back to explore more :)
yosemite national park
yosemite
yosemite national park
yosemite national park
yosemite national park
yosemite national park
yosemite national park

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