A belated first post from London

October 1, 2013 § 1 Comment

I’ve fallen terribly behind on my blogging. I meant to put this post up a month ago! Well, better late than never. The first thing we did when we arrived after we set up our phones was go to the Tower of London. It’s really amazing, I think it made us instantly feel the history of this city. We didn’t have time to see the Crown Jewels (the line was several hours long!) so we will have to go back sometime. I love the juxtaposition of old and new everywhere in London and how there’s so many random sculptures everywhere. We’ve found excellent coffee, great brunch, and even a few pretty good beers! Next time, I’ll update with our new flat (that’s apartment in British) and my new job!

london

london
london
london
london
london

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

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!”

Vitaly: best gelato in the OC

May 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

Roberta, my foodie partner in crime and Italian gelato expert told me that a new italian shop opened in Costa Mesa last week and that they have the best gelato in the OC. With that recommendation, of course I had to go! And yes, she’s right, it’s amazing. The gelato is so incredibly rich, both in texture and in flavor. I tried the ricotta with peaches and the pistachio and I’m already planning my next trip back :)
Vitaly
Vitaly

Caravan Adventure at the San Diego Safari Park

April 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

Isn’t this face adorable?! I can’t believe I got that close to a giraffe. For Joan’s birthday this year, we went on a caravan adventure at the San Diego Safari Park. If you’ve been before, you know that there’s a safari tram that takes you around the african safari area, but for an extra fee, you can take a small group tour inside the enclosure. It was really fun. We fed some giraffes and saw a couple of baby rhinos. I also learned a few things I didn’t know before. Did you know that the leaves giraffe eat come from a tree where the thorns are like 10x the size of the leaf? Giraffes have adapted to this horrible situation by developing tongues that don’t have a lot of blood flow so they can’t feel the pokes of the thorns! I also learned that the rhino’s horns aren’t real horns, they’re made of keratin and they grow back! Also, that baby white rhino is just the cutest thing, all big feet and big ears. All in all, thanks Joan & Andy for taking us along for a wonderful adventure!san diego safari park
san diego safari park
san diego safari park
san diego safari park
san diego safari park

3rd anniversary and parasailing!

March 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

I really can’t believe Drew and I have been married for 3 years now. It’s gone by so fast. When I think about it, we’ve been together for almost 9 years! I feel like we’ve really grown up with each other. There’s a lot of uncertainty about the future with both Drew and I graduating this year and moving on to the next phase of our careers, but I know that I have the most amazing partner to share my next adventure with.

It sounds cheesy, but I think about how lucky I am all the time. Not only do I get to share my life with someone I love so much, but for the last 6 years, we’ve lived in paradise. Sure, it’s not Hawaii or even San Diego, but we’re 10 minutes from the ocean and it’s pretty much 70 degrees year round. Before we leave this paradise, we figured we’d take advantage of it and go parasailing! I thought I would be so scared since I’m afraid of heights, but it was actually not scary at all. In fact, this is possibly the most fun thing I’ve ever done. It felt so free being up there, almost like you’re flying! The best part was looking down and seeing the dolphins play. We went with Balboa Parasail and they have deals online all the time, so if you have the chance, I highly recommend doing it. You won’t regret it!

parasailing
parasailing
parasailingP.S. These pictures were take with my Golden Half. It’s such an awesome little toy camera and cheap enough that if it got destroyed on our trip, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. I’m so glad I took these pictures, they’re so joyful and so quintessentially SoCal :)

Brunch at Canéle

February 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

This might sounds crazy but this place is my favoritest brunch place in the world. Yes, it’s that good. And I LOVE brunch. The baked pancake with lemon curd is ridiculously good, but really, order anything from that magic oven, it’ll be delicious.  The carmelized leeks on baguette is amazing. Drew had the duck hash with perfectly fried eggs. It’s a good thing this place is in LA as otherwise neither my wallet nor my heart would probably be able to handle it. canele-LAcanele-LAcanele-LA