Stan booked a campsite (#4!) at Angel Island for the second weekend of July and 8 of us spent a night on the island. Sophie, Eric, Amy, Joe, Josh and Roberta joined us this time. We took the 10-ish AM ferry from Pier 41, arrived at the island around 11 and decided to do a quick hike to the summit. The island is so small that the summit hike took less than 2 hours starting and ending at the dock. We got back, had lunch by the dock, and then hiked over with all our gear to the campsite on the other side of the island, taking part of the Perimeter road. The campsite was amazing, with a great near-360 view of SF and all the bridges. We basically chilled at camp the rest of the day. The next morning we decided to take the rest of the perimeter road (5 miles?) back to the dock for our return ferry. And just like that we essentially traversed the entire tiny island, haha.
Stanley, Justin and I went to Mt Diablo a few weekends ago (7/23-7/24)! The park gate is closed from sunset til 8am, so instead of rushing over there after work on Friday, we left south bay early morning on Saturday morning. It took about 2 hours to get there in the morning, and we arrived basically as the gate was opening at 8am. Found a relatively shady campsite, made some cashew butter and plum jam sandwiches, and headed off for our hike!
It was a great hike (in my opinion)!! Started off with some downhill, which I appreciated because I hate downhills at the end of hikes, lol. It was relatively flat until we got on the ridge trail – that diagonal cut-off across the top. We had an option to continue following the fire road (only an additional 0.2 miles, but definitely probably less fun) so I led our party onto the ridge trail. I’ve never hiked a ridge trail before and it was so much fun. There were enough small trees and shrubbery for most of that leg of the trail to keep us mostly shady. Path was barely wide enough for two feet, lots of squatting to avoid getting face slapped by leaves and poison oak, rocky and inclined for major muscle activation lol. My favorite part was the twists and turns where you don’t know what’s next – a small hill? A flat rest area? Rocks, trees, bushes?
The summit itself was whatever, views of dead grass in the hot of the summer… I prefer hiking in areas that are more isolated from city life, but from the summit of Mt Diablo you can just barely make out the San Francisco skyline in the distance. Pretty fun to notice how far and how close we can get from the city… puts things in perspective, huh?
We got back to the campsite around 2 or 3? Bummed around and snacked, took a group nap, then prepped burgers for dinner. Played a few board games, played some pokeymans, took some pictures, and KO’d for bed early as usual
I forgot I had a blog, oops!
I was going to document Stanley and my Portland/Seattle trip, but I keep forgetting to upload pictures and now it’s been a few months so I’ve pretty much forgotten all about it already. Goldfish memory for sure. So here is what I do remember:
- It was ridiculously hot – over 90 degrees for most of the day, and stayed hot til sun down around 8pm. This meant that we had a good reason to get Salt & Straw multiple times though, which I will not complain about. Honey and lavender was my favorite.
- Blueberry bourbon basil donut from Blue Star Donuts was the first Portlandia food consumption and possibly my favorite edible thing from the entire trip. Oh wait, that or the Off the Waffle liege waffles??? Or the kouign amann from Little T Patisserie??? There is a trend here.
- We rented crappy bikes and biked around the city – you could smell sweet overripe wildberries in the air, which was amazing. No wonder there are always claims about PNW berries.
- Tax free!!! Should have bought more stuff… nah. But next time, yah.
And then we dropped by Seattle for a few days to have Adult Conversation with the Parents and get fed delicious top-notch Seattle food. Of note: Goey-duck sashimi. Not of note: Starbucks Roastery.
Things have been busy in Cupertino – Stanley moved in and has just started working at Thumbtack in SF. The commute is really long and he gets back late every day, but we’ve been getting used to it. Je and Mike and Linus moved in, too, since Mike started working at Synaptics all of a sudden as well. One big happy family in the condo!!! Which is not as bad as I thought, I guess we’re all pretty quiet people and the condo is spacious enough (until all their stuff arrives from MN). Plus, all our work schedules are segmented; I get home the earliest around 4-4:30 which gives me enough alone-time to not get too tired from people. JK LINUS I LUV U
WordPress tells me this blog is #1498. Have I really written that many posts? That’s cray.
What’s up with YOUALLLLLL lately????
Decided to log my flow from my “home” (Doubletree Heyuan) practice just now. 50 minutes total. Could have probably taken things a bit slower but the music/noises in the gym were too distracting. Not particularly sorry about my mixed sanskrit/English pose names…
In hindsight, the flow probably could have used some more seated stretches after navasana, along with some pigeon/lizard/quad stretches.
begin in seated meditation, breathe and set intention
cat cow x 5 ish
active child’s pose
child’s pose side bends
spinal balance, with elbow to knee x 5
“spinal balance half moon”
thread the needle
standing side bends
half sun salutations x 2
sun salutation classical, knee to nose/outside/inside x 2 before hold in ajaneyasana, with side bend
sun salutation B, twists in first chair
side angle/reverse warrior 2 flow x 3
“vinyasa” to other side and to next sequence
three legged dog to starfish, with two breath hold with hovering leg
“vinyasa” to other side and to next sequence
goddess, with shoulder stretches
tripod headstand, with attempted leg twists (…not really)
center, then into crow
jump back into chaturanga and return to down dog
jump into malasana
with twist, with full bind on both sides
to warrior 3
to standing splits
to standing half pigeon
half pigeon arm balance
back to tadasana for other side
“vinyasa” to reset to down dog
jump through to navasana
straight legs, fingers to toes
Stanley and I went camping with Dennis, Matt, Layla + Kyle, and a few of Dennis’ outdoorsy friends at Santa Rosa Islands, Channel Islands. Dennis planned it as a quasi-Introduction to Backpacking weekend, which meant that some of us rented backpacks to see what it was like to carry a 30 pound thing on our backs. But the hike in to the campsite was only about 1.5 miles, and we never moved campsites, so I’m pretty sure it barely prepared us for any future real backpacking we may or may not do.
I think my backpack ended up being around 32 pounds with what seemed like barely anything in it:
- sleeping bage
- exped sleeping mat
- manduka towel (could have done without this)
- one set of spare clothes, swimsuit (could have done without this)
- a sweater (could have been a windbreaker)
- a box of scones, cheese and salami for the first day
- misc electrical: battery pack, xiaomi yi camera, cell phone
Stanley carried all the food, which included two cans of tuna, almond butter, crackers, tortillas… our packs were relatively even in terms of weight, even with his being about 15L smaller.
Anyway, overall the experience was not bad at all, though it wasn’t very backpacky. It wasn’t difficult to carry all our stuff on our backs for a 2 day trip, and per expectations on the Internet, we had significant amounts of extra food on our way back.
We did an 8 mile hike to Torrey Pines loop trail on the first day, and a 11 mile hike to Lobo Canyon the second day. After the second day my hamstrings were ridiculously tight… in hindsight, I think this is because I wore my Nike barefoot shoes the entire weekend and the extra extension of my calves and hamstrings was unexpected. I was so surprised at my soreness because I always feel like I’m a relatively fit and capable person, haha. But I could barely walk that second evening.
The last day we spent hanging out at the beach for hours – the totally empty beach with white sands, blue waves and skies, was really relaxing. The pictures from my Xiaomi definitely didn’t do the place any justice.
I do wish we visited the island while the flowers were blooming, so we’d traipse through fields of grass and wildflowers instead of hay, but in the end I had a good time hanging out and taking it easy on a receptionless island an ocean away from any city.
I planned the trip many many months in advance, when I had some slow days at work. I found out that I’m a pretty detailed trip planner; In general, I like to have most of each day planned (80%?) and have addresses, directions, etc. detailed out before even getting on the plane. I don’t know if this is normal or not. But it’s definitely in line with my detail-oriented like-to-be-in-control personality. You can see our itinerary here.
We were able to follow the planned schedule pretty well, with only a few issues. On 12/24, we rushed through Gyeongbokgung palace to make sure we could get lunch at Ssalgage, which only serves 100 meals a day. The rush was unnecessary though, since we arrived right at 11am and were the first 4 people served. On 12/27, we ended up going to Insadong for fried chicken dinner at Han Chu. And then late 12/28 Stanley got food poisoning, so I swapped and simplified the plans for 12/29 and 12/30. On the 29th, Koh brought the 3 of us (Stan stayed in bed all day) to Hongdae for lunch (gamjatang), a bike tour, and delicious pastries. We ended the day early again around 3pm because of lingering stomach discomfort for Steph and myself. On 12/30 we went to Suwon around 11am and only stayed a few hours. We skipped dinner on both days because of fragile stomachs. On the 31st, our last day, we just stayed in Itaewon and got bbq at a local place (after finding out Orum was closed for lunch), which was pretty delicious and a nice way to finish the trip.
I’m glad I had planned the trip to the details I did, since we ended up not having portable wifi. Most places around the city (and even the city itself) had free wifi available, but it wasn’t guaranteed. The subway system was amazing – super convenient, cheap, and easy to get around. We took the bus a few times but they’re much less suited for foreigners, as the announcements for each stop are unclear and really quick. I was so thankful that I knew how to read Korean (it’s phonetic and super easy, I picked it up in middle/high school) because it helped a lot to be able to read street signs, restaurant signs, and in general prevented us from getting lost.
But overall, my impression of the city was nothing special. I was disappointed to find that typical South Korean citizens have the same priorities and similar moral character to us typical Americans – we’re all heavily influenced by the media, social media is big, consumerism is part of life at every age. It was a fun trip, and I’m glad we went… but food costs were about the same, even food tastes were on par with Korean restaurants in California. Korea checked off my list. What’s next?
I’ve been in China for so long that I’ve had to cut my toenails twice.
I literally spent less on meals in China than I did at my 3-Michelin-star restaurant lunch in Hong Kong.
…which also cost about as much as my 18 days of laundry at the hotel. ($100.)
The most disgusting thing is coming back to my hotel room, taking a shower, scratching my face and finding that underneath my nails is all black from the air that my body has been interacting with.
I can’t wait to go to California and breath fresh air.
I’m scheduled to come back on Dec 1. I’m going to ask for a raise.
This post has gotten ridiculously belated (about a month and a half) because of a major change in priorities in my life. I need to figure some things out…
Stanley and my first stop up the coast of California was Santa Barbara! I had only ever been when Je was visiting colleges (2003?) so I was kind of excited to see what the area was actually like, having heard of the amazingness that was SB by the ocean. Because of LA traffic, we arrived later than expected and missed our tour of the Santa Barbara Courthouse. We walked around and enjoyed the weather and took some photos at the top of the tower.
Since Stanley and I were both vegan during our trip, there was a dearth of appropriate eateries In Santa Barbara, we had an average kale salad and an above average vegan+gf “thin mint.” I should have gotten more of those thin mints… We stopped by Mission Santa Barbara (without going in…) before heading to Solvang!
We walked around Solvang, being unhappy that we couldn’t eat any Danish danishes. The Hans Christian Andersen museum was a tiny room with old books in all languages. I didn’t know that he wrote some of the stories that were there!
We stayed the night in San Luis Obispo, and woke up early the next day to go hiking!
We went to Bishop Peak around 9am – the weather was nice, and it was a really nice day for a hike. The trail was about half shaded, and we saw a good number of people also hiking that day. And even a few people running up and down! (I think the total hike was about 4 miles, don’t remember.)
Super annoying thing: On our way down, we saw a couple girls with a dog on their way up. They weren’t carrying any water bottles or anything, and their dog was obviously parched. As we walked by, the dog sat down and didn’t want to keep going – obviously tired and thirsty. The (presumed) owner was getting frustrated at her dog, trying to pull it to keep walking. I offered some water for the dog, and told her to make a bowl with her hands. The dog drank it up and probably could have used much more. I mean, you don’t have to bring water for yourself if you’re lazy, but please, please always take care of your dog. Made me super sad.
After our hike, we went to Big Sky Cafe in downtown SLO for lunch. We were starving! We filled our stomachs and water bottles and got back in the car to continue our way up the coast.
I had considered stopping at Big Sur, but it didn’t really seem convenient. Instead, we went to the teeny tiny Limekiln State Park. It was a quaint little campground with two short (5 minutes?) hikes. One went to the lime kilns in question (used to purify? lime that was mined from the mountain/vein) and the other to a waterfall. We rested here (I needed a break from the curvy PCH) and ate some snacks by the ocean. When we were about to head out, a couple of guys came back from their kayaking with their day’s catch in haul! They had caught maybe 20 or so giant fish. They were super ugly and amazing, and I wondered what it’d be like to roast a fish you just plucked out of the ocean. Possibly made it a bucket list item.
Our last city stop of the road trip was Santa Cruz. We spent nearly a full day hanging out at the Natural Bridges State Park and Boardwalk. At the Boardwalk, Stanley and I got the most amazing salad ever at The Picnic Basket. It had olive tapenade, avocados, asparagus, citrus dressing, pistachios, kumquats… and some how worked together spectacularly. It was the market salad of the day, but I do plan on going back there for another go at their salads someday soon.
After Santa Cruz, we headed to SJ. Home sweet home!
Backtracking a bit in the timeline of my life to get my blog caught up…
I accepted the offer from MiaSolé (Alt-0233 to get e avec accent aigu é) at the end of April. It was a bit of a rush, since I had also gotten an internship offer from Baxter for which I needed to respond ASAP, while still waiting on MiaSolé to go through second and third round interviews, and decisions. To save time, we conducted Skype and phone interviews so I didn’t have to fly up to norcal for a day. It all worked out, and I heard back in time to not be stuck between a rock and a hard place. Happy! Everything worked out pretty much perfectly, and I set my start date for 5/29.
I spent the majority of May in LA packing up my apartment, having lunches and dinners with some LA peeps (Phyllis, Frances, Daniel, Layla, Dorothy. Neel…) and finishing up some research things. I had started my vegan + gf diet May first, but I was wary about buying a bunch of groceries right before moving out, so the first couple weeks of my new eating regime pretty much sucked. Now that more than a month has passed though, things are a lot better. But not to get distracted, back to my last month in LA.
One of my weekends was spent hitting up my LA bucket list spots with Stanley (Beverly Hills sign and farmer’s market, Culver City Steps). The BHFM was pretty big; some things seemed a bit overpriced but not unexpectedly so for BH. We picked up some cherries and fresh squeezed OJ (yummm) and I don’t remember what else, and headed to Century City to watch the matinee (11:30ish!) Iron Man 3. During the movie I ate like two pounds of cherries and didn’t get allergic, which was amazing and I loved it. But then my stomach was full of cherries…
Culver city steps was pretty awesome, much more intense than I had expected. Instead of parking on the bottom and actually perusing the steps like normal people, we drove to the top and just took a look at the view. We went a few flights of stairs down and up, and I was surprisingly tired after just a few steps! I think because the delta elevation is really high with the taller-than-normal steps, I was out of breath in just a few seconds. Seriously would have been a great workout had Stanley and I been prepared. Oh well, next time!
During the last LA weekend, I went hiking with the MAE boys (Lucas, Cristhian, Raymond, Grant + Grant’s brother)) to the Hollywood sign. The trail we chose (starting at Canyon drive) was probably around 6 miles round trip with all our extra excursions.
It took us about four and a half hours from start to finish, hilariously long, because we lunched at the top and took a million breaks in between. Grant’s brother also has juvenile arthritis so he was hurting; we waiting for him and rested a lot. (But he seemed to be in a much worse condition than I was, I wonder what made him think hiking was a good idea?) We went to the peak to see the back of the sign, and then to the front for a more scenic view.
The next day was spent in Arcadia – I hung out with Stan, Wes and Yao getting boba and other misc things. We stumbled upon a batting range + miniature arcade which was fantastic! Since it was a super small arcade (which still had the essentials) the machines were really cheap and we spent a little more than an hour there. We played air hockey, pacman, DDR (I missed it, I used to play daily during my summer in RISD) wrestling, and skeeball. Pretty much all my favorites. And all for less than five bucks! Skeeball was only 25c! What a deal, seriously.
The last weekend of May, Stanley and I road tripped up the 101 and 1 from LA to Sunnyvale, stopping at SB, Solvang, SLO and SC on our way up. Still editing pictures so that post will be next
There have been all sorts of happenings in my life lately. I’m currently in limbo in between LA and Cupertino, started my job last week (feels like I’ve been there for months already, in a good way) and have been having lots of fun times with my bffs in my (surprisingly not scarce) down time. I’ve been putting off all the things that would put me into the “settled” category, IE bike purchasing, yoga studio joining, furniture buying… Because I haven’t quite moved into my next residence yet. But I really don’t mind how things have been for the last week and a half; so far I’m adjusting well and having a great time at work
I can’t find my card reader so I can’t edit pictures from Stan and my great trip up via PCH, but that post will probably come in a short summary version and then I’ll be busy busy settling into the next chapter of my life. All sorts of yay!