I’m back to blogging after taking a break from it. I think it’s important to document this time because it’s so special and so unique. After defending my Master’s at SFU last November, I took a short break and then returned to academia in March. I went to Southern California from March till September as a visiting researcher at UC Irvine to do what I jokingly call a pre-doc. As if being a nerd wasn’t enough I wanted to do work ahead of the work that would become my next 3-4 years in my PhD. I packed my things and moved out of my very first apartment in Vancouver forever to begin a pretty cool new chapter. Goodbye SFU, the last 10 years have been great. And goodbye apartment, I’ll miss watching floatplanes landing in the morning, and views of the mountains and harbour.
After packing my things, and loading some of my possessions into my car, I was ready to go to California to start my pre-doc. Ryan flew in from Cayman days before to make the 5-day journey down to California with me by car. The great thing about having Canadian plates is that your insurance is good for up to 6 months in the U.S. so I didn’t have to buy a car in the U.S. or additional insurance. The ‘annoying’ bit was having to drive all the way down to California on the I-5 which is the most direct but un-scenic route there. Over the course of 4 days, Ryan and I drove, and drove, and drove. We spent a night in Portland which we’ll never forget because of the hotel we checked into that night, The Ace Hotel. Probably the most hipsterish of all hotels. We walked in the late evening to be greeted in the lobby by a photo booth, a large section of couches with 10 people sitting on them in a circle staring at their phones. Next to them was a Stumptown coffee bar (a very good and very hip coffee shop). We checked into our room to find a turntable, and some really dated vinyl. Of course we had to stop by some food trucks. Portland is famous for its food truck scene. We also got donuts at voodoo donuts. I got something at Powell Books, a very popular indie book store. And I even convinced Ryan to get a hot shave! En route to Irvine, we stopped in Northern California for a night, no where interesting, and then through the almond/orange basket of California with thousands of acres of produce and nut fields. And then finally, to Southern California. I should add, that while the drive down was bearable, we couldn’t stand the thought of doing it again back up, so we shipped my car to the border and I – as Ryan was busy working – drove it across a few days later, typical Ryan.
California was absolutely perfect. While Ryan had to go back to work in Cayman, he did, as promised, visit me. And even more than I thought he would! The great thing about where I lived was that it was directly across the street from my office and basically between two strip malls with grocery stores. Mores specifically, I was walking distance from an In n’ Out Burger, Chipotle, and Trader Joes, the trifecta of student happiness! Even better was that I was only a short straight drive from my gym. On weeknights and weekends alone I’d spend it exploring the beaches in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and I think I drove by Huntington Beach as well. One of the major highlights was probably when Ryan and I went to watch the Crossfit Games. I think Crossfit has done more for our relationship than we’ve considered. It’s given us something fun and active to do together and we both are seeing incredible physical and mental improvements in ourselves since starting over two years ago. We met almost 10 years ago on a dragon boat team and it’s so nice to have something active to do together again.
I’m too tired to write about the rest but I will do a second post with Cayman and Cambridge. Goodnight!