Throwback Thursday: Berkeley for the First time (this summer) 

I only started this blog when I was a week into my time in Berkeley. But, to be honest, I was luck to have an amazing May leading up to my California summer. How my life got this interesting, please let me know because i have no clue. Regardless, I was lucky to start my summer break quite early and went on some amazing trips I would like to reflect and look back upon for the next few weeks.

My first stop was Berkeley. I was lucky enough to be invited to check out the graduate school at UC Berkeley and learn more about their engineering program. Leading up to it was not idea. I had two finals back to back days and was running on caffeine in my veins. It wasn’t the most ideal situation, but I had four days in beautiful California.

The trip was quick but with it I was able to do a lot. I met several professors in the engineering department at Berkeley as well as some graduate students. I learned about the program and I got a glimpse of the graduate school life. But in addition to the graduate life, I got to see some few highlights that made me very excited for the rest of the summer.

I first off got to see Berkeley once again, but was spoiled and stayed at the Berkeley Lab Guesthouse and man, did that get me excited for the view I would see every day. Seeing the Bay Area every day was something I was sure to not get sick of.

view from lav

I also met several of the people I would work with all summer for the first time. I had no idea what to expect but everyone was super welcoming and it made me that much more excited to get working!

Besides the busy schedule, I met some other people who are interested in the Berkeley grad school program. We explored the campus, went to Sather Tower, and had a tour of several places at the lab and campus. We even got to go see the Molecular Foundry (look it up) and saw the largest microscope (we nerded out).

labhuge microscopesather

We were also able to go on a Duck Tour throughout SF. I saw AT&T park, Coit Tower, Fisherman’s Wharf, Columbia St., China Town,        Ghirardelli Square, and so much more for the first time! All of it I kept note on to return to. But the city was gorgeous (please, anyone who hasn’t gone, go see SF).

wharfghiradelli squareatt

I also was able to meet my roommates for the summer. The house I am currently living in is beautiful and HUGE. As well as a gorgeous sunset from my window 🙂

sunset

This is just a quick throwback to April, the start of my summer. May led to some more adventures I will share later on.

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Everyday brings something new here

This past week, I was LITERALLY able to do something new and exciting every day. It amazes me the amount of things there is to do here. The Bay Area is definitely a place to explore on its own, no need to venture too far away. I have found a lot of great things just in this area. It’s hard to believe I’ve been here for a month.

Monday: I was able to use my birthday present from the beautiful “parents” of mine and enjoy my first ever catamaran cruise. Most people say the best view of the bay is the north bay Merin Headlands but on the bay is where it’s at. It was gorgeous with the sun through the clouds. It’s through adventure cat, which I suggest to anyone and everyone! 

 

     
 Tuesday: my first ever Giants game!! I organized a lab group outing to go see the game. I was able to test my knowledge of baseball and teach a German and had world renown garlic fries.  

    

Wednesday: my housemates and I made Mead! Now it was not very exciting. We just threw everything together, but we will see how it turns out in a few weeks.  

   
Thursday: as a family dinner, the house made sushi!! I rarely even eat sushi so making it was a new adventure. But it was a lot of fun being a part of a team and I even made fruit sushi for dessert:) 
   Friday! So I switched this Friday up a little. I didn’t go dancing, but I ventured through mission district and had dessert for dinner at the amazing Tartine Bakery. The Bavarian cake and chocolate pudding was amazing. Then we ventured to city hall to attempt to see the kick off of the pride festival but we were too early. We decided to explore more of SF and found liquid nitrogen made-to-order ice cream, Smitten Ice Cream, and a burning man statue!  

     

 

  
Saturday! We ventured to the coast! Sarah and I went to Santa Cruz, saw the natural bridges state park, explored the wharf (had amazing hot dogs), and walked the boardwalk. It was beautiful there besides the clouds. Then we met up with her friends and explored Henry Cowell Redwoods Forest!!! We were actually able to go inside the trees. Fremont tree was so large we fit four people inside with plenty of room (and head space) to spare. I even did my first meditation in the woods 🙂  we ended the day with Tibetan food and my first room to room party! 

 
    
 

   
 
Sunday: after a long week, I treated myself to tasty French gourmet take out at Gregoire. After Sarah and I made meringues (strawberry with chocolate ganache and espresso with chocolate hazelnut ganache). They were a hit at our lab barbecue! Then we went to the BBQ and enjoy quality time with everyone in the lab. Had liquid margaritas (deliciously dangerous) and the first bonfire of the summer. 

 
    
 

It was a pretty fantastic week. I love the area I’m in so I can do this all and I love the people around me!

  

The ABCs of the last week

A lot of firsts happened the last week, so for the kids out there, let’s review some ABCs:

A. Arm knitting- I knitted my first ever scarf with my arms! It was an easy craft project and it only took 20 minutes! Search “armkntting” on youtube and you will find several informative videos (the Michael one is good), so you should give it a try. And just look how happy I was?

B- Balloons- this past weekend I went to my very first hot air balloon festival. It was at 5 am… So that was fun driving an hour to it. Unfortunately, the conditions were too bad that they couldn’t lift off. But I got some great pictures of the hot air balloons and enjoyed the trip.


C: Car driving- I conquered my fear of California driving. I drove in three different highways AND drove the Golden Gate Bridge for the very first time. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought, but I probably was driving at the least busy times ever. Now rush hour and I’ll be a pro


 D: Dancing (swing)- so this isn’t the first time I went dancing this weekend at Jack London Square, but it is the first time I learned to swing dance! It was the west coast swing, a little different from the swing dancing I’m used to. But the best part of the night, one of my dreams came true: I actually got to dance the east coast swing (& didn’t look like a fool). Maggie and I have a little Latin dude that is our favorite person. He knows how to dance and lead which makes anyone look like a pro. Salsa is his and Maggie’s dance. He lead me on east coast swing and that made it an amazing weekend to begin with.

E: Emeryville- I decided after waking up SUPER early on Sunday for hot air balloons, that I was to bike to Emeryville for the first time. It is about 5 miles away each way, making a very nice, respectable 10 mile bike ride on a Sunday afternoon. Emeryville has pretty cool shops around it and it is nice organized. The Bay Trail was beautiful to bike despite the wind, so I will be going back to check out the sunset sometime soon.

F: Food trucks- The SF area has these Off The Grid Food Truck pods that move all around the Bay Area. I was told I should definitely check it out before the summer is up. So when Sarah and I were looking for dinner, we stumbled across Off the Grid by chance! The food was great, as most food trucks are, and the selection was awesome. I had my first every rice balls and then bok choy. Sarah had a chicken curry that was AMAZING 🙂


G: Gardening – This past Saturday I was able to help Garden and weed at a local non-profit ranch, Slide Ranch. I volunteered there (which was near Muir Woods and man, I need to get used to driving up steep mountains…) and was able to learn about the organization which teaches children about the environment and plants as well as milk a goat! It was an awesome time that I will definitely do again. I also got to go to Sausalito and saw the beautiful bay view of the city and the boat docks.


        H: Healthy chocolate- I made some vegan chocolate bark this week for the first time and it is super easy! Mix coconut butter (~1/3 cup melted), cocoa powder (~1/4 cup), sweetener of choice (I did maple syrup) and as much as you want of it depending on how sweet you are and add your favorite add ins (be creative) and freeze. You can use coconut oil but it melts faster (even though coconut butter melts in the sun super quickly which I learned the hard way). Easy quick snack that is delicious.


I: Inside Out- Even though I got ditched by my co-workers (okay, ditched is a harsh word, but they didn’t come), I found one of my housemates and got to enjoy Inside Out the night before the release! I highly recommend the movie for all ages, it is adorable and endearing. The references to SF were spot on as I can now say I live here. If you haven’t seen it, go!

J: June 21st – Happy Summer Solstice. I enjoyed my first ever 50-60 degree summer day (from my memory).

These are 10 ABCs that I got to enjoy for the first time. I will continue on once I have experienced the rest of the Alphabet 🙂

On Coordination and How I have none

This past weekend, I was able to put my coordination to the test on three things (two of which I have never done before)

1. Learnin   g how to Cha-Cha **NEW**

2. Playing Super Smash while slightly tipsy

3. Making sure I don’t do anything stupid in a very small sail boat **NEW**

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These three events pretty much sum up my weekend.

The wonderful thing about living in the Bay Area is there is so much to do. Just by an easy surf on the web, I was able to find a food truck picnic (delicious BBQ), Jack London Square Dancing Under the Stars, the North Shore Art Festival in SF, and Cal Sailing Club Open House. This area provides entertain, fun, and for pretty great prices (free!).

The things new I tried included learning the Cha Cha. Dancing with random people, messing up and trying to continuously lead summed up my night. But by the end of it, I met random people who were fun to dance with, had an Asian man twirl me around and actually make me believe I can dance and had an awesome time with my dear friend Maggie 🙂 Meeting people and sort-of looking like a fool is what it takes to step out of your comfort zone. And I so glad I did, I am going again to FINALLY learn swing dancing (after my many attempts to get people to go).

The other new thing was sailing. Granted, I didn’t learn how to sail, but I did get on the boat. Water has always been that fearful “thing” for me. It can encompass me so quickly and there is so much unknown but isn’t that life (good metaphor, eh? 😉 ). Going on a boat that they kept saying had a very good chance of capsizing definitely put fear in me, but I did it anyways. And I now hope to go back and perhaps learn wind surfing too!

Some other new things I did last week: had my first flight of wine tasting (which lead to the super smash brothers), first food truck of the season, and my first ever Blue Bottle Coffee, NOLA (New Orleans, LA style). Incredibly delicious on all parts.

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That was my weekend. More things new to come when I have me, myself and I (& my good old trust Jeep)

New Places, New Experiences

I have been lucky to travel to a lot of places in the last two/three years. From 9 states and no other countries before I started college to 27 states (with 3 more by the end of summer) and 6 countries, I can say I am familiar with the unfamiliar. With these experiences, I have been able to knock a few things off my bucket list:

nycGo to New York City

Photo 162Scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef

DSC_0462Take my mom to Mt. St. Helens

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Conquer my fear of snakes (okay maybe not conquer it…)

But these are just a few of the many other experiences I hope to have in my life. So many things have been added to that list that I didn’t even know I wanted to do before I did, like live abroad for a few years and work, earn my PhD, learn Portuguese, etc. But I guess after having quite possibly the most awe-strucking May a 21-year-old could have, I have decided to be intentional with that bucket list. I have made Berkeley, one of the most unique areas I have been thus far, into the start of a lot of “firsts.” As I finally can say I am a “Cali-girl” for the first time, I can also say that I have done (insert whatever new things I try) for the first time.

Being intentional on this action will make this summer, and my life from here on out, even more memorable. I have done so much since it started, so now, I record it to remember the great times.

Stay tuned for my firsts as I will update biweekly on the things I am doing and the things I have done for the very first time 🙂