Sunday, August 5, 2012

California Adventures

Hi, all!

Okay, for real, I'm going to update more frequently and stuff.

It's been a busy few weeks with the transition from ABQ to CA. This week was actually my first full week at Sandia/CA because of all of the travel! Last week, I had my fellowship conference in Washington, DC, so I basically dropped my stuff in California and then took off for the east coast 48 hours later. Over the course of a week, I was in every time zone. I started the week in ABQ, moved to Livermore, flew to DC via Chicago, and then flew to Chicago and finally SF. (I also discovered the exact turnaround time of a 46" x 41" poster at FedEx/Kinko's if submitted the night before it is needed. But that's a story for another day...) Oof. I am racking up the frequent flyer miles, let me tell you. I keep saying that I should take a vacation when I'm done with all of this summer stuff, but really, I may just want to stay put for a while.

I was able to squeeze in a much-needed but entirely too short visit home to Evanston. Andy and I signed a lease on an apartment in Chicago(!) while I was home, which was very exciting indeed. I got a chance to walk through it, too, which was awesome. It's a HUGE place with a kitchen that is easily the size of our current living room. I'm excited for the move and excited to have people over for a housewarming! I'm heading home in a few weeks to help pack for the move, even though I can't be there during the actual move. Chicago people, I'm counting on you in my absence! :)

Even though I've only been here working for real for a little over a week, I've already been working hard. I've been working 9, 10, even 11 hour days. I didn't think this whole practicum thing was supposed to be so intense. Maybe I got the short end of the stick. Who knows. I get to play with lasers so that's cool? The experimental setup that we're using is more complicated than anything I've ever used before, which is super intimidating. There are so many things that can go wrong. Luckily, I have a fellow grad student name Darwin (which is apparently a very common name in Indonesia where he is from) who is a pro at operating the system. He claims that I can bother him with as many questions as I have. I hope this is true, but at least he doesn't seem to be too annoyed yet. :) I'm starting to get the feel of the system now, but I feel like once I get it mastered, I'm going to be leaving. Ah well.

Since this was my first weekend in Livermore, I decided to walk about a bit. The downtown is super cute and friendly. There are all kinds of restaurants and small shops. I spent a good chunk of my morning sitting outside Panama Red Coffee Co with my Kindle and a tall cup of coffee. I got in some quality people watching while I was at it. Moving along, I stopped by the Donut Wheel and Noah's Bagels to get some donuts for breakfast tomorrow and bagels for breakfast throughout the week. I walked all the way to Nob Hill Foods (no, not like the ABQ Nob Hill. It wasn't THAT long of a walk) and Trader Joe's (yes, I found it already). One thing I've found is that, apparently, no one takes public transit here. In the morning,  no more than four people have been on the bus. Today I figured out that on Saturday, only every other bus runs to the stop near my building. So I got stranded for a bit at the Livermore transit center with my bags of groceries. Oh well. Chicagoans don't know how good we have it. For real. I miss the el!

Livermore is also home to about 50 wineries. After perusing Google Maps today, I found out that there are at least two wineries down the street from my apartment. Maybe this will be how I spend my Sunday, hmmm? I'm really looking forward to checking out the farmer's market tomorrow. I love farm-fresh produce, and I really missed having that opportunity in ABQ.

Speaking of ABQ, I've recently started watching Breaking Bad. I am really glad I did not start watching it when I was living in ABQ, as I may not have ever left my hotel. At least I never went to the South Valley, so I guess I would have been okay? The show is, uh, addictive, so to speak, and I've already gotten through the first season. Eep!

California is generally pretty okay so far. I'm starting to get my bearings, and I hope to do some exploring! If anyone has any ideas or suggestions on things to do in NorCal, I am open to suggestions!

Have a great rest of the weekend, folks!

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