Sunday, November 23, 2014


You know those "Visited States" maps going around on Facebook? Well, here's mine:

Let me tell you about this map. I recently saw an ex-boyfriend's map on Facebook, and I chuckled to myself a bit (and maybe rolled my eyes) because my map is a lot more pink than his map. In fact, the number of states I've been to is nearly double the number he's been to.

Why is this remarkable?

Let me take you back to the day this ex-boyfriend and I broke up. He said I wasn't adventurous enough. Not only did that hurt, it was confusing. What in the world did he mean by that? I guess I should've asked him to operationalize the word "adventurous," but from a couple of other things he said, I gathered that to him, adventurous meant "sporty," and "well-traveled." Still, this didn't really make sense. Sure, I don't play any of the traditional American team sports, but I do like to hike, raft, paddleboard, row, and occasionally climb a rock wall. What did he mean???

When I told my friend Casey about the breakup, he said something like, "He said that? Really??? You're one of the most adventurous people I know. You're always open to new intellectual ideas, and you genuinely listen to other points of view, even though you already have a strong set of beliefs."

It was one of the greatest compliments anyone has ever given me, and it lifted me up during a time when I felt awful. More importantly, it opened my mind to what being adventurous really is. I don't know why it never occurred to me before . . . I'm constantly forcing myself into uncomfortable situations and awkward conversations and unfamiliar intellectual territory. In that sense, I'm actually quite adventurous.

Also. Let's review the last seven months of my life:

  • I moved to an economically-challenged state for love.
  • I moved halfway across the country to start a new job in a place where I knew no one.
  • I've been exploring California mostly on my own. I've been to beaches and mountains all by myself.
  • I went to a concert by myself last week because a) I don't know anybody around here who likes that band, and b) it was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing.

Every time I see pictures of friends in faraway lands and every time I hear of people doing daring things, such as skydiving, I think of what my friend Casey said. I think about how adventure is more than taking physical risks. It's about being bold, being brave, and trying new ways to think and do.

Thing I'm thankful for: cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies. They're wonderfully terrible.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

For the Love of Sweets

There's a really cute guy who works on my floor at Google. If you know me at all, you can imagine what he looks like: average height, thin-verging-on-skinny, brown hair, beard, wears a lot of hoodies and sneakers. Every time I see him, I get a little shy -- in a way I haven't since college.

But here's something: As cute-guy gave into his sweet tooth for the second time last Friday, I realized what had been lacking in one of my previous relationships -- a love of chocolate.* You may think it strange, but really, it makes perfect sense. I am a baker at heart.** Baking food for people brings me joy, and if my man don't like what I make for him, it just can't go nowhere!

Some people light up when they watch sports or when they talk about cars or when they go on a hike, and typically, that light is magnified when they are able to share that passion with someone close to them. That's how I feel about food, especially cookies or bread or pie. I want to share those things with the person I love, and I want the person I love to say something like, "Hey, that might be your best pie yet!"

When wrong-for-me didn't finish his piece of banana bread or took over a month to eat the cookies I made for just for him, I should've said good riddance. When he said he didn't really like sweets, I should have run for the hills. You live and you learn, I guess.

*And maybe it's more general than that -- maybe it's men who like dessert. Alls I know is that I gotta be with a guy who likes to eat food that is clearly not healthy for him.
**Fact: I have 237 pins about food on Pinterest. The next highest number is for clothes, coming in at 75 pins.

Thing I'm thankful for: acquaintances that are turning into friends maybe?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tanya the Russian

I stayed at work pretty late tonight, and I'm glad for Tanya's sake that I did.

I had just turned my car on and was about to pull out of the parking space, when I heard a soft tapping on my window. I turned my head, and there was a petite young woman staring at me. I was so startled, I nearly screamed, and she hung her head in laughter. I laughed, too, as I rolled down the window.

She explained that she missed her bus, the last bus of the night. In strained English, she asked what direction I was traveling and whether I could drive her to the nearest Caltrain station. When I realized that we were both headed south, I said, "That's silly. I'll just drive you home!" I don't know if I ever saw anyone hop in a car so quickly! She kept saying thank you over and over again, and all I could think was, "She Russian. She's got to be Russian."

As you probably all know by now, I like to pick out dialects and guess where people are from, so when the young woman said her name was Tanya, I thought, "Oh, definitely Russian." As it turned out, she is Russian, just as I suspected. I must admit, though, I felt a little bad for guessing before she had a chance to tell me herself because she said, "Oh! I was hoping my English was good enough that no one would know!"

Tanya and I had a nice chat during the drive, and I marveled at two things: 1) her olive skin and honey-blonde hair (Aren't all Russians fair with black hair???) and 2) the amount of education she has for looking so young. She looks no older than 20, yet she has a Ph.D. in math! (What am I doing with my life???)

When I dropped her off, I told her to look me up on Google's Intranet site and said we should go to lunch sometime. She asked for my full name, and when I told her, she lit up with excitement. "Oh, your name is . . . like the pretty things that fall from the sky? I wish that was my last name!" Haha! It was such a wonderful moment.

As I drove off, I marveled at how many incredibly interesting people are all over this huge world. And I remembered how much I love meeting strangers and chatting with them and guessing where they're from and discovering what they do with their days. People are so amazing.

Thing I'm thankful for: engineers who take the time to explain things

Thursday, November 06, 2014


Yeah, that's right. I've been listening to Christmas music. In fact, I listened to it on my way home from the haunted house I went to on Halloween. And double in fact, I listened to it a few weeks ago, when I was feeling particularly lonely.

I thought, "Huh. I wonder if 23-year-old me had anything to say on the matter. I'll take a look at the ol' blog."

I expected to see a passionately opinionated post about how people should not be listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving; after all, I was fairly black-and-white in my younger years. (Aren't we all?) But I surprised myself. Check this out: Christmas Before Thanksgiving.

Everything I said then is what I want to say now. That is, Christmas should be celebrated as much as possible throughout the year. I don't think it makes the actual holiday any less special, and if it does, that's . . . That's kinda strange to me, actually.*

*People say the same thing about Girl Scout Cookies. Like this: "If they sold Girl Scout Cookies year-round, then they wouldn't be as special." Here's what I say to that: "If they sold Girl Scout Cookies year-round, then I would be able to eat them year-round!" Special or not, they would still be as delicious as ever.

Thing I'm thankful for: the musical stylings of Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, and Andy Williams. I can never decide which one is my favorite. :)