Training Day 4

I ❤ fall foliage

Listening to: La Roux – I’m Not Your Toy

Reading: The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry

I’m really exhausted. I failed at waking up early this morning and didn’t get to walk around the lake. I was really sad about it but hopefully I won’t be fired any time soon and I will be able to return to St. Charles for training next year and I can take pictures (and go biking!) then. I have to keep telling myself that it was just trees. Gorgeous, perfectly yellow trees with a lake in the background in Illinois … but trees nonetheless.

From my walk around the pond (different from the lake)

I am most annoyed at myself because if I had just planned my morning when my brain was functioning properly, I probably could have just gotten up at 6am, grabbed breakfast at 6:30, and made it out to the lake at 7:00 with an hour and a half to walk, soak it in, return, change, and head off to training. I have this annoying tendency to constantly run through what I SHOULD have done when I end up doing something less than optimal.

View from my window

They reallllyyy dragged out training the last day, because there wasn’t much to go over and I think they weren’t allowed to let us leave too early. Immediately after training, all of us went to pick up our luggage then boarded the buses. It was the most efficient mass exodus I had ever seen, outside of a sports arena.

We got to the airport at 3:00 and my flight was at 6:30. I was on the same flight with everyone headed to the SJ airport – so me, the two guys who started with me in SJ, and the senior manager – and we just killed time at an airport bar. I am not a fan of O’Hara airport. The corridors are way too long and I had to walk SUPER far just to get to my gate, which was at the very end of the American Airlines terminal. My flight was gloriously unfull, which I haven’t experienced in a very long time. I FINISHED A BOOK during the flight! From page one to page 275. I am really proud of myself for being able to just sit and read and not fall asleep, which I haven’t done since forever.

As narrow as this room is, I loved it

I miss my room at the Q Center. I really like going home to a hotel room after a tiring day. You don’t have to deal with anything – you don’t have to talk to people if you don’t want, you don’t have to clean anything, and since meals are provided, I didn’t have to worry about cooking. It was like my own little cocoon. I enjoyed training because I love asking people from different places about their lives and comparing it to the way I live mine. For instance, I didn’t realize how much of a hassle it is to miss a flight if I’m from a small city. For me, I can usually just hop onto the next flight within an hour. The girl in front of me from NY was like “yeah, I can get a flight in like half an hour.” And everyone else was like “I’d have to wait like five hours minimum.” So yay! I also asked the NY girl about her Halloween plans (she said, a huge outdoor party in Greenwich) and the guy from Oklahoma City goes “yup. Sounds like my Halloween too.” AND the girl from Kansas City and the guy from Oklahoma City had never heard of REI! We figured that there’s not much they can buy from REI that they could use in their home states.

The bar aka only night time activity in St Charles

During training I coincidentally sat next to someone from the Seattle office, which could not have delighted me more. I asked him where he lived and he said kind of hesitantly “uh … well … Queen Anne?” the same way I say “uh … well … Arcadia?” when someone non-Asian asks me where I come from. I said “I LOVE queen anne!” and that was no lie. Another day I asked him if he had ever gotten drinks at El Diablo and we ended up talking about our favorite Seattle restaurants and then he mentioned Montlake and I was like “oh yeah I walked there from the floating walkways” and I am proud to say I impressed him with how much I explored in Seattle. *beams*

OK I am super exhausted but spent 40 minutes blogging instead of sleeping. Why do I always make the best decisions?

This place is like part hotel, part school, part golf course

I didn’t even post this many pics for my travel blogs.

 

😦 the lake was even prettier :(:(:(

Training Day 3

Day 2

I don’t know what to say about Day 2. It’s already come and gone. Training went on until 5, I walked around Q center’s pond and it was incredibly relaxing and made me more certain that one day I will do an east coast fall foliage road trip. Went to dinner and then a 2hr networking event then played pool which was fun despite my deficiencies. I played with the three guys I started with and they were super nice about my complete ineptitude and gave me good tips. Yay!

Day 3

I just took a really awesome walk around some lake near the q center. It was really reminiscent of the times I would just walk around some park in Seattle. Only here, the foliage is orange and yellow, rather than the green of the pacific northwest. I thought I wouldn’t be seeing anything different from yesterday, so I stupidly neglected to bring my camera. Now I am trying to schedule a way to run around this 35 mile lake tomorrow so I can take a quick picture.

It was completely secluded, except for five joggers I passed. I was wearing my favorite skinny jeans, boots, my dark blue GAP thermal, and my black peacoat. I felt really east coast. There was so much wind going through the trees that it sounded like there was a huge running river right next to me, even though the only body of water is a lake with gigantic houses dotted along the edge. When I have perfect, on my own moments like this, I briefly wonder if I am some sort of recluse.

———————————

I wrote that right after I got back from my walk, which was right before I left for dinner. I ended up eating with all of the SF/SJ people plus a senior manager and (I think) a manager from our offices. I knew they were taking us out to drinks at the pub at Q center, but I figured I would probably leave early enough to sleep at 10pm and attempt to wake up SUPER early to go running around the lake. Instead … well I’m writing this at 1:30am and I’m not to keen on waking up early anymore. We ended up sitting at a way overly crowded table for dinner – basically a table fit for five people was fitting nine. Went to the pub … what is with this new shuffleboard phenomenon?! Or have I just never noticed it before? We played shuffleboard in Austin and I’m seeing it more and more in bars. I am proud to say I am a natural at shuffle board. Apparently in order to improve my business socializing skills, I really need to 1) drink more 2) play pool 3) understand sports 4) play more shuffle board. I already knew the first three, the fourth was a surprise.

Around 10:30 we left the bar (which was way emptier than last night, I assume because a good number of people took up the Q center’s $300 limo ride to Chicago offer) and went to sit in one of the lounge areas within the hotel. I didn’t talk very much at all the entire night but the conversation was realllyyy interesting, especially since we were talking to a rather open senior manager. We ended up calling it a night after the Lakers game and I went back to my room at 12:30. So our convo lasted for 6.5 hours! Felt strangely compelled to blog, when I should really be sleeping. I don’t even know what my schedule for tomorrow is yet. I have plans to wake up SUPER early, somehow fit in running to the lake, running back and changing into business clothes, grabbing breakfast, checking out, and making it to training at 8:30am. Ummm … yeah. Well, the good thing is I plan to load up on tons of coffee and power my way through training, then just completely knock out at the airport and the plane. Flight at 6:45, will be back in SJ around 9!

Training Day 1

So I’m in … Illinois right now! I want to say Chicago but it’s technically not. I’m in St. Charles, Il which is the other direction from O’Hare airport. I didn’t realize until later today that because of this training, my Sunday was all just travel. But that’s ok because I feel like the rest of training will feel like an extended weekend. I love business traveling! It makes me wish I could have had a job that travels more. I love hotels and plane rides and limo rides are pretty cool too.

Laura came to visit me in the morning and help me eat my watermelon. Surprisingly, this three week old watermelon did not go bad and was actually quite sweet. I managed to eat half of it for breakfast – hopefully the other half lasts until Wednesday night when I return. I had scheduled a cab pickup but they came half an hour later which pissed me off but actually allowed me to get at the airport at a perfect time. So all was well.

Stupid TSA made me throw away my St. Ives face wash. So SJ airport is pickier than Burbank or even LAX. I really hope they donate all these fluids to people … but knowing America they get dumped into the trash can. We took American Airline – my two fellow SJ auditors and I had the same flight which was pretty cool. I have a weird prejudice against any non Southwest airline. I assume they are inferior, and I would be most are. We had assigned seating, and all of us had requested a window, so none of us sat together. Which is fine because then there isn’t the obligation to have a conversation. I slept most of the way and was able to see the lights of Illinois when we descended, which was pretty cool.

Despite our travel stipend, I didn’t buy a particularly good dinner. We were just ready to get to the Q Center, which is essentially a training facility for corporations. It’s an old women’s college, now converted into … well I’m not quite sure because it was dark when we arrived. But it’s the weirdest hybrid of a college and hotel. I really like my room, even though it is relatively small. I heard the food is awesome and I walked down to the dining area and it looks like a less glitzy Vegas buffet. I stopped by at the bar, where I had expected most people to be in flight clothing (ie. jeans and a comfy top). Instead all the women are well made up and I feel like I’m in some SF Financial District bar for happy hour, except the setting looks more like a makeshift bar in a community center. I left early with one of the SF auditors that I really like – thankfully she doesn’t like to drink either. So maybe me, her and the Mormon guy can stick together and participate in non-drinking activities.

I went to the gym instead of making friends and hooking up at the bar. So I’m pretty awesome. Go, young twenties! Watched Revolutionary Road while dying on the treadmill. What is wrong with me. I’m incredibly out of shape. Showered, watched The Office even though I should REALLY be sleeping. It’s 1:00 here in Illionis! And we’re meeting up for breakfast at 7:15 which is REALLY 5:15 which means I have to wake up at like 4:45. WTF right? Well. In any case, I’m actually very excited for training. I was going to post this after training ended with daily updates, but I ended up writing so much for Day 1 it might as well just be its own post. I would put pics of my room but … I’m lazy. Maybe later!

Quickie Update

I imagine most people reading this would want to know about my first week of work at a client. But all week, I’ve never really had anything happen to me that I really wanted to blog about, plus I’m super tired, plus I should be getting ready to go to Chicago, plus I’m still kind of shaken from yet another near death experience from driving on the freeway. I am often in disbelief that I am such a terrible and careless driver. I used to be able to recall all the mistakes I ever made while driving because they would emotionally scar me, but now there are just too many to keep track of.

My first day of work on Monday went from 9am to 11pm. So that was a joy. I woke up the next morning very unhappy with life. But onwards. At least I was kept super busy, so I didn’t actually mind going home so late. As my friends have told me, it’s actually far more stressful to not have assigned work. I found that out on Friday when I kept emailing everyone saying “OMG I HAVE NOTHING TO DO I don’t know what I should do!” I think if you have a salaried job and you’re doing nothing and you feel okay about it, there is something wrong with your company.

I really like my team but I don’t feel like I made much of an impression on them. I’m pretty sure they all think I’m anorexic because I only brought fruit for my meals, even though they told me to pack lunch and dinner. I told them that I don’t cook and I can survive on an apple, pear and grapes for a 14 hour day, but they looked very concerned when I got something stuck in my throat and started coughing. I’m pretty sure they thought their newest  team member was about to keel over and die from lack of nutrition.

Tuesday was easier and I left at 7:30. Then Wednesday and Thursday at 5 pm! Wednesday I was SO set on going to Planet Granite and signing up for a gym membership but instead I found myself napping on the ground. I DID go on Thursday so YAY! I only accomplished one course so that was disappointing. Then I tried running on the treadmill and had to really push myself to run FREAKING ONE MILE. I was so pissed about that. I haven’t run on a treadmill in FOREVER, the last time was probably several weeks before I graduated in December, because I started to run at Edwards Stadium instead. Egh. I went out to the parking lot but as I was reversing, I thought to myself “HELL NO I’m not leaving this gym having only run one mile and accomplished one course.” So I reparked and went back in to do the elliptical for 30 minutes. Still a disappointing workout, but I guess I can’t really blame my body for being weak after never working out for a month.

I went back to the rock climbing gym today in the morning and did much better on the courses. I have no idea why, but I ALWAYS think “omg there will be so many people at the gym on a weekend morning because no one has to work!” And I’ll rush over in a panic, thinking I’ll have to brave the crowds. Then I get there and there’s no one working out. Because obviously people have lives and go out on Fridays and sleep in on Saturday mornings. Why am I such a loser?

Oh god. My brother just asked me what we will be doing for a family vacation this year. As if we go on annual family vacations. I haven’t gone on a family vacation ever since I started having friends with spending money. UGH. I am going to have to waste my PTO for some vacation where my emotions will range between annoyed, super annoyed, and indifferent. Wonderful. Listening to my coworkers talk, I realized that if/when I start dating something, I will not only have to split my vacation time between friends and family, I’d have to split it with THEIR friends and family too. I imagine that I would be the type of person to say “you are either going with me to visit my friends or you can spend the holidays alone.” Resulting in my spending the rest of my life alone.

omg I just reread that and realized I wrote “dating something.” I’m leaving that in there as evidence that I am too tired to be writing a blog entry.

What can I say about work? Hmm. Well. It’s what I expected it to be. There’s not much to say about it yet. And I wouldn’t want to say anything on my blog that could get me into trouble.

Tomorrow I’m off to Chicago for training until Wednesday. I don’t think it will be as fun as it sounds. Victoria says the food there will be really good, but we’re not in downtown Chicago so I don’t think we’ll be able to see anything interesting. At least I’ve already been in downtown Chicago so I won’t feel that sad if we end up doing nothing.

I have a three week old watermelon that I have still not eaten. And I bought a 10lb bag of potatoes before realizing that I won’t be eating at home for an entire week.

Me: what am I going to do with all my potatoes?! This is like ten meals!
Laura: wait, does a potato weigh a pound? I don’t think there are ten potatoes in this bag…
Me: WHAT? Let me check the serving size … HOLY FUCK THERE ARE TWENTY EIGHT POTATOES IN THIS BAG. What am I going to do with TWENTY EIGHT POTATOES?!

When I break apart all the facets of my life, my life seems pretty good. I see friends (namely, Laura) basically 80% of the week. I’ve been able to go back to Berkeley fairly frequently. I love where I live and I really like the people I live with. My first team is laid back and cool and not dysfunctional. I’m not eating as much and I just joined a gym that has all the things I like (except an open track and a swimming pool). My commute goes opposite of traffic, and my client is ridiculously close to where I live so I can leave for work five minutes before I need to get there. But something still makes me feel a little unhappy. Something is off. I think I just need to find something I love about the South Bay.

Reigning it in

I need to stop saying to myself “it’s ok, I’m a working woman now!” Because in the past two days, I spent more than I spent for the first two weeks of October. Oops.

I went shopping with Laura and Madhuri today which was AWESOME. Shopping at GAP was overwhelming. Usually I can narrow down at least 70% of a store due to price constraints. But with Madhuri’s employee discount, everything was fair game so even full priced items would have been cheap. Of course, the things I needed (more pencil skirts, shoes, skinny jeans), I did not buy. And the things I did not need (dark colored long sleeve shirts), I bought more of. BR was easier, because even with an employee discount, I could still only afford the sale section.

Tomorrow is my first real day of work! I was told to bring lunch and dinner, but so far I haven’t thought of what I would make. I will bring my bag of bread and a pound of grapes and hope that will suffice until 10pm.

Boring to you, memorable for me!

Listening to: Belle and Sebastian – Sleep the Clock Around

Super tired and it’s not even midnight! Today was a pretty fantastic day though, so I have to blog about it. Nothing unique happened, it was just a productive and friend-filled day, my favorite.

I went to Laura’s yesterday night, making it my fifth night in a row. I’m finally giving her a break from me so I will be showering and sleeping in my own house tonight. Since she and her sister were going to their grandma’s in the morning, I went back to Santa Clara. Productive Task #1: did my laundry. Productive Task #2: cleaned my room, which basically meant picking up all the crap off my ground (as pictured in the previous blog). Made lunch then drove to Berkeley without using my GPS, OR getting lost, OR having a near death experience! That in itself would have made my day – but there’s more!

While on the 880, I was just two cars away from being blockaded by the police. I have no idea what happened on the freeway, but I checked my rearview mirror and realized that a police car had stopped all lanes of traffic behind me and was not letting anyone drive forward. I’m so glad I made the cut.

I’ve been driving freeways in the Bay way more frequently than I drove freeways in SoCal. Partly because I just drive much more often, and partly because there are so many freeways here and it’s not like socal where you could reasonably get around without needing a freeway. I really enjoy driving the freeways here – there are generally fewer cars, the roads are smoother, and they’re just more fun for some reason. I love driving in Berkeley (well, except for the narrow streets, the pedestrians, and the random medians) because it’s the only city where I ever paid attention to streets so I can get around without my GPS, even more easily than I can in Arcadia. I feel so accomplished when I can get around without my GPS.

So, I went to my eyebrow threading which was AWESOME. I went to M&M Thread Salon which was on MLK right next to the NEW TRADER JOE’S. It was super cheap ($10) and way less painful than tweezing and far more effective since I don’t even know how to shape my eyebrows. I would seriously drive back to Berkeley just for more threading appointments. Why have I not done this sooner? It is a little sad to me how good I feel about myself after I “pamper” myself with these beauty things. It seems superficial and shallow, but there really is something uplifting about things like haircuts and manicures and apparently eyebrow threading.

Then I drove to the Safeway on Shattuck because I REALLY had to pee. Since I was already there, I bought some grapes and pears. Grocery shopping in Berkeley! An hour from home. There’s just a familiarity to Berkeley that I love and never want to let go of. Then my favorritteee place in all of Berkeley – 4th St! It really is my favorite street. I wonder what percentage of Berkeley students know about it, because it’s much more of a rich Berkeley Hills kind of hangout place. The atmosphere is always super relaxed, there are always dogs and families and the air was crisp today. I went to Crate and Barrel and bought THE CUTEST BAKEWARE EVER

9x13 cake pan, loaf pan and pie tin for $32!!!

I called my mom because I wasn’t sure if this was expensive or not. But they are just so cute and way more fun to bake with than metal stuff. My mom said “I don’t know … for one thing you don’t even bake” and I was like “no, but I will be inspired to bake with these!” I was sort of iffy but then I went to Sur La Table and uncute bakeware sold for even more than this, so I was like WHAT A DEAL! I suppose it’s not particularly wise to price compare with similarly expensive stores, but oh well. These were half off! And my new favorite purchase. It’s fun to buy stuff and not care about spending money. It makes me feel like Oprah. (As long as I don’t feel like the average American, who is in consumer debt)

Walked around more of 4th St and tried to soak it in. I always love the whiff of smoky bbq around Bette’s Oceanview Diner. I love the trees lining the streets and pretty much everything about 4th St.

Then I drove to Masse’s Pastries and bought three cakes. It turns out my mom and four of her relatives from Taiwan are on a tour of the Bay. And tonight they’re staying at a hotel in Fremont. HAHA So I said I would drive over and see them, so these cakes were for them. My go to “food as gift” place is Love at First Bite. It’s always the first thing I think of, and I will always think afterwards “egh, Love at First Bite is cool but I’m not even a big fan of cupcakes.” Then a lightbulb went off and I realized MASSE’S! Masse’s is my favorite dessert place in Berkeley, even more than Ici. A cake is just as expensive as an ice cream cone but far more fun to eat!

Then I drove up to Berkeley Hills so I could walk around. I was SUPPPEERRR excited. Today was perfect walking weather and I had already walked a few streets to and from my car so I was feeling really great. It sounds crazy but I think in the entire nine months, my favorite time ever was just walking the streets of the Bay Area. You would think it would be the roadtrip or Seattle, but I really think it was the Bay. I ended up calling Jon to see when he was going to leave to watch volleyball and he was like “COME NOW. STOP WALKING” so I was like DAMN I just parked too! But I walked back and drove from Berkeley Hills to the apt. Last week Alvin pointed out that I still call it “my apt” even though I don’t live there anymore.

Then … volleyball game! Jon wanted me to wear my UW shirt so I did. It was a fun idea – putting my $20 tshirt from another school to use – but it ended up being very awkward because Jon wanted to sit on the UW side which meant we couldn’t really cheer for Cal and we certainly weren’t going to cheer for UW so we just sat quietly. Although sometimes we would slip and I’m sure it was obvious we weren’t real UW fans. It doesn’t matter – Cal won! Shutout.

I didn’t want to get to my mom’s hotel too late so I didn’t have time to visit Alvin 😦 I wish I could have spent more time in Berkeley! What am I going to do next year when I don’t have any more Berkeley connections?! I seriously loveee it there. There’s just so much to do and it’s like my home away from home. I think I have many homes away from home. Watching Parenthood always makes me miss Berkeley.

So I drove to Fremont and spent an hour with my Taiwan relatives, who I haven’t seen in a very long time. Pretty fun! They loved the cakes I had bought and were very intrigued by my eyebrows. Then I left because they are waking up at 6am tomorrow so they can go on their tour of SF. God, hearing about what they do, and particularly, what they don’t do on these Chinese tours makes me so appreciative that I travelled outside of a tour. No wonder I used to hate travel – all I ever went on were Chinese tours!

Left, now I’m back home! And ready to sleep. Good night.

The Only ways this day would have been better:

– had signed up for rock climbing membership (which I keep putting off because I always think ‘I don’t have time to really commit to a rock climbing session today!’)
– walked around Berkeley Hills and taken pictures
– eaten at Cheeseboard

My first paycheck

Listening to: Aqua – Back to the 80s (yes, Aqua DID make more than Barbie Girl)

I’ve actually had many “first paychecks” but I suppose this is the first salaried one. Some people like to fantasize about what they would do with their first real paycheck. For me, I always received a paycheck before I really had time to think about a proper wishlist, and once I had it in my hand, I just deposited it because I didn’t know what else to do with it.

I thought maybe by the time I got my paycheck for this job, I would have decided what to buy. It would have to be something luxurious but not so extravagant it made up an obscene percentage of the entire paycheck. Something meaningful and long lasting so I could look at it and tell people “that’s what I bought with my first paycheck!”

In actuality, as all other paychecks before it, the payroll clerk handed me my paycheck without my expecting it, and now it’s just sitting in my work bag and I haven’t decided what to buy. In fact, it’s a disappointingly low amount since it only applies to a single week. Minus the taxes, minus the rent, minus the monthly gas, I don’t even have enough to cover the amount I’ve spent so far on food. It’s a good thing I have a second paycheck coming my way at the end of the month.

So it would appear that “the thing I bought myself with my first paycheck” is going to be my Lauren Conrad Style book. Not quite what I was thinking, but it’ll do.

Her perfectly retouched face judges me all the time

Laura’s mom is in Taiwan so for the entire week, I have been going over to Laura’s house after work. As I told Laura’s sister yesterday “I get off of work and go home and wait for Laura to call me and then I go over … I guess like a booty call. I didn’t realize that until I just said it.” But yup! It kept me from crying out of loneliness which was really nice. I now know how to drive from Laura’s house to work and my office to my house without the GPS. And surprisingly, from my house to Berkeley. But I have no idea how to drive from my house to work, because I have never done it, even after a week. Next week I’ll be driving to my client. Then I’ll be in Chicago. And finally on October 29th, I will be driving to the office.

I have not yet joined a gym which disturbs me. Today I had to carry a box full of supplies to my car AND a Q1 binder and halfway to the parking lot I realized I really do have to go to the gym. It’s just so annoying because I want to join the rock climbing gym, but driving there is 15 minutes and even when I get out of work at 5, I already have no incentive to spend 30 minutes roundtrip on a freeway, just to exercise. I can’t imagine I will be any more inclined to go when I leave work at 9-10pm.

For those (= all friends – 4 people) who have not yet seen my place, the place that Laura says is “so large I’m a little scared of it,” here are some pictures

My fugly mismatched room

It’s larger than my camera can capture. Note the business clothes strewn on my bed. The glare-y book on the bed is Lauren Conrad’s Style. My window looks out onto a residential street which is nice. I just lay down on that open space  on the ground whenever I’m at home. And note the watermelon on the ground. 25 cents per lb!!!

The spacious living room

My room is at the end of the hall. I’m standing at the space in front of the front door. That’s my fridge taking up space in their otherwise cozy living room. There’s a huge dining room whose main purpose seems to be bike storage. There’s a giant turtle on the shelf next to my room, which is nice because I like having its heat lamp light my path to my room

This dog is so cute

A dog! Apparently the first thing she does every morning is run to my room, but I wouldn’t know because I’ve never been here. She’s a Japanese Shiba, and her name is Aiko. She barks at certain people, and I must say I felt relieved that I passed her test and was not barked at. I like to pat her on the head when I come home from work and she’ll put up with it but doesn’t give any indication that she enjoys it. And that’s basically our only interaction with one another.

me: I can’t imagine what it would be like to get yelled at. When was the last time you got yelled at?
laura: you mean like today?
me: oh.
*later that night*
me: you have a gold’s gym membership?!?! do you go to the gym more or get yelled at more?
*laura laughs then a sad knowing smile replaces the laugh*

Training

I feel like I can’t really say I started my first day of work until this week ends. This entire week is just training, and next week I’m immediately jumping into quarterly reviews. Which should be better than if I had immediately started on a fiscal year audit. I like everyone in my class, only five other people started on the same date as me. The first day was in SF, which affected where I lived for most of the weekend. I am REALLY pissed that I didn’t expense my mileage but just did my expense as a BART ticket. Because in a way, I did drive all the way up there with the intention of going to SF on Monday. Whatever. I’m guessing there will be more opportunities for mileage expensing.

I overestimated the popularity of Rockridge Bart station and left Alvin’s apartment REALLY early to guarantee a parking spot. I basically got there an hour and a half earlier than necessary, and half the lot was empty. I loved taking the Bart to work though, I kind of wish I could do it more often. I was standing on the platform of Rockridge, which is right in the middle of the 24 highway. The combination of the blue foggy light of dawn and car headlights speeding off to work was really calming to watch.

Since I had so much time, I planned to eat breakfast in SF. I got a bagel from Noah’s and sat to read a book. Then walked around in search of coffee and ended up in a Starbucks (bleh I am not a fan of coffee from huge chains). An hour later I strolled into work around 8:45 and started my day!

Work ended at 5 and I took the bart back to Rockridge, where my car was. THEN I went to stand in line for a LAUREN CONRAD BOOK SIGNING!!! *SQUEEEEEEEE* I HEART Lauren Conrad. If you did not know before. She is my favorite reality star celebrity. I felt incredibly stupid standing in that line. She was signing at the Cal Student Store and I figured, when will I ever be able to see her again? So I bought one of her books and waited in line (the Style one, so at least I can learn something from it, unlike LA Candy or Sugar and Spice). Just listening to the people around me talking made me feel embarrass for my generation. Yet, maybe I would have been saying the same things if I had friends around me.

Meeting her was rather underwhelming. The main reason I stood in line was for the chance to take a picture with her, because I don’t think autographs mean very much. But they didn’t allow cameras past a certain point, so I wasn’t even able to take a picture OF her. She didn’t give personalized messages either – I wanted her to write “AUDITING IS THE SHIT” on my cover. She just drew a giant heart and her initials, LC. I wasted my time with her! I was so sad afterwards I considered just standing in line again just for a redo. I wish I had said something more interesting but instead I asked if she would write me a personalized message and she very nicely said that if she did, it wouldn’t be fair to everyone else she had denied. The girl in front of me got an actual conversation out of her, because she said “You inspired me to go to FIDM!” I may have unconsciously rolled my eyes.

Seeing Lauren Conrad at a book signing was not as exciting as running into a celebrity. But I also stood in line to meet Jason Dohring and that was much more exciting than seeing Lauren Conrad. I don’t know why – I adore Lauren Conrad far more than I adore Jason Dohring. I guess because there were so many restrictions. She looks exactly the way she looks in photos, whereas sometimes people say celebrities look even more gorgeous in real life. I guess photos accurately capture her beauty. She actually looked rather old, like I would have guessed she is 30 if I knew nothing about her. But that may be more of a commentary on anti-aging techniques people use than her physical look.

Anyway, I walked back to my old apt and met up with Jon for a dinner at Gypsys. Delicious! Then I drove back to South Bay, and decided to visit Laura so I could hear her New York stories. I arrived around 9:30pm and around 11 I jokingly said I should just stay the night then realized I TOTALLY could because ALL my stuff was in my trunk! I have basically been a nomad since Saturday! No one is in Laura’s house so I just talked to her until midnight, and by then I was already falling asleep because I was SOOO exhausted. I hadn’t slept very well at Alvin’s because I was SO paranoid I would be late for work, I woke up at 3am and kept checking the time every 30 minutes. So … exhausted.

Laura kept trying to tell me about New York but I would just interrupt her with my own stories. It took about an hour and half before she could finally say “SO ON SATURDAY…” I only made it until Friday and I had to tell her to shower so I could nap. I told her about my first day of work and how we ended at 5 and just had all these presentations. She responded “wow until 5?! My first day was a half day and we just watched a video about how to properly pick up boxes.”

We woke up around 7am and ate oatmeal and watched E news together and then we both left for our jobs around 8am. Too bad she is going to her client in Fremont, otherwise we could have carpooled to San Jose together.

Training was far more interesting today. More real world information and I went out to lunch with others. I had been expecting to show off what I have been doing the past nine months but someone showed me up and actually spent a year traveling Asia. So damn him. And when I try to say what I have done, I only get up to San Diego when I say “so I always wanted to learn how to surf, so I did that. And I would study for the CPA at the same time—” and everyone will go “OMG YOU TOOK THE CPA ALREADY?!” and everyone focuses on that more than the traveling. Seriously, when I went to the bbq I went through all the places I had gone to and the main thing everyone latched onto was “WOW you finished the CPA before you started work! That is amazing.” And I’m like “PAY ATTENTION TO SEATTLE. AND MY ROADTRIP” in my head

Ok, I’m going to stare at my fridge and figure out what veggies I can make before they spoil. Then, going for another sleepover at Laura’s! I think the past few weeks have only been examples of how I need constant human interaction or I will freak out and think I have no friends. It’s weird because in Seattle I never once felt lonely or apart from my friends, even though I think I really only kept in contact with Laura and Kim the entire month. And I knew no one in that city. But when I’m in Santa Clara, if I’m alone for a single hour and no one is available to play, I seriously go insane and become really sad. Once work starts, maybe I won’t even have time to think about my social life.

Enter new stage of life

Listening to: Laura Marling – Failure

Tomorrow is my first day of REAL work. I don’t remember how I felt when on my first days at Souplantation, Equilar and Novogradac, but I can’t imagine it was as nervewracking as starting my real job. A job that, if all goes well, I will be sticking with forever! The other jobs always had an eventual end date so if I royally screwed up, it was ok. But if I screw up this job, I will be really lost as to what my next step would be.

This last weekend was ok. I kind of wish I had driven down to SoCal immediately after my CPA exam, but I was so excited to be over with it that I celebrated by watching seven straight hours of tv. It wasn’t until Friday the next day, when I decided to rewatch 30 Rock, that my time would have been better spent back in Arcadia. I really kicked myself for it for two days, but I had an enjoyable and relaxing last day of freedom with Alvin in Berkeley (on his birthday!) so now I’m not so sad. I also went to a company BBQ and met my future coworkers. I thought everyone seemed like someone I’d enjoy hanging out with. I told a few of them what I have been doing since I graduated, and of all the things, they were most impressed that I had finished taking the CPA exam before starting work.

There were a couple things I wanted to do before my first day of work. Such as, set out a financial budget for how I will spend and save my paychecks. Write a list of things I want to buy, from which I would choose one nice item per month to purchase. There were also a TON of habits I wanted to pick up throughout college, but every time I failed I would think “well I will just start doing this when I start working.” I hope a few months from now, I will really have picked up these habits. It would be really terrifying to realize that my habits have just worsened.

I am supposed to wake up at 6:45 tomorrow  to drive to Rockridge Bart Station. I don’t have to be at work until 9am, but I’m really afraid that the parking lot will be full if I get there at 8am, so I’m not taking any chances. I’ll be in SF around 7:30! I decided I will just find a Noah’s and eat a proper breakfast while reading a book. I initially tried to yelp for a nice cafe but did not find any. I guess SF is no Seattle.

Sigh. Work. Sigh. Life. I’m already looking to the weekend.

Living in a house, not really a home

Today I took the LAST section of the CPA exam!!! I’m certain that it will be the lowest of my four scores, and I’m not certain that I passed, but I won’t be thinking about it for at least a month! I had a ton of things I wanted to accomplish once I got this exam out of the way. Instead, I just started watching tv right when I got home at 3pm, and I haven’t stopped yet. Tomorrow is my LAST free weekday, a weekday where I can do anything I want without the pressure of fulfilling a precious vacation day or holiday. What will I do to celebrate it? Probably clean the house, get a library card, rewatch all the tv I watched today (attempting to watch three shows at the same time results in missing crucial parts in all three), and general errands. OH AND, SEE ANDRIA!!! So that’s the light at the end of the tunnel…

If I were to look at a list of characteristics I wanted in a Bay Area home, I think this house would cover almost all of them. It’s clean, large, in a quiet suburban neighborhood, close to work, with easy parking. Although it would be nice to live in an area with closer restaurants, I know that in the Bay Area, I’d have to give up at least three of those characteristics just to be near good food. So, there’s really not anything wrong with the house. In fact, I really want my friends to visit so they can confirm that this house is a pretty sweet deal. I really like all the people I’m living with, and I’m hoping I’ll get to know them better when I’m not so busy, but … I don’t feel like Santa Clara is my real home and I’m under the emo impression that I will never think of it as my home.

At first I thought that my qualification for a home was simply: clean carpet, reliable internet access, and a place to sleep. The last puzzle piece was the bed, but once my mattress came, I just felt sadder. This sounds like a dumb problem, but after putting in my full sized bed, I realized how much space I have and how empty my room feels. I need wall art, a rug, curtains, MATCHING furniture … but I just don’t know how to begin. If I buy one thing, everything has to match it! So what will be the defining object? My guess is, the first cheap thing I find and like on Craigslist.

Driving the streets of Santa Clara just makes me more certain that this isn’t really “home.” Arcadia streets have a sense of familiarity, understandable seeing as how I’ve lived there since I was six. Berkeley felt like home too, since I walked around the streets often enough. (I did go back last weekend and it felt really different, even establishments that clearly stayed the same felt different). Seattle felt like home within a day, I don’t know why but it just has a comforting atmosphere. I think part of it was how close everything is to one another, while still maintaining a nice residential atmosphere. Here though … I don’t know … things are too far apart so I’m not tempted to explore and I feel like I’m living in a stretched out office park.

I’ve been in my room for two days straight, only leaving the house to take my exam. It is really depressing. Especially when I compare it to the days when I would study in Seattle and still have fun at night time and explore. It’s so lonesome to be in a suburban neighborhood on a weekday – everyone is out at work and kids are at school. I live near an elementary school so I realized that when it’s REALLY quiet, I can hear children laughing. I also live near the SJ airport and an Amtrack rail, so I constantly hear the sounds of people traveling. Back in Berkeley, whenever I saw a plane I would wonder where everyone on the plane was going and who they would be seeing – it gave me a pleasant feeling. Now when I hear a plane fly overhead or a train toot its whistle, it just makes my life seem so comparatively stationary.

My mind is now constantly preoccupied with planning out my weekends, weeks in advance. It is frustrating to be limited by parking. I always have to consider where I would park if I go somewhere on certain days. Sundays are the free for all – I can go ANYWHERE. I found out that bart parking is SUPER cheap. Generally it’s $1 per day, and after Fridays 3pm, it’s free for the weekend! The catch is, I’d have to figure out how to get from Bart station to Destination, which is sometimes an even bigger hassle than just paying for some weekend parking lot.

I realize that I meant to write about what I’ve done since … my birthday. This post has been rather depressing so I don’t know if I can muster up the enthusiasm that my last week deserves. Here I go…

On the freeway near Gilroy

The day before I was supposed to drive up to the Bay, I remember telling Kim that I should just have an EXTREMELY boring night in, so I wouldn’t be so sad to leave. Instead, I ended up having a very memorable night, involving a nonstop 15 hour conversation from 9pm Thursday night (OMG it’s been a WEEK?!?!) until noon Friday afternoon. It is crazy to eat a late dinner AND a breakfast in the same outing. The hours just kept ticking by, and the longer we kept talking, the more I wanted to stop time, just to keep the conversation going. Once it was 9am, I felt like I could have kept going for hours, but I knew I had to leave. I managed to squeeze in a 30 minute nap and miraculously made the 6 hour drive without feeling sleepy. I thought I had tricked my mom into thinking I had a full night’s rest, but she later told me it was very obvious I hadn’t slept a minute at night. Nothing gets past my mom. I unpacked, met a few of my new housemates, then drove to Laura’s where I impressively managed to stay awake – until my shower afterwhich I just felt so exhausted and fell asleep on her couch.

I said bye to Laura around 5am, which is when she left to go to the airport, and continued sleeping in her bed. HAHA True friendship! Letting me sleep in her room when she wasn’t even there. I thought it would be awkward when I woke up, but it was not! Her mom directed me to eat biscuits for breakfast and her sister invited me to a Beauty and the Beast Sing a Long movie at AMC. Having truly nothing else to do, I said ok. So I watched a sing a long movie with Laura’s sister HAHA The theater was FILLED with kids. And I thought to myself, oh god this is what good parents do for their kids. Watch sing a long disney movies on their weekends. No thank you.

My parents drove up and arrived shortly after the movie ended. They helped me (help is an understatement) get my room ready. My dreams of having a nicely furnished room is in the toilet. In the final hours, I just had my mom bring up the furniture I’ve accumulated over my life. So now EVERYTHING in my room is completely mismatched. There are different colors and different textures to every item. It is ridiculous.

My parents left Sunday afternoon and I forced myself to put things away before I jumped in the car and headed to Berkeley. Two hours alone and I’m running to seek friends. Thankfully Caroline has visitor parking passes so I could park on her street! I primarily went to Berkeley to study (really, truly!) but also got to see friends and eat out. I realized that this is the last year I’ll have a reason to go back to Berkeley, since my friends will be graduating. I guess I should have attempted to make freshman friends …

So Sunday, I studied at Caroline’s and slept on her futon which was awesome. Monday I was certain I would study at Cafe Strada for the first time ever, now that I’m in the habit of studying in cafes. But I accidentally walked past it and by the time I realized, I didn’t feel like turning back. So I just went to study at the RSF! Like the good old days 🙂 I love the RSF! It makes me so sad that I can’t use the pool anymore. Jon asked what I miss most about Berkeley. I think it goes 1) swimming at Spieker pool 2) running at Edwards track 3) living so close to friends 4) Gypsys and House of Curries

I got super hungry and took a chance and called Brian, who was free! So we ate at Espresso Experience for bulgogi sandwiches. Deliciousss. Then House of Curries with Jon, Josh and Paulo! ❤ them. Walking the short distance between House of Curries and my old apartment, I got a classic Berkeley welcome back when we passed a homeless guy peeing into the street, who said to me “LADIES TURN YOUR HEAD! TURN YOUR HEAD!” Late night studying at Doe library with Jon, and around 1:30am I walked back to Caroline’s and fell soundly asleep.

Next day: MORE study! I ate brunch with Jon and Paulo at Sunnyside Cafe. Jon showed me around Center, which according to him and Paulo was “COMPLETELY different.” It is somewhat different but not excessively so. Then more studying with Jon at VLSB, then I had to leave to await my mattress delivery. Deciding to leave Berkeley was realllyyy hard. I knew that there wasn’t much waiting for me back in Santa Clara, and I just wanted to spend more time with friends. Sigh. I just want to stretch out the rest of my free time…

So that was it! The description might have been more elated sounding, if it hadn’t been followed by two days of cabin fever and studying. I need to figure out what I’m doing this weekend, so my last free weekend is not wasted!

Plans for my future life:

– instead of joining 24hr, I think I will join the rock climbing gym, which is just as far away as the closest 24hr but probably far more fulfilling (I just wish I had access to a swimming pool)
– getting a library card tomorrow so I can do more than just watch tv all day long!
– cycling between visiting friends in Berkeley, SF, Sunnyvale, Oakland and Davis! Also need to add in the possibility of work friend weekend outings?!
– putting my slow cooker and steamer to use and REALLY attempting to learn how to cook. Seriously, if not now, never
– frequenting Craigslist and furniture stores in the search of additions to my rather bare room
– staying in touch with friends
– driving to Santa Cruz on the weekends so I can justify keeping my surfboard
– FINDING LOVE IN THE BAY