This blog began when I got the opportunity to live in Aachen, Germany, which happens to be 5000 miles away from my home state of Oregon. Although I am back in the US, I'm continuing the blog to keep friends and family all over the world updated on my life in America.
What has 20 legs, 10 smartphones and one Spotify playlist? A group of Silicon Valley interns going to Lake Tahoe for the weekend! Early Friday evening, a few of my fellow Courserians, two friends of the Coursera crew and I dipped out just as Happy Hour was getting started to begin our weekend in the woods.
We survived the snow-fed waters above Emerald Bay!
Greetings from the land of techies, hybrids and the highest average SAT scores on the West Coast. This summer I'll be living in the heart of Silicon Valley working as a public relations intern for education tech startup Coursera. Maybe it's the free meals and unlimited snacks and beverages. Maybe it's the culture of my coworkers being incredibly friendly and genuinely collaborative. Maybe it's the seven minute commute via bike. Maybe it's the ultra-low humidity yet gorgeous sun. Who knows, but it's only been one week and I can already feel the beginnings of an exciting, memorable summer.
Good places to live have big skies and safe streets. As a result, they also have community. When I think back on the places I've lived, many of my strongest and happiest memories are from bike rides I took, gazing up at the clouds. I think about riding through Salem to the hops fields on the outskirts of Keizer or in Aachen peddling towards Belgium as the sky grew ever darker. I might forget the street names, but I'll never forget the invincible and freeing feeling of flying along on a bike with an enormously blue or gray or black or indigo or pink or orange sky above. This past weekend I went to Seattle and experienced a delightful azure sky and community.
Some things simply cannot be translated. Fernweh, Schaden-freude and Zeitgeist to name a few. And in English, the seemingly simple term "toastmaster" apparently doesn't have a German doppelgänger. You've got your Straßenredner, Tafelmajor and Sprecher, but I just couldn't find a short and sweet translation for a plain ol' toastmaster other than: Jemand, der bei Diners Toasts ankündigt oder ausbringt und Tischreden ansagt. So, just as we have adopted ersatz, gesundheit, wanderlust and hundreds of other expressions, our pals across the pond have picked up a word of ours, das Toastmaster -- or if you're feeling especially German -- das Toastmeister.
But enough with the vocabulary lesson! I am myself a Toastmeisterin and this past weekend got pretty competitive at the area conference. For those who are new to the toasty world, Toastmasters is an international organization that helps people become better public speakers and leaders. No bread required.
They say April showers bring May flowers, so I suppose I'll make like a lily and reappear after my long Winterschlaf. Fall will forever remain my favorite season, but spring is a close second -- biking is palatable once more, sundresses come out of the back corners of closets, fruits and vegetables are finally ripe. Best of all, though, is finally seeing all of the Oregonians emerging out of their caves after hibernating for five gray, rainy months and blinking into this bright, sunny world we almost forgot existed. Slack lines come out. Frisbees get tossed. Flip flops are worn once it hits a balmy 55.
The pool at my apartment complex turned into a real life version of Where is Waldo?.
After a term in which I interviewed Steven Colbert, threw my first Festivus gathering, and survived as a dedicated marching band member for a, um, colorful college football season, Winter Break has been a nice time to decompress spending time with family and friends. I remember in elementary school we learned how different animals cope with winter. Some adapt by growing a thicker coat, others hibernate, and then there are the critters that migrate. This year I suppose I took the whole duck thing to heart joining my feathered flocking friends and headed south -- and east -- for the winter.
Looks like the Colorado State University geese procrastinated and got a late flight to Cabo.