I haven’t been abroad since April because of COVID-19. Not too long, but somehow it feels like a lifetime. I was thinking of the U.S. recently for some reason, I don’t know why I miss my two weeks in the U.S. so much. I thought I just needed to get the story out, or I’ll never come back to it; hence never write it. I’ve got to keep writing – there’s no other way! How else would you reflect yourself?
I really think writing is the best way to keep myself inspired and energized. Got to stay focused. Also, it can’t be just about work-related topics. It’s got to be so much more than work. It has to do with perspectives, different perspectives of life and how that would shape me as a person. I feel like I’m talking abstract now. Anyways!
It was my first time visiting Stanford University. I was really excited about it. I fell in love with the campus immediately. It was so beautiful… I still can’t get over it. Just how pretty it is. And it’s huge! I’m back in Taiwan now but I’m still daydreaming about going back. I’m so jealous of the university students there. It was so serene and quietly beautiful.
My Australian friend who has lived in London for more than five years heard me say something like, “I loved it so much, didn’t want to leave,” suggested that I should do a day trip, visit Oxford or Cambridge. “You will die from the beauty,” in his words! I might!! I’m going to hop on a train, and do a one day trip, and I really might die from the beauty!
I absolutely loved the Spanish architecture. I loved the pretty fountains. I loved the beautiful trees and gardens. I’ve been to Harvard university once, when I was around 20 during a college summer break. Stanford looks very different from Harvard I think (I kept wanting to say je crois; maybe it’s because I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts in French).
Prof. Thomas Price, my favorite professor back in college happened to be a Stanford alumni. So, that was sort of my first encounter with Stanford. I think he was a visiting scholar at our department. He always wears a suit and tie; they always go together, in terms of colors and style.
In fact, Prof. Price was the most stylish, most cultured professor I’d met in my whole four years of college. I think he was in his sixties when I was studying, and I thought very highly of him.
For some reasons many of my classmates didn’t get him; they thought he was a bit dry. I remember very little college students at the time got what he was trying to convey. But I got it. And I now regret that I didn’t take a good picture of him lecturing. I’m going to regret this forever. Sometimes I think his existence contributed to my over-idealization of America.
I had a very chaotic sleep schedule. Always up by 5 am or 6 am for the first week in the US. Can’t sleep for no reason; my American friend suggested that I try a weighted blanket.
One thing that sort of made me feel a bit irritated was that I was getting weird phone calls every morning, and strange text messages every other day since the day I purchased my prepaid SIM card at T-Mobile in Denver.
Texts like: “Hi Analisa! It’s Urooj with Bernie 2020. Bernie has been fighting against greed and corruption for decades. That’s why he’s the candidate I trust to take on the billionaire class and make our economy work for all of us. Are you in for Bernie?”
The 3-day event was held from February 19 to 21 at Arrillaga Alumni Center, Stanford University in California. Hosted by The Stanford Center for Blockchain Research, the event was free of charge and open to the public. One of my engineering colleagues Peter was there. His presence made me happy.
I’ve already written so much about the SBC event that I will not include it here. (See my story published on my company’s website.) I liked it very much. It was very academic and it felt really great! But I remember Vitalik was feeling ill, had a bit of fever or something, and so I didn’t get to hang out with him as much.
I think it was on a Saturday morning (February 22) I went to this place called the Stanford Dish hiking trail. It was very pretty. Lots of gophers and squirrels around.
My American friend said I should see some legendary San Francisco places. He suggested an Apple store in Cupertino, which is the only place you can buy an Apple pen, so that’s where I went. I’m so glad I went!
Went to the Computer History Museum on a Monday (Feb 24) afternoon. I was at the computer history museum eating a strange, expensive sandwich. In the past two weeks staying in the U.S., I really felt like I was losing a bit of weight, and I think in part because I was walking so much. Literally no one was walking on the street! How strange!
Plus the food there was way too sweet, too creamy, and the portion was obviously too large for me, and really, it didn’t taste so good with such a price. It was very different from Taiwanese tastes, and was very fatty and sweet. I wondered what I could eat if I were to live in the US. I mean, I might have to learn how to cook. Well, first I’ll learn how to drive like an American woman. Then, I’ll learn how to cook.
I think one of the few things I had that was delicious was probably the salmon sushi crispy rice with avocado from a Japanese restaurant at Stanford, and maybe the soft taco I had in Denver, that was also good.
Museum Admission was 17.50 USD for general admission - Adult pass. It was a Sunday afternoon (February 23), around 2PM by the time I got in. I took a lot of pictures. Loved it so much, I have to come back and experience it again.
Shoreline Lake Park close to the Computer History Museum was beautiful. This is probably the place I like the most, amongst all the places I’ve been in California. I actually took a ton of pictures, but I think a few highlights would be sufficient.
I don’t know if anyone would believe this but I had a 5-hour long-distance walk that day. I walked from an affluent neighborhood close to Stanford university campus in Palo Alto all the way to Google Android Lawn Statues in Mountain View. I passed by Googleplex, visited Computer History Museum (close to Googleplex), to Shoreline Lake Park (not far from Computer History Museum), and then all the way back to where I set off.
That’s Palo Alto to Mountain View, and then Mountain View to Palo Alto! I don’t know how I did it. It took me some 2.5 hours to walk from Palo Alto to Mountain View, and another 3 to 4 hours walking back, from Mountain View back to Palo Alto.
It was longer traversing back because it suddenly became cold, and I remember I got lost a bit when it became dark. I remember by the time I was going to reach our Airbnb house, sometime around 8 pm, the night was quiet; the stars were beautiful. I saw so many stars shining in the night sky. It was like a beautiful, soothing song. I think it was because I was hanging out by myself that day; I felt alone, and I felt like inside me there’s a song to sing, and maybe a poem to recite.
The poem that I thought of, when I saw the beautiful, clear night sky in Palo Alto, is this lovely poem from Pablo Neruda’s Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
Write, for example, “The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.”
The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.
Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.
She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.
To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.
What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.
I went to the Apple store in Cupertino and the nearby Apple visitor center on a Tuesday morning (Feb 25). It was so fun. CC picked up a pair of Airpods Pro (omg it was the last pair!) and gave me as a gift. I absolutely loved it. They blew my mind!
My California trip ended well with a very delicious meal. I was glad that I randomly found this sea food restaurant at Pier 39. One good meal at the very end of the trip makes me forget all the previous peculiar meals I had. I liked it a lot, it looked so californian.