Silicon Valley First Impressions

Traffic, the radio, the climate, the Kool-Aid – where to start.

Well, here’s something weird: I’ve been hearing a lot of radio commercials that have started dropping off the “m” in am and pm. For example, the Disneyland Resort commercials keep advertising special deals and events, available at “8a, 10a, 2p and 4p.” It’s weird, right?!?! Every time I hear it I keep thinking, is this going to catch on and become a new norm?

Then there’s traffic. A lot of Tesla’s, a lot of Mercedes, a lot of BMW’s. And to my great surprise, traffic is fast and smart. Drivers skillfully weave between cars, going 140+kms/hr, and no one bats an eye. It’s taken me a week to get used to it. My conclusion so far is that there are a lot of smart people here. People who can accurately gauge speed and distance, as well as human error and blind spots (everyone shoulder checks). I mean really – I saw an average of one accident per day in Surrey, BC, back when I was driving to university. Why? Bad drivers and a lack of shoulder checking. And here? Minimal accidents and good drivers. It’s pretty cool.

The climate is also pretty great. Every day has sunshine. Even if the morning starts off cloudy, the clouds burn off around lunchtime and the sun is ready and waiting. There’s also a really nice breeze that distracts from the heat. A breeze that cools the entire bay at the end of the day. A breeze that carries the warm scent of eucalyptus trees and comfort. I like it here.

Oh, and the Kool-Aid. Right. Well, there are a huge number of Tech companies here, each with their own Kool-Aid. Google, for instance, has it’s own Google branded bicycles. Yep. Blue seat, yellow handle bars, green tires, red frame. There are no labels or words on the bicycles, just the colours from the google logo. And I say bicycles because I saw 7 people on bicycles, biking through the Google area – where every corner for a couple of miles has a building that says Google on the sign. Building after building after building. All Google. And as I’m driving through all I can think is, do you get a bicycle on your first day of work? Does someone come up to you and say, “Hello there, welcome to your first day at Google. Would you like a parking space or a bicycle?”

All that to say, I’m surrounded by smart driven people, and it’s awesome. I just really hope that the whole “10p” time reference doesn’t catch on. I’m not a fan.


Bouncy Castles and Road Maps: Failing and Being Enough

When I was a girl, I hardly stopped. Running, climbing, hiding, jumping, chasing, lunging, and flying (well, sort of). I was always moving. And I liked it. I liked moving. I liked climbing and jumping.

If you had asked me then, whether I thought I was “enough,” I would have tilted my head and given you a perplexed look. “Enough? Yeah. I’m enough,” I would have said, as if it wasn’t a big deal.

I would have expected you to say the same. I would have thought that everyone would know that they are enough. That judgements from others don’t matter. That character and moral fiber win out. That truth wins out. I mean, why not?

Now, with pages full of enough challenging moments to write a memoir with, I WISH that it was that easy – to see myself as enough.

Life gets harder. You learn to juggle. Life gets messy. You learn to cope. Life gets tiring. You learn to make sacrifices.

And in that process that is life, I think we begin to feel inadequate.

We fail at things. Let people down. Forget to call. Get the wrong brand of tooth paste. Sleep late and miss deadlines. It happens.

It happens, *drum roll,* because we’re human – a reality which, at times, I think we forget.

So here’s my new plan – my road map to believing that I am enough:

Number 1. Accept that I fail.

Number 2. Stop thinking of “fail” as a bad word.

Number 3. Tell myself that I do a lot. That I AM enough.

Number 4. Say it again – E.n.o.u.g.h.

Number 5. Continue to say it until I believe it 100%.

Number 6. Re-approach the idea of flying as an adult.

Number  7. Find a kick-ass costume, rent a giant trampoline or bouncy castle, and practice failing, while living out being enough.

Band-aid Bucket Tears

Sitting on that familiar couch, holding my hand in his, he took responsibility for my hurt. He acknowledged his absence and his shortcomings. He named my deepest pain, cutting at the root of the poison.

Tears carelessly careened down my cheeks.
I was overwhelmed.

Healing like this was hard to fathom and difficult to accept.  Wounds, that have haunted me for years, picked themselves up and made their way towards the exit sign.

Each time I looked at him, I broke into deep wrenching sobs. So I stopped looking at him.

I reminded myself to remain present in the moment – to not let my mind wander. This was important. Huge, in fact. I’d waited years to hear these words come out of his mouth.

To say it was beautiful would be an understatement. Healing. Freeing. Heart-breaking. Draining. Comforting. Blessing.

Father’s are a tricky subject at the best of times. I know few people who have had wonderful relationships with their fathers. Most people that I encounter have had to climb mountains or cross oceans in search of a meaningful relationship with their father. Thus, this longing for closeness with one’s father becomes a large part of a person’s identity, and often acts as a bothersome reminder of hidden war wounds and battle scars.

That night, I received a beautiful, heart-breaking gift: my father, humbling himself before me and taking ownership over some my deepest hurts.

It was a giant band-aid and a bucket full of tears. It was a scene that I’ll never forget.

Scheduled Laundry in a Valley of Tumbleweeds

People are fascinating creatures.

Having recently started a new job, I have to say that I’m quite baffled at the level of contact that I’m receiving from my “friends.” I understand that life gets busy. I hear you. I’m busy. I’m tired. I have to schedule time with myself to do laundry.

Less than a month ago, I used to come home to at least two messages from solid “good” friends each day. Now, I hear crickets. I hear silence and I hear wind.

I suppose there are just those that make an effort, and those that don’t. If I was always the one to make an effort, and I’m hearing nothing now, what does that say about the people whom I saw as my friends?

What was it? Did you even like me at all? Or was it you? Were you the one who allowed us to get here? To this place of uncertainty and tumble weeds.

I can almost hear the sound of your spurs as you walk away from me, head downcast.

All I can say is that I miss you. And my fingers smell like tacos.