Friday June 2nd

One Last Trip

I hadn’t mentioned

  • I am being mentored by a researcher and we had been meeting online every month or so. They live in Silicon Valley.
  • Since our meeting was due, and I was in town, we decided to meet in person. It was so much fun! It was the last TODO on my list.
  • Like a true person living in the Valley, I literally got back to my housing, rolled my suitcase out, complained about accidents and rush hour traffic, and jumped into the shuttle to SF. It brought back so many memories of running to take the train to SFO, or taking the greyhound from LA or to LA via Folsom Street. Or walking through SFO with a light saber in my backpack. It didn’t help that I went through the same Terminal I frequented. But even that has changed.

Downtown Mountain View

  • Of all of SV, this is my favourite place, and where I hung out when I visited from LA. It’s where most people who work at companies de-stress, drink a beer, and at one point in time I even took a ride in a self-driving car here, too! As my mentor was mentioning today, we imagine a place in our head that is a projection of how we remember the place, but often when we come back, it’s not as it was, as we imagined it in our head.
  • It’s been interesting to see since I started my PhD how much it has changed. We were chatting a bit about that, about the PhD process, since my mentor and their partner both have PhDs, and about their journey.


  • Being here again made me realize that I was properly calibrated, and often when I had spidy senses about things, they were on point. My mentor said that they (their partner and themselves) were both impressed by my perseverance, and they gave me so much encouragement, and it was so wonderful to meet in-person; talking to a person face to face is just so different.
  • In many ways, coming back here has felt like coming full-circle again. It reminded me that whatever I may face in my university, it is a bubble outside of reality; there are people out here who fully support me and believe in me SO much, and are rooting for me. It warmed my heart so much to be back here.
  • I was telling my mentor that I was talking to a friend in Combinatorics near the end of the semester, as we were meeting up as the end of term was wrapping up, and I told them that as I was walking I was thinking that this place that I was currently living in feels so much like just a place I am passing through. It never feels like home, and to be honest since I’ve moved here I haven’t even properly unpacked. And they remarked that they felt the same. I’ve been there for so long, and yet I’ve never really felt welcome. Being back here made me realize I don’t need to be, because there are other places, some of which I used to call home for years and years, which I felt in my heart from the day the plane touched the landing, and the lights of the landscape at night spread out in front of me.
  • It’s strange that whenever I am out here, I feel so much like I can just be myself, and people respond so easily to my sense of humour, my facial expressions. So it’s very comfortable. But I’m used to being uncomfortable, especially when it’s for a goal or something I really set out to do. A little discomfort for taking a risk or achieving a goal is okay.

One last set of photos

  • Funky shoes on the way out. These shoes are me in Vermont, sticking out like a white tyre lol.

  • The moon was viewable in the sky

  • We had ramen in downtown Mountain View. Funnily, before the quarantine, I could never eat there because it was always too busy.

  • I got lost finding the right entrance about three times. SV Tech company life; the buildings look like a parking lot and unless you have a badge you have no idea which is the right entrance.

  • Heading to downtown Mt View

  • Haven’t had to be in a physical office in a while (although I did have a badge last summer)

  • Obligatory photo of the company I interned at during quarantine but have only now visited the campus of.

And that’s it

Written on June 2, 2023