Archive for August 29th, 2011


Settling in, riding the bus and summer camp at Google

August 29, 2011

Seattle has been my home for little over a week now, even though I have already left it again for another trip.  I recently added up all the one-way airplane trips I have taken since January (and that includes the time I flew to Seattle via Kansas City and Albuquerque) and by the time I fly back from San Francisco to Seattle on Friday that number will be 17 (gained through 5 round trip trips and the triangle trip of moving (Chicago – Florida – Seattle)).  I don’t want to even think what my carbon footprint will be for this year…  But yes all that to say settling in has been high on my priority list, but of course in typical fashion I only really got around to a serious bout of unpacking Saturday night when I discovered that it was the perfect procrastination tool to avoid packing for my current trip.  But enough about all that you are probably more interested in hearing what I think about Seattle, how things are going at work, have I made any new friends, etc.
View from the parking lot next to my new office.
Well the answer to those questions are essentially – I like it – good, but still a bit vague – and yes (my two fellow VISTAs are quite fun and I think we get along swell so far)!.  Seattle is a pretty gorgeous city, especially in these few golden months of summer.  For example, during my week there, it has only rained one day.  The rest have been warm (almost hot even!) full of blue sky and essentially showing off how awesome it is to be surrounded by water and mountains.
Sunset over the hill at Gasworks park
This past week I figured out my bus commute and learned lots of little things like 1) the buses are  better timed and much faster during the morning rush hour than the afternoon one 2) podcasts really are quite wonderful – my current rotation include This American life (especially one I listened to this week called First Contact, which included the wonderful story of a young American man and his girlfriend who befriended a trio of Iraqi brothers and have had 4 hour weekly conversations with them since 2003), StoryCorp, FreshAir and RadioLab.  Which if you draw the conclusion from that, that I am a bit of a NPR junkie, you would be correct and 3) bus routes that involve only 1 transfer and drop me off literally 10 ft from my office door (they can’t get any closer due to a little thing called the sidewalk) are pretty awesome.
Walking through downtown Seattle to an afternoon meeting
But right now I am not actually in the fair city of Seattle, but sitting on my hotel bed waiting to head downstairs to catch the shuttle that will take us to our first day of TechCamp at Google Headquarters.  While I don’t think we will get any crazy cool swag like keys to the Google Private Jet or our own Segways (I just really rooting for the awesome Google Sharpies I have heard about), we will get to meet with folks from the tech industry, learn about non-profit needs and opportunities and also get training on various technologies.  Other highlights of the upcoming week include eating in Google’s famous cafes around campus, a rumored bowling event and outside dinner and movie on Thursday evening.

I made it to California!

Well I need to get packed up so I can be on time for the shuttle, but I wanted to give you all a brief update on my life on the West Coast.  Overall I think I am still in a bit of denial about Seattle actually being my new residence – seeing as I have only been there for a week, it still seems quite feasible that I will be returning to my “normal” life at any time.  Also I think after the demands of moving and adjusting start to wear off I think I will also probably start to focus on the all important “meeting and connecting with new folks” part, which if memory from previous transitions serve is always one of the harder parts for me.  So I am sure there will still be many ups and downs ahead of me on this transition time, but at least for now I am just excited to be here and about to discover the Disneyworld for techies – Google Headquarters.