Where did we leave off? Ahh yes, the reminder that this is a summer of new things and experiences, of growing into myself and making new space for uncharted territory. That means discoveries not only in personal and professional growth but also other areas as well.
[skip this, if you're not interested in my personal ramblings of becoming un-vegetarian]
This summer and my time at Google has been a completely different experience in a few ways. The beginning of summer 2013 marks the first time I've (intentionally) eaten meat in 4+ years. I became a pescatarian/vegetarian/sometimes vegan somewhere down the road in high school and wasn't unhappy in the least about my choice to do so. But upon deciding to study abroad in France this Fall, I began to think more about the situation. Renowned for its cuisine, France is historically known to consider meat a cultural and culinary staple. With this, I had a brief and fleeting thought: what if I started eating meat again?
In some ways, it would be practical, as it would be less of a hassle for both my host family and me personally in France. It would defray worries that I'd be missing out on a huge part of French life, and it would be an interesting way to try something new. Based on insights from past students, I decided it would be far easier to eat a balanced diet (i.e. more than bread + cheese). Above all, I remembered that my decision to stop eating meat was just that--my decision. It was a personal choice that was right for me for a variety of different reasons. And I promised myself that if I ever started wanting/craving meat again, I would eat it.
So gradually and somewhat cautiously, I started reintroducing meat into my diet upon arriving at Google, while keeping in mind my own commitment to health, ethics, and sustainability. To be honest, it's been beyond easy at Google, where I'm able to just take a tiny piece of meat alongside other food at meals. On top of being extremely well-prepared in a culinary sense, the meat is typically locally raised and oftentimes organic. My thoughts? The experiment has been interesting, but I still don't crave meat. I have to remind myself to eat it, and I still have a hard time stomaching really fatty/greasy meets (lamb, corned beef, bacon, prosciutto, pepperoni, etc.). Poultry has been a bit easier, but still--I don't crave it. Nonetheless, the food I've tried has been wonderful.
Like this sunny side egg and spicy carnitas with marinated cabbage as a savory breakfast entree. But honestly, my favorite meals have still looked more like this:
Giant bowls of fruit + granola + etc.
I've only just begun exploring San Francisco, but I'm already smitten with what I have encountered. There's so much to learn and so much to see, and despite having lived in California most of my life, San Francisco is still unmapped. Unlike many of my other trips to big cities on the East Coast, my travels and San Francisco have been all spontaneity. Now more than ever, I'm learning just how much I can enjoy myself when I let life run its course. This doesn't mean being stupid or completely forsaking plans--it simply means knowing that things will work out the way they should.
I'm still figuring out San Francisco's different neighborhoods, but I've explored a modest amount with the other interns. A few weekends ago, we decided to go to the North Beach Festival (arguably the best festival in SF), which is a part of series of neighborhood street festivals held throughout the summer. The festival contained tons and tons of booths selling everything from chili covered garlic fries to antique hair combs, in addition to live music and overall merriment.
We ended up eating at Giordano Bros. From the street, we noticed a sign that claimed an "all in one" sandwich. Intrigued, we walked in and spontaneously opted to eat lunch there. I was skeptical. REAL skeptical. In my head, I whined, wondering how cheese, meat, a fried egg, french fries, and coleslaw ALL stacked between two slices of bread could possibly be appetizing much less edible.
But to my shock, it blew. my. mind.
Excuse me? Fo realz.
Later on, we ended up finding our way to Washington Square Park and enjoying the rare glimpses of San Francisco sun. Believe me when I say that I was clinging to that pictured cappuccino for dear life (and warmth) while we were parked in the park. Weather or not (hehe), it was a lovely day--filled with silly conversations and midday naps. The little things.
After finishing our coffee (...and naps) at the park, the group of us Googlers decided to head down to Fisherman's Wharf for dinner. If my body thought the park was cold, it certainly did not appreciate that I chose to wear only a light cotton dress. 60 degrees minus 15 degree wind chill = bad news bears.
As for this weekend, I'd love to share what I'm doing! Except I have no idea what I'm doing. And that, my friends, is the beauty of letting life take you on its very own wild ride.
Stories a'plenty. Shenanigans in abundance. Smiles all around.
Oh, and Summer, you have an open invitation to stay.