Back home

This trip felt both long and short at the same time. Short because I am now back in my own bed, in grey Sweden. Long because we have done so many things. It feels good to be home, but I miss it and the thought of going back this summer already had hit me before standing on Swedish ground.

It was a long last day, but I don’t feel jetlagged at all. The last two times I have flown back from California, I’ve been on 6am flights and I’ve been so dead when I got back. This time we flew out at 5pm and I have unpacked everything, taken a long shower, did some grocery shopping and even calculated how we should divide the car rent and gas. Not all done, but still. A very productive first night back. I might be tired tomorrow at work though, but I’m sure everyone will understand.

Our last day in California consisted of beach volleyball. The sun was hiding the whole morning and I was so bummed about leaving and the wind was its strongest today, so I wasn’t really in the mood to play today. That sucked, but I played a bit and I really got a hang of serving in the wind. I had so many aces and that was fun.

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e returned the car and got an Uber straight to the airport where we changed into not-sandy clothes. Caught some Pokemon, just relaxed. I bought a new perfume. And this is INSANE! The normal price (as it always says on the tags at airport stores) for a 100ml DKNY Eau so Blush was $67. But it was $40 something I think. And then there was a huge discount on it, so I only paid $19.50. That’s a third of the price that I would have paid back home in a normal store. The thing is though, when I got back, I realized that this was 100ml and what I compared to was the 50ml bottle. So I bought this perfume for a 6th of the price back home. Crazy!

The first flight to Munich was 10.5 hours. And it went surprisingly smooth. I watched two movies, Bad Times at the El Royale and The Meg. Then I actually slept for a long while. Not well, and I remember moving around more than actual sleeping. But I must have gotten some quality sleep since I didn’t pass out right when I got home. During that flight, just when I thought it was time to go to sleep at around 10pm, there was a huge fight on the two rows before me. They were at it for probably an hour a day the flight attendants were there and it was so loud. Fortunately, they were done when my movie was done and I could get some sleep. Apparently one guy had felled his chair and the guy behind him had pushed that chair forward in annoyance. Such a childish thing to do. But that’s how involved I got. Super stupid. These people were also the ones holding up the boarding when they stood in the aisles chatting instead of sitting and letting people pass easily. French people.

The second flight was not even two hours and went by really fast too. I slept a little, watched an episode of Störst av Allt (Quicksand in English) on Netflix and then actually wrote a little bit on my book.

Mom picked us up and when I got home I was greeted by my two furries. I’ve missed them and from the way they were clinging on me, I think they have missed me too.

When I got home, I found this in the sink. Super weird!

Two days in SLO

My last full day in California is over. I am really excited to go home if I’m to be completely honest (like I miss eating healthy, even if I have enjoyed every single bite of everything delicious I’ve had here, and I also miss not being this ridiculously tired all the time). But other than those two things, I don’t want to go home. From what I’ve understood, Sweden had better weather than California this past week. I didn’t get tan, but this was not a sunbathing trip though. We have done so many things. And lying on the beach, just soaking up the sun is only fun for so long.

So this vacation ended with a roadtrip. Me and the Elin who is sharing a flight with me tomorrow drove up to San Luis Obispo, my SLOME (SLO-home). It was 3.5-4 hours each way. Up was not a big deal, but going down tonight was rough.

The first Elin flew back home yesterday and the last thing the three of us did together was going to UCLA campus for a pie contest. Miriam’s sister told us about it, and free sampling from the baking competition sounded nice, so we stopped by there to get some free pie. But the tasting didn’t open until 3pm and with the 3 hour drive, it wouldn’t work. And perhaps that was for the best. We had leftover cheesecake for breakfast that day, haha!

We arrived at like 6pm and started with a “fika” at SLODOCO (San Luis Obispo Donut Company) with Rachel, my former roommate. It was so nice to see her again. She still lives in SLO, she managed to get a good job there. I am happy for her, SLO is the cutest city. And it was also nice to see Slodoco again. I have missed their chailatte so much!

Elin and I then drove to Pismo Beach where we had clam chowder soup for dinner and then down to Santa Maria and Steven where we were staying for the night. We watched the last two Game of Thrones episodes. Such a great evening!

This morning it was raining, so we took a slow breakfast at Kreuzberg in SLO. Their acai bowl is amazing! We also did some shopping at Victoria’s Secret.

The weather cleared up and was perfect hiking weather after that. So we parked on campus and did the serenity swing. I love that hike. It is only 6km roundtrip. My calves don’t like it, since it is always going upphill, but for the amazing views, it is totally worth it. Here’s a 3D pic of the swing.

Right after, we met up with my former WOW-leader (Week of Welcome) for lunch at Firestone Grill in downtown. If I have to be honest, it was not as good as I remembered. It was good, but the pulled pork was not as shredded as I remember it being. Very nice to meet Sam again.

I would have loved to go to Montaña de Oro State Park, but it was a 30 min drive up north, and it was already getting late. So we skipped it. Bought some donuts at Slodoco and I also got a picture of the chai powder they are using. If I could get a bag of those somehow, I would be so happy. We will see how that works out.

Then a small stop at Target to get some things to bring back home and then we hit the road. At 9:30pm we arrived back home in La Habra. I can barely keep my eyes open. But everything is packed and I am ready to spend the morning at Huntington Beach playing beach volleyball. I don’t look forward to the flight at 5pm…

Tons of beach volleyball

This cold of mine is not getting better, not even with DayQuil. I definitely would have stayed home from work with this, but since I am in California and don’t want to miss out on anything I am pushing myself through, pretending I am not too sick. It was perhaps a bit stupid to play a lot of beach volleyball today for example. But I had so much fun. And honestly, it was cold sitting by watching. It was very overcast and perfect weather for beach volleyball. One of the Elin’s made a friend the day I was at WSP and we met up with him and a friend of his. This friend had supposedly lived in Sweden for 3 years but when we met him, he had the Stockholm accent and told us he had lived in Sweden since he was three years old and in California the past year. He was born in Iran. He was nice and we had a great day of more than 4 hours of play. I didn’t play all of that time, I took breaks.

The Swedish guy then accompanied us for the rest of the afternoon and we sat down for lunch together in Huntington. Poke bowls and they were so good! He then showed us a super cool bar called Bungalow which was basically many living rooms put together. Just couches and even fireplaces. Such a cool and cozy bar! And then some shopping in Huntington and we ran into a crowd of Trump -followers who screamed straight out at people with other backgrounds than themselves that they should go to hell and all kinds of horrible things. I got so surprised. Does that seriously happen?? In California? So scary!!

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ur night plans were Cheesecake Factory. The whole gang was gathered all 9,5 of us. Me, the two Elin’s, Miriam, our two hosts, Miriam’s brother and sister and her husband and kid. It was such a nice evening but now my stomach hurts, so bad. So much food! But it was worth it, so delicious!

We spent half an hour in the jacuzzi with some champagne in Panda Express cups. The day couldn’t have ended better! Now I feel feverish and will get some proper good nights sleep. I hope I will feel better tomorrow when me and Elin W is going up to SLO. I am so excited to go back there as well. This whole vacation has been a trip down memory lane. I really like California, this is home.

San Diego day 2

Two days in San Diego just flew past. I can’t describe the feeling when I drove on the I5 South toward San Diego and drove past all of the exits in Carlsbad and lower, remembering things from each of them. I still remember how to drive places and what things look like. Insane! But so much fun. The feeling of home has never been stronger.Miriam and her brother didn’t want to spend the full day today in San Diego, so they took the train up to Fullerton this morning. So we drove them to Oceanside and said goodbye and directly after found a breakfast place that was incredible: Petite Madeline. I ordered crepes with white chocolate mousse and strawberries and a french toast on the side. They gave me the wrong crepe (with whipped cream and raspberries) and shortly after came out with the right one. I’m not the one to pass down a crepe or let it go to waste, so I ate both. So delicious! So stuffed!After the intense 26k step day yesterday we just drove down to La Jolla Shores and stayed there for the day. Since I have gotten a pretty bad cold, surfing was out of the question. Everyhing but laying on the beach reading was out of the question. Muscle soreness in our butts from yesterday’s hike is revealing itself more and more for each hour. So all three of us just laid there. It was cloudy like no other days, but it was still warm. If it was sunny I think it would have been unbearable. We only stayed until 3pm and since those 4 hours flew past I guess that I must have fallen asleep pretty hard right there because I got burned. Pretty bad on my stomach. Even after putting on SPF 30 twice!We then drove to Fashion Valley, the prettiest shopping center I know of. I wasn’t planning on getting much, and the one thing I really wanted, they didn’t have. But I somehow managed to spend over $100. I wanted to get new panties from Victoria’s Secret, but they for once didn’t have any nice ones, so I skipped. I did however buy two new bras. I have many, but honestly I should throw many of them away since they don’t fit well anymore. These two though, oh my! They were perfect!I also got a pair of summery jeans from Forever 21 and SPF 50. Also som Dayquil. I hope this cold goes away. I don’t feel too well. I wonder if I can take this as a sick day instead of a vacation day. I I felt like this at home, I’m not sure that I would have gotten into work honestly. I’ll have to check when I get back home.Last night when I was talking to my hostparents, they told me the sad news of Famous Dave’s in Vista (San Diego). The restaurant had permanently closed. Fortunately for me, it is a chain and is open in Irvine, so we drove there, it was on the way back home to La Habra, and had a really late dinner. It was as delicious as I remember. Oh my goodness!It was great being back in San Diego. I already miss it, but I am also very excited to go up to SLO this Sunday.

San Diego day 1

I can’t believe I am back in San Diego. Even less that I am back in my old room. It sure doesn’t feel like it has been 6 years since I lived here. Although, when I hugged “my” kids again it definitely did. They were both taller than me. The girl is driving and has a part time job. The boy is now in his pre-teens and I feel so old when I kept saying that they had grown so so much. It was beyond amazing seeing them all again, even if it was just for one evening on a school night. I will see them again tomorrow morning and maybe even before we leave tomorrow night, depending on if they are still here. It’s a busy busy family.

This morning we woke up early to leave La Habra at 7am. We managed to get away on time. Impressive. Me and the two Elin’s picked up Miriam and her brother in Fullerton and started our drive down toward San Diego. There was trafic, but not too bad and we arrived down in PB (Pacific Beach) at 11am where we had breakfast at Kono’s with a view over the ocean.

Our next stop was Lake Poway where we started the Mt Woodson trail up to the summit where the famous Potato Chip Rock is. I’ve done that hike three times now and I am as amazed each time by how beautiful that hike is. Not only is the end really cool, but the nature and overview over inland SD so beautiful. Everyone else agreed with me and I am happy. It would have sucked to hike 8 miles and it not being worth it. It took us 3.5 hours in total, with the photo break on top, not too bad.

Our final stop for the day before heading up to Carlsbad and my second family, was Coronado Island. It is such an idyllic and pittoresque city. The Hotel Del Coronado was as pretty as it ever was and the skyline over SD downtown was as pretty. I have now taken 3 photos in front of it on three different occasions. First, when I just arrived here, the second time after studying at Cal Poly for a year and now third time as a tourist. Fun development there.

Back at the house I talked to my old hostparents for a long while before heading to bed. It has been great seeing them all again and I hope it won’t be 4 year until next time again.

First swim of the year

What an incredible day! As usual, the California sky fools you in the morning with clouds as far as the eye can see but around noon it clears up and is as beautiful and amazing as always.

We started the day by taking an extreme detour on the freeway, haha! Me and the two Elins (we are staying together in La Habra at some friends to Miriam’s sister) met up with Miriam at a Starbucks and because of the detour (if it hadn’t been for the closed exit off the I5 carpool lane) we didn’t get to the beach until 11am. We got up at 7 just because we wanted to be out early, haha! But that’s okay it was almost a little bit chilly in the morning but out of nowhere, while we were playing, the sun was just there, being totally in the way. But also amazing!

We managed to get 2h and 2 full rounds of Queen (everyone plays with everyone and the one with most wins, win) before Miriam had to go and pick up her sister at work to hang out with her and her family in the afternoon and evening. But me and the Elins had fun anyway. We had delicious fish tacos for lunch and then hung out at the beach, listening to music and even went into the water. It was cold, but so worth it once you were all in. I just love the ocean! We all got burned, some more, me a little bit less.

The day at Huntington Beach ended with the three of us doing some side out, but a girl came up to us and asked if we wanted a fourth. We did, so she joined us for another round of queen. It didn’t go too well for me in the morning, but tonight was my 2 hours. I was on fire. So much fun!

We had dinner on our way back; Panda Express. Another hole in my Americn heart has been filled. We went grocery shopping for our roadtrip tomorrow and then back home. It got too late for the jacuzzi. Perhaps another day.

Such a fun day! And tomorrow will be as well! Stay tuned for updates on our small roadtrip.

WSP LA

Today was a big day. Today was the day that I headed to our office in downtown LA. How cool doesn’t that sound?

Unfortunately though, there are always things going wrong when you have something big ahead of you. So even if I was out early and had planned for plenty of time with the Metrolink train, I still managed to arrive late and had to postpone the presentation half an hour. There were signal errors and had been since last night so the train was 1.5 hours late (which was the extra time I had planned for) but fortunately they pushed forward the presentation half an hour.

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t was a small office, only 80 or so people and only 15 something to join me for the Cafe Catch-up. It was super casual so the “presentation” I had prepared was not really needed. I started with presenting myself and a little bit about what I was doing and then the questions almost came pouring over me. Everyone were so curious about what it was like to work in Sweden, what kind of projects we do, how the organization looks like and then someone asked about the benefits and then the general mood lowered a bit, haha! It was such a nice gathering and exchange of not technical knowledge, but organizational knowledge in the big company that we all work in.

I then headed out to lunch with Kevin, my contact and we went to this amazing sushi place close by. It was a rooftop restaurant with amazing view and incredble food. And after lunch I talked to this young girl Kristy and her closest boss. She actually works for the San Francisco office but is located here in LA. So even if this LA boss doesn’t find any contacts in the San Diego office, then Kristy is a great contact since she has bosses in both San Francisco and DC. This day was awesome for networking. Now I truly understand the meaning of that word.

Such a fun day!

The train back to OC was also delayed because of this signal fault but at least we weren’t standing still at one station for an hour, just rolled super super slow. I sat in Anaheim for an hour waiting for my friends to pick me up from Huntington. I got there at 5pm so there wasn’t really any point in going to the beach. Too bad, but we have plenty of more days to hang out at the beach. I am not tan yet though and it’s already been 4 days, haha! But my scalp is burned and that sucks. So tomorrow I am using SPF there as well.

Our 4th companion arrived from Sweden today at 8pm, we had pizza and then went to bed. Fun to finally be 4 players so we can get some real games in tomorrow at the beach. It will be great!!