Monday, February 27, 2012

Los Angeles, Jersey, 2 year earthquake anniversary, and Colombia

Panera Bread is a place I enjoy hanging out when I'm home in Jersey, and probably at least half of my updates while I'm home take place there.  The comfy booths, delicious food, and free wifi create a nice way to get out of the house, and it's a nice alternative to Starbucks.

I'm enjoying a sandwich and cinnamon scone at Panera Bread, and when ordering I ran into a former student who is now in college.  She was there with her mother, and I was mistaken for a fellow college student.  It's a nice feeling knowing that I still look young.  :-)

The past 2 weeks have been a whirlwind of social events, enjoying downtime, packing, and preparing for my next adventure.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words,  so here are a few thousand words:

The trusty Metro Rapid buses that I would use to get around

A meal from the pasta bar at Oxy's cafeteria

A nice touch to a cup of hot chocolate

I always love going back to LA and visiting my alma mater's campus.

Dinner at Olvera Street

cream-filled churros

A landmark at Olvera Street.  Many a pictures were taken here over the years
 I've visited with friends and even on a field trip with students.

I never saw a hand drying contraption like this before.

Venice Beach

Good weather, good friends, good times

After over 4 years, we got to catch up.


You have no idea how beautiful this picture is until you've had In n Out Burger.

Near Anaheim

No, we didn't plan to match.  Great minds think alike.

The Cheesecake Factory with Ellie

Parmasean crusted romano chicken
I didn't get to see everyone I was hoping to on the visit, but it was still a great time catching up with people and reconnecting with people I hadn't seen in years.

My time in Jersey has also been great.  I've been fortunate to catch up with family and friends and enjoy the food I miss. We also celebrated 4 birthdays this month. So here again are a few thousand words:

Outback Steak House

Amaretto sour

home made pot stickers

My brother and sister in law are amazing in the kitchen.

Panera Bread bacon turkey bravo

a cinnamon scone
In the midst of preparing to spend 8 days in Colombia before returning to Santiago, I almost forgot that today is the 2 year anniversary of the earthquake.  It's hard to believe how much time has gone by, and I feel fortunate that the damage was not any worse than it was.  For the second year in a row my dad will unfortunately have to go without an earthquake for his birthday.

With my visit home to the States drawing to a close, how am I feeling?  It's quite a mix of emotions.  It was such a gratifying experience spending time at home and reconnecting with what is familiar to me.  I realize that I've changed a lot, and things at home haven't changed that much.  I'm looking forward to my trip to Colombia, and also to returning to Santiago.

Despite that, there's also an uncertainty in the future.  Will my private classes and institute be as reliable as they were this past year?  Am I going to survive another Chilean winter with freezing temperatures and no central heating?  I am growing a bit apprehensive and cautious about the future, but I know one thing for sure: You never know how things will turn out if you don't give it a chance.

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