A little behind again. I’ve been enjoying time with my family being back! Brian’s parents were in town just over the previous weekend and we enjoyed trying out Palo Alto’s great restaurants, as well as some liquid-nitrogen-made ice cream. My mom stayed here until Tuesday, and that was great, since I had Labor day off. Since my mom likes houses, we drove around the Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Atherton areas. We found $20M houses. Yep, $100,000 MONTHLY mortgage. How can you ever get that much money? What kind of jobs do these people have? I mean, yes, a typical house here costs $1.5-3M dollars, but $20M? They were huge and had large hedges, kind of like in Beverley Hills. But it’s the Bay Area, so it’s even more expensive up here.
I also got to show my mom around Apple and she got to see Apple Park. I love bringing people to come see it, as it’s such an architectural wonder, and I love working at Apple, so love to show it off. My mom was even impressed by the shuttle busses. “Wow, everything is so nice”. Yes, I guess we do live in a bubble. We went into a Jack in the box to get something, right before going over, and I realized how “spoiled” I had become — nothing wrong with Jack In The Box, I loved them as a high schooler; I haven’t been in one though in a few years, due to fast food generally not being good at GF food, and walking in I had this very entitled thought of “oh, it’s kind of dirty in here”. I definitely caught my thoughts and realized, wow, I live in such a nice area, work in a fantastic office, and can eat in the Apple caffe and have salmon for $10 at lunch, so much so that I’ve subtly in the back of my mind started to become entitled (Okay, and just so you don’t get the wrong idea, we rent a ROOM, and I make my lunch almost every day, but sometimes I splurge and get salmon at the caffe :)). Sure, I lived on an island for a year, without much, used to living out of a 4x4ft box of stuff that we brought with us, but it’s pretty easy to become used to the convenience and niceties of Silicon Valley. It’s nice being back in the “Land of things” as we called it in Cuba.
Anyways, I really do love being in the Bay area – there’s so much gluten-free food, things are (trying to be) environmentally friendly, and there’s pretty nice mild weather. I miss the heat and beach in Cuba, but it’s nice as long as I’m wearing pants here. Brian and I went to the Farmer’s Market, and got a gluten-free burrito! Yum! It had been a long time.
I also love the “we can change the world” attitude here. And it’s because people in their jobs really ARE shipping their products to the ends of the world. iPhones in India, China, and Brazil? Yep. Network built in Australia for iTunes and Apple movie downloads? Yep, I did that. So when you live in a place where you’re expected to do all these amazing things, it can either be depressing (because you compare yourselves with others doing it), or invigorating (the view I tend to take). Anyone you meet has a neat idea of what they want to do. They’re involved, they’re taking ownership of their world. I like that.
We went to see Tim Keller, pastor and author, and there was a HUGE line out the door. I was so encouraged to see the Christians doing something and taking this stance about changing the world, in the same way that we do with our products here in Silicon Valley. Living in Palo Alto now, we’re living in the heart of startup world. The heart of Silicon Valley. So to see these hundreds (thousands?) of people ready to hear about how to better share the gospel with their world around them was super encouraging. Even though less than 4% of people here in the Valley go to church, “the church as an unstoppable force” can do something when people show up with lines out the door, working together. After the talk, we went to see if we could find a few of our friends we knew who were there. A huge blessing for me was KNOWING so many people that were there. It means that I have built relationships over the past 3 years that I’ve lived here, and that the people I have met are standing in solidarity over the same purposes of encouraging and giving faith. The Christian fellowship leaders of Google, Facebook, and Apple were there, as well as Survey Monkey, and a few others (Survey Monkey guy was a friend of Brian’s from Berkeley whom he hadn’t seen for awhile, but knew my other friends!). We spent time after the event praying for our companies, for our people in our Christian groups at the companies. Our pastor and our friends and small group leaders K&V were there as well, and it was an honor for me to have my two worlds collide and to introduce them to my ACF friends whom K&V had been praying for our Apple Christian Fellowship group for the past few years! The power and network of Christians in community!
A focus for me within this Christian community has been to include those who sometimes get pushed to the outskirts in our churches – older people. They are seen as out of touch, or irrelevant, but for me, they’ve been a huge blessing in my journey of faith, and just in every day life by supporting me. On Sunday, we got to have a luncheon with the BLT Sunday School class at church, and enjoy getting to talk with them and be a part of that community as well. Unfortunately, older friends don’t get the whole GF food thing, and casseroles are more of their style (there weren’t any salads except for pasta salads!), so Brian and I tried out the New Thai Bistro in Pleasanton. Yum. We love Thai food. Curry was great, Pad Thai was a little strange, so we will just get curry there again. Then, it was off to the Livermore house to pull some things from our box in the garage. It will probably be the case that we’ll go back and forth every week, bringing some things to our place now, and then taking some things back to the garage, as we sort through what we need for our small room right now.
We are back to little videos of Clemmy and Jado! They love CA, and their nice small backyard that they can run around in. Clemmy already figured out how to get on top of the fence and loves walking along it and jumping over to the other side. Thankfully, he stays close.
We had to get them a scratching post/box, and found this one with the toy on top of it. They love it! Now to get them scratching it, instead of just playing with it…