“You feel it all around yourself, you know it’s yours and no one else…”
We are already 2/3 through the second month of 2015. It feels like time is just slipping away these days, and I’ve fallen behind on my blog posting. I’ve been up to a lot since my last post in November. Inspired by my friend Patrick, I decided to once again sit down and get my thoughts out. This will be a long one.
I got my HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1) on launch day on October 22nd, 2008. Since this day, I thought it would be cool to make apps, and maybe someday with enough hard work and fortune on my side, I could make something big that would help many people as well as generate income for me. After distractions, the struggle through school, work, my own laziness and discouragement, losing Matt made me realize that I need to keep living and trying to fulfill my personal goals in life, no matter what the cost. So whenever I found the time and energy, I would read a bit about Android development, and with as much driving as I do between Dallas, Houston, and Austin, I thought it would be useful to make a simple app that I could update people automatically of my exact location at set intervals, so they wouldn’t worry/call/wonder during my late drives across Texas. Many late nights of coding alone, with much help from Chisom on design and testing, and Moyo with the final logo creation, geoPulse. After years of dreaming about it, 3 months of hard work after work and on weekends led to an idea becoming reality. I don’t know if it will just see 100 downloads or a million, but it was a huge milestone for me to finally sit down and create an Android app. Anyways, now that I know that I can do it, no turning back now.
November 22nd of 2014, I got to celebrate the wedding of Gerald and Christena Lang. We have all grown up so much since the days of Jester East at UT.
Winter break is always the time that I catch up with those that I haven’t seen or talked to in a while. It’s always a great chance to reflect on the year that’s ending, and to think about where I’m going next. As I try to go out of my way to keep in touch with most of the people I meet, I had to make sure to see as many as possible to end 2014.
Most people think having a birthday on Christmas must be great, and think those lucky ones get double presents. It’s actually the opposite. Most of the time, they can’t celebrate their birthdays with friends as many are away with their families, and if they get a gift or card at all, it’s just lumped together with Christmas. Personally, I’ve grown away from putting strong emphasis on birthdays, but they are important to many people, so I respect that. I spent half of my birthday off of work and sleeping. Anyways, the point is that my good friend Amber is born on Christmas, and I made sure to make it to her event on Christmas night because I care a lot about her and since I was in town. I also got to see many old faces that night.
I decided to take this time in Richardson to catch up with an old friend Kim, who I hadn’t seen at all or talked to much since Matt’s funeral.
Over time, life and all of its circumstances are going to drive you apart from people. It’s just part of growing up. When you have a chance to catch up, always take it, for you never know what ups and downs life could bring tomorrow. We met up at my personal favorite, Chipotle. Side note, I’ve never gotten their margaritas until that day, and they are actually quite strong and well-made.
To top off the already great Christmas break, Carleigh was in town from Denver, and took time out of her busy schedule to visit Gloria and I at Gloria’s apartment. I’m still forever grateful for her help to us while we were in Denver.
Back in Austin to bring in 2015, we had a nice evening with Linda and friends. If you read her blog post, I was one of those men without sparkles, so my thumb nail was immediately painted.
To narrow down Anita’s list of places to try, we finally made our way to Noble Sandwiches. I have been regularly working out and doing hot yoga three times a week as well as cutting down on very heavy meals, but I must say this negated a lot of that. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but felt the after effects all the way until the next day.
Shortly after this, it was finally time for Gloria and I to fly to The Great Portlandia. I have wanted this trip for years. Under normal circumstances, I would never schedule two trips so close together (Rome and Prague are coming next month), but this was to be a short weekend Valentine’s trip, and this trip cost very little since we had enough travel reward points to cover round trip plane tickets for both of us. Portland was probably the best vacation I have had to date. The city is incredible, the views, the food, the people, the nature, the activities, and the architecture. We also spent time in Vancouver, Washington. Doubletree put us on the Hilton Honors floor with a king size bed, couch, work desk, and two televisions, which was amazing.
Our wonderful hotel manager, Melinda Wulf, was kind enough to take us into Portland and give us suggestions on things to do during the weekend. We did a two hour segway tour of the entire city. It was my first time ever riding on a segway, but I quickly got the hang out it. It was actually a lot of fun!
Gloria, in front of the Portlandia statue
Portland has a large amount of food trucks at nearly every turn, so I tried La Casita. The tacos were great, and only $1! I highly recommend.
My old next door neighbor, Naomi, lives in Portland now, and gave me a lengthy list of suggestions. We made our way to Portland City Grill for their always mentioned happy hour, and it did not disappoint. It was super packed, but very low price, fast service, live piano, great food, and an amazing view of the city and mountains.
The next day we were off to Frack Burger, the burger chain in Oregon and Washington. Being born and raised in Texas, I’ve seen my share of delicious and giant burgers, but this place was also delicious, and my burger was so large that I couldn’t finish. Well played, Oregon.
We made our way to Powell’s City of Books, the most massive book store I’ve ever been to. I picked up three books while we were here.
We attempted to get Voodoo Donut, but no matter how good it may be, I just couldn’t bring myself to wait in the massive line. I have this same problem with Franklin’s in Austin. It’s difficult for me to wait for over an hour in line just to order food. Though I didn’t get to go to the brewery itself, I did have a beer of Deschutes Brewery next door. We even tried to get Blue Star Donuts, as Naomi said locals don’t really do Voodoo, but they were completely sold out when we got there.
However, we DID make it to Hot Lips Pizza, and it was excellent.
For the last day, I wanted to see a bit of nature, so we made our way to Washington Park. I wanted to see the park, the Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden, and do my first ever hike.
Missed: Pok Pok (Naomi warned it would be packed this weekend, and even the one in the airport was closed), donuts, Salt & Straw, and Multnomah Falls. It just gives me reason to return someday!
Lately I’ve been feeling a bit burnt out on everything, and my mom gave me a scare with a hospital visit. It just made me think if I’m on the right path, what my next moves should be, and why am I doing the things that I do? My former boss and current coworker told me to just keep traveling, and try to unwind as I figure things out in life. This Portland trip gave me just that, and the revitalization that I needed. I also decided to send my mom and sister on a trip to anywhere they want to go. Traveling gives me great joy, but after Rome and Prague next month, I plan to take a break from it to figure out my next life move here at home. Until next time everyone.
Song of the blog post: Feel It All Around. I love this song, and found it fitting since it’s the theme song of the Portlandia TV show.