Wednesday, May 15, 2013

In Which I Am Tempted to Move to California

Blog posts have been sparse lately: I have been traveling.  Last week I spent five days in Palo Alto, California.  The visit was primarily for the Anita Borg Institute Advisory Board meeting, but I also had the opportunity to take a break from being a mommy and grad student (too often at exactly the same time) as well as visit and network with friends new and old.

The problem is, the more often I visit, the more tempting it is to live there!

The Advisory Board meeting was fruitful for the Anita's Quilt project.  I don't want to say too much yet, but suffice it to say I think the Quilt's stories have a bright and exciting future.  After the meeting I had the pleasure to join fellow board members Kathy, Kitty, and Carol (who hosted us).  Besides a most excellent meal, I enjoyed sharing what insight I could into Canadian politics and the like.

On Thursday, I had lunch at a tasty Italian pizzeria with my friends BJ and Valerie, both of whom I know through work with ABI and the Grace Hopper Celebration.  It was so great to catch up with them.

Thursday night I attended my very first ABI Women of Vision Awards.  As expected, it was highly inspirational.  I especially fell in love with Maja Matarić.  Without us realizing who she was at first, she had started chatting with a group of us in the pre-banquet reception.  She mentioned how she should probably wear some makeup even though she doesn't usually; otherwise, her mother (who was in attendance) might scold her.  So she pulled out the lipstick her mother had given her and put it on.  As another woman who never wears makeup, I felt like we might be kindred spirits.  (Her award speech was also absolutely incredible.)

Finally, on Friday, I met up with my friend Carlos, whom I met after a cold-email to tell him how much I loved his book Lauren Ipsum.  I visited him at Facebook, where he worked.  We walked around while we chatted, and although I got a great personalized tour of the Facebook campus, I was admittedly enjoying our conversation too much to properly pay attention.

I did take a few photos, though.  For example, this is the front entrance of the campus.  It is surprisingly nondescript!

There is a whole different look and feel once you step outside the lobby into the "walled garden." The aesthetic of the architecture, landscaping, and all the small details is really appealing.  You will also see a hacker motif showing up everywhere, but not in an obnoxious way.  See if you can spot it in the next two photos.

I made sure to leave my mark before heading out...

With all the wonderful people and beautiful places to live and work in the Bay Area (and that's not even mentioning all the amazing tech events to attend), it is certainly tempting to move down there.  But not to worry, fellow Ottawans: it's not going to happen anytime soon! Having family here is too important.  I do have to admit I am thinking it might be a good option in 20+ years when our kids are all grown up... ;)


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