7 Reasons a Visit to NorCal Changes Your Perspective

Hello San Fran! It was a quick, but memorable trip. Aline moved to Palo Alto a year ago and we’ve been talking about a visit for a while. Finally, she called and said, “Linda, get your ass out here.” And next thing you know, I booked my ticket and was counting down the days.

Even after spending a weekend in San Fran and the Silicon Valley, your way of viewing life starts changing.

7 Reasons how NorCal Changes You
1. How you dress does not equal success. Plain and simple, I was overdressed for NorCal. People  dress very casually; my casual would be considered business dress. People there are in t-shirts, cargo shorts, and trek shoes at work, including security guards. How the heck are you supposed to chase a criminal like that? But as Aline mentioned, these are the people who have multi-millions. You would never know by how they dress. Even Aline’s style has changed. For the first time ever, she had flats on…this is the girl who wore heels all through New York City.
2. Sunshine makes everyone happy. Coming from DC where everyone is short-tempered and rude. Everyone was so friendly. People chit-chat, you make friends very easily, and everyone is happy.
3. Everyone recycles. The first thing you learn is that there are 5 different trash cans, but each one has a purpose. I was afraid to throw anything away because I had no idea what can be recycled and what could go where. I never knew that anything with foil inside cannot be recycled. I would hand things to Aline and say, what do I do?
4. Do you really need a paper bag? You better bring your own bag or else even if you pay the $.10, they look at you as if you murdered a person versus a part of a tree.
5. Why are you in a rush? I am used to everyone being in a rush here, everyone is very relaxed and chill over there.
6. Big deals do happen in every corner. You see business deals being discussed at every corner, literally anyone can be the next Bill Gates.
7. $100,000 doesn’t mean much. People here have money and a lot of money. A tiny home here can run you several millions easily.

5 Reasons Why My Friends are Better than Your Friends (JK, but seriously, they are the best)

This group of friends has such a special place in my heart. We went through the MBA program together and at the time, they all thought of me as the baby because I was the youngest in our class. As Josh said, he saw me as the fireball, but after school ended, we still stayed in touch and our friendship has grown even stronger.

1. Distance has no meaning. Wherever we go in the US or even world, we always keep in touch.
2. Time has no effect. When we get together after a few years, it’s as if nothing changed. We’ve added people to the group aka little Leo and of course we have all grown, but who we are as a group of friends is still there.
3. Success is admired. Some people get jealous or want to pull you down. Our group of friends wants each and every one of us to succeed and be happy. They truly are happy when we win each battle, but are there with us through some of the failures too.
4. Laughing is the best medicine. We laugh all the time. Aline said her cheeks hurt from laughing so much.
5. Genuine love. I don’t think people understand how much all of us care for each other. We are family.

Summary of our 3 day Adventure:

Day 1
Google Campus– If you get a chance, this place is so cool. The campus is huge and every amenity you can think of is there including a garden, private bus, free food, and so much more.  Plus they have giant Androids that you can take pictures with…FYI I totally ignored the sign that said you should not climb on it, but don’t make things life-size if you don’t want people climbing on it.

Stanford Mall– The reason this mall is so special is because it is the most expensive mall in the US per square foot. In real estate, it’s location, location, location. Click here for the location and stores.
Coupa Café– Aline and I have always been loyal to Starbucks. I have to admit, I started cheating on Starbucks with Coupa Café. They have the best Venezuelan coffee I’ve ever had, but if I have to cheat, at least I upgraded. Even cheaters have standards, just kidding. This is also were many of the movers and shakers go to get business deals and companies rolling. Click here for the menu.

Yucca De Lac– This was a restaurant in the Stanford Mall. It was very chic and the food was great and very well presented. We had the Crab and Avocado Spring roll, Shrimp Bites, and French Bean Chicken Rice Plate. All 3 dishes were delicious. Their lunch deal was very reasonably priced too. Click here for the menu.
The Buena Vista Café– This is a very touristy stop. It’s famous for the view, Irish coffee, and several movies have been filmed there before. It is one of those things you must do once when you are in San Fran and check it off your list. The place is extremely crowded and it’s first come first serve, so if you see any open seats, just ask to sit down. You can’t order food at the bar, so if you just need an Irish Coffee it’s great. I am not a fan of Irish Coffees, but the ones they make here are delicious. The food is good, but not spectacular and the service is a little bit slow, but I say it adds some character to the place. Click here for directions.
Fisherman’s Wharf– Everyone has to go here. It’s the famous wharf. Take time and walk around and enjoy everything!
The Franciscan Crab House– We stopped here for dinner. The fish was very well done and the view added to how amazing our meal was. The place even had binoculars to see Alcatraz. Click here for the menu.

Bubble Lounge– This place was very nicely decorated and the crowd was more professional. People were dressed well and it never became one of those clubs where you feel like you are a piece of meat. Girls, you know exactly what I am talking about. Click here for the location.

Day 2
BBQ- What happens when I come to town? My friends surprised me with a barbecue.

Pho To Chau– Overall, it was really good pho, of course I am always going to say the BEST is in my mom’s kitchen, but compared to my parent’s cooking, it was good. Ramin and I fought over who paid. I knew he was going to, so I secretly went to the bathroom and snuck a credit card, but they did not take AMEX. Luckily I told him not to accept Ramin’s money. Aline will attest to how embarrassing it was because when I tried to pay, Ramin literally threw himself in front of me. It could have been a pretty intense altercation. Their prices are very reasonable, click here for the menu.

Day 3
Ramin’s Special 5 Layer Coffee– This was one of the highlights of my trip. I joke…neurosurgeon by profession…secret barista for those he loves. It’s so pretty!

Capitola Wharf– This is a beach where mainly the locals go. There is nothing bad for me to say…Who does not love the beach, sun, food, and good people?


Google Delivery– Google is testing this concept in the Bay Area. Basically, the have teamed up with large companies like Costco, Wal-Mart, etc… and you can go order something and Google Delivery will drop it off at your house that day.  It is such a great idea and I was able to see this in action.  That morning, we ran out of dish soap and I think toilet paper.  Ramin ordered it at around 10 AM and when we got home at 6 PM, it was sitting on the doorstep.  Here is a picture of what the van looks like.


Special Thanks to My NorCal Crew #CaliLove…
It’s going to get emotional-so feel free to skip.
Ramin- Intelligent, multi-faceted, and kind is how I would describe him. He is one of the most hardworking people I know and to be a pediatric neurosurgeon, you have to be. Over the years, no matter how busy he is, if anyone ever needs help, he’s always been there. He even made me a snack pack for the plane.

Alex- Funny and outgoing describes Alex to a tee. Alex is very smart and opinionated, but I love the fact that he is a people person, he likes the hustle and bustle of a city, and most importantly I like him for being so good to my friend. He takes life with a grain of salt and he can make you laugh all the time.
Eloise- Compassionate and darling. I just love Eloise. I have not had as much time to spend with her, but she is adorable. I absolutely adore her little French accent.  You would never know she is an auditor/accounting genius because she is such a free spirit, great mother, and can make friends with anyone.
Jessie- Sweet, caring, witty, and smart can’t even begin to describe her. Jessie is a gorgeous person, inside and out, but the reason I love her is because she never acts like one of those gorgeous girls that’s going to be a mean girl. She is just nice, everything from how she acts, her laugh, to the conversations. She is super funny when you start chatting with her and I am definitely going to miss her “uh, uh, uh” remarks and the finger in my face. She is a bean counter by heart but most importantly such a good friend. My favorite memory with Jessie was my trip to NYC where she threw my purse away one night because it was old. Yep she did and I let her.
Josh- Savvy, motivated, and a business man. Josh is badass. He unconventional, driven and he goes by the beat of his own drums. He started a huge company called Post Planner and it has taken off. Even though he is a big CEO…you would never know. He is just a super chill guy.
Aline- Passionate, vibrant, loving, and full-on Brazilian. Aline is very special to me. I love her to pieces. She is a tough cookie and very caring. As a friend, if she considers you a close friend, she would do anything for you. She is my guidance counselor when I need it, my fashion advisor when I am indecisive, and most importantly she is such a good person. She has become an older sister. One that I am so proud to call family. She and I grew really close when I went with her in Brazil. She loves life just like me and she takes care of me in so many ways including cooking dinner for me when I get there.

And I did not forget those who made a special appearance
Yogesh- It was so good to see you again. You have always been such a nice guy and I’m so glad that you are happy in San Jose with your cute little family.
Tom and Nate- The awesome MACC duo, it was great to see both of you. Thank you for coming. Nate you always make me laugh and Tom, it’s hard to admit, but your selfie skills are very impressive.

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