Home sweet home San Francisco

Moment of awesome

IMG_6148The moment the plane touched down at SFO I felt as if a pint of dopamine was released into my brain. I was home again. The only obvious difference from when I left were the glowing hills of California that had turned green after days of rainfall. Having spent almost a week in the freezing cold in NYC, the 50 degree weather in the Golden State was a welcome relief. Where my first visit to San Francisco was more explorative in nature, the second time I came in with a plan. The week before going to SF I had cold-called the Dutch Consulate General to inquire about any possible positions for me. This picture shows me ironing my only formal, button up shirt on the kitchen table. IT WAS AWESOME!

Read about this week’s adventures and how the meeting at the Consulate turned out. Read More

After a call with an employee – Jasper – at the Dutch embassy, we agreed to have a quick coffee on Tuesday. We had scheduled half an hour, and our meeting started 10 minutes late (“ow God, here we go” I thought to myself). Against my expectations the meeting lasted for more than an hour. I talked to Jasper for a good 45 minutes during which he asked me why I’d be interested in working at the Consulate and told me what they have to offer. He explained that the Dutch have always been a people of merchants and that the Consulate General in SF very much was set up in this spirit. The SF consulate serves to establish and develop economic ties between the 13 most Western US states and the US. The people who work there try to get US firms to establish a location in the Netherlands, connect Dutch CEOs with those in Silicon Valley, and organize events to boost Dutch-American ties. After his explanation of the activities at the consulate, he introduced me to the decision-makers at the office. One of them mentioned I was the first one to ever cold-call and drop in the office. They further mentioned there were a number of positions opening up in January and that if I applied, there would be a good chance I got it as they know me now. This is good news, it’s always nice to have options. I haven’t decided whether I would accept a job there, but I would definitely be interested in a project for a few months.

The next day, I met up with a friend who works at Google. He showed me where he works and it was amazing (mind you, this is the SF office, not the one in Mountain View). The building is located in the downtown area with a breathtaking view on the Bay Bridge. Matt showed me all the cool hangout spots that included a secret bootleg bar in a room that was labeled the ‘broom room’. After lunch, while overlooking the Bay Bridge, we talked about my career perspective. He mentioned that working for a startup could be a good addition to my CV. I wouldn’t get the years of work experience in one specific area, but it would provide a plethora of skills in strategy, operations, and management. Working for a startup would loose me the recognition of a name brand, but would offer a range of skills to develop. Something to keep in mind!

On my last weekend I was invited to go camping at Big Basin Redwood State Park (for the attentive reader, I had been there before as you can <a href="http://www best weight loss supplement.savingonlife.com/tourist-visa-1/week-3-san-francisco-stepping-into-history/”>read in week 3). We hiked with a rowdy crowd of five guys and three girls. We camped out in the woods where the fire kept us warm during the cold nights. We came well prepared – to the point where each meal had several courses. The cold nights were delighted by hot Chocolate (admittedly with a good jug of Whiskey), campfire stories, and guitar sing-alongs. I couldn’t imagine a better way to leave this beautiful place other than with this blissful experience. Never had I thought I missed camping so much. This weekend made me look forward to my time in New Zealand.

But first: Vancouver and Nelson, BC! 

Favorite landscape picture

IMG_6149Credits to Julia Dunn for this stunning shot. View on Outer Sunset, Golden Gate Park, and Ocean beach from Grand View Park.

Insight of the week

— At least once a week (1) be in a room where you are the best at something, and (2) be in a room where you are the worst at something. —

Read the explanation

Everyone has their personal needs, but feeling confident is pretty ubiquitous. For a long time I played a lot of Ultimate and got better at it – practice makes perfect. Every time I came on the field, I felt a bit more competent and a bit more confident. This little boost of confidence often got me through the week and made me do things I otherwise wouldn’t have.

Before your confidence boost gets to your head, I’d advice to be in a place where you are the worst at what you’re doing. This could be anything from a sport, to a theater class, or a talking about a topic you know next to nothing about. Being the worst in the room instills an attitude of humbleness and growth that keeps both your feet on the ground.

A word of wisdom

” ‘Stress’ is Type-A language for fear”

– Tony Robbins – American entrepreneur and coach.

Favorite gadget / book / app / life hack

the daily stoicStoicism has a bit of a bad rep in the Western world – it refers to having a non-emotional attitude. ‘The Daily Stoic’ by Ryan Holiday revisits the definition of Stoicism as it was initially meant to be understood. The Ancient Greek School taught that virtue is based on knowledge. Living in harmony with self-knowledge is the highest good.

This book is a collection of letters and novels written by a Roman emperor (Marcus Aurelius), a former Slave, and a merchant. For each day of the year the book has a passage from these ancient scriptures, and provides a more modern translation and application of the text. I bought this book for myself as a Christmas present and can’t wait to start my daily practice.


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