Reflections and Expectations: Everything Old is New Again

20131127-210624.jpgFor a state I called home nearly my entire life, it seems like everything I’m coming back to in California is all new to me again.

Although the people, places and memories of my first incarnation in the Golden State largely remain intact, I find myself readjusting to and re-exploring the settings I fled a little more than a year ago for Philadelphia. I hope that this move back is all for the better as I focus on getting my life and career back on track. Better sooner than later, at this point.

Let’s take a look back at the month that was and look ahead to the final month of 2013.


IMG_0723Moving from Philadelphia – After only 14 short months, I left Philadelphia during the early morning hours on Nov. 5.

By no means was it an easy task to leave behind the life in the City of Brotherly Love and the East Coast. Despite some last-ditch efforts to cement my place in those parts, I came to the realization that more needed to be done to strengthen my short-term and long-term career prospects. Neither Philly nor D.C. — the other city I hoped to move to next — turned out to be the places for me at this time.

I still hope to move back to the East Coast someday. D.C. is the city I want to be in by the end of the decade. Boston and Philly are high on my list as well.

From the top of Lombard Street with the Coit Tower visible in the distance

From the top of Lombard Street with the Coit Tower visible in the distance

San Francisco – Upon leaving Philadelphia on Nov. 5, I decided to spend a few days in this City by the Bay.

For what was my third time in the city, it was the first time where it was largely for leisure. I had greater freedom this time around to check out and do the things I really wanted to do in the Bay Area whereas I was more constrained during my last two visits.

Highlights for this trip included first-time visits to Lombard Street and the Chinatown area as well as revisits to the Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square. While I was there, I discovered one of the best Mexican restaurants I’ve ever visited, Taqueria Vallarta, for some fantastic San Francisco-style burrito. Mexican food is what I really wanted most upon returning back to this state.

On one of the days I was in the Bay Area, I went down to San Jose to visit…

San Jose State University

San Jose State University

San Jose State University and Mineta Transportation Institute – I visited the staff over at the Mineta Transportation Institute, the administrators of the graduate certificate program that I will be starting in January. I met with the staff to learn a little more about the program and what I needed to do in preparation for the start of classes in the spring semester.

Following that meeting, I walked a few blocks down to visit the campus of San Jose State University (SJSU). I took a partial tour of the campus even though I won’t be on the campus itself to take the classes. The program conducts its classes via videoconferencing at Caltrans district offices throughout the state, meaning I won’t be in the actual campus to attend the classes. Nevertheless, I purchased a SJSU T-shirt from the campus store as a way to proudly display my school pride wherever I am. Go Spartans!

Watching the sunset from the Hermosa Beach Pier

Watching the sunset from the Hermosa Beach Pier

Moving back to Los Angeles – Since my return from San Francisco, the proverbial lull began where no big things happened nor was there anything expected for the time being.

Nevertheless, I still focused my efforts on finding a job, figuring out where my next permanent living arrangements will be and gearing up for the start of the graduate certificate program.

I spent the balance of the month easing back into my second incarnation of the California life. For one, I revisited restaurants in L.A. that I missed going to while I was living in Philly. It feels great to return to authentic Mexican food and chili burgers. I missed those greatly.

I continued to deal with the withdrawals of moving back to the West Coast from the East Coast. For example, the food carts serving Middle Eastern food in Philly that I used to frequent are nonexistent in L.A. Taco trucks, however, have sufficiently helped to fill in that void.

Thanksgiving – Regardless of the state of affairs I am currently experiencing, spending the holidays with my relatives — cousin, cousin-in-law and their two young sons that I call my “little cousins” — in San Diego is always a great blessing. Spending time with them always brightens things up for me during the worst of times and adds on to the joy during the best of times. It was no different this year.


  • Holiday season – [see Thanksgiving above]
  • Visiting El Dorado High School – It’s been an annual tradition of mine every December since 2007. I always stop by alma mater in Placentia, Calif. to visit my former student council advisor, who is now the principal of the school. This has already become a time-honored tradition.
  • Job search – What is this line still doing here? Hope we never have to see it again.

What are some of your personal highlights in November? What are you looking forward to this December? I’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts below.


4 thoughts on “Reflections and Expectations: Everything Old is New Again

  1. Nice blog, Simon. Good luck with your upcoming classes. I think you’ll enjoy the master’s program.

  2. We miss you in Philly, but it sounds like good things are happening on the West Coast! I’m happy you’re blogging, so we can stay caught up!

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