Sunday, June 20, 2010

On the way to Whistler

It has been a few years since I have placed words on this small piece of the interweb. I am still not 30 and I still (by most standards) have yet to obtain a "real job". But a new adventure deserves new updates.

The general gameplan: a week in Whistler, 3 weeks in Italy/Paris, and a few days in Washington DC on the way back to Orange County. I have nerdy events at each location: talks, conferences, etc. Emma and I also plan to hike through the Dolomites for a week or so before checking out Venice for a few days.

I am on a bus from Vancouver to Whistler. The highway sits right where a set of dark green mountains meet the water. A few small islands, rising steeply and entirely covered with trees, seem like a perfect getaway for a lifetime of solitude. At one small bridge we passed a stream with water so white that I chuckled in surprise. Some of the mountains have granite faces that rise several hundred feet into the air, and others reveal snow-capped peaks only when the clouds shift just right.

Seeing such natural beauty is a bit of a shock when coming from the well manicured suburban sprawl of Orange County. I am almost unable to enjoy it, out of fear that it may not last, that people will find it and ruin it.

The conference is about the statistical modeling of social networks. Over the next few days I plan to hear some things I (should) already know, learn some things I didn't, meet people who have thought about my interests for many years, meet other excited grad students, and think about how I can contribute.

I also would like to rent a bike and check out the scenery.

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