Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Xivic Los Angeles Trip

Hi everybody,

This is gonna be a pretty lengthy post but email couldn't withstand all the pics so i'm just gonna say my thanks here.

A week later already, I managed to sort out my day-night cycle, so it's a
perfect time to say thank you again for all your hospitality. I can't
say how worried I was in the beginning not knowing anyone there
directly apart from Bahman. I somehow resolved I would stay cooped up
in the hotel room if anything. However, the entire event ended up
being this cool month of getting to know Xivic LA and the city. I
won't say US because I have the feeling that Los Angeles and Hollywood are a very special part of the US.

Everyone gave from their personal time to take me awesome places and I
know I will do the same in return (especially if i get my driving
license, so help me God).

Office time was a particularly memorable experience for me, because
now when we discuss in conferences, I can actually picture the person
behind, and figure out the reasoning and circumstances.

The team analyzing the UX of Twitter Battle in the weekly project discussion can be seen below (the walls playing a whiteboard role in the entire office is something I'm envious about).

Nikolai working late night for our Meineke tickets (when he's not inventing the wheel). And we can't forget about the rainbow, bet you won't have something like that soon enough.

Nate was kind enough to show me his awesome tattoo that's inspired
from Godsmack rock band logo. Please tell him I already bought tickets
to Godsmack concert in Bucharest this June. Again, it's nice to see
the personal dimension of the coworkers on the other side of the

Mister Mark Sr and Mister Mark Jr took me to this awesome ramen place,
where I could order on iPad:

Barney's Beanery night showcased Mark Jr. mad pool skills. Everyone else
just ate good food and pretended to compete with him:

Of course, this will never change: girls just wanna have fun. (and
Bahman photobombing)

I'm just gonna put this here since it mirrors the state of our rationale after a few beers.

I took my time during the weekends and visited Hollywood (walked all the way and down Hollywood Blv.)

Denise showed her off-the-chart organizational skills and - in no time
at all - lined up an entire day at the beach. Now I can say I saw (and slightly got in) the Pacific Ocean.

We spent an entire day biking down Hermosa and Redondo Beach
on nifty beach cruisers. I gave her a scare or two when she saw me
plunging down the valley straight into the junction (red light on,
cars passing, and me having no idea how to use brakes) but I think she
forgave me for that already. I don't think I even ever had a date that

Nikolai was, I think, the one that spent most time with me and for that I am grateful. We work together on several projects for almost two years now, so the connection we had before was naturally continued when we met face to face. So yeah, we had to go to this Hello Kitty exhibition at the Japanese-American National Museum.

We also went to a lot of these places:

Meri took me and Nikolai to Scoops where I had green tea ice cream and
then out to this gorgeous Japanese restaurant on top of Hollywood
Hills, Yamashiro Garden.

She proposed to me there as some of you might've heard. As these
things go, she then took me to meet the parents and family, and then
we spent the entire day at The Getty Museum (where we weren't allowed
to take photos). I still can't believe I've been looking at genuine Rembrandt, Rodin, Cezanne, Bruegel, Degas... Luckily I have the gallery catalogue now so I can stare at the book.

Then, Gabby's concert at Sayer's Club where I could finally hear her perform live. Which was an incredible experience - such a petite and frail person can have such a strong, refined voice. I've videos (even though my recording quality is very low compared to what I heard) and am waiting for new songs on Spotify.

The concert was followed by educational visits with Nikolai to several interesting venues in Hollywood I shall not name. But I learned I must never order a Bud (funny, cuz I thought that was the goto beer?)

Leila and Bahman also dispensed from their valuable free time and took
me to Beverly Hills, Third Street Promenade, walked along the beach
and saw Santa Monica Pier from afar. Leila was basically my valentine
since our time together coincided with St. Valentines Day.

And then, the cherry on top: the trip to Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA.

Ian, Tracy, Julian and Ruby all out-ran, out-energized, out-drank me and beat me on all levels. I wish I had Julian's energy every day. It's all in a haze right now, but I faintly remember colors, big Mickey Mouses, dark castles and this crazy roller coaster ride smooth like silk.

The Hollywood Tower was pretty scary, I must say. I actually visited the Hollywood Tower before the Disney ride, but I didn't "connect the dots" at the time.

I fondly remember each moment and looking back maybe I could've taken more free days (cuz I also wanted to do Runyon Canyon and Joshua Tree National Park) but there was also work to do so it couldn't be helped. I do regret getting sick but there was help from everywhere and I also got to experience U.S. healthcare to a certain degree which was very interesting for me.

I hope to see you soon again (on one or the other side of the Atlantic) and again, thank you for the hospitality. Looking forward to having teams on both sides RO and US extend and forge better relationships based on understanding and mutual trust.

See you on Skype!
Irina M

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