Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I’ve always been a reflective person. Particularly, when I know big changes are just around the corner. Ever since I was kid, I’ve tried to take mental pictures of particular moments or locations in my life that I know will never be repeated in the same way.

For example, I remember sitting at a lunch room table on the last day of 8th grade in Bellevue, Nebraska. I was surrounded by friends that I’d known since first grade. But, I knew that was going to be my last day going to school with any of those people as I knew later that summer we were moving to Spokane. I remember just sitting there trying to absorb as much as that moment as humanly possible. Trying to capture that moment in my mind. The names, the faces and the sites of that lunch room. The layers of paint on the radiators against the wall. The smell of hot dogs, french fries and table disinfectant. The way the light from the fluorescent light reflected off the tile floor. This was a place and a group of people that I’d been around for years, but I knew once I walked out of the lunch room on that last day of school, that particular phase of my life with those people would be over. And it was.

So, as of today, we have about three weeks before we leave San Jose and move back to Seattle. And as it draws closer, I find myself clicking into full reflection mode. Granted we’ve only been in San Jose for two years and I personally haven’t made the bonds with people the same way you do when you are younger, but there is a lot I’m going to miss about this place. So much, that I can’t possible capture it in a mental picture. So, in no particular order, I present the top ten things, I’m going to miss about Northern California.

The Smells: With a 10 month growing season, it seems as if something is always in bloom around here. From the roses, to the eucalyptus trees, to the wild grasses, to the pine trees, to all the other plants and flowers that I’ve only ever seen down here, the smells are wonderful, pretty much anytime you’re outside you’re smelling some type of plant or flower that is unique to this area.

Burritos: In the last two years, I’ve probably eaten more burritos than is healthy for any one human being. Maybe it’s the fresh guacamole, but, they are really an art form down here. Every taqueria or little Mexican restaurant has there own version, but regardless, they’re always great tasting, huge and inexpensive. My favorite: Mondo Burrito in Santa Clara.

The Beach: Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay, Monterey, Mendecino. We’ve truly been spoiled living within an hour or so of some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. And although I love spending a day at the beach in the Summer sipping a beer, I think my favorite time of year at the beach is February. The crowds are gone, but the weather can still be in the 70s.

The Sun. What can I say? I’ve lived in Seattle and England for much of my life. For once, it’s great to live in a place where a sunny day is the norm. You can plan most outdoor activities without worrying about bringing a rain jacket or umbrella. I’m well aware the adjustment back to the Northwest will be tough, especially by about February.

Silicon Valley: I can say I worked in Silicon Valley and have a greater understanding of business and innovation. Silicon Valley is truly a unique business environment with some truly inspiring and brilliant people and companies. It was great to part of it, even for a short time. I learned a lot about myself. Good and bad.

At the same time, I truly have an even deeper understanding of the movie Office Space. Still not a fan of miles and miles of technology industrial parks built in the 70’s and 80’s.

The Fog: I’ve never seen fog like you get around the northern Bay Area. It is truly a breath taking site to drive up the East Bay on a bright and sunny day and look across to San Francisco and see the fog enveloping the city and the Golden Gate bridge.

The City: San Francisco. A city full of paradoxes. Good and bad. Ying and yang. None the less, I’ve truly enjoyed each visit and only being an hour away from the hustle and bustle of a major city. The history, the culture,the food, the diversity and the natural beauty surrounding it is impressive. Not to mention the many wonderful memories we’ve had with visiting friends and family from the last two years. It’s a city I’ll look forward to visiting in the future.

The Outdoors: Yosemite National Park, Pinnacles National Monument, Lake Tahoe, Napa/Sonoma. To name just a few. To have all these amazing and varied spectacular outdoor locations within a days drive is crazy. Over the two years, we’ve been hiking, camping, running and bike riding in some beautiful places.

The San Jose Hills in the Spring: Arrive in San Jose nine months out of the year and you are struck by the brown hills that surround this area. The locals like to call the color “golden”. I still laugh at that. With the exception of the time around sunset, the hills still look brown to me most of the year. But at some point in February through about April, the hills turn a beautiful green. A bright radiant green that really changes the feel of the entire area. It makes it very cheerful and I often found myself looking for an excuse to drive up into the hills. It makes you feel like you’re in Ireland or something.

Coffee Spots: I developed my love for coffee and coffee houses in Seattle during college. Although, I found over the last few years that any good coffee shop in Seattle gets extremely crowded. San Jose doesn’t have the crowded problem. I figured I’d be lucky to find one or two coffee shops in this area. Fortunately, I actually found three that serve great coffee and always have an open table (Mission City Coffee, La Crema, Bellano Coffee). Since I’ve been out of work, it’s been a great and cheap way to get out of the house, but still be on the computer looking for jobs and working on my resume or what not. I’ll miss these places.

I’m sure, there are many other things that I don't even realize, yet. And don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to move back to Seattle, but I think it’s important to look at where you are, before you’re not there anymore.


  1. You are an excellent writer, Matt. Looking forward to having you and Tonja back in Seattle!

  2. Thanks. My grammer needs work. But, what the heck. Looking forward to seeing you guys soon, too!

  3. Aw! That was really sweet, Matt. I'm the same way about making memories. You don't want to know what I remember about college ;)


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