Archive for the 'United States' Category

Working days in Portland

August 15, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

It’s been a productive and fun two days in Portland. WP_20150813_06_09_17_ProYesterday I woke up early and went on a jog through Laurelhurst park, a nice park right near my airbnb. I saw some beautiful scenery and a raccoon, from which I carefully moved away. There were also a lot of people sleeping in the park. For the workday, WP_20150813_12_53_32_Promy first stop was Safeway. I spent all morning at Safeway. After Safeway, I drove to the Pioneer square area where I found more important outlets. I walked through a cool food truck area and ate sushi for lunch. WP_20150813_20_28_12_ProAfter more work in the afternoon, I went to a restaurant called “Ox” for dinner. Ox is Argentinian food x Portland food. It was an excellent meal. I had oysters, squid and octopus salad, house made chorizo, and blistered green beans.

wp_20150814_14_36_09_proToday I woke up early but did not go for a run. I went to a coffee shop for breakfast and work, and then worked all day. In the afternoon I visited the Japanese Gardens and the Rose Gardens on Portland’s west side. Both were excellent. WP_20150814_15_46_54_ProI forgot to mention – for lunch, I went to a restuarant called Harlow that served vegetarian food and smoothies. Someone who worked there called me “ladybug.” I liked that – it was a very welcoming place. They served an item that was priced on a sliding scale because they believe that everyone deserves a warm, organic meal but some people cannot afford the standard bowl. What a cool establishment.

In the evening, I went to a wine bar called Noble Rot, which was recommended by my uncle’s friend. WP_20150814_18_28_48_ProNoble Rot is on the fourth floor of a building and has a great view. I tried a flight of Pinot Noirs and then Rose. For food, I had some Padron peppers (kind of like Shishito peppers – some are spicy – but fatter) and some ricotta cheese toast. A lot of the produce used at Noble Rot (the herbs in the Ricotta AND the peppers, in my meal) is grown on the roof of the building. MM!

Later in the evening, I took a walk back to WP_20150814_21_39_49_ProCascade barrel house to get some dessert beer and ended up trying a few more. I’m really liking Portland with its unisex bathrooms and friendly people. It’s a very easy place to be. Kind of seems like Allston, MA but with wider streets, more respectful people, and cleaner.

Tomorrow I plan to head to a biscuit place for breakfast and then to Cannon beach. Hope you have a nice weekend!

Love, Annie

Hello Portland!

August 13, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Hope all is well. I woke up this morning in Calgary and did some work, then flew to Portland! WP_20150812_16_10_38_ProAt the airport and at the PDX rental car desk, there were lots of lines.

The majority of the first half of the day was spent waiting in lines. Finally I “checked into” another airbnb. This one is in a residential neighborhood called Sunnyside. WP_20150812_19_21_54_ProI’m excited to be in Portland – some of my best friends went to school here and I’ve heard quite a bit about the city.

I had an ambitious afternoon and evening. First I drove to Reed College and walked around there for a while. WP_20150812_19_56_33_ProThen I dropped my car back at “home” and went for a long walk. I visited the Cascade Brewery for the sour beers. I tasted 6 different beers. I’ll go back another time and have a full one. Then I walked to a restaurant called Pok Pok and had southeast Asian food. WP_20150812_21_31_30_ProThe wings were delicious. At Pok Pok I drank the “Pok Pok Michelada,” which was excellent. I walked back in the dark and was happy to have brought my flashlight. Now I’m exhausted. Tomorrow will be a full work day.

Love, Annie

Bye, Bentonville!

February 12, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

I’m headed to the airport soon. It’s time to go home! It’s been a great week and a half. IMG_3223In a strange way I feel like this trip has been like a reset button for my mind. I feel like myself again after a half year without being on survey. I had gotten so used to the solo travel routine. Now I’m excited to go home with this renewed sense of self.

Hopefully there won’t be any more delays due to snow. Yesterday was a good day. I finished work and even got to visit the Walmart museum. Conveniently, it was in the square where I went to lunch. IMG_3231Lunch was tacos and iced tea. At the museum, I learned a lot about Sam Walton. Walmart employs about 2.2 million people. The Walmart Museum also has an ice cream shop (pictured below). One of the flavors is “Spark” as in “Walmart Spark” and it’s blue and yellow. Apparently it is sweet cream flavor. I passed.

In the evening, I met up with one of the friends that I made on the first night. IMG_3238We went to Core Brewery tasting room. I drove first to the wrong Core Brewery… the actual brewery, which was a lot further away. It was cool to see, though. When I finally got to the right place, both the beer and conversation were awesome. When I got back to the hotel, I had a salad at the bar and then packed. At the bar I met a guy from Ohio who sells chocolate turtles. What a fun thing to sell.

Love, Annie

Awesome Day in Bentonville

February 10, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Hope you are well. Today I was very productive again and most of the work for Bentonville is done. IMG_3213MAYBE I’ll have time to visit the Walmart museum. Today went by very quickly. I spent the morning making phone calls. Around midday, I went to  a meeting with our client that went well and then gave a survey demonstration. I went to an awesome restaurant for dinner. Shamefully I could not finish the entire bottle of beer because I had to drive home. That dish is called High South Poutine. It’s meatloaf on french fries.

Love, Annie

Work and Fun in Northwest Arkansas

February 10, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Hope you are well. So far my time in Bentonville has been fun. The flight from Houston to the Northwest Arkansas airport was easy. IMG_3202I sat next to a guy from Germany who works in the automotive industry and was going to Joplin, Missouri. At the airport I rented a compact car, a Nissan Versa, and have been enjoying zipping around the city in the little Versa. The radio stations are terrible, though.

Last night I worked out and ate at the hotel bar and met some really interesting people. The night was way more fun than expected. We watched the Grammy Awards and talked about music for a long time. Today I was extremely productive. In the evening, I worked out and ate again at the hotel bar.

Love, Annie

Adios Pittsburgh!

July 29, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

On my third and last day of Pittsburgh, I finished up my work and then headed to the Oakland neighborhood to do some sightseeing. Pittsburgh, Etc 110I went first to the Cathedral of Learning at University of Pittsburgh (Pitt). My colleague went to Pitt for school, so it was cool to walk around and learn a little about his college life. The Cathedral of Learning is an enormous structure with many classrooms. Inside it also has rooms for different nationalities so, for example, I saw the Austrian room, the Indian Room, and the Armenian room. Really cool! After the Cathedral of Learning, I headed to Phipps Conservatory.

Pittsburgh, Etc 161

In this museum, there are (probably) thousands of different kinds of plants. There was a desert room, an orchid room, a fern room, an Indian spices room, a fruits room, etc.

I ate lunch at the Phipps cafe, which featured dishes made from vegetables grown at the conservatory (there was also an outside area with herbs and veggies being grown for consumption). I had quiche and tomato basil soup. After that, I walked around Oakland a little more and then in the afternoon, took my flight home!

Love, Annie

Excellent day in Pittsburgh

July 23, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Today was a great, productive day in Pittsburgh. I worked during the morning and afternoon, and then walked around downtown Pittsburgh. 20130723_165516I did some more work inside a fancy hotel when it started pouring outside and then, after the rain ended and I could walk around again, had dinner at Primanti brothers sandwiches. I had a pastrami sandwich, a beer, and a big kosher pickle, and it was excellent. They put the french fries IN the sandwich! I guess you have to eat here if you are a tourist in Pittsburgh.

After the dinner I did some more walking because I felt very full. I feel less full now. I’m enjoying Pittsburgh much more than I expected to. 20130723_162502Everyone is very friendly. Apparently there is an Eagles concert here tonight! I asked about going but I guess they are sold out. I definitely would have gone. Usually hearing the Eagles makes me very homesick but it wouldn’t have mattered tonight because I’m heading home tomorrow evening.

Tomorrow I’m going to get up very early and finish my work. Just a tiny bit left. If there is time (there should be), I’m going to go to Oakland neighborhood to see the Cathedral of Learning and Phipps Conservatory.

Love, Annie

Hello Pittsburgh!

July 22, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Hope you are doing well. I’m currently on a short survey of Pittsburgh before heading to West Africa on August 4th.


That trip will include Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Sierra Leone. All my visas are in order and I’m really excited.

Today I took a short morning flight to Pittsburgh and after settling in at the hotel (which is great, by the way), I went to lunch (at Pita Pit… not that special but it was the best thing I could find in my southside neighborhood) and then  to work. On the way home from the market, my taxi got rear ended! Kind of hard, but we were not hurt. It took a bit of time for the driver and the woman who rear ended him to exchange data, but I didn’t care because there was no rush.


I felt bad for the driver because it was the end of his shift and he just wanted to go home but because we got in an accident he had to take his car into the cab place to get it checked out. We talked about muscle building techniques in the car, and also how he had worked since four in the morning.It was about 430 by the time I got dropped off.

I had a nice workout at the gym, and then went to dinner at a place called Dish, a little Italian restaurant.  I sat at the end of the bar intending to do work, but ended up having a conversation with an enormous man from Pittsburgh. He used the word “jagoff” to describe his friend. When he said this I had to use all my powers not to crack up because my colleague Alex had warned me that they use this term and accent in Pittsburgh. The little restaurant had delicious food and drinks, and it was a great experience. I’m very excited for a complimentary hotel breakfast and a full day of work tomorrow!

Love, Annie

Boston is Great!

March 3, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

I’m settled back home and have been back for almost a week. The flights home were good, uneventful, which is good.

20130303_150745On the way from London to Boston I watched Argo and really enjoyed it. Today  it was Sunday, and I had a blog-worthy day so why not share.

I woke up early (still jet lagged) and after a bit, headed to lunch with some great friends. We went to Island Creek Oyster house, delicious. We had oysters, bloody marys, coffee, and for my main dish I had an egg white frittata – mmm.


After that, we went back to my friends roof deck to hang out because they weather was nice.They are on comm ave and have a really nice view of boston. After that, I walked around and found myself at the Boston Public Library. I was embarrassed that I had never been there before because it was so awesome.

I went in there originally because they had an exhibit on the sports stadiums of Boston, but stayed for a while longer wandering around in the beautiful building. They have a maps exhibit that shows old maps of Boston which was also so cool. After wandering around there, I went home to relax a bit and then went back out to have a birthday dinner with my parents and brother. What a happy day!

Love, Annie

Minuteman Bike Path

June 25, 2012

Yesterday was a beautiful day so I decided to ride the Minuteman bike path.

It took me about a half hour to forty five minutes to get to the starting point of the path at Alewife station in Cambridge from my apartment in the South End. The path is easy to find.

Coming from Mass Ave, take a left on Rindge Ave. When you come to a busy intersection (you can see the Summer Shack) take a right and you’ll see the beginning of a path that allows you to avoid the busy road.

The minuteman is about 10 miles long and takes you from Alewife to Bedford. It goes through Arlington and Lexington Centres, which are fun places to get off the path and get a cup of coffee, ice cream, or a sandwich, etc. For a delicious, hearty sandwich, I’d recommend the Avenue Deli in Lexington.

The path is paved, generally smooth (there are a few bumps in the road but they are well marked) and basically flat. No motor vehicles are allowed on the path.  Drivers are very respectful and always yield to the bikers that are crossing the streets. Pedestrians, rollerbladers, and bikers seem to be more respectful of each other here than in other parts of the city. There are bike repair areas at different points on the path. Fortunately, none of my equipment needed fixing on the road.

All in All, it was a great experience.