I’m on a plane once again. The air is dry, it gives me a cough and makes my eyes red. The leaves me both hungry and queasy. My neck is killing me. It is night-time1, so our blinds are closed and most passengers are sleeping. I’m listening to Sphongle as I type this up, and my view consists of the tiny screen in the seat in front of me. I have it turned to flight camera, so I see a jumbo jet cruising over what is either a very strange looking sea of clouds, or the bare ocean slowing thorugh the cavities and irregularities in the frozen tundra. Maybe it’s just ice shelfs. I figure I’m over Canada or Greenland. If I sneak my window open for a peek2 I see the brightest orange sun[set|rise] of my life.

Things are good. I’ve gotten a solid shot of vitamin D by being in the sun several hours each day. I have gotten drunk and acted silly, I have danced, and I feel my eyes have been wide open the whole time, sucking it all in, rubbing it in the pores of my skin. What a ride it has been.

The joyous feeling in my chest is not from any single event or series of events. It is from the tiny little ways San Francisco and Silicon Valley has shown it’s kindness and positivity. It is from the small conversations in taxi cabs. From the whole in the wall club I was in yesterday that had only 10 other people in it, but played amazing music and overcharged my Pabst Blue Ribbon. It’s from the amazing slice of pizza I had when I landed. From the contrast between super boring and amazingly exciting companies. From the feeling that both everything has been done and all is yet to be reinvented.

Honestly, mostly it is from all the wonderful conversation. So many people exchange niceties. Those that don’t probably would if I talked to them first. Everyone has a story to share and a minute to listen to yours, and we all listen with focus and attentiveness. It is easy to remember your own humanity in a place where everyone is so much human all the time.

I must restate that I’m coming back. I’m making a mantra of it. And I’m grateful to be in a line of work that will make it easy for me to return and find great work. Barring a collapse of the software sector (which is absolutely possible and not unprecedented) coming back will be piece of cake.

Still, coming home is always a special thing. I wonder how my avocado tree is coming along. And I’m excited to see my parents. And to tell my friends about my experiences, both those that have never been and those who have long urged me to go. I’m looking forward to going back to school. My thirst for learning, for becomming the best computer scientist I can be, as only increased.

What a journey. What a place. What a future.

  1. By some standard. 

  2. This is frowned upon, as it is fairly light out and people are sleeping.