A long, if very incomplete, list of things that happened to me in the past two weeks. Suggested soundtrack: Surf Rock.
- The incredible light of a Sunday morning in December in Southern California;
- Getting positive feedback on my work;
- Snow-covered mountains seen from an airplane;
- Being recognized for my work;
- Late planes;
- Presenting my poster for the whole of my poster session. And during a break. And during another break. And later on on the corner of a tablecloth;
- The sound of the waves crashing against the shore, a few feet from us in the dark;
- Giving up on sleep at 6am and go for a swim in an outdoor pool on a hotel roof, while giggling madly with a friend;
- Hearing about great science;
- A hummingbird;
- Dancing a mix of salsa and west coast swing on music that's only appropriate for it in that it has a beat, in the middle of the sketchiest nightclub I've ever seen;
- Having a professor I did not really dare bugging once more about letters of recommendation coming to me, apologizing about not responding, and offering to write them right away;
- Sand between my toes;
- Devising all sorts of new scientific projects;
- Remembering that the best part about wearing make up is sharing lipstick with a friend. And hear her go "wow" as you're done applying it;
- Sharing a bottle of Sierra Nevada with an old friend in the lobby of a hotel;
- The aggression of slot machines, windowless corridors, and smelly food;
- Lindy-hopping to music we hum in the street;
- Tediously sitting through an entire afternoon of talks, courtesy of the report I was to send back to the department;
- The barely contained cheerfulness of a friend, so happy to be back in California he gave up on such mundane things as articulating and talking about a single topic at once;
- Laughing at reviews rejecting a paper of mine;
- Being stuck in a windowless, disorienting casino-hotel for most of the day;
- Catching up, many years later, with a guy whose path had once crossed mine, and getting along as if we had indeed been friends for all those years;
- Being asked out, actually asked out, for the first time in... all that;
- Discussing a project with a collaborator, kneeling in a corridor;
- Taking pictures of surfers;
- Napping whenever I can;
- Telling a sexist guy to go stuff himself;
- Stepping off an airplane and being able to give directions to people;
- Sitting in inspiring keynotes;
- Offering my somewhat skeptical shoulder to a guy complaining that the girl he likes is a "dude magnet" and that he's too old to like her anyway;
- Hours and hours and hours of awesome conversation (scientific and otherwise);
- Being once more totally entitled to use the word "awesome" once per sentence in average;
- Eating dinner on the patio, just like so many years before;
- Compliments, of all sorts, mostly on my work, occasionally on my dancing;
- Hanging out with a former roommate;
- Spending more than one hour in front of the same exciting poster;
- Attending the fifth holiday party organized by the grad students association—while being one of the rare people in attendance who were there for the first;
- A shy smile from an adorable two-year old, over the cup of coffee I'm sharing with her parents;
- Giving advice to a professor on the talk he's preparing;
- Sharing a bottle of bubbly with my favorite woman in the whole of America;
- And, last but not least: being told about my dream job, and of how good a fit for it I seem to be, and of how nice it is that I apply, by the guy who opened the position; being told by various colleagues how great it would be that I get the job and move closer to them. Not daring to dream too much about it, but doing my damn best to prepare the most fantastic application I can.
 "Hey! You're that girl who wrote that paper?! Wow!" is a sentence I'd be happy to have heard only once in my life... and I heard it twice already.
 "It could be drugs. Do you think he does drugs? Nah, you're right, it's probably just the sun, the ocean, and his old friends. You speak faster yourself, actually."
 Spatio-temporal constraints made accepting impossible.
 He had a point. Girl leaves the room, five random guys follow her. I leave the room, there's a faint possibility one of my friends takes less than five minutes to notice.