A perk of being a Ph.D. student is that you get an all-expense paid mini-vacation when you are giving a talk at a conference. This year I got to visit New Orleans, or "the Big Easy" as people called it for the easy-going, casual feelings of the city. It was exactly a decade ago that New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina, leaving almost 80% of the city underwater. The city and her people have recovered so well that there are barely any trace of the destruction to be seen.
I love living in San Diego. The sunshine, ocean breeze, and the year-round coastal weather make it one of the best place to live in the continental US. However, one thing that I missed the most about living in the Midwest was the green trees in the summer. So my roommate Pop, my cousin Pat and I decided to go to a place that combine the beauty of the Pacific coast with the greenery of the Midwestern states for the Fourth of July weekend. That place was Oregon.
I have been to Japan many times in the past, including a 3-month internship in Tokyo. Still, it is one of my favorite country to visit. I recently went back to Japan on a vacation with my family. We spent most of our time outside of the cities in the more rural part of the country. Here are some photos from the trip. Enjoy!