Adventures in Güssing

Hello all!

As many of you know (or might have guessed from my last post), I visited my family in Austria just a few weeks ago. My last trip was in spring of 2013, and was a bit of a whirlwind involving a van full of friends and a trek across the country. Comparatively, this most recent trip was quite a bit more laid-back, with the largest thing on the agenda being my grandmother’s 80th birthday at one of the many the local Buschenshanks, or wine taverns. The party lasted until 1am, complete with a ton of food, dancing, and live music courtesy of my great uncle Franz and his friend Rudy.

 My family’s hometown is what one might refer to as rural. It’s not out of the ordinary for people to have livestock on their property, and unpaved roads are somewhat commonplace. Cellphone service can be quite spotty, as it’s so close to the Hungarian border that you could easily stumble across it without realizing. Güssing, a relatively small town of approximately 250 households, is honestly quite hard to find on a map. But, like most of Europe, it boasts a rich history, as is evident by the ruins of the 13th century castle that overlook the town. For me, it’s always been a place to unplug and indulge in some nostalgia. I ate my favorite foods and read half a dozen books in my grandmother’s kitchen. I know that change is guaranteed each visit, as my trips have gotten so few and far between as I’ve gotten older.



Yes, they wore lederhosen. It’s almost a requirement when playing that much polka music.

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I try to appreciate Güssing for what it is. It’s especially quiet and charming during the winter months, when you can find Christmas markets in just about every town in the neighboring region. While we may have high-speed internet here in the Bay Area, they have warm mugs of Glühwein and roasted chestnuts on every corner, which is a fair trade-off, in my humble opinion. It’s very much a place to reset, indulge a bit, and contemplate life(or in my case, attempt to revive some very rusty German…more on this later). It may not be the most glamorous or exotic of vacations, but it’s special nonetheless.


Out West…

Hello all!

It’s Wednesday and that means one thing, right? Five Things! Well, I thought I would mix it up a bit. The self-proclaimed foodie in me wanted to do a bit of a thematic “Five Things”…

I recently discovered that my office is ideally located-walking distance from three very different, vibrant neighborhoods in San Francisco. Since Wednesdays tend to be one (of many) long work days, I like to plan the occasional, get-together with my friends when I can. Today, we went to West of Pecos in the Mission district. I’ve walked by this southwestern-themed restaurant quite a few times, and it’s always packed, so we decided there was no time like to present to check it out.


Luckily, we got there early enough to take advantage of the happy hour. Delicious, incredibly chunky guacamole. And I would describe their chile-dusted chips as “high-brow Doritos.” That’s a compliment, I promise.


I also had some of the best corn covered in some sort of amazing chipotle-butter concoction and flowers. I was in love. To be noted, there is no dignified way to eat corn-on-the-cob.


My corn was accompanied by some of their tuna crudo tacos. Really refreshing and flavorful. I almost wish I had gotten the bigger portion!


It’s “my good friend Rachel,” modeling the fabulous tacos. Because that’s what you’re supposed to do at the dinner when you’re a 20-something: take pictures of your food. I have no shame.


We all decided to split some churros for dessert. We all seemed to have different, positive connotations with churros. They always remind me of going to the flea markets in San Jose when I was a kid. My friend Courtney, who’s originally from San Diego, said she would frequently buy churros from vendors at the beach as a kid. They would always instruct you to hold your churro close to your chest. Why? Apparently too many small children found out that seagulls can apparently spot you gleefully waving your churro from miles away, and won’t hesitate to steal it right from your hands.

 In all seriousness, those churros and the accompanying sauces were so good, I found myself debating how to discretely lick my plate when no one was looking. Which I may or may not have done. I blame the strong sangria.

In other news, happy Earth/Administrative Professionals Day! I clearly celebrated.


We Hiked That…

Oh, hello everyone.

I managed to tear myself away from some very important business (ahem, “Game of Thrones”) to get a few things done this lovely Monday.

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Photo c/o Gary Lo


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it may be rather belated, but I finally managed to hike Mt. Tam!

I also got to visit the historic West Point Inn, a place that I had long wanted to see. I’m going to preface this whole thing by saying that our hike, round-trip, took several hours and spanned almost 10 miles. I’ve never hiked such a long distance in my life. If it wasn’t for my friends, I don’t think I would have gotten out of bed today, nevermind found the motivation to go on a four hour hike this morning. I’ve been having a bit of difficulty finding motivation in general lately. I’ve just been signing myself for work and events, and dragging myself out of the house to meet the expectations I set for myself. To be quite honest, I wasn’t particularly excited to go hiking today. I went through my morning routine, made myself some coffee, and met my friends. I trudged up the side of the mountain, almost solely motivated by lunch and the promise of a good view. I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere in the running conversation I found myself laughing out loud, saying silly things, and just generally enjoying myself. That’s the wonderful thing about good friends, it doesn’t necessarily matter what shape you’re in when you meet them, just being in their company will turn your day around. A little bit of exercise certainly doesn’t hurt, either. The boss lady told me of a quote she had heard today: “the only thing standing between you and a good mood, is a workout.” It’s completely true, but sometimes you need a little something extra to get you through the days. Oh, and good food, that too.

If you’re ever in the San Francisco Bay Area and need some fresh air and beautiful views, I highly recommend it.