The Golden State

My first thought when I stepped off the plane in California on Christmas Eve was that it might not feel like Christmas without mountains and snow.  Fortunately, I was wrong.  As it turns out, Christmas in sandals is still Christmas.

Volleyball at Laguna Beach

We watched a pickup volleyball game during brunch in Laguna Beach. I think they were pros.

A few days after Christmas, my mother put me in contact with a local professional who is well connected in the California furniture and textile industries.  She met him at a conference, told him that I am looking for work on the west coast, and he agreed to meet with me and talk about job opportunities.

We met for breakfast at a small café in Irvine.  I was nervous about the meeting, but it went better than I expected.  The man with whom I met was so friendly that I wondered initially if he was insincere (maybe selling me something?).  It didn’t take long, though, to realize that he simply had a warm disposition and was eager to help me find the right career.  After we finished an informal interview, I asked him to tell me a bit about himself.  To my surprise, I learned that I was sharing a meal with a former NFL tight end and a self-made success story.  It was one of the highlights of my trip.

Zoe at Santa Monica

The world's most reluctant pirate.

The rest of the trip went well, despite the loss of my grandfather shortly after Christmas.  My parents flew to the east coast to be with my grandmother, so my sister Zoe and I were left in California to fend for ourselves.  We made the best of our time together and had a lot of fun.  We even found some super-touristy things to do together.

Our first day together, Zoe and I drove to Santa Monica to check out the pier.  As we arrived in Santa Monica, the weather turned on us.  A thick fog rolled in off the ocean and limited visibility, which made sightseeing at the pier impossible.  We decided instead to check out a huge outdoor mall near the pier.  While walking around the mall, we found a kiosk filled with ties and suit accessories (cufflinks, tie clips, etc.).  I am obsessed with ties, so we spent some time looking at the kiosk.  I was surprised to find that I liked nearly all of the ties – which is exceptionally rare.  I spoke to the guy working the register, and learned that he is the owner.  He left a cozy job with a major financial institution and started a small business where he designs and sells high-quality ties and accessories.  He seemed intelligent and was knowledgeable about ties and clothing.  I found myself inspired by his entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to strike out on his own.  If I get his permission, I’ll post a link to the business so you can check it out.

Maybe the most exciting news from the trip is that I got a job offer!  More on that soon.

Until next time.

-Taft

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