Friday, June 28, 2013

Pacific Ocean

San Francisco - June 27th

After a week of public speaking engagements, presentations, and kissing babies, (did not actually kiss any babies) my last night in San Francisco had arrived. I wanted to do something special to signify the start of my trip, so I peddled down to Ocean Beach. At first, the ride was incredibly difficult. The hills in the city were insane, and as I felt myself slipping backwards I fearfully peddled harder. Then I got lost as my GPS suggested I take a trail that no longer existed. Despite such difficulties serendipitous events followed shortly there after. After the GPS malfunctioned I creating my own detour ended up on Haight Street in Haight Ashbury. Initially I had no idea where I was but thanks to a little good fortune and educated guessing I landed in one of my favorite neighborhoods in San Francisco. Next I made my way past Golden Gate Park and discovered some beautiful landscaping and museums that I never knew existed. The excitement was building and I could not believe all I had discovered. Then just as I contested that life could not get any better, I saw the Pacific Ocean. From a few miles away I could see the water off in the distance and I started to peddle faster. I forgot about being tired, I ignored my hunger from skipping dinner, I blocked everything out and focused solely on reaching that water. The last few hundred feet before the beach I hit the crescendo and as I witnessed the waves crashing down upon the shore, I realized that this was just the start of many great things to come. I dipped my bike into the ocean for good luck, and thought of all the beautiful things I was yet to discover.  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Google Hangout's

San Francisco - June 26th

Google Hangout is a video conference call that can be uploaded directly to YouTube. This summer I will conduct 2 Google Hangouts each day, and my support team and I are working to schedule Hangouts on 6 continents. Google Hangout allows me to share the Support My School mission with people all around the world and this week we completed international calls in England and India. The calls have been very informative and interactive; however, sometimes there are a few technical difficulties. For instance, we have had various issues with internet connections, and at times the sounds quality has been less than excellent. I think of our international conference calls in the same way I think of my cycling journey. All in all incredibly valuable and worthwhile, but at times there can be unexpected shortcomings. I will inevitably get flat tires and reroute past detours during my ride, just as calls will get dropped and messages will be lost. Never the less, I will overcome these cycling and Hangout related challenges with planning, patience, and perseverance.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Suppenkuche German Restaurant

San Francisco - June 25th

After a long ride there are few things better than a fine German meal and an ice cold beverage. So I set off for a restaurant in downtown San Francisco where the food was authentic and the conversation was robust. At Suppenkuche it was much more than just another meal, this was a place where people from many different backgrounds came to share their storiesI came in alone, but I quickly made friends and before I knew it I was right in the middle of all the commotion. There were joyful talks of a city that brought many people together and there seemed to be a genuine appreciation for our quince qualities that separated us. This led to a conversation on why San Francisco is a place of such acceptance and diversity. Perhaps it was the weather, or maybe the delicious food. We concluded that it was a culture that encouraged open interaction between many ethnicities and social groups. It was not about the fear of our differences, but rather it was coming together to understand how we are the same in many ways.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

On my flight to San Francisco I had a 3 hour layover in Las Vegas. I walked around the strip for about 2 hours and then took a taxi back to the airport. The taxi driver asked me the usual, “so where are you headed?” So i told him about how I was flying out to San Francisco so that I could bicycle across the country and spread awareness for a charity called Support My School. The driver was blown away by my story and started telling me about what it was like to grow up in the Philippines. He told me of the great poverty that he experienced and how he came to the United State to build a better life for his family. He went on to describe the value of community and how he still sends money back to a local church in the Philippines. He said individuals should come together to support a collective effort, and he admired my journey to raise awareness and improve educational opportunities in India. Once we arrived at the airport I reached for my wallet, but he said “don’t worry about it, this ride’s on me.” The drivers generosity and stories we shared, made for a refreshing end to a short layover in Las Vegas.