If Only New York Wasn't So Far Away | San Diego Chronicles, Week 2

Well, that's it. I've been in San Diego for twelve days. On Wednesday at 9:00 AM, I'll have been a San Diego resident for two whole weeks. I've spent my first week at the San Diego State REU learning what I'm going to be researching ... since applied math is way the heck more complicated than I ever knew. I think that division between pure mathematicians and applied mathematicians needs to dissolve stat (even though I joke about the superiority of applied mathematicians all the time now because I like to give the number theory team grief). I warned you that these posts weren't going to have the same format every week, so ... welcome to the  “lately, I've been thinking” edition of the San Diego Chronicles. (If you have a more inspiring name for this series, please leave suggestions in the comments!)
Lunch spot with Phoebe, Ben, CB Thomas, Original Chris, and Jessie (Friday, June 30th)
ON PAST INSECURITIES AND THEIR USELESSNESS. Maybe the few people reading now don't know this, but I used to be super into fashion. In fact, I planned to become an image/wardrobe consultant after obtaining my associate's degree (then in true Hannah fashion, I did a 180-degree turn and decided to study math instead). Even while I ran my fashion blog, I felt super insecure about not being the perfect size 4, 110-pound fashionista, and I was always embarrassed about being a style blogger. Looking back on those posts, I realize they weren't actually that bad -- and did I really think I was ugly!?  Thinking about my 18-year-old high-school senior/college sophomore self made me realize how much time we invest in thinking we're not as good as we're supposed to be or not as pretty or not as thin or not as smart . . . and how futile those thoughts really are. In ten years, are you going to look at yourself in high school pictures and think you were ugly and fat? Heck no! In fact, in all likelihood, you're going to think, “Why am I not that pretty and skinny now?” Why spend so much time pondering these things that will have no bearing on you in ten years? (Why don't we think about Fourier analysis instead?)
I think I'll try defying gravity. (Ocean Beach, San Diego, Friday, June 30th)
ON THE AWESOMENESS OF GYMS. Laugh at me all you want, this week was the first week I'd ever visited a public gym. In Goldendale, good gyms aren't available, so working out meant using a Jillian Michaels DVD, YouTube videos, going for runs/walks/bike rides, or running the stairs in the house. When I moved to Ellensburg, I was hyper terrified of working out in front of people and admittedly resented all the people who wouldn't shut up about going to the gym (I have a hard time with people who are super trendy, and these days the trend is going to the gym--if you don't go the gym, nobody thinks you work out at all). When I moved to San Diego (it's still tough for me to believe that I can actually write that so casually -- like “ oh hey by the way I'm just living in San Diego” whaaaaaaaaaaaat and yes the way I write is my thought process most of the time), I really wanted to be able to improve my cardiovascular fitness and do something other than Hatha/vinyasa/Ashtanga yoga. So I bought the $80 gym membership at the Aztec Recreation Center and have been finding going to the gym SO much fun. Although the SDSU gym is ridiculously hard to get to. And it's highly touted but its rock wall isn't nearly as impressive as Central's.
Ocean Beach (Friday, June 30)
ON MAXIMIZING OPPORTUNITIES. Doing a few touristy things here and there while I've been in San Diego has made me understand how important it is to get out of the house and explore. I mean, life is an opportunity -- why do we not make more of it? I am tremendously lucky to be here. One of my research teammates told me a little about the process of selection for the San Diego State University Mathematics Research Experience. Apparently, the program director scoured each application, reading each letter of recommendation three or four times, and if he found something he didn't like the third go-round, he'd toss out the candidate. In fact, below a certain level of mathematical aptitude (where aptitude was rated by the professors who recommended us), he wouldn't even consider the applicant. I realized almost for the first time how completely competitive the REU process of selection is. (In fact, the SDSU REU has, in years past, had students from Fordham, Brown, Princeton, and Yale -- all in the same year.) To be honest, I'm in awe that I even got into the program, and I really want to make the most of my time in San Diego.
The panoramic view of Ocean Beach.
My first fish taco! It was super spicy ... but I'm from Washington, not SoCal ;) (Friday, June 30)
Some of our REU team (representing the number theory and hydrodynamics projects): Jessie, Alec, OG Chris, Ben, CB Thomas, Everyone's Thomas, Phoebe, and Katie. 
That's all for this installment, folks :)