Friday, November 1, 2013

Last few days of my vacation in Boston area

The rest of the stay in Boston area was just relaxing and lots of shopping of course as well. On Friday met with LauriP for lunch - he happened to be in Boston office at this time as well.

On Saturday I took the train and travelled to Providence Rhode Island for a day. It is just another nice town by the water - university town, Brown university is located here. Circled the city, visited the campus, spent few hours at the design museum and so the time went. Train ride to and back from Providence was ca 1 hour - very simple and easy.

Sunday I walked all the way to Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Again, spent hours staring at the paintings. The museum is huge and noone should just rush through it in an hour or two. Museums are so peaceful, they are always nicely organized and it is just such a relaxing trip to look around in the hallways of museums :)

Monday - made my way to the sea side and spent hours just lurking around the piers on the Harborwalk. Stared at the water, stared at the seagulls, tried to breath in all the sun and the wind. My last day of vacation - must enjoy every minute of it.

I was all packed by Sunday evening. My bag is just so very full. If I'd have to squeeze one more skirt in, it would not fit :) It was heavy as hell, but no extra kilo's once I did my check-in, phew! My flight back departed from Boston 21:30 on Monday, landed in Iceland for an hour and continued on to Stockholm and then flight to Estonia from there. Back home after a full month of traveling :) Just so very glad that there is no snow here yet :D

Friday, October 25, 2013

Conference in Boston

Tuesday and Wednesday I attended a conference. It is quite difficult to sit on one spot for 6 hours in a row right after having a nice active vacation for 3 weeks :) But I managed :)

Boston World Trade Center
As it goes with conferences there is a formal banquet - this was on Tuesday. On the first coffee break I met a nice crowd of Spanish entrepreneurs so banquet was whole lot more fun thanks to them. At the end of the second day we attended a short shopping trip :) and had a wonderful dinner at The Cheesecake Factory in city-center. I was in heaven, with all the possible flavors of the godly cheesecakes - they had a whole menu for the cakes! YUMM!

My heaven :D :D
On Thursday I had a wonderful opportunity to visit Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) in Lowell. We were taken there with a bus, once arrived we got a very thorough overview of how the development center (or rather an incubator for medical device startups) was created and how it is built up for entrepreneurs to get their innovations to the market. Next the local entrepreneurs gathered to have lunch with us and gradually each one of them gave an overview of their products, basically they gave their pitch :)

Just to name a few:
Infobionic - they are developing MoMe system with the first product being cardiac arrhythmias detection
206 Ortho - they are developing next generation bone fracture fixation technology where no major surgery is needed
Another one was developing a new kind of needle technology where needle stick injuries would be prevented
One then there were some very specific ones that I can't even start to explain with my own words... like VasoTech for an example :)

All those amazing inventions coming out of there! The way this development center collaborates with University of Massachusetts is another innovation to talk about. There are three departments that work very closely with the development center - engineering, business and medical department. Any market analysis that needs to get done is carried out by the students in business school for an example - this way the students have real life cases to work on as well. Medical facilities have all the needed laboratories and devices available for the experiments and trials that the startups need. It is all just that simple, with some amount of co-operation all the bits and pieces are tied into one full life cycle of product development. Boston area is famous for such settings of course as there are just such great universities around here.

The trip to Lowell was definitely an eye-opener of how university and startup scene can be tied into one whole innovation center.

Boston city view

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Getting from Minnesota to Boston - 21.10

Moose and Meely resting from a tiring morning with the kids :)
Got to take a road-trip with all the 4 buns all the way to Duluth :) They are all so cute, they fight for the seats and then of course they can't sit still once in the car. Singing mixed with yelling and talking and fighting and screaming and crying. And there is 4 of them! And they are so adorable :)

I got lucky that I got to the airport nice and early, 2.5hrs before my flight. There were no lines and all was nice and quiet. Although I'm not sure if Duluth airport ever even gets crowded :D It is a tiny place. There is probably 1 flight going to Canada so they call it an international airport. But the airport is nice and they have free wireless!

Ok, but about the check-in. Grrr. My original booking had 2 flights for this day: Duluth-Chicago and then Chicago-Philadelphia. But as my travel plan got changed then the second flight got changed to Chicago-Boston. Should not be a problem right? Well. Guess again. First problem was that the second flight got another booking code, so it was not possible to check me in all the way through. It is a small airport and "they are not trained in for this" was the explanation. So it would have been perhaps possible, but the biggest issue was that the second flight was with another airline :O That is where the problems started - they have no authority. The guy at the check-in desk was really trying, he even called the support line, even that did not help as the answer was "no can do". Unbelievable.

Hello Chicago once again!
So what was the solution? Had to collect my luggage in Chicago and do another full check-in with the other airline once in Chicago. There went my 2.5hrs of layover time. Joys of traveling!

I was so happy once I arrived in Boston. It was a nice surprise to find a full suite when I entered my hotel room :) With a living room, kitchen corner, bathroom (with a nice bath) and a bedroom with a huuuge bed and both rooms had a TV that covered the whole wall :D My week in Boston will be so very nice!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Visiting Nikki in Minnesota

The recovery time from the travels was 15 hours of sleep :D Even the kids running around did not manage to disturb it :) Days here in Nikki's house are very nice and quiet when the kids are in day care - once they are at home then there is lots of energy in the air. Quite a bit of running around and screaming and sometimes crying and playing with the tools and toys and all kinds of other activities. It is fun, the kids are nice and Nikki is doing a good job keeping them lined up :)

Kids getting acquainted with all the Halloween goodies
Before my travels Nikki was asking what I liked to do once in Minnesota - all I wanted was just to spend time with her. I'd be just so glad to go to movies, cook, help with the kids or just go for a walk - as long as we get to chat a way and get updated with our doings.

Daily discipline and timetable is quite strict in this house. Kids go to sleep nice and early, around 7 in the evening, so we have plenty of time to catch up on lost times with a glass of wine and a movie :) Mostly the days go with the same rhythm and logistics is an important part when there are 4 kids to look after.

Saturday morning soccer game
Saturday morning, 19th of October, started with a soccer game for Wyatt and Colten - the oldest boys. They had 2 games at the Y, with all the parents camping out by the field and cheering the kids on - what a sight!

Something I have been graving for all those 2 years - Domino's pizza with cheesy bread. This was one of my requests for food choice :), so we had a nice pepperoni pizza for lunch :) It turns out that nowadays they have only stuffed cheesy bread, both me and Nikki are quite outdated on their menu changes :D

Once the house gets too crowded and noisy it is time for a nice walk outside. Nikki lives out from the city so whichever way one wants to walk there are trees all over and not much traffic on the small roads.

Just like on most days there is a time to play with the kids, in the early evening to the movies we went, just me and Nikki - 3D movie this time, Gravity.

Sunday morning when we all woke up it was snowing. Ended up snowing the whole day :) Kids had the most fun having a snowball fight on the porch - they scraped up the little snow they found and threw the snowballs at each other.

Ryans' parents invited us for lunch in town, yet another meal type that I miss over the years - one of the huuuge breakfasts they cook up for you over here. Hash-browns, pancakes, french toast, omelets, eggs and bacon and biscuit and gravy - oh yum! All this with chocolate milk and lemonade. What else can one soul wish for?

My last day here in Minnesota, yet another packing manic ongoing :) Tomorrow afternoon I fly out from Duluth.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Getting from Hawaii to Minnesota - 16.10

It took me a while to figure out the dress code for the travels. I needed to be at the airport 3 hours before my flight ... but the airport is an open air one so you just have to stay in this heat the whole time. But once you get in the plane it is getting a whole lot colder immediately. So jeans and fleece is needed at once :)

Airport in Kailua-Kona
My flight plan had 2 longer flights of 5 hours and second one almost 4 hours, last one being a red-eye. Once in Chicago there was 4 hour layover - luckily I found free Internet there so the time flew by nice and quick.

Welcome to Chicago!!!
Since it is not allowed to bring any liquids through security, what I do is I carry an empty bottle with me. Once past the security I fill it up with water. It is always such a bugger to fill the bottle using the drinking fountain - finally they have made it easier.. found this in Chicago airport:

I helped to eliminate waste from the 42047th disposable plastic bottle
So glad this cold rain is on the other side of the glass :)
In the afternoon I finally landed in Duluth - after some 20 hours of traveling I finally made it. Had been waiting to see Nikki for the longest time - so very glad to be here!

Welcome to Duluth!!!
Not so happy about the weather forecast as it shows snow for the next four days :) Quite a change from 30C to 0C :D

Had nice lunch in Duluth with Nikki - just the two of us, getting synced with our doings of the past 2 years and the time just flies by. Time to head to Virginia and pick up all the 4 buns from the day care. I get to meet bun #4 - Quinn :) What a nice crowd :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hilo and Mauna Kea

Due to the gallons of wine that needed to be consumed last night this morning was a bit difficult one :D We were planning on getting up early and heading out to explore the island - well that did not quite go that easily :) Had a nice breakfast in town around 10 and started to drive to Waimea a bit before noon. Due to the slow morning we ended up making couple of stops on the way :)

The end goal was to get to Mauna Kea to see the sunset from the top. Figured to take a direct road from Waimea, but while looking for the falls we ended up heading towards Hilo - so why not go through the capital while we are heading this way already, we thought this is a good idea. We had heard that there is not much there to see, but we truly did not think that it is quite that run down and boring there. Found one Asian eating place that was decent enough and headed out quickly after having lunch - towards Mauna Kea.

Driving in the clouds towards Mauna Kea
Mauna Kea is the highest peak in Hawaii, the elevation is 4200m from the sea level, and on top of it is an observatory and some NASA telescopes. During clear skies it is very beautiful on top - can see the milky-way and the stars. Getting up to the top is quite a challenge though. The climb starts already on the highway, you get closer and closer towards the clouds and before you notice you are in the fog, climbing on and on.

Once off the highway there is an information point, I'm guessing at about 2500m in altitude, where one gets all the needed information about the observatory and the maps to get to the mountain top. All the cars heading up are stopping there. Amongst maps, there are numerous signs saying you must have a four wheeler to even try to get all the way up there... and it is all on your own risk - bold and clear.

Once we stopped at the information center the car was already making funny smells - probably the clutch was overheated :) It was a relief to notice that everyone's car was smelling the same way if not even more - so, we took the risk and got up there :)

That is how you get all the way up there :)
We were not very lucky with the weather. It was cloudy and raining. Well actually there was hail as it was just below freezing up there.

Observatory on top of Mauna Kea
Driving down went so much quicker :) Reached Kailua-Kona in the darkness about 1.5 hours later.

Starting the drive back down from Mauna Kea
This is my last day here so rest of the evening went for packing my bags :D

Big birthday celebrations - 14.10

Done with the exercises for now
A little change for this morning - running for 40 minutes instead of the exercises. Oh boy how difficult the running can be in this heat. Even 8 am :) Right before lunch time we had agreed a swim lesson for Marilin. Some breathing exercises and drills to get started, breaststroke to be fixed with proper breathing and set she was for now :) Got to do my own workout as well and done we were. This was the last pool visit for me. I'll miss the warm water and tanning while swimming.

At the beginning of the trip it was agreed to celebrate Indrek's birthday on the 14th, meanwhile Bruce (who hosted Marko) offered to hold the party at his place, so we all gathered there by 3pm.

Late birthday celebrations for Indrek, Maarja and Aho
Everybody is so much more relaxed after the race, it is nice to hear the race recaps and all the emotions from the guys. Recovery is going a bit slow, but the emotions are high :)

It ended up being one loooong long evening, from the gathering we moved to Maarja's house and from there we went home where we were sitting up until 4:30 in the morning :)

Bricks of gold and gallons of wine ;)