Ski weekend in Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe + reflection and happiness at work

Surprise, surprise, another weekend in Lake Tahoe! This was my 7th time up there in my 1.5 years of living in the Bay. I guess you can say I’m obsessed…Tahoe has become my home away from home. From the big beautiful Tahoe trees to the fresh mountain air, every time I go up, I feel this sense of inner peace and rejuvenation. Even though I just went up three weeks ago for skiing, this trip had a totally different vibe as I went with a fun crew from work and checked out a new resort, Squaw Valley.

Friday: Double bachelor(ette) party + drive up

Friday had a lot going on even before the 4+ hour drive up to Tahoe. My team at work left early to throw a fun little party for two members of our team who are each coincidentally having their weddings in two weeks, and so we threw a joint bachelor and bachelorette party! The event took place at an arcade bar in the Mission with an open bar for 3 hours. Me and some coworkers got there early to decorate and get the festivities going :).

My new job is in the credit cards business…which means we make credit card puns πŸ˜‰

The whole event ended up being a HUGE blast! We all bonded over drinks, arcade games, and fun trivia to celebrate the bachelor and bachelorette. I didn’t drink any alcohol since I was driving later, but I still had so much fun joking around and bonding with everyone…I definitely felt closer to my team after the shindig.

From the party to the mountains –> after the event, I picked up my rental car, drove up to Berkeley to pick up Adrian, a new friend in our group who I hadn’t met yet. What better way to get to know someone than spending 4 hours driving up to the mountains :).

We finally arrived at our Airbnb around 11pm and met the two others in our group – Guillaume, my best friend from work who organized the whole weekend, and his girlfriend, Yunhee, who I’ve hung out with a few times now. We were all pretty beat after the drive and went straight to bed.

Saturday: Slushy ski day + breathtaking scenery + relaxing fireplace evening

Waking up in our Airbnb was a treat. Guillaume scored a super dope house right next to the lake and only a 15-minute drive from the resort. In all my visits to Tahoe, this was my first time seeing the lake during the winter, and the snowy scenery made it felt like a magical winter wonderland.

We had some breakfast at the house, got ready, and took off to Squaw Valley! I was so excited when Guillaume picked Squaw – between being a hub for ultrarunner races in the summer and the epic mountain-scape in the winter, I’ve been been dreaming of checking out Squaw for years now.

Our crew was filled varying skill levels, and we couldn’t even stay together for one run. Good thing we all downloaded the resort app so we could track each other, but most of the first day we all did our own thing and met up once for lunch. I actually really enjoyed having some alone time on Saturday since I had a pretty social past few days and needed some time to process my thoughts and recharge, all while inducing major adrenaline and enjoying the fresh air πŸ™‚

The conditions in Squaw weren’t amazing, complete 180 from my Tahoe trip 3 weeks ago when it was the best ski days of my life. We were hit with super low visibility and lots of rain, so I was skiing with my goggles off the whole day – I’d rather have ice pellets flying into my eyes than not see where I was going and break my ACL! Also the rain made the snow very heavy and difficult to ski on. But through it all, I still had a ball as I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the scenery…look at those mountain views…

By the end of the day, we all met up again and were completely soaked head-to-toe from the rain! Time for a hot shower + relaxing back at the house. These few hours of downtime were a sweet memory of the trip. First, Yunhee and I took a walk and enjoyed the sunset views by the lake.

Then Guillaume cooked some mulled wine for us and we all cozied up in front of the tv, caught up on our phones, and laughed away at some stand-up comedy. I remember feeling so relaxed and happy to be there ❀

After our down time, we had a reservation at a steakhouse for dinner. We shared a bottle of wine and enjoyed our meaty dishes while chatting away. Our group was quite the international one – Adrian and Guillaume are from France and Yunhee is from Korea, so a lot of our conversation included sharing fun facts and stories from home. I could honestly talk forever and ask endless questions about different cultures and so our dinner was quite the fun one for me. Every moment with this group was so fun and real, and I really felt like I could be myself.

After a satisfying meal, we retired back to the house. The boys built a fireplace and we put on Jaws as our movie feature. We were all so beat that we could hardly make it through 45 minutes before falling asleep on the couch and calling it a night.

Sunday: Last ski day

My body woke up at 6:30am (thank you marathon training). I eased into the morning with a cup of joe, watching the sunrise, and spending time with Michelle (via our voice memos).

When the rest of the crew woke up, we made some breakfast, said goodbye to our Airbnb, and then drove back to Squaw for our last ski day. This time, we were better about staying together – Guillaume and I spent the morning together on the blues and blacks.

I called it a day around 2pm. The signal was when I was completely drenched –> being wet + freezing temperatures is not the greatest recipe. Nevertheless I’m glad I got in an extra ski day since this was probably my last day of the season.

Some Irish coffee + a waffle afterwards to warm up –> favorite part of ski trips.

Chilling with Yunhee and Adrian while Guillaume finished up his day.

Then it was time to say goodbye and Adrian and I made the drive back to SF.

Since my week was filled with lots of work-related things (party on Friday + ski trip with my best work friend), I couldn’t help but reflect on how much my life has changed from this new job. For the longest time, I always had the mindset that work was just work and no job could make me happy. I still stand by thinking that my job will always come second to family/friends, serving my community, and having a life – but it took me until now to realize that you CAN find a job you love while living your life in parallel.

I’m so glad I took the leap last year to change careers, which was one of the lowest few months of my life. It was all so worth it because I truly feel like what I’m doing now is a much better fit for me. It’s something I’m actually GOOD at unlike my old job of crunching numbers as an actuary…which honestly I kind of sucked at. And the best part is: my satisfaction from work is bleeding out to happiness in the rest of my life.

A part of me wishes I could have told past Charlotte to just GO FOR IT, aim high, and find something that you love, not just settle for mediocrity. But at the same time, I’m coming to peace with the fact that my years as an actuary is and will always be a part of my story…and going through those really tough years grinding away just makes me more appreciative of what I have now. ❀

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