Weekend in the happiest city in US-San Luis Obispo

IMG_2905I spent last weekend in the beautiful city of Avila Beach with close friends of ours. For those of you not too familiar with California, Avila Beach is located in the county of San Luis Obispo. Few years ago the city of San Luis Obispo was voted the Happiest Place in US. The easy going life style has made this California beach town an ideal place to live.  Folks who live here refer to the area as Central Coast even though if you look on the map, San Luis Obispo is toward the bottom not in the middle. This fact has always been amusing to me. Years later I found out why, apparently people in California don’t consider anything north of San Francisco California. Not a nice attitude if you ask me.

Although San Luis Obispo (SLO) is a popular tourist destination, it’s actually a college town. SLO is home to California Polytechnic University (Cal Poly) Mustangs. Not known to many people outside of California, Cal Poly is one of the most prestigious schools in US and I’m not saying that because Molly & I graduated from there. Cal Poly’s acceptance rate is only 31.3%. This puts the school in line with some of the toughest universities to get into in US. The college’s “Learn by Doing” motto has made the school’s engineering graduates among the most sought after in Silicon Valley.

Site of Molly & I’s first date. She ordered a giant nachos.

The town and the school will always have a special place in my heart. This is because I met my wife Molly here. I lived in SLO from 1989 to 1997. Yes it did take me longer than usual to graduate from college but I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I worked full time. I met Molly in 1992 at a friend’s going away party, and shortly after that we started dating. She was the reason I got my act together and finally picked Accounting as my major.

The delay in graduation actually worked well for me. If  I had graduated in 4 years  it would have been during the early 90’s recession. Instead, I graduated in 1997  smack middle of the dotcom boom and was hired by one of the biggest accounting firms in the world. Molly who graduated at the same time went into the tech industry. She has had a very successful career and currently is a senior software manager at Apple, home of your favorite smart phones and gadgets.

Molly was born and raised in SLO, her parents are also Cal Poly graduates. Just like its residence Molly is the happiest person I know. My mother always says, Molly has a smile that brightens the world. Even cancer diagnosis did not erase Molly’s smile. Molly’s permanent smile has been a calming factor for the girls by helping them believe their mommy is getting better.

Molly’s famous smile 1999

As I walked around this town of my youth it brought back many memories. My vivid memory has always been my biggest blessing and curse. I have already told you the one about my camping trip, but there are so many more.  Over the next few weeks I will write about few of them.

Arash 1994. Note I had a Mac when it wasn’t cool to have one

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