Reflection of Fall ’13

It’s been awhile since I have been home for the holidays for more than a week. To be exact, I’m be home for 2.5 weeks. I had plans to go on a trip to Japan and South Korea, but my friend bailed on me due to lack of funds. We then planned to do a Montreal trip, but that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen either since my mom lined me up for a bunch of appointments. My eyesight has been particularly unstable in these past few weeks (sometimes I feel like I can’t ever get Lasik because I work in front of a laptop 24/7).

I’ve spent most of my break so far catching up with high school friends (our annual Secret Santa), watching movies and dramas, and cleaning/organizing my belongings at home. You really end up with a ton of clutter after living on and off every 4 months. You can’t bring everything with you when you move far away, and you always end up bringing more when you come back. I also started doing this thing where I keep all my receipts or significant cool pamphlets I get every term in separate folders. These folders were getting really unorganized in the past couple terms due to lack of time (because when I do have the time, I’d rather be doing other things).

More specifically, I’ve accumulated a huge wardrobe. I’m not even high on the shopaholic standards. I just buy clothing when I feel like I need it, based on my current wardrobe. The problem with this is that I only have a partial wardrobe at all times (when I’m living off campus or renting a place for co-op). This makes it difficult for me to remember whether I already had a ton of white tops, for example. Now it isn’t as bad for school terms, but it really sucks for co-op terms in the States. I am way, way more limited in the partial wardrobe I can bring. I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to fit all the clothing I want to bring for next term.

Speaking of next term – I’ll be in SF again, work term #5 at Rdio. I had a tough time deciding where to go because (if you didn’t read my last blog post) I really wanted to return to FB (or specifically Instagram). I originally decided that I would be happier to return for the Fall (of 2014) instead of the Winter as there will be potentially more returning interns (or new grads) that I already know. I also didn’t really want to be in the Peninsula again for Winter as I prefer SF, and I didn’t want to do a long commute either (FB gives housing to interns or a stipend if you want to live in SF). I almost slightly regret choosing Rdio even now, simply because I really miss my coworkers back at IG. They were extremely hard-working, fun people to be with 8 hours a day. I wasn’t able to properly appreciate and thank them due to a family member passing away around the end of my internship. Thinking back, I really appreciated the experience and the opportunity to meet awesomely talented people. Continue reading

South Bay Lovin’

I have not blogged in a long time so I’m going to try to write before I become busy again. I have been extremely occupied in the past couple weeks, especially with work. I even forgot about doing my PD assignments for the past 2 weeks (don’t follow my example, please..) For those who do not know, Video for Instagram launched last Thursday on both iOS and Android. I helped with the Android launch, and despite all of the challenges and required extra hours, it was totally worth it. I have never worked with such a dynamic, open team, and I don’t really know what I’m going to do when I have to go back to school for the Fall. Check out the new feature if you haven’t already.

So how’s life for me? I am loving South Bay life. I barely went down here the last time I was in the Bay Area. It is definitely a place I’d like to live sometime in the future. Simply put, it’s nice. Really, really nice. I’ve been here about 7 weeks and it has yet to rain. Nada. This is so different from life in SF, the city that never stops being foggy, rainy, and hovering at 15-20 degrees celsius (59-68F). I still go up to the city once a week. This weekend, I added 50 bucks to my Clipper Card for the 4th time since I’ve been here. I actually checked out Haight & Ashbury for the first time today – it’s a great shopping district! Too bad there were 5 guys in our group or else we would have been there for hours.

Being a Facebook intern also has its perks – there are always amazing intern events. Last week, they took us to Yosemite. There wasn’t a lot of time to do big hikes, so a few friends and I just did some bare foot rock climbing at the Lower Falls. It was truly amazing being so close to the waterfall, and I have never realized how durable the human foot was until that day. I’ve become sheltered by shoes and socks for a long time, it seems. A few pics:

Lower Falls


Not all the interns have arrived yet. I think there are 700+ total summer interns. It is crazy. Not all of them are even here yet – I think the last batch arrive next week (July 1st). The official Bay Area interns group itself is about 3.5k people. Yes, movies like The Internship were made to entertain people like us.

It’s also very interesting being able to hang out with more Americans and understanding their differences from us Canadians. A few things:

  • Canadians say “washroom” while Americans say “restroom” or “the men’s room” or whatever.
  • Canadians say “marks” vs Americans say “grades” (? unconfirmed)
  • Americans don’t say “Let’s dip” in lieu of “Let’s go” (? unconfirmed)

Anyways, the only complaints I have so far about where I live is that the closest chain movie theatre is in Redwood City – which is in Zone 2 on the Caltrain Map. Menlo Park (MPK) to Sunnyvale is in Zone 3. There are a couple theaters in MPK and Palo Alto, but they play old school films. Another really cool thing I’ve noticed is that there are a lot of Spanish speakers in South Bay. I should start learning some Spanish.

Alright, that’s all for now. I’m hoping to do more blogging in the next few weeks now that I’m a little more free. More to come, thanks for reading!

Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

I’m trying to make up for my lack of punctual daily posts. So I’ve decided to do my 2012 in photos, inspired from this Daily Post. Just for background purposes, I LOVE taking photos. I only have a point-and-shoot, but it satisfies my needs. The quality is more than enough. Anyways, here we go –

jan122View of San Francisco & Golden Gate Bridge from peak of Buena Vista park

Ah, yes. Sunny San Francisco is where I started my 2012. My work term #2. I didn’t have to deal with Canadian winter, and it was surprisingly amazing weather throughout my stay (apparently, it is usually cloudy and rainy during winter in SF).

andMy first Android phone – Motorola Atrix, Lookout Mobile Security, SF.

My first time using a smartphone w/ a full out 2Gig data plan. I became a lot more aware of social networks like 4sq and Path, and it was so much easier to explore the city with this device. Thanks Lookout!

feb12Me & Clara C at Union Square, SF.

I saw Clara C perform for a bit in Union Square (a 2 minute walk from where I was staying). She has a very bubbly personality and is extremely talented.

apr122Cherry blossom trees, Japantown.

It was also my first time viewing cherry blossom trees in full bloom. There was a huge Cherry blossom festival parade. Lots of cosplay went on.

Continue reading

GHC ’12 & Adventures in Baltimore

I had such an amazing time at GHC this past week in Baltimore. I was able to connect with so many technical women of various educational backgrounds and ethnical backgrounds, and be inspired by every one of them.

GHC is more than just a conference – for awhile I thought the C stood for Conference. No. It stands for Celebration. It’s a celebration for women in computing, to bring them together so that they can network, learn, and of course, have fun in an all-women environment. I mean it! ~3600 women. I think I saw a few men, most were recruiters or engineers at the career fair, but all of the speakers were female.

Now I’ll be honest, I didn’t attend many sessions due to my high interest in the career fair. However the few talks I did go to – most of them were interesting, especially those in the social collaboration track and the security tracks. The categorized tracks are actually very useful so that participants can understand the target audience that they are aimed towards. For example, I didn’t go to any academic track sessions since I’m not interested in grad school. Although there was a huge number of participants who are doing phDs, or are planning to in the future.

Actually, when I was at the conference, I was given a better perspective about grad school considering how many people i met who were in grad school – although I am still very uninterested in graduate studies. :P

I had a great time at the Career Fair. And I’m not saying this because I got a lot of free swag (pic below), I’m saying this because I got to see a spectrum of companies. I got to talk to their engineers, learn what they do, find out about their processes, etc. Many American companies to boot, and being a Canadian, it’s definitely a different feeling seeing how Americans do this type of stuff (esp. for internship roles). The cool thing about the career fair was that a lot of these companies were doing on-site interviews.

These companies are in high need of technical women. The typical 10-15 min phone screen can be done right at their booths. It was nice seeing how quick the process is compared to doing online applications on the company’s websites. And if they think you’re a great candidate, they’ll probably ask you for an on-site interview.

In the end I had 6 interviews at the conference, 4 of which were non-technical and 2 of which were technical. Wow, it felt like Jobmine all over again, but with less stress since I’m not on a school term. During the conference, I realized something – Interviews are fun. I seem to like the thrill of sharing my past experience and having options and opportunities. I mean, I’m sure everyone does, but the thing with me compared to other students is that I have 2 past internships, and 1 current on my belt. I haven’t been nervous for an interview in ages, and talking about my projects and relevant experience is a cinch. (This is why the career development track also wasn’t that useful to me, although I still went to a few of the sessions). Note that it became harder to get an on-site interview once Thurs afternoon hit, since available slots quickly fill up.

Other than that, many companies had invite-only parties and dinners and breakfasts. Being fed is a wonderful thing.

Beyond the career opportunities and the knowledge to be gained, there were the actual celebrations. There was a dance on Thurs night, filled with women. Dancing on a dance floor of all women is an interesting thing too, and it’s a lot of fun. No creepers asking for your number, definitely! Haha.

Friday night was the RockIt celebration, held at the Maryland Sci Centre. Unfortunately I didn’t actually play with any of the exhibitions, but I did have a lot of fun at the Google Photo Booth and ate some great desserts.

Saturday was Open Source day, which was sort of like a Hackathon, but it was non-competitive and the projects were all humanitarian (similar to RhoK). There were a handful of organizations and multiple projects going on. Luckily I was able to contribute.

After Open source day, I finally had the time to explore Baltimore. It’s a beautiful city, I must say! I didn’t end up going to any museums. Instead, I took the Water Taxi from Inner Harbour to Fel’s Point. There happened to be a festival going on, so I decided to do some exploring in the area. Then, I was planning to go back downtown to do some shopping, but I ended up taking the wrong boat. I had to sit there for 50 min going around to various other locations of baltimore (lol), it was truly a scenic route. (pics below).

Once I got to the airport, I was greeted by.. no one. The airport was extremely empty (I was there around 7pm on a Saturday). It’s a small airport I guess, but literally no one was in security with me.

So that was my week, I want to thank Facebook for bringing me to their NY office and to the conference. They have some really awesome recruiters and engineers, and know how to have fun ;)

The Real Summer Vacation

Exams ended about 3 weeks ago, and I’ve finally decided to make a new blog post. I finally had the chance to enjoy my summer!

Here’s a run-down on what I’ve been up to:

-watching a lot of Youtube, anime, reality TV shows
-family time
-boyfriend time
-a trip to New York & New Jersey
-attending the 2NE1 New Evolution Concert
-finally purchasing my Macbook Air
-getting my wisdom teeth extracted
-moving to Toronto
-recovering from my wisdom teeth removal
-getting akin with the various social networks out there
-taking advantage of the free online courses out there

Yes.. the things one can do without the worry of an assignment, test, or exam. This blog post will be bursts of random moments based on the run-down above… I apologize in advanced if it is hard to follow : )

So I watched Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood – the full series. Well actually, I started it back in 2009 when it was first being played in Japan, but likely discontinued due to my keener hard-working nature for wanting to achieve high grades (it was around university applications season). So I watched episodes 20-64 recently. Wonderful series, and I’m so happy I finally completed it! Definitely deserves a 10/10 for plot, character development, music, fan service, and all that jazz. I’m feeling lazy so I won’t do a full review. But I’ll say that I definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a nice seinen series (aka. an anime that has some adult themes to it, some controversies here and there).

I also haven’t spent actual time with my family since last Christmas due to my co-op in San Francisco, and the short transition to my spring school term. So I have been at home for the most part, helping my mom do some late spring cleaning since her arm isn’t doing well. Although I’m always out and about, I still call Kitchener my home. : )

So the 2NE1 concert was the purpose of our NY/NJ trip. It was quite a blast. (Pic above taken from their official FB Page) Despite the constant thunderstorm reports, there were none (whenever we were outdoors, at least). My first K-pop concert, and definitely not my last! I was so glad that I got to hear pretty much all of my favourite songs from them, and see them on stage. 2NE1, my favourite k-pop group, we will meet again : )

I have also been slowly packing to move to Toronto these past few weeks for my next co-op work term. I moved in yesterday in my new apartment. Very exciting stuff. Most of my classmates have started work, but I don’t start until Wednesday next week (cause that’s how Freshbooks rolls!) It’s a very spacious room, with a private washroom. The nice thing is that everything is newly renovated. It’s my first time living in a room with hardwood flooring (I like it so far!) The only issue with this room is that there is very little air circulation (no A/C in the building), but I believe I figured out how to adjust the temperature via the balcony door and the fan.

I spent the whole afternoon at Indigo (a Canadian bookstore) today reading a manga called Dangeki Daisy (image above taken from MyAnimeList). I didn’t see any of the manga I’ve been following, but decided to give this one a try. It turned out to be a wonderful shoujo manga, and I am almost complete (had to leave since it was soon to be closing time). It actually has some dark concepts to it, which makes it worth the read. Unfortunately, I believe it is being put on hiatus, so I’ll have to wait awhile for its continuation. Sat on the base of a bookshelf reading it, and now my butt is sore. There were no chairs available since there are many people like me, who sit around for hours and read at the bookstore.

Prior to this, I made my first $100 jean purchase at Jean Machine. I had a 10 dollar off 30 for the store, but was really planning to just look and and not buy. Turns out that the sales associate was very sociable and easy to get along with, and I’m not kidding you, it was one of the best experiences I’ve had at any retail store. Although I was only looking at jeans, she chose a few tops for me to try on so it was easier to visualize the jeans. She did not say things like “Those look great on you” or whatever the typical retail chick says, but helped me as if she was shopping with me, and sharing her expertise with me. It was just a really pleasant experience (which of course, encouraged me to buy a pair of Silver Jeans and even one of the tops she recommended me to try on).  Continue reading