Friday, June 26, 2009

Week Three

I'm going to keep this short. There's three of us living in Helen's apartment now and we're all sharing internet. So I've started writing about life in a word document. But I just write whatever in those and they aren't meant to be published online. And I don't feel like modifying them so that I can publish them online so... this is just going to be a very short, abbreviated version.

Basically, I have a lot of stuff to do at work. I'm working on like 5 or 6 different projects now. I've lost count. Seriously, I got to work today before 8:30am (maybe 8:10 or 8:15?) and stayed until 6:30pm. I made myself leave because it looked like it was going to start storming soon and there was like almost no one left at the office. Anyway, it's good. I like it. I definitely like having stuff to do. Just think, last summer, there were two interns in the my group and my group was like half the size of this one...

We're all going to move to the new place this weekend. We finally, finally got the keys to the apartment this week. So now all we have to do is make copies of these keys and move in. I think I will try to move tomorrow. Hopefully, when it's not raining. I don't have any other plans so I might as well. Just when I was getting settled in at this place. Anyway, I bet it's going to be blazing hot tomorrow just because I'm moving! Have to get my stuff up 3 flights of narrow stairs!

I showed the apartment to a potential roommate the day after we got the keys. That was a little crazy. Anyway, afterwards I thought it was bad karma to be showing the apartment before we even move it. It just felt wrong. I knew it wouldn't work out...

Anyhow, I'm excited to be living so close to a Jamba Juice!!! I can get one before going to work on Monday. It'll be like working at EBMUD all over again. hahaha.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Week Two

It's been two weeks since I moved to New York now. I think I have about 12 weeks of summer. Here's a summary of this week.

Work. On Tuesday, there was a photo scavenger hunt for the interns. There 23 interns in the office. I don't think all of them are engineering. We split into teams to hunt for things like, "a picture of a teammate driving a cab" or "entire team walking a dog." So basically, we had to talk to a lot of strangers asking them to take pictures of us doing weird stuff. It was fun and I finally saw the faces of the other interns. The rest of the week, I was working on a very large, very tedious assignment for most of this week. It was pretty monotonous but at least it's local so I'll go one day to see the site. And then on Thursday at 5pm, these two guys started asking me to do stuff for them. They were asking for stuff to be done for Friday but still, it took them time to explain stuff. So I got out of the office later than I wanted to. And Friday was pretty hectic since I was trying to get stuff done. I came home pretty tired on Friday. Which is good. I like being busy. The other project was so boring without a deadline.

Play. Lena came on Tuesday with a bunch of 11th graders from Oakland High. They stayed until Thursday. So on Tuesday, after my scavenger hunt, I met up with Lena and a friend of hers who had gone to China with her. We ate at a cafe and then walked around. We didn't meet up on Wednesday but on Thursday, we went to watch a movie, Muriel's Wedding, with some of the kids. The kids came to see NYU and Columbia and did some sightseeing. On Thursday night, they're taking an overnight bus to DC and then taking the train back up to Boston at some point. Their itinerary sounds painful with all these overnight trips. But I guess it saves them money.

Food. There's not really any big grocery stores near where I live. I think there should be one near where I work but I haven't found it yet. I have been buying most of my food in Chinatown. Things are so much cheaper there. This Chinatown is very big and you can find everything you need. Seriously, you do not need to step outside of Chinatown for anything. Koreantown is near where I'm living right now but it's a long walk away. I should see if there's a bus that goes there. But hopefully, we will get the keys to the new place in Times Square soon and I can start exploring that part of town. And I was just getting used to living near Penn Station...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekend Adventures Part II -- Central Park

This morning I woke up to a cloudy but not rainy sky. So I decided I should make another attempt at going outside. I was browsing the New York Times travel section for New York when I came across an article about taking the local buses as an alternative to walking and taking those tour buses. The article recommended taking a bus that starts just a few blocks from where I am living. This reminded me of my summer in Berlin where I discovered a local bus that goes to all the tourist attractions. So I was really excited by this article and decided to see where this bus will take me.

Well, okay, the bus goes up Manhattan, along Central Park. And it was supposed to pass by some museums and such on the way. I thought it would be nice to stroll around Central Park and maybe some other neighborhoods if they looked interesting on the bus.

So I got on this bus which went through Korean Town. Korean town is a really nice little place with all sorts of Korean shops. I went back later and walked around. I saw a restaurant that has fried rice on top of half a pineapple. So cool. I need to try out some of these places.

Anyway, after Korean Town, the bus took me along some very expensive looking stores, all the way up to Harlem. I got off at the northeast side of the park and started walking around the park. I walked around some trails and came across a stream:

There was a duck bathing in it. Very nice, very calm. I found the park to be very relaxing. It's almost like going on a hike. Except there were quite a few other people around. The day got nicer as it went on. The sun even came out.

I also saw a big turtle in the stream. There were also many stone bridges and other stone features. It must have been so cool to construct a park. I can't imagine how much work it must have been to make this place.

After a while, I found the road again and all I could think of at that point was, "where are all the ice cream trucks?" There were none in sight. I was also getting hungry. So I walked a block away from the park and found some little corner stores. I walked into one that was playing Latino music. Oh, I think there was a Puerto Rico parade this weekend because everyone had flags. Anyway, I looked around the store and found some plantain chips (see picture below). They were really good, by the way. I went to the cooler and saw some Ben and Jerry's ice cream along with some other weird looking things. I didn't feel like trying any of those things out so I just stuck with the chips. I found a ice cream selling cart later and got some overpriced ice cream.

After getting the chips, I climbed The Great Hill, which wasn't all that great. And then I looked for a place to sit and eat these chips. Somehow, I ended up back at the same stream I was before. So bizarre. I think I had my directions wrong.

There was fish in this stream! At first I thought it was garbage. The park is actually pretty well kept. But then this orange thing started swimming around. I never got a good look at them but there were three big orange things swimming around. Maybe they're karp?

After walking around for a few hours, I took the bus back. I think the bus is a good alternative if you have time to spare. The subway is all dark and such. There's a lot more to see on the bus. We passed by the Museum of Natural History. Very big museum.

Anyway, it was a good day. Even though I've been to so many places, I still get this feeling of uncertainty whenever I first step foot outside to explore a new place. Right after I got out the door this morning, I thought, "Why should I take the bus to go to Central Park when I could just walk around Korean Town a little bit, maybe take the subway to Central Park, and then go back to the apartment?" But I'm glad I went. Once I got sufficiently far away, there was no turning back.

I've been going without any kind of maps so far. Not even a subway map. I think a lot of things would make more sense if I had one. But I think if I had a map, I would be looking at it a lot. And Manhattan is enough of a gird without sufficient subway stops that I can't possibly get lost. I think I will get fit from all this walking.


This is from the gift shop at the MIT Museum.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Weekend Adventures

Or.. lack thereof. All I've been doing today (Saturday) is watch Stargate. Lots and lots of Stargate. I'm almost finished with the series. Just one and a half more season to go. Okay, this sounds really lame. I'm sitting in the middle of Manhattan and all I've been doing is watch stuff online. Yeah. Well, blame it on the weather. It's been rainy with the threat of thunderstorm lately. By lately, I mean pretty much the whole time I've been here.

Well, I did manage to go out the door today. I went to the library in an attempt to get a library card. I went into the research library not knowing that the normal library (one where you borrow books from) is not attached to the research one. There were swarms of tourists taking pictures of themselves with this library. I didn't know it was such a big attraction. The research library had large tables in the middle with lamps. The books are all around the room. There were quite a few people doing research there. The whole setup reminded me of the Caius library in Cambridge. But I think the Caius library had a more comfortable feeling to it. No security guards searching your bags before you go in. Seriously, is it really necessary?

Anyway, I filled out the computer form and went to the desk to get a library card. The guy handed me one and I thought I was all set. I was so happy to get a card so easily. I found out that the borrowing library was across the street and explored their stacks for a while. I picked out a bunch of books and was so excited until I got to the check out desk where they informed me I still had to show a proof of address. So sad! I thought I was all done. Couldn't check out the books or anything. So... that's why I ended up watching as much Stargate as I did. I was really sad after I came back.

But on the way back, I discovered a Chinese food place near where I'm living right now. It's got fast food, pastries, and bubble tea. There were a lot of non-Chinese people eating there but the place is definitely run by Chinese people. I decided to get food there for dinner. They have a 5 entree deal for $5. Basically, they give you a styrofoam box and you get to choose 5 entrees from their trays. They give you the portions. I got so much food that I don't think I ate even half of it. It's funny because there were definitely people whose choices made them end up with half as much food as I did. I wasn't even going for the best deal. I mean, $5 for a box of food is pretty good deal in the first place. After I picked out 4 things, I even considered not getting a 5th item because I already had so much food on my plate. Anyway, I picked out some really Chinese things like eggplant and pig's feet instead of the fried chicken that some other people were getting. Anyway, the food was okay. Not like gourmet or anything but it was good enough.

Friday, June 12, 2009

First Week of Work

I've spent a full week at work now. It's been tiring. You'd think that Fridays are more relax. It is. Except I was helping one of the guys with his report that is due today. So he kept giving me stuff to do. So I didn't even go out to lunch with the other people. Just ate the sandwich I had leftover and kept working. The guy I was working with hardly left his desk the whole day. He was in before I got there and was still working when I left. He finished but still, definitely stressful. He sits right next to me so it was very convenient.

The people in my group seem to go out to lunch quite a bit. I think a lot of times they just bring their lunch back and eat at their desks. I'll try to join them when they have time to sit outside the office. But they eat pretty late. They go out between 12:30 and 1pm. They definitely left at 1pm today. But maybe that's because there was bagels and pastries in the kitchen this morning. I don't know if it's a Friday thing or not. But there was definitely a lot of food. Boxes of bagels, different kinds of cream cheese, even plates and knives. The office has a bagel slicer.

I think the office is intentionally designed to be very open. I don't know if I like this over having more partitions. There are really only partitions between aisles. But even those are very superficial. If you stand up, you can look over. There are glass panels on top of these short partitions but I think they are for sound and decoration. Between desks on the same aisle, there's nearly no partition. You have a little nook where your computer goes. But you share a desk with the person next to you. And if you slide back on your chair, you can see everyone. But... I don't sit in one of these aisles. I sit in this island thing in between two aisles and not even with my group. I'm in the middle of the civil group. On one hand, it's kind of nice to be with people who know how to use CAD and other computer related things. On the other hand, I don't really know what other people on my team are doing. I mean, I can hear them talking on the phone but it's not the same. I think this non-partitioning makes you feel more like a team. Anyway, maybe I'll get a chance to switch desks at some point. I mean, I did last summer and it gave me a whole different perspective to things.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I finally got the Internet to work on my computer! yay! I really don't know what was wrong before but whatever, it's fixed. I've been in New York for almost a week now. I think I've pretty much settled in now. Have been going to work for four days already. Can't believe I'm almost done with a week of work.

Anyway, I want to go to sleep soon so this will be a short post. I've been walking around Chinatown a lot lately since my workplace is sufficiently close that I can walk there after work. I really like this Chinatown. It's huge and you can find everything you want. Non-dairy ice cream and spelt pasta included! I love the sidewalk fruit stands. Fresh young coconuts! Anyway, I got a 30-day subway pass so I guess I should really go and explore more places. But the weather's been really sad lately, rainy and cold.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Six Flags

On Monday, we participated in another Senior Week event and went to Six Flags New England. Even though there are many trips to this Six Flags during orientation, I've never gone. After a two hour drive, we got there along with other school buses of high school kids. Most people were there as a part of their end of high school class trip. They all look so young...

As soon as we got there, Yalu and I hung out with some friends and hit the rides. We made Yalu go on this roller coaster before she had time to think it over. haha. We spent the whole morning riding rides, took a break for lunch, and headed over to the water park only to find it closed. So sad. Apparently, it's not "summer" according to park seasons. So Yalu and I went to play at the Wii station where I "won" a Janga puzzle and a Wii game. We failed to win a big stuffed animal at a ring toss game, went on some not-as-thrilling rides, and played on the bumper cars.

We had a lot of fun. But it was extremely tiring, especially since we went kayaking the day before. Oh yeah, check this out:

It's about how many calories some restaurant food have. It's amazing. And the more shocking part is that we went to Chili's on Sunday and I thought about getting this Big Mouth Burger. Didn't end up getting it but I'm sure that what we ate wasn't all that great either.

Will post pictures soon!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Senior Week - The Beginning

Wow, I've done a lot since my finals ended. After apartment hunting with Yalu and friends, Yalu and I have been having all sorts of adventures.

5/25 Monday. We went to the Cambridgeside Galleria and went shopping for clothes. We walked quite a bit again even though we had just came back from walking 20 miles over the weekend. Managed to get a couple of shirts.

5/26 Tuesday. I volunteered for Stuff Fest in the morning and early afternoon. Stuff Fest is an organized way for students to get rid of stuff at the end of the year. Basically, all the dorms are supposed to provide tables or bins for residents to drop off their stuff. Other students can take and exchange all they want. On Tuesday, we sorted the stuff out to give to different charities. This took quite a bit of work. I couldn't believe the amount of stuff that McCormick had. I think we must have had like 20 big trash bags of stuff, mostly clothes. After sorting through an enormous amount of clothes, I helped with Science Club for Girls' 15th anniversary event.

5/27 Wednesday. We didn't do too much this day. It was raining and really cold the whole day. We picked up our cap and gown!

5/28 Thursday. Busy, busy. In the morning, Yalu and I went to the MIT Museum and walked around. Thought we'd use our student privileges before they expire. After lunch, we met up with Mike and went to the Charlestown Navy Yard. We took the scenic route getting there. But we were able to go on the ship and got a tour of it, which was pretty exciting. Then we walked over to Bunker Hill and climbed the monument, something that I've been meaning to do. It was a fun day.

5/29 Friday. The night before, I had noticed my phone was doing something weird and was not charging properly. So I walked all the way to Central only to find that the AT&T store was closed and a sign saying that they moved to the Galleria. So I took the subway over to Kendall where I saw Yalu going to her lunch with a professor. We had been on the same train coincidentally. I went to the Galleria and was given the number to call the phone warranty. So that was really disappointing. I called later that night and they're sending a new battery over. I think my phone is working somewhat normally now but not sure. Anyway, after that, Yalu and I went to the Harvard Peabody Museum. Yalu has a Harvard ID which allowed her and a friend into the museum for free. So that worked out really well. The Peabody museum is connected to the Natural History Museum so we explored that too.

5/30 Saturday. We woke up to the sound of people doing stuff outside our door. I thought it must be the floor waxing crew waxing our hallway. So I looked outside through the eye hole and found that we were pretty much trapped inside our room. So we chilled in our room for the whole morning. Friday night was the kickoff for Senior Week and the event for the weekend was discounts to Newbury street stores. In the afternoon, we walked around Newbury St to check out these discounts. We ended up buying stuff in a store that was not on the list. And then, we walked to the Earth Festival at the Hatch Shell and discovered the Charles River Esplanade. I can't believe we didn't know this part of the river existed all these years. The esplanade is such a nice area to walk, picnic, and just chill. You can sit right on the water. It's really nice. That night, we went to a beach bonfire, another senior week event. There weren't that many people. The organizers rented out two big buses but the second bus was really empty. What a waste. We drove an hour and a half to a beach on the Cape and sat around fires eating hot dogs franks and smores. We all ate wayy too much. I think I ate 3 franks, 3 smores, and many marshmellows. It was too cold to do anything but sit around the fire.

5/31 Sunday. We had planned to on a seal watching kayaking trip. We got there and went halfway out when the weather suddenly turned really bad. The waves were extremely choppy and the wind was blowing really hard. Yalu and I were on a tandem together and we had a lot of trouble. First, there weren't enough kayaks so they had to bring another one for us. This meant we were the last to launch. We had some trouble with the rudder and ended up doing a lot of zigzagging. So we were lagging behind the rest of the group the whole time. We got beached twice, towed twice, and got super soaked by the waves. We had even planned a beach trip afterwards but we obviously decided against this. We ended up coming back to McCormick, chilled, and played the Wii for an hour or so. Then we participated in another Senior Week event, movie on the lawn. We watched Transformers under a big tent on Kresge. The grass was wet. It was super cold and windy out. But they provided popcorn, soda, and a really big screen.