Monday, March 21, 2011

Moved out of Stanford, Back in Oakland

Almost ready for the real world. Very dramatic last few days at Stanford. I will write about them here before moving on to reflecting on these 19 years of schooling, the preparations on moving to Hong Kong, and adjusting to life in the working world. Stay tuned.

On Friday, I had every intention of starting to pack. But I didn't managed to do this because I was copying some important points from a book that I had read. I was also scanning another test prep book for the PE exam. I think I made very good use of all the PE exam books at Stanford. I scanned 10 books and made pdfs of them. Hopefully the quality is good. I didn't check every page as I went along so some of them might not be so great. I might even load them onto my Kobo. I need to take advantage of Stanford's subscriptions before I lose privileges. NYTimes is going to start charging people for reading their news online.

I left my apartment at around 2:30pm and went to Vaden to get some bug spray for Lauren. Apparently, they're sold at the front desk and not at the pharmacy. Strange. Anyway, I got them with no problems and continued on my trek into campus. It was raining a lot. I chatted with Mahalia's ASCE mentee about rammed earth. I think she's more interested in it as a building material in the US more than developing countries. She's at a point where she's trying to figure out what she's really interested in and what she wants to do. It's an exciting stage. You're testing out the waters and wondering if you can actually make a living out of something that you're interested in. Anyway, I have to find some references and send them off to her.

Then I went to a SEG happy hour that was to celebrate both the 2nd years leaving and give the prospective students a chance to get to know the current students. I think it was very well done. A good amount of current and prospective students showed up so there was plenty of mingling. They didn't have this when I was visiting Stanford. I wasn't really in the mood to talk to excited students about my experiences at Stanford. I went around and said goodbyes to people instead.

I went to the bookstore and got a red fleece jacket with Stanford on it. I think it looks nice. It was also on sale so I could afford it. They happened it have it in my size. Not sure I want to be wearing red all the time but I guess it's okay once in a while. I chatted on the phone with Ben about his grad school (PhD) decisions while I shopped for Stanford gear.

Later that night I went to Antonio's Nut House (a dive bar) with Matt, a geologist PhD who I met during my first quarter at Stanford. We worked (cried) through a class that his advisor taught together. Another friend of ours and his two friends joined us there a little bit after we got there. I think I can only process about one drink every 1.5 hours. Not that I usually get a second drink after the first one. Anyway, this bar gets its name from the fact that you can get all the peanuts you want from a caged gorilla and throw the shells on the floor. It's very liberating to be able to just drop the shells without thinking about it. We were there until 1:30am.

Saturday was an entire day of packing. I got boxes out of the closet after eating breakfast. The first couple hours of packing is always easy. There is always an enormous mess made because I am trying to fill three or four boxes at once. But once they start getting filled, I moved them to the living room. Ben and his friend John, drove in from Dublin and wanted to brunch with me. I had some library books to return, papers for the ESW room, and wanted to meet up with my brother who was here as support for his friend competing in MathCounts. So I took this opportunity to do all of that. Maybe I should have warned Ben ahead of time.

Anyway, he was kind enough to drive me on campus so that I can do all of that. We went by the engineering library for me to return books but both the library and the book drop were closed. This is serious failure in the system. The book drop was also very far away from the library itself. There were a couple of people coming out the library (I think they were fixing something) so I made them let me return books inside the library. Then we found my brother eating pizza with his friends, teacher, and school principle. I took his large bag from him. I had Ben carry the bag back to the car while I went to return stuff to the Blume Center. We then drove out to Palo Alto to have brunch at this fancy Italian place. I felt under-dressed in my t-shirt and jeans. haha.

We came back in time to see the last two questions and the awards ceremony for the competition. We looked through the list of participants and Chinese last names dominated the pages. There were a few Indians. The gender balance wasn't too skewed. There were girls among the top 10 and one of the four who qualified to go to the national competition is a girl.

After that, we got back to my apartment and I resumed packing. Ben and John helped me packed most of my kitchen stuff. I would pull them out and they would stuff them into boxes. It was great to have help. I don't know how late I would have had to stay up if I didn't have their help. Mahalia and Oat invited us for dinner. We ended up having 7 people for dinner. I don't think they were expecting to invite so many people, actually. Oopse... I'm going to miss her dinners.

I was so tired that night that I barely noticed having to share a bed with my brother. This kid has gotten big! Got up at around 7am on Sunday and waited for my parents to arrive. Luckily, the rain subsided just as we started to move things out to the cars. It was pouring rain the day before. My parents had two friends visiting and they helped me move my boxes as well. So the moving was actually really fast with everyone working. I vacuumed and did some last minute cleaning. I think I could have done a more thorough job of cleaning but the place really wasn't that dirty to begin with. I'm glad I did a deep cleaning of the kitchen a couple of weeks prior though. I dropped off the keys at the housing office. I don't know why they always tell people that they have to move out by 8am when there is no one at the housing office at 8am. I just put the keys through the key drop off. I doubt there will be anyone checking until Monday morning. So I really don't get why they can't just tell people 5pm on Sunday as a deadline. It would be so much better for everyone involved.

Anyway, the timing wasn't too bad for us. We got back in time to go for dim sum before driving my parents' friends to the airport. I napped a bit in the afternoon and we went out for dinner at night. I think my brother likes my Kobo. He has started to go through The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes on it. I read an article some time ago about kids really liking to read on these eReaders. I'm still finding them restricting in terms of going back and forth. It takes this thing a full second to load the next page after you press the "next page." I feel like the screen is so small that I have to keep my finger on the next button. But I'll probably get used to all the nuisances after a while. It is much lighter than holding a book and you don't have to worry about losing bookmarks. The Kobo comes pre-loaded with 100 classic novels. One of my friends said that this made him want to read the books. I think this is definitely true. I can see myself working my way through all of them. 

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