First Week in ETC-SV

It’s been one week since I arrived in the Silicon Valley for the second time. I was very blessed to be hosted by a friend’s uncle who lives in Los Altos. It was really right place right time as the uncle only replied our emails on the day I landed at SFO! (Prior to this, by God-incidence, I met the friend on two occasions separately, one after church and one at another event and that was how I knew about the uncle.) I was already planning to take the Caltrain to a nearby T-Mobile to get my sim card so that I could contact him. He offered to pick me up at the airport but I already took the train to mountain view. The family has been very nice to me, treating me as part of their family and allowing me to have meals with them. No need to “Keh ki”! They also have two dogs which seemed black and fierce but are actually quite playful. And the house is really beautiful with nice trees around.

Initially before this trip I felt too settled-in in Singapore and slightly reluctant to leave. But returning to California brings back good memories ans the weather is always sunny and awesome. Hiking to Mission Peak with the uncle’s children allowed me to experience the beautiful nature and God’s creation again. On Sunday, Penny brought us to Big Sir, and although it was cloudy, it is still beautiful and we managed to eat the awesome Old Grotto’s clam chowder at Monterey Bay’s Fisherman’s Wharf. Brings back memories of travelling with the UCSC friends.

First week of school has been slow but good. As we share offices in Electronic Arts, we are treated like an employee with store discounts, gym privilege price and the cafeterias. Too bad they don’t serve free food like Google. The campus is pretty awesome, there’s also a library, Starbucks and EA sports and maxis deco everywhere. There’s always people playing soccer on the field at lunchtime.

We had to set up our computers and shift furniture and stuff on our first day. Amazing that they ship my CPU by Fedex all the way from Pittsburgh. Haha. Also we spent some time brainstorming for a team name, from Envision to Reveal and finally Xenon. Our team is really talented with many people with multiple talents especially in filmmaking, and with a few from the UK campus last semester, and I am confident that we will be able to produce a great video. However 7 people is pretty large compared to 4 or 5 in BVW. But a bigger film crew on set is always better.

Commuting to school by bike is fun although a little tiring. I cycle 2 miles to the Caltrain, board the train with my bike, and then cycle 1 mile school from San Carlos station. Everywhere is very bike friendly, with bike lanes, or car lanes big enough for a bike and a car. Most drivers are friendly and they will even stop voluntarily to let me cross a junction. And the Caltrain has 2 bike carriages that can store many bikes each. Just have to label the destination on my bike so that I can tie them up with bikes going to the same destination. The only bad thing is the frequency for the Caltrain is pretty bad at non-peak hours (1 hour) and also peak hours (10-20 minutes?) and I think I may need a car soon.

Riding an Amtrak train now to Crater Lake, Oregan with Penny and the other Vsee people. Just ate breakfast at the dining car with some Canadian Indians, passing through valleys, mountains and tunnels. Certainly the most artistic way to travel.

Crater Lake is amazing, the deepest lake in the USA and one of the clearest bluest lakes in the world. It was.a pretty surreal sight. We drove around, did some hiking, watched sunset, moonrise (God surprised us with a full moon) and managed to get on the boat tour ride (there were no more tickets left after us). But camping overnight at freezing temperatures is no joke. Even two sleeping bags and 4 layers of clothing on me couldn’t keep me warm enough to sleep properly. Kept waking up cos my legs and hands are cold. There were two islands in the lake and they looked really small from above but are actually quite large up close. I managed to hike a small peak alone but didn’t manage to hike to highest peak there, Mount Scott. Leaving that for next time!

Time to get into project mood. Project Xenon.