Moved From Berkeley To Foster City

After graduation, I’ve moved to a new apartment in Foster City, a planned city next to San Mateo. I’m excited to have a few months to relax before starting my new job in August.

moving-shadowcove

Foster City is incredibly beautiful. There are wide, man-made lagoons that create gorgeous vistas. I had to pay a little more for an apartment unit with a waterfront view, but you know… YOLO and all that.

I walked around my neighborhood and took some more pictures. Check them out under the fold.

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I Graduated!

Haas Graduation

After two long and extraordinary years, I’ve finally graduated from the Haas School of Business. On Friday, May 24, 2013, I officially became an MBA. And now, I’m off to the working world.

It was a surreal experience to be surrounded by so many friends and family in the Greek Theater at Berkeley. I can hardly believe that it’s over. These two years have flashed by so quickly and I know that when it hits me, I will miss the group projects, the overseas adventures, the parties, and most importantly the friendships.

Since I’m a big fan of lists, I’ve listed some of the things I already miss about my Haas experience.

Class Treks: Traveling overseas is expensive and logistically difficult. Not only do you have to use vacation days from work, but you also have to research the country beforehand. One of the nice things about class treks was being able to plop down $3,000-$5,000 and essentially get a guided tour of a foreign country with friends. I’m not sure I’ll ever have such an opportunity again in the future.

During my two years at Haas, I had the opportunity to embark on two official treks: South East Asia (Thailand, Philippines, and Singapore) and Japan. They were undoubtedly the highlights of my MBA experience.

International Diversity: While it’s true that Silicon Valley tech companies have a lot of diversity, it won’t be the same. I really enjoyed getting to know people from France, Germany, Brazil, China, India, you name it. We all learn so much from one another’s experiences and it’s one of those little things that really sets the full-time program apart from the evening-weekend program.

Consumption Function: Free food. Free drink. Awesome music. Cultural exchange. Seeing cute babies. It’s an opportunity to catch up with classmates and find out what they’ve been up to and exchange tips on job hunting and salary negotiation. Haas is a small class (only 240 students per class) and Consumption Functions are a big reason why everyone is so close.

Cheap Indian Curry: Berkeley has the cheapest and most delicious Indian curry. The prices are about 30%-50% lower than anywhere else in the Bay Area. The eternal penny pincher in me can’t justify eating Indian food anywhere else… except maybe in India.

Cats At Pegasus Books: I walked by Pegasus Books every day to get to class and often stopped by to play with the cats. They are fluffy and cute.

Berkeley In Bloom: Berkeley weather is gray and depressing for 9 months out of the year. But in the summer, the city is absolutely beautiful. The trees are green. The flowers are in bloom. And the gray clouds have parted to reveal blue skies. It’s rather bittersweet that the first day of school in August is usually also the first day the leaves fall.

Facebook Group: Our class has a private Facebook group and it is a constant source of drama and entertainment. I don’t know if people will continue posting in it after graduation, but I sure hope so. Now that we’ve all returned to our hometowns or home countries, I’d like to keep in touch and find out what everyone is doing.

Airbears: This is UC Berkeley’s WiFi service for active students. Being able to connect to the Internet anywhere on campus for free is a luxury that I’m going to miss. When I return as an alum, I’ll have to pay for an account or (gasp) beg for a guess pass.

Teaching UGBA-10: In Fall and Spring semester, I thought two sections for UGBA-10, Principles of Business and ended up receiving the Outstanding GSI Award. I really enjoyed teaching this class because most of the students were eager and attentive. UGBA-10 is a prerequisite class for the undergraduate business major and there’s an urban legend that only students who get an A in the class will be accepted. (By the way, the rumor is false.) On the other hand, I don’t miss having to grade 60 papers every two and a half weeks.

Thanks for the memories, Berkeley.

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Back In Vegas – Staying At The Palazzo

I went to Vegas with my girlfriend. There’s a stupid rule in Vegas created to protect certain kinds of people from shame called: “Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” But in our case, nothing scandalous happened. So I don’t think it’s so terrible we divulge our adventures.

Upon checking in at the Palazzo, we were given a coupon book called the Passaporto di Winter in Venice. We didn’t end up using the coupons very much since most of the deals required you to spend a ton of money on 2 for 1 deals. However, we did get 50% off on a gondola ride (more on that later).

winterinvenicephoto

We took the above picture at a complementary station outside the Venetian as part of the “Winter in Venice” promotion. The backdrop is fake. During the winter months, the exterior of the Venetian is decorated with Christmas colors. Inside, staff members dress as elves and give guests hot apple cider.

winterinvenice

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Little Lost Puppy In Anderson

For Thanksgiving, I went up to the north state to visit my girlfriend’s parents. At her dad’s new house (still under construction), I saw a tiny puppy no more than a few weeks old tied to a tree with a thick chain. It was next to a dirty tent consisting of a few wood beams and some rags.

After some questioning, I discovered that a neighbor had abandoned the puppy. (Horrible!) They were moving to a smaller apartment that didn’t allow pets and wanted my girlfriend’s dad to hold the puppy until they figured out what to do. They never returned for the puppy.

The puppy was dirty due to being outdoors, but still cute. I fed it some dog food but it was too hard for baby teeth. So I soaked the food in water.

The animal shelter in Anderson was closed for the holiday. We were going to try to find an owner for the dog on Facebook and Craigslist but didn’t have much luck.

[UPDATED: A few weeks later, my girlfriend went home and noticed that the dog’s original owners still had not returned for it. What a bunch of irresponsible people. The dog looked sad from being isolated and cold for so long. My girlfriend took the dog home and washed it. Then, she drove back to the Bay Area visiting animal shelters until she found one that was willing to take it. She ended up dropping off the dog at a shelter in Vacaville. The dog is cute and I’m sure it will be adopted very quickly.]

More pictures after the jump.

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My 10 Year High School Reunion

So… I had my 10 year high school reunion on Saturday at Lake Alice Trading Co. in downtown Riverside. Roughly 30 people (out of 250) showed up. Not bad, considering most people are active on Facebook.

The reunion was small, simple, and cheap. It was basically a happy hour at a bar (with all-you-can-eat tacos). There was also a nice highlight reel from senior year playing on repeat to remind us of how young and hopefully we were.

A bit of background: My class was the first graduating class of Martin Luther King High School. Back in 2002, the school administrators made a huge fuss about establishing tradition. We were a special class because not only did we win a number of awards and completely blow away district scores, our boys’ basketball team also won the state championship. It’s too bad that when the planing committee reached out to the high school for assistance, the administrators wanted nothing to do with us. I guess all that talk about tradition was nonsense. Shame on you, Martin Luther King.

Those who grew up watching 90210 or any number of similar CW shows featuring multi-ethnic kids in high school probably wished for a big, bombastic reunion. Not me. I don’t care about spectacle. I just wanted to see the people I care about. Pretty much anybody who made something of themselves after graduation (e.g. moved out, went to college, and found a good job) made an appearance.

Of course, the night was not without controversy. Apparently, one of my pals whom I knew from elementary school recently shot and killed a guy. Why did he have a gun on him? No idea. That’s Riverside for ya.

Special kudos go to the planning committee who took time out of their busy schedules to put the reunion together (without any help from the school). Thanks for a great night.

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