After grinding through final exams, I spent a couple weeks at home. At first it was a little lonely and the house was quiet as parents were at work and my brother was finishing up his last few weeks of high school. He's about to head to college and that's still crazy to me. I watched a lot of TV and worked out intermittently, while also meeting up with friends who were back in town. Soon, my brother was back at home. We ended up shopping a lot together and I spent way too much money on new shirts, shoes, and jeans. He got a head start on college shopping though which was nice.

Every break, I start off enjoying doing nothing and staying in bed all day, but after a while I get really bored and get an urge to do something productive.

So, I booked a trip to Seattle to celebrate my 21st birthday while hanging with a bunch of Rice friends interning in the area. Before leaving, I got a pizza dinner with my family who I wouldn't see again for the whole summer. My brother booked a flight to visit me for a week starting June 15th so I'm excited about that.

The fog on our descent into Seattle.

I arrived in Seattle just after midnight, so it was officially my birthday! I headed to Edward, Shashank, Jacob, and Will's place, where I was crashing for a week. Their place was near Issaquah, south of Bellevue and kind of in the middle of nowhere. This meant that the view was amazing but the commute to Microsoft was a little rough because public transport took forever and there were no Microsoft shuttle stops nearby. I reached around 1 AM and of course Edward was nowhere to be found. Despite having only arrived 10ish hours before me, Edward was already making the most of his time. He had gone shopping in Capital Hill. I called Shashank and was lucky to reach him right before he went to bed so he opened the door for me. I ate some snacks and passed out.

The view from Edward, Shashank, Jacob, and Will's place!

The next morning, I woke up and Edward was still sleeping. I talked to Shashank for a bit and then planned out the day. Will wasn't going to arrive for another few weeks, so I setup the mattress I had ordered in his room. It was the same $99 mattress I had slept on last summer and is still one of the most comfortable, cost-efficient mattress I've ever bought. I unpacked my clothes but was cautious to only take out what I needed because I was flying to San Francisco in a week and didn't want to repack. In the afternoon, Patrick - who's originally from the area and going to be my roommate in SF - came over. Once the whole house was awake, we first made a Costco run to grab groceries. Then, we watched Borat and I forgot how much I loved that movie. It's still one of the few movies that makes me laugh out loud. At night, we went to Capital Hill to grab burgers. It was a throwback walking past my apartment from last summer.

Monday was the first day of Microsoft orientation, so everyone was at work. I woke up to an empty house. I ended up finishing up the last few episodes of Mindhunter and killing time until everyone came back home. I went out for a run as I had been sitting on the couch all day. The view was so pretty and it was crazy to run on the highway next to all the cars.

Running on the highway was refreshing.

We cooked dinner together and I made baked crispy chicken - which tastes like fried chicken - but much healthier.

In the middle of the week, we got dinner with Marc and Anthony who were a year above us at Rice. They had TA'd a bunch of our computer science classes so we had all gotten close. Marc picked us up from the house and we met up with Anthony at Tacos Chukis, a hole-in-the-wall taco place Sam Shadwell had showed us last summer. The tacos and quesadillas there are really good - would recommend! After, we went to Westlake Center to do some shopping. Edward and Shashank both got a pair of khakis. After some McFlurry's, we headed back home.

On Thursday, Patrick picked me up and we went to the Microsoft campus to see Adam Savage, from MythBusters, talk live. I was extremely impressed by his storytelling abilities and his life stories. He's such an inspirational dude and so down-to-earth.

Adam Savage from MythBusters talking about his life.

After Adam Savage's talk, Patrick and I drove to a Red Robin to grab lunch, where I redeemed a free birthday week burger. Then, we drove to his cabin in Eastern Washington. It took a little over an hour to get there. It was drizzling and the clouds were hanging really low. The view out the car window reminded me of my whitewater rafting trip on the Skykomish river last summer.

The view on the way to Patrick's cabin in Eastern Washington.

We spent the evening just hanging with his family and I got to meet his cousins who were visiting from Ireland! We ate dinner together and then finished the night by playing a card game, 31, and Drawful. The next morning, Patrick, his cousins, and I drove to Vantage, which was more east from his cabin. The scenery changed drastically from green trees to desert shrubs and I felt like I was in the midwest. There were cattle and horses everywhere. We kept going until the Columbia River and then looped back to the windmill farms. We needed to make the 2 PM windmill tour but were running late so we jumped out of the car, took a couple of photos in the extreme wind, and then were on our way.

Visiting the Columbia River with Patrick and his cousins.

We made it to The Wild Horse Wind Farm just in time for the 2 PM tour before realizing there was no rush because we were the only ones there. The tour guide walked us through the history of the area and explained the different types of windmills installed, along with their specifications and costs. Then, we went inside one of the windmills! It was so windy my hard hat kept flying off so I had to keep it in in place with my hand.

The Wild Horse Wind Farm in all its glory.

Later that evening, we had a lasagna dinner with Patrick and his extended family. And soon after finishing, we headed back to Seattle. It was my last night in the area, so we all got together and hung out. We did a lot of talking and a lot of laughing. I did some packing and then crashed.

I left pretty early the next morning to catch my flight and Shashank actually woke up to say bye which was sweet - he's a great guy. I hugged both sleepy Patrick and sleepy Edward before heading out.  

I got to SF in the afternoon and headed straight to our place for the summer. I unpacked a little and called home. After, I video-chatted Patrick to show him the house. Because I found the place on HomeAway and negotiated the price, I got first dibs on room, so I chose the second floor bedroom. The view out my window was amazing.

The view from our house in Potrero Hills.

In the evening, I walked to Safeway to get groceries for the week. I underestimated the hilly terrain and the light rain soon became a downpour, so I was drenched and the paper bags were soon too wet to hold anything. I lost a few eggs and all the groceries were wet by the time I reached home, but I survived.

I met Jarrod the next morning (who had arrived around 1 AM) and took the rest of the day to relax. Before dinner, I ran to my workplace to see if a walking commute during the summer was feasible and then called it a day.

I had such a lit time in Seattle hanging with everybody. What a memorable 21st birthday week! I'll see the house again when they visit me for 4th of July. Now, I'm so excited to begin my summer in SF as a software engineer intern at Gusto! I'm looking forward to new experiences and both professional and personal growth in a new city. Cheers!