This week was World Cup frenzy. The semi-finals were as fast paced and thrilling as ever — a trend we’ve seen all World Cup so far. Compared to all other World Cups I’ve followed, this past one was definitely the most entertaining. Because I’ve lived in both Brazil and France, I’m always conflicted on which team to support, so I usually just cheer on both until one is eliminated. So, of course I was with the French for this one. Allez les Bleus! This tactic has worked well so far, but I’m not sure what I’d do if Brazil and France ever went head-to-head.

My team continued our streak of watching games together by booking out conference rooms during games. We usually order-in food but this week our admins surprised us with boxes of pizza and drinks galore. It was a party.

Watching the highly contentious Belgium vs. France game with the extended team.

After a little break in events, E + D threw us a Hawaiian Luau complete with tropical drinks, a poke bar, and tasty desserts. It was bright and sunny outside and a huge crowd showed up.

Chilling at an E + D sponsored luau.

Talking about the weather, it has been amazing. Ever since 4th of July, I have seen little to no clouds in the sky. The sun has been up and shining all day. Mt. Rainier floating in the distance never gets old and the abundance of boats on the water always lifts my spirit. I cross the bridge connecting Seattle proper to Bellevue on average twice a day and never get tired of the view. This city is truly beautiful and I have to agree, summer has officially started.

This was also the week of the highly anticipated Signature Event. For weeks, interns were discussing possible locations and artists in Slack. Thanks to some good detective work, we knew we were heading to Gas Works Park but had little idea of the artist. I will say, my roommate, Edward, had told me he had heard of the performer’s identity from a friend, who had in turn heard it from a recruiter. I am always weary of information passed on from person to person. Besides, only a selective few special recruiters tasked with planning the event know exactly what’s happening. Everyone else just guesses and so all other chatter is hearsay. This time, though, Edward was right and the name leaked to his friend was actually that of the artist who ended up headlining.

On Thursday, the day of the Sig Event, we started lining up for buses well before our scheduled 3:45 PM departure. It felt like Black Friday all over again. We were there around 1 PM and the line had more than tripled when the buses starting leaving.

The line of interns waiting to board buses to the Signature Event.

While in line, we were handed Aviator-styled sunglasses and sunscreen, along with snacks and water. In the bus, we watched a promo video, filled with subtle hints as to the location and artist for the evening.

We knew the location was Gas Works Park and after I heard “for all our interns local and worldwide,” I confirmed Edward’s three-week long hunch — the artist was going to be Aviator-loving icon Pitbull!

At the event, we were handed special blankets and greeted by enthusiastic recruiters. There were food and activities to keep us busy until the performances. I ate a fried Oreo and immediately thought of Texas. Eventually, I made my way to the stage and chilled on my newly acquired blanket, listening to DJ Blast — a former intern and now full-time employee at Microsoft.

Julia Michaels was the night’s opening performance.

Then, out came Julia Michaels — the opener for the night. Honestly, when she first appeared, I had no idea who she was. She started singing some tracks I had never heard of but her voice was so good. She killed the live performance. Slowly I began to recognize her popular songs ‘Jump’ and ‘Issues.’ The highlight of her time on stage, however, was when she started singing songs she had helped write. I was mind-blown when she sung hits like ‘Sorry’ by Justin Beiber, ‘Good for You’ by Selena Gomez, and ‘Love Myself’ by Hailee Steinfeld. She is super talented!

A crowd of interns jamming to the music on stage at Gas Works Park.

It was such a serene experience being at Gas Works Park with the sun setting behind the gas structures. And the Seattle skyline in the distance is always mesmerizing. As the afternoon sun disappeared and the evening got a little cooler, the projection on stage suddenly changed into an image of a massive, blue world. Upbeat music accompanied scrolling text and stunning visuals. Without much delay, Pitbull, descended the metal steps in the middle of the stage. His background dancers followed him. The performance was super hype. More often than not, I thought I didn’t know a song, but then as soon as the chorus dropped, I was taken back to my middle school days. He performed all his most popular party hits, along with some new songs too. Pitbull really understood his audience and seemed stoked to be on stage performing for interns so it was a great time. At the end of the night, every intern went home with a brand new XBOX One S! We are so spoiled.

Pitbull was the night’s headliner — throwback to my teenage years.

On Saturday, I joined some interns on my team for Puzzle Day. We booked out a conference room and started puzzling away. I attempted a few, but they were so hard. Still, I was able to contribute three solved puzzles to the group effort before heading out. In the afternoon, I made a Costco run with Neha and her UPenn friends because I hadn’t gotten groceries in forever. At the Costco Food Court, I even tried out the new açai bowl with granola and fruits. I was pretty sleep deprived so even though the Rice gang — Ellie, Patrick, and Sue — came to our apartment, I went to bed around 9 PM.

Sunday was an important day: it was the World Cup final! I woke up early and watched the first half at the apartment before joining some coworkers at a sports bar a few minutes away. I had never watched such a big sporting event with a full crowd but I really enjoyed the experience. There were plenty of TVs and even sections for each supporting side. I cheered for the French and they went on to beat Croatia with a final score of 4:2. Allez les Bleus!

Watching the World Cup final between France and Croatia at a local spot.

After the game, I headed to Eagle Falls with Neha and other Microsoft interns. It was a hot day, perfect for swimming. We were at the Skyokomish River, the same one I had white-water rafted through a couple of weeks back. The water was super clear and cold, but refreshing. We swam over to a rocky ledge, before taking turns either cliff jumping or swinging on a rope and jumping into the water. It was so sunny I would dry up 10 minutes after leaving the water. Once I had jumped in a couple of times, I picnicked with the other interns before heading back. We met some traffic but I was so tired and just glad to be sitting.

A refreshing way to spend a hot Sunday afternoon: Eagle Falls.

I finished the day by starting the new Indian thriller series ‘Sacred Games’ on Netflix. It’s been such an outdoorsy week with a concert and Eagle Falls. Plus the World Cup finale was an awesome experience. I’m still having a blast!