My World: A Personal Blog About Everything

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The End

This is it, my last day in California and my last blog.    I’m going to try and make this my best blog entry ever, so hopefully everyone will enjoy it. The past week wasn’t as boring as I thought it would be, I went out to eat a couple of times and hung out at my friend’s house… the new interns also had a BBQ for us “old” interns.   So I wanted to write about some of my most memorable moments over the past year, good, bad, and everything in between. I guess the first memory is the day I left for California, May 19th, 2007.   I remember being pretty nervous sitting at the airport with my stuff, waiting for the other interns to arrive at the airport.   There was so much uncertainty that lay ahead so I was filled with a crazy combination of fear and excitement.   At that time I didn’t even know what California was like, didn’t think I would do any overtime at work, didn’t have a clue what kind of car I’d drive, where I’d live, and especially if Google’s free Wireless Internet in Mountain View REALLY worked (jokes).     I always knew that I would grow up over the upcoming year but I just didn’t know how I would end up after it was all over.   The next memory was when Alister, Anuj, and I went apartment hunting.   We had no idea the street names, where the “good” areas were to live, we were just using Google and Craigslist to try to find a place that had 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and preferably a washer and dryer in the unit.   I remember how we almost stayed at Avalon Parkside for a ridiculous $2450 a month plus utilities… we even put down a credit card to reserve the unit, good thing Anuj found the place we ended up taking on Craigslist because things worked out really nice in the end.   I guess I can add buying a car to the list of memories too, but I just ended up taking a cheaper reliable car that would get me through the year. The first trip we went on was Yosemite.   Yosemite is very challenging, very beautiful, very peaceful, and really a unique experience.   The Yosemite half dome hike took almost all I had but I’ll never forget going up with Jack and Dave in record time without stopping, it was a great feeling when we made it to the top. All 21 interns went on a road trip during out summer vacation to Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas.   It was great!   It went by so fast it all kind of blurs together but I remember it was a great time, and I’ll never forget the ride at Six Flag Magic Mountain called “X”, the best roller coaster I’ve ever been on.   I’ll also never forget eating too much at the Mirage buffet in Las Vegas, and barely being able to walk back to the hotel… stumbling by the amazing Bellagio fountain show in so much pain.   You probably know how I was involved with VLAB volunteering and planning events.   My next memory is the first VLAB we went too, just as regular guests, before we started volunteering.     It was held in a different room at Stanford than usual because of a scheduling conflict, and we got there late so we didn’t even properly register, we just grabbed food and went into the auditorium.   It blew my mind to see these up and coming CEOs and a well known professor talking candidly on the future of gaming (which was that month’s topic).   Reynold then got me to volunteer and so began my involvement with VLAB.   My favourite VLAB memory has to be calling up these CEOs and high profile people when I was recruiting panelist for the Crowdsourcing event.   It’s not a “namedropping” thing, it’s the fact that anyone, even a student with no professional credibility what so ever, can be taken seriously in the world if they want take on the responsibility… I felt more than ever that there really is nothing stopping you from achieving your dreams except for how hard you want to work to achieve them.   Basically don’t let other people be an obstacle, don’t use that as an excuse to do great things because there’s always a way if you look in the right places. Now for my first stock trade.  So coming to Cali I had no idea how stocks were traded, what the price really meant, what a stock really was.   Through some coaxing from David Wu I got into the stock market with a bunch of friends to figure out how it all works.   I’ll always remember the first thing I bought… 200 Solerfun stocks.   Over the weekend I was up $450 and I called my Dad Monday morning because I didn’t know if I should just sell and take the profit or hold on longer.     I remember being so nervous watching the price fluctuate second to second and not knowing if was a good time to sell or not.   I ended up just selling.   If I would have held it for another month I would have made $5000 because the stock skyrocketed, and if I would have held it for another month after that I would have been down, the price fluctuated THAT MUCH which is NOT TYPICAL for stocks.   But this taught me so much about the stock market and about life.   Money isn’t really that important, I mean if you have a good job and you spend somewhat carefully you’ll be fine, the exact numbers aren’t really important.   If you can make people happy and occasionally make yourself happy, that’s all that’s important, sometimes money can help with that but it’s not the most important thing. The next thing I remember, besides the small earthquake, is coming back home to Toronto for the holidays.   After fixing all the computer problems in the house… it was nice to just be home for a while and see how things were going.   It was really nice to see my family and see Sandy (my favourite dog in the world).    Visiting home was a lot nicer than when my family came to visit me, since I was so busy at work at the time I was  so tired when I met up with them for dinner, etc...   so it was nice to be home without any work to do.   I guess at the same time as all this other stuff I was working with my friends on the design of internSHARE, aka the Top Secret Project (haha Mara).   This isn’t so much a single memory but a lot of memories that eventually produced www.internshare.com .   I wouldn’t feel right not mentioning it in this blog since I put so much time into it over the year. Shortly after Christmas we went to Tahoe with Jack and his friends (Jack has a lot of friends who came to visit randomly over the year).   I’ll never forget that trip. It was the worst (and only) storm we’ve had since I’ve been here.   The power went out at work so we got to leave early and get ready for our trek up to Tahoe.   All the reports said DO NOT GO, roads we’re closed, the authorities said we would be “risking our lives”.   But we’re Canadian and snow doesn’t scare us so we went.   Honestly it was like a medium storm in Toronto, we definitely weren’t putting our lives at risk.   It was really windy though and definitely not nice weather so I never ended up skiing, it was kind of fun to go to Reno (baby Las Vegas) and see what it was like.   I remember Jack and his friends played some blackjack and doubled their money in minutes and then cashed out… I just watched haha.  After Christmas time flew by VERY fast.   The next thing I remember was when my Dad came to visit in March. We went to San Diego (the Zoo) and to Los Angeles (Disneyland).   It was a really fun weekend and definitely a great memory.   I love Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and it was nice to see my Dad. Since March not much has happened, I went back to Yosemite, which was definitely another highlight.   I continued to work on internSHARE, and we finally launched May 1st.   I went to San Francisco a couple of times, which is always fun!    I think just hanging out with my friends I built even stronger friendships.    I’ve also found new bonds in unexpected places that will definitely last a long time ;) So that’s a good chunk of my year wrapped up into a couple of paragraphs… I’m sure I left some stuff out because it’s really been a great year.     This year has really changed me, I feel no limits to do what I can do anymore, I’m not scared to do something just because I don’t know how to do it.  I know I can hold my own, and make good decisions completely by myself.   I always knew I’d be in California for a year so in the back of my mind I always knew I’d be coming home, so I’m really not too sad about leaving.   While I’ve been here I’ve really learnt a lot and did things I never even knew I could do before so in the end I couldn’t have asked for more from my time here.   I’m really excited to get back and see what lies ahead. So with that, I say an optimistic goodbye, or more appropriately an optimistic cya soon! Michael THE END

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