Facebook – Week 2

Posted on 9th March 2014

Another early start, back at the gym. Today I tried out a smattering of different weight machines, unsure which I should be trying. The treadmill again proved an easy way out so I limited my time on it and tried a few new things that left me almost dazed. My friend Roman had given some healthy encouragement and a few tips the night before but importantly, now that someone else knew about the plan, I felt obliged to stick to it.

Before I knew it I was back at my desk, earlier than any other day prior.  However today there was a brand new MacBook Pro sitting there with me. This was pretty exciting as I hadn’t been a Macintosh user since the mid 1990s. After an hour of setup, I checked out my schedule. I had what I thought were a few simple things to clear up before getting started on my ‘intern project’ but the things weren’t as simple as they had seemed. I spent hours fixing up code from the previous day as per my mentors comments but still felt I wasn’t getting anywhere fast. Over lunch I managed to eat something quickly, leaving time to visit the bank on campus to open an account with a bank more appropriate to my current needs.

More code… more frustrations. But I did manage to submit another ‘diff’ (code submission) with some of the day’s work and, finally was able to start on a new task.

A surprise event that afternoon was a visit by Zac Efron of High School Musical fame. It was a good way to unwind from what had been a frustrating day. There was a thirty-minute Q&A with him and the cast of his new movie and it was thoroughly entertaining, if not intellectually stimulating.

After yet more code and dinner, I caught up with a few other interns for DDR (an arcade game) and a run of Bohemian Rhapsody on the piano.

With something of a routine set, my early morning wake ups are now a little more tolerable and less unexpected. One curious thing however is what seemed to be a phone ringing nearby at all hours. Thankfully as I wasn’t in the apartment much it isn’t yet bothering me so much.

Work was mostly the same as always, though I’m definitely getting a little better at things. However, there seems to be something particularly enjoyable extra most days that I can occupy myself with during lunch. The next afternoon it was a series of three speakers, briefly talking on security related issues. One of them was a little like a detective story, and the audience (and I) responded enthusiastically to it.  I’m enjoying getting to meet all the engineers, but the security types particularly stand out. My only disappointment is that while Pieter is still off enjoying his wedding and honeymoon, my row of desks stands but with one occupant.

Thursday was Tu B’shvat, the Jewish New Year for the trees, and as much as it isn’t a particularly widely celebrated festival, I thought it fitting to go for a run around a nearby park in the morning before continuing on with some weights.

The whole Facebook experience has been a really good opportunity for me to refocus on a number of things that would likely be left behind were I at home. Eating healthily, sleeping enough and exercising are all too easy for me to neglect normally and particularly after recent health issues in my life, it’s fantastic to take some time to try and get back to a good regimen.

After breakfast on campus, I noted something a little worrying however that seemed to defeat my best efforts to stay well for the entire time. The left corner of my mouth felt a little sore and when I examined it a little further, I felt an extra tooth poking out. Disaster! This would be a terrible time to need my wisdoms out!

The USA does a number of things better than Australia, however health care is not one of them. I asked around on how I’d find a dentist with whom I would be covered but didn’t manage to find an answer. I’m in the position that I can afford to pay for a dentist without insurance if it came to that, however finding out how much things cost in the US was a shock, and my heart really went out to all those who weren’t in my fortunate position.

Lunch on Thursday was again a highlight due to the acapella @facebook rehearsal again. It’s so much easier to make friends when you share something significant in common, and I was slowly getting to know the group a little better. Laolee, the founder of the group and I had lunch afterwards and I was so happy to get a chance to talk to someone a little different, as the vast majority of my conversations over the past few weeks had been with engineers.

Today I decided to catch the early shuttle, having eaten a quick dinner and arrived home to speak to the family in Australia for a little while. Also managed to speak to a few other friends and as a result I went to sleep pretty well contented.

One more day until the ‘long’ weekend. When I arrived in after the usual routine, I had a chat with my manager and arranged to ride to work on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and trade in the holiday for a Friday off in February. The plan was to catch a flight early that morning and arrive at Penn in for the Penn Glee Club spring show, PennApps, and some time to see my friends from the community there. However, I failed to book my flights early and this ended up costing me a good chunk later.

The rest of the day I worked really hard, trying to get a good foot forward on my intern project. Given the short duration of my stay, I had to make every day really count if I was going to make a real impact. At around 3PM things suddenly started to go awry. Some of my files wouldn’t load up. I thought to ignore it for a while and see if the tech team would get around to dealing with it, worked on some other stuff and then called it a day.

Sunday I was up and started coding a little, before realizing that as I wasn’t taking the holiday the next day I should be strict with myself and not spend yet another day working. To that measure I arranged to meet with Varun and take the CalTrain into San Fransisco. $14 and an hour and a half later, we were on the Embarcadero, taking a leisurely stroll and looking out along the bay.  We both decided ice-cream was appropriate and so walked along the piers till about an hour later we came across an good location to stop and chill. Ice-cream on one side, loud and smelly seals on the other. K-dock at pier 39. One other location of note along our walk was “Wharton West” – the University of Pennsylvania MBA campus in SF where I had performed with the Glee Club. I was reminiscent passing it and would’ve walked in had I not been with Varun.

Getting back in the evening was a little rushed as we tried to navigate the public transit system to arrive back at the CalTrain station however, we made it just in time!

That evening I decided I needed to keep up the routine and went to gym before bed, finally noticing some real improvement. This was a much-needed motivational boost and steeled my resolve to keep it up.

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