July 21, 2015 1:18 pm
It has been a long time. I thought you might enjoy a bit of an update.
Ten years ago I was trying to enjoy my last summer before starting university. Once I got to Waterloo it would be a non-stop cycle of school, work, school, work until I graduated. I’d like to say I did a lot that summer but it went by pretty quick.
My first term at university was both exciting and kind of terrifying. I had no idea what to expect. Nothing too exciting happened. It was interesting staying out super late with friends, studying till the wee hours of the night, having a LOT more free time than I was ever use to, and finally only studying things I wanted to study. I made a handful of new friends which was also cool.
1A came and went. Things don’t really get too interesting until I hit 2B. 2B I took my first pure math course and it forever changed my understanding of math. I honestly didn’t do very well in the courses but I still had a lot of fun learning the material. The lectures were confusing, the office hours embarrassing, the assignments hard, and my marks laughable, but I never thought I could enjoy math that much. It was so fun that I decided to stay back an extra year to do more school. I wonder what you might have said if you learned I was going out of my way to stay in school longer to pursue classes I most likely would not pass (spoiler, I didn’t). I wonder if you would have looked at my course selection and push me to do more english or art courses. I wonder if you would have listened to me complain about how hard school was getting.
8 years ago I bought and read the last Harry Potter book. I lined up at Chapters to pick it up at midnight. It was a surreal feeling when I finished Harry Potter. Since this was the only book I was reading over the years, and since I never needed to read novels for school anymore, when I finished the book I felt pretty sad. I realized I would never read another book unless I started something new. So, shortly after finishing that book, I ducked into a Chapters and picked up a random “Heather’s Pick” book and started reading it. And I haven’t really stopped since. If anything the pace at which I am reading books has only picked up. I am following authors and reading anything and everything they write. I wonder what sorts of discussions we might have had if I got into reading earlier. I wonder if we would end up reading similar books or if our tastes would be vastly different. I wonder if you would have been happy to see me finally reading more after spending so many years trying to get me to start. I wonder if you would have made fun of me for taking so long to pick up on what you tried to teach me so many years ago.
5 years ago I interviewed for a job at Amazon. I was in my final year at Waterloo and didn’t really have plans to get a job right after school but I couldn’t let this opportunity go. I did two phone screens, both of which I thought I bombed but they kept asking me to come back. I eventually was flown out to Seattle for an onsite interview and they offered me a job shortly thereafter. I was dumbfounded. I never thought I would get a full time offer from a company like Amazon. Hell, I never got an interview from them while I was a student. I barely finished my last year of university. My optics professor gave me a pity pass and I failed my last pure math course horribly but despite all that I did eventually leave with an undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Joint Honors in Pure Mathematics. Weeks after my last exam I moved out to Seattle and started working. I wonder if you would have teased me for getting a job at Amazon. I know how fond you were of mom and pop book shops. I wonder if you would have laughed at me for failing my very last exam in school. I wonder if you would have come to my convocation. I wonder if you would have imparted me with some knowledge before I left Toronto or made a joke.
I was in Seattle for about 3.5 years and met a lot of great people. I rekindled an old hobby you got me into as a kid. In my last year I was baking cookies, cupcakes, brownies, and cakes on a weekly basis. I never baked anything too fancy. I liked baking since it reminded me of you and since it is really hard to mess up butter, sugar, and flour. While in Seattle I worked inside the Kindle division and built software to help get ebooks into Amazon. I had access to every ebook Amazon sold and I made great use of that. I also finally started traveling after working. I went to Japan twice, London, Paris, SF, LA, and Vegas. I wonder if you would have come visit me while I lived in Seattle. I think you would have liked the city. I wonder if we would have shared baking recipes once I got back into it. I wonder if I could have convinced you to buy a kindle. I’m 99.9% sure the answer is no but I still think it would be funny to hear your comments about it. I wonder what sorts of comments you would have made about the places I was seeing and the things I was doing.
About 8 months ago I moved from Seattle to Tokyo. This was a pretty huge change for me. I did an internal transfer through work which made getting here pretty easy. I am still figuring out the city and the language but am having a lot of fun. I wonder if you would have come to visit me in Tokyo? I wonder what you would have said about my questionable home set up and cramped apartment.
I wonder a lot of things. Ten years is a long time. A lot has changed. I still miss you Usha.