I am writing this as I sit in my room at Ecole Polytechnique intermittently packing my things. My plane will take off toward the fire engulfed city of LA in about 7 hours.
I miss my friends. I miss my family. And I miss Paris and the people I got to know here, my new friends, and heck I haven’t even left yet.
I’ll recap a bit of my final Parisian hurrah…
Paris: two weekends left! So first things first! It was my friend Lysandra’s birthday two days after I got back from Italy! So of course we celebrated! That Thursday evening we had the pre-party which was a picnic on Le Pont des Beax Arts, a bridge on the Seine River that is meant only for pedestrian traffic, and thus picnicers :D We had a ton of delicious food and even had live music (my friends Ricardo and Lee played guitar for us!).
Mario from Brazil, me, and Mike from Cornell!
While we were at the bridge, we met a few girls from Poland! A fun group (Lysandra is on the left):
Well, the next night was the actual party! :) Lysandra and a collection of friends left Ecole Polytechnique and went into Paris for a delicious dinner! Here is the name of the little place :
It means “At the foot of Fouet;” Fouet is the name of the street. The 6eme indicates that it is located in the sixth arrondissement (neigborhood) of Paris.
Francois from Luxembourg (the country), Carlos from Columbia, Mario from Brazil, me, Ricardo from Brazil, Lysandra from Brazil, and Kerry from MIT
My steak was good but I’ve definitely had better! Well after our meal, we decided to go to a night club… We had a tough time finding a good one, so we just in the end decided on going to Cafe Oz, which my friend Katie from MIT had already been to. She gave it a good review, so although I felt bad for making her go a second time (you only have so much time in Paris, so you should always try new places), we ended up going there :) It was really good; we all had a lot of fun and even ended up dancing on the tables because we’re cool like that :P
Lysandra, Ricardo, Me, and Mario :) at Cafe Oz
Ricardo and Mario from the best technical university in Brazil, Kerrie and Katie from MIT, and me from Caltech (duhhh :P
So we finally left the music at around 4 AM and found an amazing place to eat next door; it had the best snacky food anyone leaving a club could ever want! So we ate there :) I got a strawberry jelly crepe, the others got some fries and Cokes etc. AWESOME!
By about 5 or so, we wandered the streets a bit, looking for a metro stop. You see, the metro doesn’t start until 5:30 AM, and even then, Lysandra decided to stay in the city because she had some business to take care of at a Brazilian bank at 9 AM.
So once the metro started up, we all went to the Champs de Mars, where the Eiffel Tower is, to watch the sun rise over Les Invalides. :) But on our way to the metro, we got distracted! Apparently someone had pulled over on the street corner, turned up the music in their car, gotten out of their car, and started a dance party with 30+ people. Some friends that we had just made nearby told us to come and join the shenanigans!
So we did. What a birthday! Everyone sang for her, too! (I have it on video :)
Well finally after we met some people, danced, had a few chats, and hung out at this 5 AM street party, we got to the Champs de Mars.
Doing something about X-men… I don’t know o_O. Why our arms are crossed…
So the sky turned a beautiful color! In the middle, where the sun is rising, you can see the tip of Les Invalides, where Napoleon’s tomb is. On the right is an important military school; on the Champs de Mars, it is directly opposite the Eiffel Tower. Soon, all of us grabbed some food at a little patisserie nearby, and I finally went home, leaving Lysandra and the others to figure out the bank situation :) I was so tired I almost fell asleep on the metro and missed my stop at Ecole Polytechnique!
The next night was fun as well. After waking up at like 5 PM because I didn’t get home and get to sleep until 9 AM, I went out to yet another night club with a girl who was just arriving at Ecole Polytechnique for a year long chemistry research project. Her name is Amy, and she is from Berkeley, close to where I grew up! We went to Duplex, one of Paris’ most famous nightclubs and met a bunch of international students because it was an international party. It was very cool watching the bouncer say “whoah” when he saw our Polytechnique badges (we got in for free because we were students) and then “whoah” again when we whipped out our California drivers’ licenses to prove our age. :) What can I say, we’re somewhat intelligent, we’re from California, AND we speak French, so yes, DO be impressed, Mr. Bouncer. :P
Me, then Rachel from San Francisco State (close to home!) And Amy on the right.
Well darn, we missed the last metro, AGAIN. But it was OK because it gave us the chance to check out the Arc de Triomphe, which was where the club was located! We went too close though, and got booted by security haha
Despite the angle of my foot, it did not snap off my leg. After photos, we decided to find a bank because I was beginning to go broke. So we walked a bit down the most famous street in Paris, the Champs Elysees, and found a BNP Paribas, which has close ties with Bank of America, so I don’t get international charges b ^^ d
Me on the Champs Elysees :)
So the goal at this point was to find the Seine and walk along it until we got close to Chatelet (a central bus/train station). So we looked on the map next to the Arc and saw the Seine and decided we must walk in that direction. However, we did not realize that the Seine snaked around the Arc, and we were actually walking toward it, but we were walking toward the part that was much farther. However, we thought we were walking toward the close one… Great. We got lost. Walked a lot. Ended up in a forest. Yeah seriously, in Paris.
3 hours later, we scratched the bus idea because the metro was already beginning to start up. However, we did end up near La Defense, which is a pretty cool place; it has a huge metal arc that is in line with the Louvre Pyramid, the Concorde obelisk, the “mini” Arc de Triomphe, and the Arc de Triomphe, all on the same straight road: The Champs Elysees.
Me with La Defense (La Grande Arche) in the background :)
Finally, after walking around somewhat aimlessly for hours (good thing Amy decided against high heels for the club) we got a metro back after grabbing a pain au chocolat for breakfast.
Sunrise above Ecole Polytechnique.
Anyway, that’s just a taste of the collection of my final Parisian adventures. So much more to tell, but I’ll do it justice with it’s own post! :)
Almost a year ago now, I was just about to start my first Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at JPL. NASA had sent out an email to all of their summer interns containing a social media template to announce that we had been selected as NASA interns. Excited to show my NASA pride, I posted it on my Instagram story, unaware of what would come out of this small action.
Hey hey! We’re starting a series where I walk you through my best finds for food and drinks in the Pasadena region, and in the LA metropolitan area. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, if you will (although, for copyright reasons we can’t call it that). As you explore your college options, I firmly believe that food and location are more important than your high school guidance counselor may lead you to believe. And I’m here to share my best finds from my time at Caltech with you.
Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) under the mentorship of senior research technologist Dr. Xiaoqing Pi. Dr. Pi’s guidance and mentorship has been instrumental to the development and success of my internship at JPL, where I use machine-learning to enhance the accuracy and integrity of navigation and communication signals. In addition to helping me develop an understanding of atmospheric and ionospheric remote sensing and machine-learning, Dr. Pi has often offered his insights on how to improve my researching skills. Dr. Pi was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions regarding his research and advice for future student interns. I believe many students can benefit from some of the lessons that he has taught me:
The transition period to remote learning was a very uncertain time, especially for research and the Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program. Many hands-on projects had to pivot at the last minute to facilitate off-campus contributions. However, many Techers were able to take advantage of the research opportunities offered at Caltech and JPL to make the best out of remote learning and research. To paint a picture, I’ve interviewed a few talented Techers for some insight on what researching from home looks like for them.