The city was very pretty but fairly hot and humid, at least in comparison to the Geneva area and San Diego, where I’m from. Still, it was probably the best layover I’ve ever had, much better than waiting in an airport.
We were pretty lucky in general with our locations since it turned out that the hostel that I booked for us was located right in the Old Town square of Nice and not even five minutes from the beach. However,when we got in we just dropped off our stuff and hopped right back on the train to get to Monaco. Monaco was pretty extraordinary. We tried our best to pretend that we ourselves were eccentric billionaires and had just left our yachts in the US and had taken our private jets out there instead. It didn’t really work well, but at least we could afford the ice cream! The city/country really held up to the stories behind it. There were so many mega yachts and super fancy cars.
We actually did go inside a casino, though only one of the Americanized ones. We didn’t fit the dress code for the real ones. I didn’t really see the appeal of the games. It just looked like a bunch of the gamers at Tech playing LOL, except they were all over 50 and the games just consisted of pressing the same button over and over again. I was much more interested in the yachts.
And the cars! So many nice cars!
In the end we did not follow our plan of stealing a mega yacht and sailing it back to the US. It was a little disappointing but we figured we should wait until night time and we wanted to get back to Nice for dinner.
Saturday evening we ended up just chilling around Nice and getting dinner at this restaurant right next to our hostel. I also got to meet my Italian counterpart, Valerio. It turns out that our hostel was owned by an Italian family and their 25 year old son, Valerio, was in charge of running it. He was pretty cool and took us all out in the town at night. We got to spend the evening with three German girls from Stuttgart, three Dutch guys, a Brazilian girl, an American living in Barcelona and Valerio. He was also pretty cool in that he looked over all of our stuff the next day and let us use our room after check out to change and do whatever. This was great since Sunday was spent at the beach!
Swimming in the Mediterranean was absolutely amazing and the best way to deal with the heat and humidity. The water was crystal clear and you could swim out pretty far without any trouble from waves or kelp.
There was also a huge market right next to the water where they sold all sorts of savon de Marseille (local soap) and lavender products. We all split up for the afternoon since our train wasn’t until four pm. It was nice just wandering the streets, climbing the hill to get to the old castle and then spending my last two hours sprawled out on the beach again.
Now we’re back for our 7th week at work and my final data set is running with my code. I also am receiving my Monte Carlo samples so soon I may have my final results! This week should be fun, especially with our team finally having our celebratory Higgs party!
My favorite part about Caltech is the Houses! The easiest way to describe them is as Hogwarts houses: each has their own personality and group of people and the first thing you do at Caltech is go through a “sorting” process. The people are what makes the Houses at Caltech so great. As a frosh, it’s amazing to be able to come in and immediately have a group of 100+ people to support you. Because the Houses have students from every grade, you make friends with upperclassmen and can ask for help on tons of things like:
It’s crazy to think that it has been four years now since I was applying to college. I remember it vividly. This week we’re spending some time reflecting on our personal admissions processes, and how we ended up at Caltech. There’s one question though that I wanted to spin out into a separate post: “what advice would you give to the admitted class of 2025?” And I think the best way to do this is to tell a more detailed story than I did in my other post.
These past six months have been a whirlwind- from having to move out of Caltech housing in March within a week’s notice due to COVID-19, to starting the first term of my junior year, I’ve definitely experienced a lot of change. When I went home in March, it was to a completely new state-my family moved from Chino, CA to New Jersey in January (great timing, huh?). While I missed seeing my friends from home, it was fun to have the chance to explore a completely new place. The pandemic obviously limited what I could see and do, but I got to experience walks through nature and along rivers normally foreign to a SoCal native and had some time to focus on bioinformatics research for the lab I work with on campus.