Hello Friends! I hope this summer is treating all of you well. I know I am excited to be back at USC in 4 short weeks, but I am also excited to complete the remaining adventures my summer has in store for me. When I last checked in with you all, I recounted tales from the beginning of my time living in Dresden, Germany where I currently serve as an intern for GlobalFoundries, a semiconductor company.
Now in the final weeks of my internship, not much has changed on that front, except that I am spending a little less time running actual experiments and more time documenting and analyzing all of my results. I am currently documenting everything I did with my CMP machine and my analyses of all the samples I took for future use by my team. I want to make sure people can duplicate the procedures I used to perform certain functions and achieve certain results on samples when I am not physically present to explain. Additionally, since I met all the goal my team had for me ahead of schedule, I asked for one final project to work on while I was documenting my results. My boss and mentor collectively decided I should work on a specific problem my lab has with converting a specific type of text file they receive from another department, to a format used by a special computer program in the lab to do failure analysis on specific wafer defects. Right now, this conversion is done manually. I am currently working on writing a converter to do it for my team in Visual C#. It has been a fun learning experience to figure out Windows Applications and put my basic C++ skills to use! This coming Tuesday, I will give a final presentation on my work to some colleagues so they can use it in the future.
Outside of work, I have amped up the amount of travel I do on weekends since being here. The past three weekends have entailed trips to three different cities that I absolutely adored.
Two weekends ago, I traveled to Berlin with fellow VSA Makana! We entered tourist heaven, and after taking an early bus into the city, hit up brandenburg tor, Holocaust memorial, LGBT memorial, Reichenstag, churches and towers galore, great food, castles, museums, etc. over the course of a day and a half. It was an interesting experience doing all of these things the “old fashioned way.” Neither of our phone plans in Germany include mobile data, so we used (wait for it) PAPER MAPS to get around. Shocking, right? Fiitingly, our trip included lots of walking, buses, and the S-banh and U-banh (public transit trains). I think we did pretty well for ourselves. Our hostel was absolutely adorable, and there were a lot of students from all over the world staying there. For dinner on Saturday night, we ventured out to try some local Indian cuisine. I was skeptical, because up until that point, the only Indian food I had tried in Germany was in Dresden and not particularly amazing. Berlin def. upped their game for us. We had a delicious meal with all of our favorite dishes! The ambiance was 5 stars as well, complete with outdoor seating on a sofa, blankets, and candle light. 10/10, would do again! On Sunday, we focused on hitting up momuments like the Victory Tower and some castles we had missed the prior day, before seeing each other off. It was a glorious weekend.
Last weekend, I traveled to Ibiza where I met up with my best friend from childhood Samantha. We have been homies since the 4th grade, and our relationship has been “long distance” since I moved to San Diego after 7th grade. Once again, our friendship was tested this year when she went abroad to Bologna, Italy to study abroad for seven months. For all of second semester of this past school year, she was no longer a one hour flight away in Berkeley. I missed her terribly, but as fate would have it, we both ended up in Europe for the summer. We decided to hit up this lovely, EDM savvy island of the coast of Spain for the weekend of our lives. We had an awesome time meeting great young people from all over the world, enjoying the fantastic beaches and cool water, and seeing some of the biggest and greatest names in electronic music in the most insane clubs I have ever been to. Since Samantha is not very knowledgeable about this particular area of music, I decided I would pick out artists I knew she would love. We only went out two of our three nights, because I wanted to save some clubs to experience for the first times with my friends who are dying to see the DJs that perform at them:) So we saw Fatboy Slim, Pete Tong, and Disclosure among a few other names. We both really enjoyed the trip. I got to bust out my Spanish for fun, and realized I still have it;) We made friends with the staff at our hotel and really had the time of our lives. I cant wait to come back to Ibiza again, and I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend with my best friend.
Ok, I know this gets said a lot, but Prague is quite honestly one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. I actually took a trip there this weekend with some of my coworkers at Globalfoundries. It was a girls’ day trip, seeing as how Prague is only a 2 hour drive away. We started early (our bus was at 6:30am!) and had a fantastic time. Since it was my first time, we got a 3 hour walking tour of all the major sites, and even though it was in German I did my best to follow along. Everything was absolutely stunning. I just kept having flashbacks to AP european history from high school. I think my favorite part of the day was seeing the window that Frederick was thrown out of, to signal the beginning of the 30 years war. I am admittedly a little bit of a nerd, and for me, it felt like my history textbook was coming to life! We also had a couple of hours to wander around on our own. My fellow ladies bought some souvenirs, and I took the opportunity to buy some Franz Kafka souvenir pins myself. We also definitely explored the local cuisine. Instead of dining at the spot the tour group headed to, we broke away a little bit early and went a little “off the map” to find a place with more authentic Czech food. I sampled some fried cheeses and ordered a traditional Schnitzel and potatoes for myself. It was good to indulge in the local cuisine, but I am not really a “meat and potatoes” kind of girl. In fact, in Germany, I have avoided sausage at all costs hahaha. That might have something to do with the fact that I really only eat chicken and turkey. But my favorite local indulgence was at a gorgeous bakery that made traditional desserts. I essentially got a beautiful equivalent of what looked like a mini choclate eclair and a scoop of Straciatella ice cream (new obsession). After the bakery, we all stopped to creep on a wedding that was happening at the large church in the middle of the town square. It was so beautiful! We also saw a ton of people driving around in rented classic cars. Overall, I was astounded by the architecture and the myriad of things to do and see in Prague. I will have to come back to venture into all the museums, get a portrait done by a local artist on one of the three large bridges in the city, and experience the night life! I had a fantastic into trip, and the company of the ladies I was with made the experience for me.
I only have two weeks left in Germany now, and I intend to make the most of them! I will be enjoying my city to its fullest and maybe exploring a little bit of Saxony with a few hikes. It’s amazing how much this place feels like home. I know how to get around perfectly, i know where all the trams go/lead to, and I am a “regular” at a restaurant that I go to once a week. What more could I ask for? All that is left is to make my final presentation at work, present it, and leave good notes for the person that takes up my work after I leave. It will be hard to say goodbye to this place, but I am certain I will be back sooner rather than later.