Much has changed this year.

Last January I was a senior at {CMU}, working on {Pith} with Sydney. Both of us secured jobs after graduation that spring, and so there was a general sense of stasis as we waited for a big change to come later that year. This was a pretty steady time; each weekend we’d drive out to rural Pennsylvania and hang out in the woods, and during the weeks we’d walk between each other’s apartments. Most of our classes were remote, so we’d mostly be hanging out in O and my apartment and working while M and A came over and worked on their own projects.

Eventually, we wrapped up Pith with a big final push of user testing, which was quite exciting. We used a service that connected us with testers online, and to use it we had to develop our own platform to test our platform. It was a lot of work, and both of us were happy to be done. I think the project got a bit out of hand and went in a direction we didn’t originally intend, but we still learned a lot from it and I still think it’ll come back in some form in the future.

I also started doing a bit of work on the side for {Futureland} around this time, doing a bit of development for a few hours a week.

The month of May was the transition that we’d been waiting for. It started off with lot of final get-togethers with friends, all planning our departures and gradually saying our goodbyes. Eventually the time came and I left, driving across Pennsylvania to Sydney’s home in Virginia. I remember that drive being quite powerful; over the course of it leaving the areas we’d explored and entering new territory. The trees gradually changed as I drove south, the familiarity of the fields and hills fading before completely disappearing as I cross the Appalachians and drove into Maryland.

After spending a bit of time in Virginia, we set off on our road trip across the country in June. We stopped over in New Jersey to see O and M, then drove back to Pittsburgh for a final stop off to see HK again. Then we were really off, this time to Wisconsin to see my family.

The whole trip across the country was… well I don’t know how to describe it. We drove from New Jersey through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and finally into California. We saw an enormous amount of new country. There’s so much that I want to go back and really see, so much more potential for exploration. The trip was a kind of preview so we have a sense for what’s there and can now better know where to go next.

Driving down the 101 in California from Crescent City, I had inverse experience I did in Pennsylvania. Gradually the roads became more and more familiar. It was a surreal experience driving up and parking a car in my parents’ driveway that we’d driven from Virginia.

Once we were back at my home, we set about finding a place to live, and we drove around the East Bay and the city looking at all sorts of apartments. Eventually we settled on one in Berkeley that gave us someplace to plant some vegetables and have a bit of privacy, despite being a bit small. We moved in at the beginning of July and soon started our new jobs. There was a lot of learning we did around this time, about all the sorts of things we’d need to figure out now that we were working in the real world. We sorted out our insurance, payments for this and that, and I got pretty deep into learning about investing.

Per tradition, we went camping at Wright’s Lake in July. After that, work went on for a while, occasionally spotted with more memorable weekends where we’d dog-sit Asterix while my parents went away.

In October, we got an atmospheric river and it rained on my birthday, which was incredible. The hills greened up and since then everything’s been nice and wet, clean, and crisp. We also saw Deafheaven play in Berkeley, which after seeing I immediately went and got us tickets to see another metal concert: Opeth and Mastodon in December.

We decided this fall that we’d introduce some trips every couple months or so to keep things interesting. The first we did on a whim in November to the Eastern Sierra around Mono lake. I was very glad we went–it was totally new to me–an incredible area we’ll be back to in future summers for some camping.

A couple weeks ago we went up to Ft. Bragg in Mendocino, which was also a great little break from the routine. I was reminded of the trips we’d take in Pennsylvania on the weekend; long drives out into the country with a lot of thinking, talking, and music.

Now it’s the end of the year and I’m back home at my parents about to fly off to meet Sydney in Virginia. I have lots of goals for this next year, products of everything I’ve learned this year.

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