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It’s over already. Whoa, this year went by so fast! 2015 was definitely the most epic year of my life so far. I know this is kinda late, but I am finally able to do this write up.
 

1. New Job

 
My goal in 2014 was to get up to speed with software programming again, and find a new job. 2015 brought that dream to fruition. I accepted a Front-End Engineer position at a Silicon Valley startup called Cask Data. The experience had been simply undescribable. Every single person in the company is amazing, smart, and kind. I will make a follow up post detailing my first year experience in this company.
 
 

2. Moving to California

 
Since Cask is located in Palo Alto, California, I had to relocate from the tundra known as Michigan. I made the move at the end of January. My last day at my previous company was a Tuesday, packed quickly and flew to California on the Friday. I started my new job on the Monday.

It’s warm!

It was an interesting time. Hunting for a place to stay in the Bay Area from Michigan was really difficult. Apartments got rented really quickly in Silicon Valley, and prices are ridiculous. So I decided to make my move, and AirBnB for a little bit while I hunt for an apartment. I ended up staying at an AirBnB for 11 days.

The other thing I like about California besides being warmer than Michigan is the sunshine. You don’t really realize it, but during winter time in Michigan, you barely get any sunshine or blue skies – and that can get depressing. Here in California, I stepped out of my apartment with a smile as I gaze around the blue sky and sunshine across the horizon.
 
 

3. Lots of Musicals

 
My yearning for music was definitely satisfied this year. I got to see a LOT of musicals. I need to start a specific musical budget for it next year.

  • Cinderella (Rodgers and Hammerstein)
  • Lion King
  • Amelie
  • Phantom of the Opera
  • If/Then
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

PS: The Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder is really good!
 
 

4. Travel to Hawaii (second time)

 

I started my job at Cask for a week, then I was off to Hawaii for 2 weeks.

Why?

My oldest sister got hitched! Yeay!
But this trip to Hawaii, I went there earlier than my family to do some SCUBA diving. Those of you who knows me well know that I am obsessed with the underwater world. So this time around I explored marine life in their habitat, instead of looking through the glass of an aquarium. I saw some octopus, eagle ray, turtles, puffer fish, and lots of other kinds of fish that I just don’t know the name of. I also did my first Deep Dive to 78 feet, looking at a barge ship wreck. It was truly a magnificent sight!

After the wedding, came family vacation time (minus the newly weds of course). It was packed with activities as well! The day after the wedding, I took a 50 minutes drive to the North Shore Oahu to take part of a Pelagic Dive Tour by OneOceanDiving. What is a Pelagic Dive? In short, I was swimming out in the open ocean with sharks… without a cage! There were about 20 sandbar sharks, and I even got to see a lone hammerhead shark.

I got back to the hotel from that trip, beaming! I was super enamored with the sharks. Who would’ve thought that you can actually swim in shark infested water and actually be fine? I told my sister and her husband about it. We were planning to do a caged shark dive the next day, but then my sister surprised me saying that she will do the open water. So the next day we got a private charter with OneOceanDiving led by Ocean Ramsey and Kori Garza. The three of us were in the water for perhaps about an hour and a half, and it was simply amazing. It was humpback whale season as well, so when we dove down, we heard the songs of the whales. Soooo beautiful.

We swam with dolphins as well! Unfortunately the water was kind of murky and we had to wear life vest (it’s a requirement – basically to slow us down and prevent us from diving down. It’s illegal to harrass the dolphins). Too bad 🙁 But it was still amazing!
 
 

5. Photography

 
This is the year that I got back to photography as well. The timing was great, the price for Canon 5D Mark III dropped pretty significantly (because of the new 5Ds), and I got one for myself. I love taking HDR landscape pictures, and California has a lot of beautiful subjects.

However, I had always been interested in studio photography, and I got to clock in lots of time in the studio this year. I love doing Fashion and Headshot photography. I still have a lot to learn, but I am excited that I got to work with strobe lights and amazing models!!
 
 

6. Travel to Indonesia

 
My homeland! It had been nearly 5 years since the last time I went back to Indonesia! I got to taste the cuisine again (primarily Nasi Padang – my mouth is watering as I’m writing this). I got to see old friends as well, people I haven’t seen in a long, long time. It is crazy how time flies. Jakarta changed a lot in the years that I was gone, but one thing didn’t change – the traffic!

We went to a little paradise called Gili Trawangan. We snorkeled and dive there, it was super relaxing. There is no motorized vehicle in the island, so you get around by walking, biking, or ride on a horse carriage. The cool thing about this place, you can do a lot of activities for cheap. For instance, the 5 of us chartered a private boat with a guide for 3 hours. Total cost was $50. How awesome is that?! If you are certified SCUBA diver, the price for each dive is pretty cheap as well, less than $50 per dive. Visibility was awesome, and water temperature is perfect.

I also took a course on Freediving from Freedive Gili, a Freediving SSI school run by England freediving record holder, Michael Board. I learned how to do a proper breath up before a dive, and how to duck dive efficiently to minimize effort. With a bit of practice after the course, my static breath hold time was 3:45!

In Indonesia, I also did my first ever technical lecture on User Experience (UX) Design. A friend asked me to do a workshop for a tech school/startup incubator. Pretty awesome group of people!
 
 

7. Miscellaneous

 
While the above items are some huge changes/events, there are little things that happened during the year that makes 2015 that much more special. Bought a new car recently, and I am in love with it. Also, now that I live in California, I got to see my friend that lives in LA area that I haven’t seen in 4 years! Now just need to see the other friend that lives in Australia….
 
 
I am personally looking forward to year 2016. The hope is that my life will be trending upwards, and 2015 definitely set a really high standard. I can’t wait to see what I will achieve in 2016.

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