2020 Mid-year Recap

I set 12 goals for myself this year.

2020 Mid-year Recap
My 2020 started with the fireworks in San Francisco.
I set 12 goals for myself this year.
However, before I started on any of these goals, I had to pay off my debts.
Apparently, I didn’t give a shit on the $0.02 debt. We watched a beautiful night view in Bernal Heights (with silent disco).
I made a bunch of Minerva Meme’s Telegram stickers.
Then the semester started with Anais (from Canada) teaching me how to order coffee in Philz. We ended up in Apple Union Square and we met Andriy and Liuda (both from Ukraine) there. Me: “So with Notion, you can do this and this and this…” Anais: “ThIS is sICK.”
Then there’s Civitas when all Minervans had to suit up to meet their Civic Partners. Nikita (from Ukraine) and I decided to steal some veggies for ourselves.
I watched my first musical with Corin (from the US) in SF Playhouse. It’s THE GROUNDHOG DAY, one of my favorite childhood movies!
Before the sea of assignments arrived, we decided to go hiking in Muir Woods (feat. Teddy from the US, Aayush from India, Edith from Kenya, Marta, and Vlad from Ukraine.)
We also went to the beach.
Look at these happy faces. They had no idea how many assignments were waiting for them.
Arden (from China) invited me to play Go with her. At first, we thought each other was good, but then we realized we both suck.
One day, Gabriel (from Brazil) and I decided to rob chocolate from Nikita. Poor baby Nikita. So innocent.
Yueh Han (from Taiwan) was my very good friend who introduced Minerva to me (thank god he did that). He’s staying in SF this semester and we decided to have some late-night snacks & talks.
I watched a stand-up comedy with my res-group. Pia (from Germany) was the best RA.
Liuda, Sean (from South Africa), and I were sharing fun facts in the corner. Sean: “I climbed a volcano.”
Chef Ryoga (from Japan) was trying to cook Peking duck…
…so that we could celebrate Chinese New Year together!
…and we played fireworks after that!
After submitting my Formal Analyses assignment, I decided to go for a walk with Ulugbek (from Kyrgyzstan) and Aayush. We ended up invaded two hotels.
And then I went to a VR gym with Meliane (from the US), Woo (from South Korea), and Ujeza (from Kosovo). It gave me a taste of how terrible technology can be misused.
The Formal Analyses class was getting boring. I decided to have a little fun in our Forum with Ru-Yun and Ujeza.
Gordon (from Hong Kong) and I decided to demonstrate how to break the constraint of technology with Chinese Kung Fu.
In the meantime, my roomies (Gacoka and Phelan from Kenya) just started a candy business. They had zero customers so far.
Andre (from India), Pedro (from Brazil), and Naol (from Ethiopia) started a food business using MY NAME. And as one of many poor needy Minervans, I ordered food from them.
I gave a Minerva talk.
I started learning Tango! Liubov (from Ukraine) was my first lab mouse. Poor Liubov.
One day Sona (from Armenia) joined us. She became my second lab mouse. Me: “I think you have an error here.” Sona: “Is it Type 1 or Type 2?” Me: “wtf?”
Dancing “Alango”
Ascent was happening. We started greeting Ascentees in the lobby and tried to convince them that Minerva is a scam. By the way, none of these people in the photo are Ascentees, lol. They are Phuong (from Vietnam), Hovik (from Armenia), and Gabriel (from Brazil).
Hovik, Anais, and I were planning to cook a crab dish at the beginning of February, but it never happened.
One night when we’re done with our Multimodal Communications Assignment, Aniket (from India) invited me to go for a long long walk. We ended up in a park. There we chatted, swung, and ate ice cream. We became very close friends.
Sometimes (actually all the times) I ate breakfast during classes. Ryoga made a hilarious meme out of it.
Hovik, Sona, and I decided to go to Little Russia to get Khorovats and cheesecake together. I gave an Armenian toast and I felt very Armenian.
I had a coffee chat with a researcher from the Dynamicland. This was like a dream come true.
Hovik was becoming my best friend in Minerva. We had so many late-night talks and this is just one of them.
The COVID19 had arrived in the US and many of my friends had to leave. We decided to have a picnic with Ha (from Vietnam) before she left.
Many events were canceled because of the COVID19, we suddenly had a lot more free time. Nele (from Germany) and I decided to chill in Mission Bay and get some street foods and ice cream. But we forgot to take photos. So I’ll put a photo of her and Esther (another Taiwanese) instead.
Karoline (from Norway) was leaving and she might transfer to another school next semester. So we went for a long walk to Alamo Square Playground. There she dropped her legendary quote: “I don’t get it. Why do people think the Salesforce tower is cool? For me it’s like San Francisco’s dick.”
More people were leaving. Hence we went to Cheesecake Factory together when many of us were still here.
Yes, you’re right. We were all terminators and the mission of Minerva was to spread the virus and end the world.
Since all my besties were Armenians, we decided to take an Armenian-family photo.
YMCA was closed. But Yueh Han and I didn’t want to give up working out.
I had a beautiful, meaningful conversation with Artem (from Ukraine).
San Francisco was about to lockdown. Sona, Gabi, and I decided to watch the sunset when we still could.
Aniket was leaving for India. It was VERY VERY emotional.
Gabriel was leaving for Brazil. We went for a walk all the way to Embarcadero. When we were on our way back, we met Nitin (from India) who still owed me ramen.
Sona was leaving for Armenia. We decided to take one last Armenian-family photo.
There weren’t many people left in San Francisco. And social distancing was becoming something serious now.
Apparently nobody wanted to get COVID19.
Also, I got married to a South Korean. Wait. What the fuck?
Esther and Ru-Yun were leaving for Taiwan. I became the only Taiwanese left in the res hall.
Liuda and Andriy were leaving for Ukraine. I cooked their last dinner in San Francisco.
Gacoka was leaving for Kenya. Now I had no roomies. So I turned my room into a 5-star hotel room.
Our res hall became very empty. Hovik and I finally could start having some fun, hehe.
One day Hovik was a bit depressed, so I fed him Taiwanese instant noodles and funny videos.
The other day we ordered a giant pizza, and this dumbass was pretending to read my book with sunglasses.
I started practicing digital minimalism hence I closed all my social media accounts. But I forgot to tell my best friend in Taiwan and he thought I was in danger. Hence I made a call. He appeared in the form of a giant pizza. What a coincidence.
Since there was no one to dance Tango with, I decided to learn something new. I always wanted to try some art.
So many unexpected things had happened. I was feeling a little sad and overwhelmed this week and didn’t want to talk to anyone. I decided to pour all my negative emotions into my art. Here are some Hoviks I’d drawn.
After a week of drawing and meditating, I felt much better. Also, I got a new freelance job. My work-study manager assigned me to film a video to introduce our res hall to future students.
I realized how hard it is to be a YouTuber.
Woo (from South Korea) was feeling sleepy during class because of jet-lag. Hence I played some exciting music for him in our breakout group. Then our professor came and I had to start bullshitting why we’re playing music.
As the semester was about to come to an end, people (actually only me) didn’t seem to care about their poll answers anymore.
I had a beautiful thumbs-down party with Elton (from Mexico) and Betemariam (from Ethiopia) during our last breakout group.
And I played music again, lol.
I came back to Taiwan right after the semester ended. But first I had to quarantine for two weeks. Good News: The Taiwanese government would pay me 500 dollars if I don’t go out. Bad News: If I go out, I’ll be fined 30000 dollars. What a strong application of #carrotandstick.
I only did six things during my quarantine days: eating, sleeping, exercising, reading, meditating, and making video-call with Minervans.
I also had to take a test called CLA+ in which I gave no fuck. Taking a test at 1 AM was not HUMANE at all. This was literally what I’d submitted.
I finally finished my quarantine!!! After getting out I realized I was in the safest country in the world. Every day there were ZERO new confirmed cases. All streets and restaurants were functioning normally. Crazy.
I met one of my besties in high school. We ate out. We worked out (yeah, even the gym was OPEN). We played a bunny.
Then I went to Taipei to visit one of my besties in my former college (NTU). I also got back my BOXING GLOVES!!!
Only when I returned to Taiwan did I remember again what great food tasted like. Every one of them was incredibly cheap. No need for taxes and tips. Thank you very much.
I had a lovely reunion with another friend in high school.
I had a wonderful reunion with other Taiwanese Minervans in Taichung.
I’d been drastically reducing my use of social media and started using email to connect with friends since April. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I’d made this year. Emails had led to more meaningful and less stressful communications. The downside was that I forgot to respond very often, lol.
My friends from my original university (NTU) invited me to their graduation ceremony. Last year they made a poster of me and took photos with it, and during the ceremony, they put those photos on the big screen! I almost cried.
I even got the chance to go on the stage with them!
“So this is what graduation feels like.” — Alan Chan, 2020
My Complex Systems’ professor was still in Taiwan because he thought “This is the only place where the government actually works”. I invited him to eat hotpot with us. My real intention was to confirm my professor wasn’t an AI-generated live video and to prove that Minerva is not a scam.
I’ve noticed that my progress on 2020 goals is moving faster than I thought, and it looks like it’s time to add some new goals! How about eliminating COVID19 from the world? Sounds challenging!