Last week, I had my midterm interview at Square. I have learned and grown in so many areas during these brief two months at work and away from the comfortable womb of Waterloo.

I arrived in SF a week prior to my start date to allow time to tour the city. Each day that week, I walked to the office and back. I also spent quite a bit of time exploring different areas of the city, including Bernal Heights, Embarcadero, Lower Haight, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Those travels reminded me of the lyrics of a song we sang in grade 8: “Just a small town girl/ Livin’ in a lonely world” (Journey, 1981). I was astonished by the poverty and hopelessness of the many people on the streets, and also overwhelmed by the tall buildings in the city. Recently, I’ve taken a few walks alone. San Francisco feels like home now, and I’m no longer scared to stop and take pictures. I’m friends with a cheery construction worker whom I see every morning on the way to work, and have gained an deeper appreciation for those who earn honest money.

What am I doing at Square? I’m working on Settlements, which is the batch processing of payments. We process payments and run settlement jobs. I love my team, my manager, and my mentor. They are the most smart, diverse, and encouraging team that I could ever ask for, and I’m honoured to be working alongside them. I’ve been involved in sharding the database, designing the model to include taxes, and implementing file transmission. I’ve learned to write cleaner code, to navigate around git, and to think more critically about performance. I’ve also learned about distributed systems, software infrastructure design, and interesting tidbits about the JVM, and participated in debugging an intriguing time-related bug. Moreover, I’ve gained confidence in learning to understand and navigate systems. One of the highlights so far is knowing that I have contributed to the team in a meaningful way. Right now, I’m starting to design my “intern project” – cash reconciliation. There’s a lot to consider, but it’s going to be great!

This summer, I’ve also been blessed with the opportunity to connect with so many awesome people. My roommates are amazing. We’ve had some hilarious misunderstandings, and have also made delicious dinners. Our landlord is probably the most caring landlord one will ever meet. We make him dessert, and he gives us cake pans. I’ve also met some really kind, smart, and unique friends at Square, from UW, and from church. Each weekend, we have gone on outings and hikes that make daily life seem decades away. God’s creation is beautiful.

It’s also been my first extended stay at a church outside of home. I’m truly thankful that God has brought me to this church – it’s grounded on God’s Word, and I’ve witnessed so much of His love through the pastors, uncles and aunts, and brothers and sisters that I have met. It’s really awesome to see how God’s people worship and glorify Him in different places.

This being my first internship, it has also been my first time tithing via check. After writing my first check full of thanksgiving and excitement, I placed it into the offering bag. The next week, I was told that I had forgotten to sign it. Which team am I working on at Square again? But now I know.

Also, coming to US, I opened a bank account at an American bank and used that for direct deposit, but connected the service with which I pay rent to my Canadian US dollar debit card. My third time paying rent, I overdrafted my account and incurred a $35 fine and a warning email saying that the bank account could be closed. It was quite frightening. Banks are like libraries – they don’t tell you your book is overdue until you owe a fine. I need to be more vigilant.

Some random moments that are special to me:

  • playing piano on the keyboard at work
  • singing Amazing Grace in the BART station on 8:30am on Sundays
  • walking around the neighbourhood on Sunday afternoon — we have the cutest grocery stores, the best view of the city and of the ocean, and the friendliest dogs.

In my midterm interview, my recruiter asked me what my thoughts were. I am nothing but thankful. Thankful to God for providing this opportunity and guiding throughout, to my parents for their continued love, to my mentor and team for their investment, and to my peers for being great friends.