It’s the final week in Stanford! The past 8 weeks have really flown by. It feels as if it was just yesterday that we entered the foreign Stanford campus but now, our time here is almost up.
With every last week of school, comes a whole host of submissions and final exams. Most of the last week was spent studying, rushing term papers, and of course thinking about what we would be doing after exams and everything was over. This really motivated us to push through finals exams, so we can celebrate our last few days together in Stanford together!
The afternoon after Algorithms exam (which was on a Friday), we ate our final meal at the Arrillaga Family Dining Commons before heading out to run our last few errands in Stanford such as shopping at the Stanford bookstore for souvenirs for friends and family. The bookstore has such a varied collection of apparel, ranging from the more conventional shirts, sweaters and caps, to novelty items such as golf club covers, slippers, watches etc.
We spent a long time perusing, and picking out our favourite items before heading to Gilroy Premium Outlets, for even more shopping! Upon arrival, we were rather surprised to see that the outlet was spread out over 3 different plots of land separated by 2 different road crossings. Featured brands include Tommy Hilfiger, Kate Spade, Polo Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie and Fitch etc. If you are looking to cop items from these brands for a good price, Gilroy is definitely an good alternative to the San Francisco Premium Outlets. While there are fewer brands, and the brands offered are less high-end, the high street fashion labels available are the same. The crowd is also smaller at Gilroy, which makes shopping a bit easier, and competition for items less steep. Due to time constraints, we spent only a mere 4 hours there but nonetheless, each of us still came out with multiple bags of loot.
Outlets typically close at 9pm everyday other than on Sundays where it closes at 7pm. This is worth taking note of as many times, we wanted to go shopping on Sunday, only to realise that we wouldn’t have much time due to early closure!
Having shopped till late, we had limited options for food, as many eateries in California close by about 8pm, and these places are often at least a forty minute drive away if you are not in the city. Using our trusty yelp app, we located a Pho restaurant near San Jose. This Pho restaurant was so authentic, so much so that the lady boss only spoke Vietnamese. But, anytime you encounter such authenticity, you know the food will be equally authentic. The shop is called Pho House #1, and true to its name, they served the best Pho we have ever eaten outside of Vietnam itself. We got a variety of Vietnamese dishes, that other more conventional restaurants do not serve like Banh Xeo, a crispy egg pancake stuffed with pork and shrimp, Bun Cha, a less conventional dry noodle dish originating from Hanoi and Soda Chang, a concoction consisting of tonic water, lime, and sugar (basically a diy 7up but better). The service was fast, the meat was grilled to perfection, it was affordable, and the portions were big. Thus, we highly recommend this place if you need some late night food near San Jose, or if you plan to visit the Gilroy Premium Outlets!
Our final Saturday was spent taking photos of the beautiful campus that we (may) have taken for granted. With the end of examinations, and classes, our hectic schedules were finally able to slow down, take a step back from our rush to classes to appreciate the beauty of the Stanford campus.
After seeing busloads (literally) of tourists coming to the campus on a daily basis, we finally saw what they saw, and understood why they would come all the way to Stanford just to take a photo of the campus.
For lunch, we went to San Jose’s Japantown for our final trip out together before we went on our separate ways for our various post-trip plans. While this Japantown is much smaller than that in San Francisco, we still managed to get our mochi and Japanese snacks fix. It was a scorching day, and we also got ourselves some shaved ice (the westernised version of Ice Kachang!) from a cute café that many others were patronising. l There were many flavours to choose from, and we settled on lime, watermelon and grape with condensed milk as a topping.
Feeling refreshed from the shaved ice, we then made our way back to school to pack up in preparation of moving out day!
The last day, we had to check out by 8am, and it was hectic all around, as everyone rushed to empty their trash, sort their recycling, pack everything up, and clean the room. Dropping our room keys into the key drop box, was a bittersweet feeling. It was a good 8 weeks in Stanford, till next time.
written by: jia en
group 2 (2019): elizabeth, jia en, jamie, matthew