Lucio likes telling the story when we first met. He was complaining (more like humble-bragging) about the pressure he felt because so many kids in Ghana looked up to him and I shot him down like fireworks.
“There are 2000 people following me on Facebook,” he said.
“I have 80,000,” I said.
We worked together on an automatic essay grading project that he carried me through. Lucio majored in Physics (brain alert) but had an amazing grasp of math and programming. By the end of his coterm, he had an offer to join Facebook AI Research (FAIR) in Paris - a position that he really wanted.
So I was surprised when he texted me he was in Bay Area. Instead of joining FAIR in Paris, he joined the new FAIR office in Seattle.
“Why would anyone choose Seattle over Paris?”
“I was going through a lot of personal stuff and didn’t want to deal with it in a new country. Yeah, don’t worry, I’m fine now.”
Indeed he looked fine. He had finally decided to embrace his hipsterness and proudly wore his gray, big-lense hipster glasses. He also works out everyday. Even though he’s still trying to navigate his new job (it took him a long time to settle on what project to work on – which is language modeling on Wikipedia), he enjoys living in Seattle.
Reasons why he loves Seattle:
- A girl hit on him for the first time ever. “That would never happen in Bay Area,” said Lucio.
- It’s good to get out of the Stanford bubble (but he still lives with a bunch of friends from college).
- Housing is so cheap. They have an actual guest room.
- Tax is so low. [Lucio: “I don’t even know what to do with all the money I have now.” Me: “Have you heard of something called cryptocurrency?”]
Despite his love for Seattle, he still visits Bay Area every month for work. Next September, he will be starting his Ph.D. at CMU. He’s progressively moving to areas with worse weather. Wish him luck.