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Weekend in Seattle
March 19, 2016

Last weekend, I had a wonderful opportunity to travel out to Seattle (courtesy of Microsoft). My team and I qualified for the final round in a cyber security capture the flag competition against 49 other teams from the country. It’s a pretty awesome experience because all of the main expenses were paid for and I haven’t been to Seattle before.

I flew out to Seattle on Friday evening and checked into Redmond. Being the only girl on the team, I had the whole hotel room to myself. There weren’t any events planned that night so my team and I decided to venture out to Bellevue. We dined at Purple Cafe & Wine Bar where I had a plate of steamed Manila clams. Unfortunately during my stay in Seattle, I didn’t have a chance to drop by Starbucks. Maybe next time!

One of the culture differences I found between Seattle and Los Angeles is that drivers in LA are speed demons (I’m pretty guilty of that). I haven’t seen any car that went over 60mph in Seattle and people are actually patient drivers. The weather in Seattle is pretty much the opposite of LA (wetness for days); except we were welcomed with pretty good weather during our stay.

The competition took place on Saturday at Microsoft’s campus from 8am until 6pm. My team practically represented our school (go Broncos). This competition consists of capture the flag (jeopardy) and live server (defend our machine + attack others). My team did pretty well considering how I was the only one with experience and the competition being heavily based on computer science. My main areas of expertise for these competitions are within cryptography, network traffic analysis, and password cracking. It’d be great if there were more CTF questions relating to these topics. Overall, we had fun, learned a lot, and gained a memorable experience.

After the competition, my team and I ventured out to give the Space Needle a visit. The view is pretty amazing considering how you’re over 500 feet in the air at the observation deck. I’d love to go back during the day time to have a better look at the buildings in Seattle.

Despite the trip being short due to finals starting the day after we returned to SoCal, I am thankful for having the opportunity of going to Seattle and visiting Microsoft’s campus.

Here are some pictures followed by a little video compilation taken at Seattle. I’m still trying to get used to using the GoPro, so bear with me ;). If you can’t see the video, you may need to disable adblock on this page.

15 Responses

  1. Tara ☆ March 19, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    Wow, Nancy! Thanks for sharing about your trip! I really liked the video. It really showed some neat things about your trip, and I really enjoyed seeing you in action! 😀

    That’s neat you got to have a whole room to yourself! The hotel room looks nice, clean, and cosy.

    I’m glad to read that your team had a great, memorable time there! Sometimes it’s nice to win, but it most time it’s the experiences you get that are more lasting than anything ^^

    It’s interesting how you discovered some differences between LA and Seattle so quickly. I do hope you’ll make it back to Seattle again and get to explore more! The weekend is too short for a trip! You need at least a week 😀

  2. Kya ☆ March 20, 2016 at 5:22 am

    That is really awesome, and sounds like a great experience. 😀

  3. Sakura ☆ March 20, 2016 at 7:50 am

    Wow Seattle looks great! I would love to visit there someday

  4. Amy ☆ March 20, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Glad to hear you enjoyed yourself. It’s so cool that you got the hotel room all to yourself – I bet that was amazing. It looks really big as well. The food looks lovely too, it’s making me very hungry right now!

    The video is really great. I wish I had such great video editing skills! Sounds/looks like a wonderful experience overall!

  5. Pauline ☆ March 20, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Firstly, I AM BLOWN away from that video. It’s so pretty, I am so envious! I haven’t been on a plane for years, I’m itching to get on one and be in the air again D: I love the footage you took! :’) Thank you for sharing!

    The hotel looks super cosy, I’m excited to go to London in a couple of weeks because of the hotel lol, I always love and appreciate a good ol’ hotel. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed yourself, it definitely looks like you had a blast! A great experience indeed 😉


    • Nancy ☆ March 28, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      One of the interesting things I looked up recently because of planes is the temperature outside when the plane is flying at an altitude of 35,000ft.

      Good hotels are worth the money! (Hello Jacuzzi!!!)

  6. Maroon Caludin ☆ March 20, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Wow, sounds neat! So awesome you were able to go! I never been to Seattle myself. Looks really awesome!

  7. Cat ☆ March 20, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    What a cool trip! That’s so awesome that you had a paid trip to Seattle and spent time on Microsoft’s campus 🙂 I’ve been up the Space Needle before, but it was during the day. That’s such a pretty view at night! I also really liked looking at your video and seeing clips from your trip. I’m glad it was a fun trip and a good experience!

  8. Thao ☆ March 20, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    That sounds so fun. All-expense paid competition trips are definitely one of the highlights of college. I’m glad that it was a valuable learning experience for you.

    And what a great view! When I went there last summer with the City Pass, it came with two admittance to the Space Needle for a day view and a night view. However, I was too exhausted to come back at night for it, but it looks like I might have to come back for it this summer.

  9. Krystal ☆ March 21, 2016 at 8:24 am

    A free trip is always good! You get to explore the city for a bit and enjoy some fun activities with a group of people.

    Glad you enjoyed yourself! That plate of clams looks so delicious, I’m a big seafood lover…yum yum!

  10. Becca ☆ March 21, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    That’s so awesome that your team qualified! What an awesome trip – I’m glad you were able to go. Haha – woot! Having the room to yourself is definitely a perk for being the only girl!

    I’d love to visit Seattle some day, and even if you didn’t have as much time as you would like, you got to visit the Space Needle! The view from the top is absolutely beautiful!

    I loved watching your video – the take off was especially cool! I love flying but I don’t get to do it too often. It looks like it was an awesome trip!

  11. Michelle ☆ March 23, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    I’m glad you were able to visit Seattle and take part in that competition with your team. It did give you valuable experience and memories, just always make sure to use them <3 Also, that food looks good and I'm normally picky, too. Anyhow, yeah I've been told that California drivers are scary on the road, but after my accident, it happens to Texas that drivers are really the same way.

    Driving like they are in Mario Kart. Lol

    Glad you had fun, but it's nice to be home, right?

  12. tiff k ☆ March 24, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Lovely video and congratulations on the trip! Seattle sounds wonderful, I have a friend who’s staying there now. Rock on as well for being the only girl in the team! Congrats!

  13. Georgie ☆ March 25, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    Lucky you getting a room to yourself! Girls represent! 😀

    I have heard lovely things about Seattle, especially its cafes (not just Starbucks, though I would pronanly go there too haha). I have heard it can get pretty quiet and boring for older people with families. It sounds like you had an awesome time, though, and you learned a lot – which is always a valuable experience when your work has gone out of their way to prepare something like that. 🙂

  14. Claudine ☆ March 28, 2016 at 1:11 am

    Wow, Seattle looks amazing! 🙂 I really liked the video, you really captured all the highlights! 😀

    Congratulations to your team for performing well in the competition! 🙂 Great job!

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