2016 Year in Review

2016 Year in Review

Andrew and Dara

Hello dear friends and family! As the New Year begins, we thought it would be pleasant to reflect on the past year. Despite entering into perhaps the riskiest and scariest political and economic climate in our lifetime, we still have a lot of things for which we're thankful. In 2017 we'll both be turning 30, so we thought it was time to start writing down some of the good times, both to share with others and for ourselves and our aging memories.

We kicked off 2016 in Thailand! What an incredible adventure. Walking and swimming with elephants was a major highlight! So were kayaking through the remote butterfly-filled wilderness, hiking up to the top of a temple, and taking a cooking class (we make Pad Thai, green curry, and mango sticky rice all the time now). The food in general blew our minds. The pictures from the trip comprise 2 albums: 'food we ate' and 'everything else'.

A few weeks after our return, we adopted a kitty cat! Misty is a beautiful 3 year-old Nebelung (long-haired Russian Blue) we got from a rescue. As our friend Kyle says about owning a cat, "There are literally no downsides." Every day when we come home from work, she greets us by rolling on her back for belly rubs. Her other favorite activities include making funny sounds at birds, playing fetch, and catching bugs.

Dara turned in her dissertation and finished up the last days of her PhD at Stanford at the end of March! WOOOOOOOO!!! After months of deliberation, she decided to take her hard-won academic credentials and apply them to industry. In April, she embraced the Stanford dream by joining a tech startup as a data scientist. It's called Collective Health, and they're working to make health insurance better. So far it has been great - she is building out her programming skills, likes her team, and is getting to work on some really cool projects. Some of the most impactful so far have been detecting fraud in medical claims data and writing algorithms to identify members who would benefit from additional healthcare support.

Andrew has been with his current startup, Shift, for 2.5 years. They're making it easy, cheap, and safe to buy a used car. It's been going great - Shift is now the largest seller of used cars in the Bay Area! Earlier this year he became the tech lead for the Pricing team. He's learning about management and doing lots of interviewing to help the company grow, while still trying to find time to teach the computers how to price used cars better. 

Perhaps it's a sign we're leaving our 20's, but outside of work, we mainly like to go to bed early so we can wake up for our various athletic adventures. In the early part of the year, Andrew learned how to swim more than one lap without drowning and Dara learned to bike down a gentle gradient without clutching the brakes, so we decided it was time to dive in to the world of triathlon. We completed our first sprint-distance up in Sonoma in May, and our first Olympic-distance in Santa Cruz in September. We had so much "fun" that in April we're going to attempt our first half-Ironman! (Ironperson.) Key word there is 'attempt'.

Toward the end of the year, we took an idyllic vacation in Maui (photos). We took a surfing lesson, snorkeled with sea turtles, tried stand-up paddleboarding, and hiked inside a volcano and up a waterfall. Our four food groups were: poke, shave ice, fish tacos, and anything passionfruit-related. What a life!

Other notable events this year included:

  • Andrew skiing in Park City with work friends
  • Friends Adam and Laura getting married in the Santa Cruz mountains
  • Friends Laura and Robin getting married in wine country 
  • Camping in Big Sur
  • Heading down to LA to see Dara's extended family
  • Going to Minnesota to visit Dara's parents and, of course, attend the state fair
  • Dara visiting college friends in NYC
  • Visiting Andrew's parents for Christmas in Cleveland

Wow! It's been a truly remarkable year. We constantly marvel at how incredibly lucky we are to have each other, fulfilling jobs, opportunities for travel, good health, wonderful friends, and loving families. Many thanks to all of you for being a part of it!

With much love and all the best wishes for 2017,

Dara and Andrew (and Misty)