Memories from a UW First-Year

Published June 16, 2017

Writer’s note: Next week will be Reflections from the Field.

It’s been a long 10 months. During my first year at UW, I traveled over 1000 miles on public transit, spent 2500 hours in class, spent much more for studying, took at least 50 days to learn a 20-minute Samoan dance number, and served three quarters in Dream Project—not to mention encountered a countless number of new friends and smiles. Along the way, I reached many milestones that marked my growth into a full-blown college student. Here are some of the highlights.

September 2016

U-District to Bellingham

To kick off my first year at the University of Washington, I decided to pay a visit to rival teaching school, Western Washington University. Sorry Viking fans. I didn’t just do it using buses, you see; I did it using transit buses. Insane, right? Anyway, this was the longest trip by distance I ever took so far as a transit hero: Approximately 175 miles round trip.

Incognito shows up on Seattle Weekly

That’s right, after the launch of Angle Lake extension of Sound Transit’s Link light rail. At the time, I was in my Breda/suburban cloak. I also rode the inaugural train out of the station with the airline pilot calling the shots. It was a really fun first networking event with my fellow transit geeks. See more images at Seattle Weekly:


October 2016

Incognito receives his first fan letter!

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To my dearest friend, Incognito,

I felt like writing a note to you for no apparent reason. Uhh, [sic] I hope you have a nice weekend. Stay safe from the storm! [sic] Do try to avoid getting a cold. Again, I really love your cape. Thanks for inviting me over to your room last time. It was a real pleasure. I just hope the power doesn’t go out while I’m away fo [sic] the weekend.

Best regards,

(Mugshot #0 [prototype])

Incognito The Transit Hero: Latest Puget Sound Icon, living on the second largest transit hub in the region, with existence intersecting with both fiction (DC Universe, Azarath) and nonfiction dimensions and a fan favorite at the University of Washington. He peels the road with New Flyer. Contrary to popular belief, when his cloak is off, it means serious business.

Fun Fact: When I said this dude peels the road, I really mean it. He did over 160 miles roundtrip from University of Washington to Western Washington University—all by transit bus, of course. In this regard, Incognito is proud to call Bellingham and Mt. Vernon part of his transit community.

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Goodbye, Bredas

And to think that was the final stretch. By the way, nice rims.

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November 2017

We ran into each other on the trolley.

The result was—eventually—a full-length trip through one of Seattle’s major high-risk corridor which we both so deeply felt for. I wouldn’t say any more than I need to on this one.

December 2017

A brief conversation about plagiarism

I’m not sure why some students in my lecture hall reacted when the instructor said he’ll be checking student IDs for the final test. Can somebody fill me in?

KJB: Probably so you can’t hire someone to take it for you.

Fa’aumu: I’m astounded though, because they’re like “Oh f*$&” when the teacher made the announcement.

KJB: Yeah they probably already paid for someone! Some people think they can just pay their way through public education [sic]

LA: Maybe they don’t have their ID on them so they can’t take it [sic]

Fa’aumu: It’s much more complicated than that, LA. Perhaps you’ll see when you sit in one of my classes sometime.

LA: Haha [sic] Maybe in the future if I go there [sic]

Fa’aumu: Now of course, if you want to sit in with my BIO A 201 class with about 149 other kids in the near term, message me, and we can arrange for a meetup. It’s at 8:30 AM though.

Visit on an Old Breda

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Gone up and down the Central Puget Sound region.

This involved two commuter routes with the longest travel patterns in the region: the 422 to Stanwood II, and the 592X to Olympia.


January 2017

And now, a word from a future Sociology major:

Did you know? WWI propaganda was the dark side of Durkheim, and he didn’t die a happy man. But he did leave behind other great work.

Drank ‘ava in a [albeit mock-up] ceremony for the very first time

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Rare Pic: Incognito’s First EDUC 360 Class

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And now, a word to old palagi men:

Despite my reservations about studying the common sociological narrative of “old white men”, I’m actually getting a kick out of Sociology 316. The instructor is wonderful if students participate, I’m looking deep into applications of empirical work, and I’m already making friends.

February 2017

Purple reigns on Sunday, literally. On routes 43 and 44, at least.

BW: why [sic] the hell would they shut down most or all of the trolley network on weekends anyway? TransLink doesn’t do that unless there’s work going on along the trolley wires themselves or an off-wire detour happens somewhere.

Fa’aumu: We have a culture of construction, friend. There’s a standard distance from the site to the wire, I think.

BW: any [sic] construction gets too close to even one small section of trolley line & the whole line gets dieselized… Metro has got to learn to take advantage of the APUs on the XTs [sic]

Fa’aumu: Say, do you think it’s possible to put an ISB 6.9 on any of these? It might be possible to revive the dual-mode concept.

BW: Gillig did build a couple of BRT+ trolleys that have diesel generators built in alongside the Vossloh Kiepe systems rather than batteries… Dayton, OH has them.

Fa’aumu: Damn. That’s something I didn’t know.


222 XDE60s, both in 2-door (commuter) and 3-door configurations.

Car Vs. Link

March 2017

They won’t even have a clue this happened.

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Serious Electric Unveiled at Emerald City Comicon

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Survived Quarter II in Dream Project

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Incognito falls in love with the cherry blossoms.

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April 2017

Declared Anthropology Major

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Blew the conch for the first time

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UW Polynesian Day 2017

Up & Down on Series 50

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Throwback to Washington DC

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A silly day out on the water

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Stories from a Seattle Afatasi: Good Mana

June 2017

Will be studying abroad in 2018.

Completed First Year

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