Ha! Take this Vicente!

At today’s dinner, I was challenged to re-publicize my blog. I closed it (set it to private mode) for an entire semester because of several reasons: 1) I was rather busy 2) my life was a mess (and I am not and will not be a honest blogger) 3) My favorite blogger stopped writing and escaped to Brazil. No names will be mentioned but I was very sad.

Anyways, apparently my friend Vicente opened his blog, so there’s no more excuse for me to close my blog. I mean, when a phD student tells you he has time for blogging, an undergrad cannot be a whining chick. Who can have worse school-life balance than PhDs?

Thankfully, I do have my journals to help me keep track of my whereabouts. I took classes, moved into I-house, met new people, learned how to swear in multiple languages, fell in love with kombucha and fish dinners… But I realize that my readers would be more interested in the sad parts of my summer. Never mind, I love the cynical readers, I myself one of them. And so tragedies will be played.

I need to clarify, however, these are annoying occurrences in an undergrad’s daily life. In other words, if you’re over 21, still reading this post, with your popcorn, waiting for some Schadenfreude, you’re simply pathetic. But it’s not like I can climb out of your screen to snatch off that mouse of yours and pour the popcorn into your face. And if I learnt anything this summer, it’s that life only gets easier, when I start to make fun of myself. So, let me raise glass to a not so easy summer, and an even harder Senior year; here are a few things I managed to screw up in the past three months:

  • I could not speak German.

Now this is either an identity crisis or a total blown up hypocrisy. It seems like I was encountering some middle age crisis with my German ability. I loved the German language and the culture grown out of it. My entire independent research and learning experience are structured around the German world. All of a sudden I couldn’t speak it.

And it hurts.

Of course there was some personal reasons involved. However, the more I got trapped in the no-German zone, the more I saw how ignorant I was. I started with Franz Kafka, and like a blind bull majored in German Studies, learned about German and EU politics, wrote about German history, only to find out that not only did I still know nothing about Germany, I also knew nothing about what’s happening outside of Germany. And I am a college senior. How did I allow all of this happen? You could see a downward spiral. The more disappointed I was towards myself, the less I could face my past self that is so committed in a proved lost cause.

I am getting better at this. The first step is to recognize that it is not ok to not practice speaking German. The second step is to do something about it. Simply the actions counted and made me happier. This paragraph is especially difficult to write, since I am still having issue. But at least my readers will know about it, and that’s the third step: make myself a clown out of it. In the end it’s hardly the biggest blow in my academic career. (if I even have one)  What I learned in and out of German classes still stayed with me. This Summer I was forced to look at German from a different perspective, but I’m glad that I didn’t give it up. I hope things make sense, but it’s complicated, you’re tired of reading this, so let’s move on.

  • I forgot to pickup my passport at the Chinese Embassy

At mid June, I sent my passport into the Chinese Embassy in SF, because it’s running on expiration. I was told that I needed a new passport, which should arrive in one and a half month.

One afternoon in early August I received a phone call from San Francisco. Interestingly, it didn’t say “Chinese Embassy” on the screen so I continued my afternoon nap. The same number called for a second time, and a third time. I became rather grumpy and hang up. It was later when I checked my email did I realize:” oh no! I just hang up on the Chinese Embassy!”

I did get my passport back. However, I was assigned a different date to pick it up. The lesson in this story is probably: don’t take unnecessary afternoon naps.

  • I lost my purse in SF.

The way I see this is, I am glad that I only lost my first purse after such a long time living in the US. I thought I would lose it on my first day. It happened on my way back from the SF Chinese Embassy. Now every time we’re in SF, Luciana asks me to check if my wallet is still there. Thanks Luciana =)

  • I lost my glasses. (and found them very much later)

One could only lose so many things. Seriously? After I went broke for 36 hours, my glasses decided to runaway from home. Not to mention that summer classes started when I realized that my glasses were gone. “At some point I would love to see the board.” I wrote in my journals. Turned out I forgot them in my friend’s car. When I found them, however, I have already gone blind for three months in a row. (Maybe this explained that “B” in political science class!) Moral of the story? Always have a backup pair of glasses!

  • I overstretched my ankle.

And as if this summer couldn’t have gotten worse… I decided to text, while walking down stairs! Millennial believe in our ability in multi-tasking. However, it is one thing to believe, another thing to execute. I fell down four consecutive stairs and for the love of God couldn’t stop crying. My ankle was a volcano exploding. Mind you, I twisted my ankle several times before, never had it hurt this bad. At the hospital, the doctor told me to stop being sad and wear an ankle bracelet for a week. “Then we’ll decide if you can take the bracelet off. but the bones look fine.”

I received my first ankle bracelet of my life and sent a picture of it to my brothers for condolence. They told me it was quite normal on basketball courts. “But we have never worn those bracelets, you’re such a chicken.” =( I didn’t even receive proper care, from my own brothers!

Of course there are many other things that I screwed up. But I would rather keep them to myself. In one of the many magical dinner I had at I-house, I asked the question:” what would I be like when I’m 28?” I couldn’t imagine it. All I could say is, I probably will mess up every step of my life, given my limited intelligence. But hopefully, as the wisest man always says, “it all works out in the end.”

At least it did this summer.



One thought on “Ha! Take this Vicente!

  1. Welcome back Jian.
    While the chats during the dining hall meals might also spoil your productivity, those “magical dinners” have this kind of positive impacts of promoting or challenging extracurricular activities. I am delighted that you are taking a time for writing. I see this as a honest blog post, and I am glad that now you have new glasses, got your passport back, and have a healthy ankle. Germans are the larger population of residents in I-House, so you might find some solutions to practice German where you currently live. Regarding the pursue, I guess you got already a new one as you are relying on Luciana to keep an eye on it. Nothing is perfect in life, but we do the best we can; and by writing we are already learning lessons from events we recall in this process.
    Thanks for writing, now you are challenging me to keep active my blog.


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