Updates: I am feeling lucky

It’s been a long time since my last update. Again, I failed my resolution to write an update every week. Sometimes I wondered if laziness is the ultimate explanation for failing to fulfill my expectations every time, but then I realized that laziness was a symptom, caused by different motives every time. In this particular scenario of me not writing timely blog posts, I guess it’s because I didn’t put writing blog posts high on my to-do list. It’s all about priority, as they said.

Speaking of priorities, I registered for San Francisco Half Marathon on July 23rd!!! I actually registered one last year but due to various circumstances I wasn’t able to attend. However, I will be able to attend this year’s SF Half Marathon. I deliberately selected the route which passes the Golden Gate bridge. My graduating friend Hongling told me that it’s a great view, although I was concerned if I could see anything 5 am in SF’s signature foggy morning. I bought a bart transportation ticket so that I could get pick up at MacArthur station 4:30am on the marathon day. Another option would be to stay overnight in SF and go to start line at around 5:30am in the morning. I will see if I can find anyone to go to SF with me or otherwise I can just use the transportation ticket.

My last (and first) half marathon in Yosemite was great, although it costed me two months to get back on plastic track and started real running again. Currently I am trying to incorporate more strength training into my schedule because I read online that core strength is essential for running. Last year I just let myself run 10 km, without time limit, each day as long as my ankles didn’t hurt. I thought it’s more important to get the feeling of running instead of actually being too technical about everything at the beginning, which I still cared a lot about. But my experience in Yosemite has shown that I am still a rather young and naive runner on the road. I’ve seen so many mature (or at least more mature) runner than I am who take running much more seriously than I do. I want to run seriously but I don’t want to trade my pleasure from running for that. Thus I was debating on training methods and then I had a rather… tight schedule. And so I was like: well, might as well just train more in the gym and try out what google says. Although I do try to run 3 to 4 times per week, the rest of the days I train in gym.

I bought a package of protein breakfast cereal home. It tastes really good, really sweet with only 4g sugar. Most of the sweetness comes from artificial sweetness things I guess (which I read online it’s not all that healthy… but whatever I am one of the dumb consumers who actually enjoy being rigged off by two-sided labels. And it has tons of protein)

I started a vegetarian diet last December. I am actually surprised by myself: I thought I couldn’t sustain after two days. But then I have to thank vegan and vegetarian restaurants around Berkeley. Also, my friends and family have been real supportive in my diet. I just finished dinner with my roommates (graduating and I am sad). I am always grateful for the fact that they completely respect my diet choices: I have my vegetables, they have their chicken (which looks sooo good. ) I realize that I probably can’t be an authentic vegetarian in that I will always have my feelings for meat. I grew up eating meats and vegetables at a rather sensible portion. It’s only after I came to US I started to eat way too much meat. I can’t blame US eating culture for this. I was dealing with all kinds of issues from school and personal life, eat healthy and at the right portion wasn’t my first priority. I wanted to incorporate more vegetables in my life, that’s why I asked myself to eat vegetarian for a week in the beginning. To be honest, I have no trust in that I can be vegetarian for life. Life is long, and I am young. But I do like the feeling of knowing that I have enough vegetables and fruits each day.

Last last weekend I went to Chicago (actually Purdue) to visit my cousins and my lovely niece. They oftentimes joked about living in the “rural” area but I actually felt like they live such an ideal life. I guess one doesn’t need to live in between the city lights and car horns to be happy. Plus, the stars are so pretty at Purdue. On our way from Chicago to Purdue, we saw a huge huge moon ascending from the horizon: this is the first time that I’ve seen a moon coming up like the sun. We passed this field of windmill and I thought it’s a herd of Ohmu as in the Miyazaki film “Nausicaa of the valley of the wind”. (I tried to insert pictures of Ohmu here as reference, but then Google only showed me gross pics with weird angles of Ohmu. They actually look pretty in the film) We talked a lot about all kinds of things, including the constellations. I felt extremely lucky to have family near me to spend time with.

The next day I stayed home, had really really delicious rice cakes from Xiamen. I was taken really good care of lol and my niece only got cuter. She rode her little pink bike everywhere and it’s so much fun to see her “park” her little bike. She looked like a little adult. We went to watch a robot show in Purdue University. In the end, a former drummer who lost his right arm in a car accident got a robotic arm that could work with the rest of his body. He said that he was able to hit the drum at a much higher speed than any human being on the planet. I guess this was a great example of how people should work with robots. Then again, in digression, I always felt like robots could only be robots in that they would never develop human emotions like love, hatred, etc and etc. I mean, if human beings can’t figure out the evolution of emotions, how can they create emotions on a bunch of steel?

The third day we went to a child museum in Indianapolis. I love love the little handmade rooms. (alert: many many many pictures starting from here)

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(look at the frame, it is the size of a normal family photo frame. The furnitures are tiny fairy sizes. But look at the details, amazing!)

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( I love the harp, and the tiny pictures)

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(This is a reading room (?) and the bench (?) looks so … hard… to lie on. But everything is so detailed and placed elegantly.)

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(The circus presentation.)

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(why did I take this picture… ?)

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(I wonder, what’s the fabric of the suit. Also, this is so “circus” in that it has a bizarre feeling with it.)

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(This dress is for those crazy brave rope walking ladies. )

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(And I am delighted as well. in 2017)

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(So delighted I had to take a second picture of it. I swear I tried to take detailed pictures of each individuals on the carousel, but my camera wouldn’t do it justice.)

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(glass art, again, camera doesn’t do it justice. Do you know how they implement it? they first build the structure, basically the round supporting piece in the middle, then randomly using artsy instinct to put on the rest colorful glass pieces on the supporting piece. I read it on the notice board. There was also a notice board about how they cleaned it. I didn’t spend time reading it. Now I felt so regret! Please I need to know how they clean this thing! )

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( Chicago Willis Tower, on the professional-international-many flags-huge globe-basically tourists stop side)

 

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(This is kind of a depressing picture to look at.)

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(Chicago skyline, taken at 106 floor )

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(Again, depressing to look at. Or maybe I just have acrophobia.)

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(Definitely acrophobia. )

And that’s my Purdue/Chicago trip!! Also, great foods every day made me super happy and piggy. My flight back to SF got delayed for 3 hours but it was ok. (Sincere Advice: please don’t fly United again future me.)

Oh I almost forgot! Last last last weekend we went to snowboard in Tahoe!! Here comes the pics.

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(left to right: Lulu, Hongling, me)

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(In case you didn’t get how cool I am)

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(picture at the front door of literally the worst Japanese restaurant I have ever been to in my entire life. Speaking of Monopolization in snow resorts.)

I think my life is updated now. I just finished my Political Science midterm today and I have another midterm next week, and the week after, and the week after. I hope I can push through, although I know I am probably the luckiest person walking on planet now. I am starting to get this “I am feeling lucky” feeling much more often these days. Not because I am actually very lucky, but because compared to last semester anything, even if it’s midterms or deadlines, would make me feel extremely lucky to be studying in Berkeley now.

I decided my classes and learnt about Democracy…

Things happened in Berkeley this past week.

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(To all the people who are confused/ambivalent/worried/gloating…thousand kinds of responses, I believe that the majority of Berkeley students protest peacefully. )

Having said that, I finally decided my class schedule this semester!!! I am excited because I always find it extremely hard to have my classes set before the first month at school ends. I am super lucky this semester. Here are my classes:

PoliSci2: Introduction to Comparative Politics (I put this class at the first place for specific reasons! I will write more details about it in the following blog post.)

IAS45: World History

IAS106: Intermediate Microeconomics

Decal: Symbols of China (I admit, I took this class simply because I lack two units to be qualified as a full-time student, yet I have way too much reading to finish for the other three classes. Thus I choose this decal… simply because I don’t want to put into any effort outside of the three main classes I mentioned above, and I don’t want to get into trouble with my school. But after the first session, which is surprisingly informative, like I leant that the 户口 house registration system in China actually started around Qing dynasty, which is 200 some years BCE! During our discussion, one of my classmates said that he regarded house registration system as “domestic passport”, which I found it quite an interesting definition/metaphor. We also talked about the importance of the house registration system. Most of my classmates found it quite a nuisance but I guess its existence is originated from the fact that in China Land Ownership is only 100 years, or at least that’s what I was told, thus it’s a little bit confusing for the government sometimes, to keep track of who actually lives in one place or another. But that’s my interpretation and might be wrong.)

Ok! Let’s talk about PoliSci2.

I didn’t want to take PS2 initially. I was planning on taking PE100, another class from the political economy department. But then  I tried PE100 for one week, and found out that the reading assignments were just way too much to handle for me. Now I realized that I should only blame myself for not being able to handle all the readings, but I guessed if there was one thing that I learnt from being kicked out of school once *that’s another time’s story, quite interesting actually* is that I never, never, never want to push myself again. Not that I find “push” myself a negative term, it’s only that I realized that I could be really stubborn sometimes, more that way if I have inputted/sacrificed a lot of my time and energy into certain project. I sometimes lost track of my ability and practical possibility to actually success in the course. Anyways, I think maybe I should choose another class, not something too lighter in reading load because I do want to learn how to read before entering upper division poli-related classes, but also not something too heavy like PE100.

The reason that I was pumped about the class was mainly because of my GSI. Now, I realized that this statement sounded superficial but please hear me out. On our first session, my GSI instructed us to play a game called “Principle and Agents”. Basically the rule is that: in a country, a principle is someone like president/prime minster, he or she might not be excellent in economics and thus he or she appoints someone to be the Chancellor, in charge of Money, which, in this game, is the agent. Now, the agent will always want to achieve higher interest rate, while the principle will always try to limit interest rate. The game is all about how an agent can persuade/lie/trick/whateverheorshedoes/makethe principle to accept the interest rate that the agent has on his or her mind.

Something like that. I’ve never played any games like this. Although my discussion with my partner is quite concise, because both of us didn’t quite understand what the game was all about at the point (lol) but it was quite amazing to see the results after everyone finished their games. I tricked my Principle to believe that 8.7 is the interest rate I am heading towards. Thus my Principle proposed 7.7, I accepted, while the true target interest rate is 6.7. This means that I was able to obtain an interest rate that was one percentage higher than expected. Is this good? I have no idea. To be honest, the game happened way too fast.

We played another game on week 2 (this week)’s session, it’s called(?) war or trade, basically it’s another version of the Prisoners’ dilemma.

Other than  the section, the lectures are interesting, so far. I found it a little bit amusing (although I really shouldn’t) how my professor talked about China in such an ambivalent way. What we learnt, in lecture and in readings, in short, is that Authoritarianism is more prone to disastrous developmental outcomes than Democracy. But when talking about China, I can see that the professor was baffled: yes, China is authoritarianism without question, yet its economic growth is without question as well. So how should one react to China? Our first two weeks we touched on microfoundations (philosophical chit-chats on what people seek in life) and in my opinion, an rather idealistic/unearthly definition of democracy. What we are taught in class is that Democracy have to be free election + conditions such as free speech/assembly/media to support transparent information flow that lays the foundation of a free and open election. However, I find transparency a nearly impossible concept in human society: not only in politics, only robots can be transparent, desires/power/material/community/etc and etc always motivates people to only distribute information beneficial to them. Whether or not we will like to distribute information in a way that are also beneficial to other people is unknown but definitely, I find transparency an unreal concept.

But I guess if we are going to discuss the many flaws (hehe) of democracy next week, I can learn more about democracy (in a western prospective) next week. Also, I find it funny (again, I really shouldn’t) that professor is criticizing China on its propaganda. I mean, isn’t it common knowledge that one of the best jobs of politicians all over the world is to make propaganda for whatever reason? Maybe it depends on the perspective, but I often felt like politicians only fed people what they wanted.  It’s part of their job, part of the reasons they got elected/selected on the first place, isn’t it?

But again, I am only week 2 into Political Science. Things are getting fun!

For my PoliEcon classes, I do learn a lot as well. We are still covering ancient civilizations now but I learnt a lot about religion and history. One thing to keep in mind is that religion is never the same thing as what people do with it. Also, I find it interesting that different professors always have different emphasizes on the same class. Last semester I was trying (but failed due to the long long long waitlist) to get into the same class taught by a different professor, he was brilliant, but he didn’t talk about religion as much as my professor this semester.

Maybe it’s because I have always liked humanity courses more compared to math/science classes, I find all of my professors/gsis brilliant and much much smarter than I am.

I guess this is it for now. I will/want to make myself write an update every week. Next week we are going to Tahoe to celebrate Lulu’s 21st birthday (woohoo snowboarding karaoke dancing night!) Next next week I am flying to Chicago. So honestly, I really need to keep up with my work this week and next week, otherwise I will find myself dead in midterm seasons, which are coming very very soon.

The rest of my winterbreak

After I came back from Hakuba, I spent most of my time in bed for two days. Then I was dragged to an internship, shadowing a day trader and hopefully became some sort of a day trade newbie in less than one month. I am using the word “dragged” because honestly I didn’t want to do this internship at first. I later realized that for my own good and future possibility of finding a job (which seems feeble from my current position) I needed, or had to do this. My daily routine at the job involves:

6:20am daily questioning my decision of accepting this freaking internship 😉 crying goodbye to warm bed how can a southern china city be so cold all of a sudden???

1.5 hrs metro ride with sleepy eyes and questioning the meaning of life

8:30am -4:30pm work ( observing my colleagues’ awesome trading techniques, trying to implement them in my mock trading session and failed by losing tons of fake money for the nth time)

4:30pm – 6:00pm talk about my mock session today with one of my colleagues and submit a written file of things I learnt today

1.5 hrs metro ride home

Basically it’s the same ritual happening day after day. Although for one weekend, I got to spend some relaxing and lovely family time at a hot spring place near Huizhou.

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(The bridge leading to the gate of the hotel we are staying at)

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(Gate in the middle of the night. )

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(Room decoration and a lovely elephant lol he/she has a bang)

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(I was using a phone camera so the resolution is not great)

This is also the same weekend my cousin left for college, one week ahead of me. so we took this picture

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(My two younger brothers are growing big and tall. The day they got taller than I was they stopped following orders. But I feel incredibly grateful for the love and support they gave me.)

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I didn’t take pictures about the foods we had in Huizhou. The vegetables were delicious. One of the vegetables were called 观音菜, I was told that it only grew out of rocks, which is kind of an interesting and inspirational fact.

Then we went back to Shenzhen. My home city has grown so much in the four months I was gone. People ride public bikes around town these days.

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(See the bar code below the seat? Just scan it and one can ride public bikes like this for 0.5 yuan per hour. I was told that these bikes were actually pretty high quality. One time I tried to bike all the way from work to home. It didn’t break halfway. I did. )

WechatIMG13.jpeg(#7 and #9 were new to me. On a side note, Bart is disgusting! I thought I got used to the weird smell and stuff… on the ground after two years. I missed the clean (sometimes packed) subway back home.)

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(I saw this lavender ice cream!!! It tastes like lavender!!! Also, apparently people no longer pay with actual money now. )

The next weekend I finished my intern. I had three days left at home and we spent one day in Guangzhou. My brother bought this book

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(??? what why??? )

I spent my last day with my friends from middle school. We’ve been friends for like… 9 or 10 years. Wow how time flies. I love the fact that when we sat together, I felt like that young girl wearing middle school uniform with non-nearsighted eyes. How I missed my eyes back in middle school. I had no problem recognizing people waving at me from far away. Now I have to apologize each time I kept a bare face and just walk past people now.

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(In this cafe we talked about our life and plans. They made fun of me for not watching the new Harry Potter film. I miss them incredibly.)

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(I feel like I should get some kind of a membership card at this restaurant now. It’s the same thing I ordered before flight every single time.)

And that(plus the two Hakuba log here and here) is my winter break bridging 2016 and 2017. Now I am back in Berkeley and I’m thinking about writing a blog post talking about my plans for this upcoming semester. I will do so once my classes are finally decided. In the meantime, Chinese New Year is right around the corner. I miss home incredibly. But I guess I have my own life and so do my friends and family back home. I hope I can make this semester a fulfilling one.

Hakuba log 2: Shining and snow monkeys

After we had one awesome Snowboard class with Joey from Hakuba Snow Sports School, we decided to have two more classes with him at 8am each morning, to learn more about the sport. Snowboarding feels so good, although my knees (and butt) say otherwise.

On our way to Hakuba Goryu, where our second lesson was held, we saw snow monkeys having fun in the snow. Snow monkeys are the only monkeys that knows how to  enjoy hot spring, they’re puffy fur balls with a semi-human face capable of making the most genuine expression: e.g. the “Hell-Yea!” expression when they got themselves another hot spring. They kind of remind me of the squirrels we had in Berkeley, both are rather cute and harmless from distance, but sly and “aggressive” when their “rights” of foods or hot spring are threatened. The squirrels literally robbed two packages of nuts from me during Final Week, how pathetic is that! I’ve also heard stories of snow monkeys neglecting human beings who have already occupied the hot spring; the monkeys simply walked straight ahead, stepped into the hot spring and acted as if they are among their own spices. I guess when human beings are around all the time, the animals simply get used to us as well.

The snow in the morning was pure and pristine. The hills just woke up and snow chasers from all around the world had not occupied the hills. We rented our gear and did several warm up rounds. One of the warm up games was to stand right across each other, drop our snowboards and catch the other person’s snowboard before it fell onto the ground. Surprisingly, this game really does the job. Before long, I was sitting on the Lift and nervous about getting off the lift on my snowboard.

Joey told us that normally when snowboarders got off the lift one of their feet were strapped in. I wasn’t confident enough to strap one of my feet in and just slide down the lift. I remembered falling at least 10-15 times before getting a slight hint about how to not embarrass myself in front of the lift officers. Eventually I could land with one foot strapped in, but I still didn’t get how to stop gracefully like Joey did after I slide for a while on the snow.

The same thing goes to my turns. By the end of our lessons, I could slide down and traverse on the hills both on heels and on toes. (which was more than surprising and satisfying to me. I could just slide down the hills like this all day long!) However, I couldn’t make the smooth turns like Joey did, especially on the heel-toe transition. I have to say, on the hills I saw many cool moves on the hills and a small part of me secretly think that I will be able to do them in like, 10, 20 years lol.

I GOT MYSELF A NEW BOARD!!! woohoo

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(cat meme pc google lol)

My board is an 141 cm in length, camber bottom, pink-and-purple-mountainish pattern top, Burton board. Now, before I bought the board, I actually looked up online and saw that there were one Burton store on 4th street at Berkeley. I thought about getting the board after I got back to Berkeley, but then I also thought about the probability of visiting Beijing during my Winter break. Beijing has several nice snow parks and I’d be more than happy to try them out.

After I got my board, I finally decided that I really really needed to get my drivers’ license. Now, just between me and the other two readers of this blog (lol my “gang”) I also found Berkeley’s snowboarding club. Although, they seemed to party more than snowboarding. I will need to check them out next semester to see if really they are just party all night long under the disguise of a snow club.

During our stay at Hakuba, this tiny guy brought us ultimate joy:

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(all pc to Google we forgot to take pics of him)

His name is Victorie Cheval Blanc MURAO III.

I can’t even pronounce the name correctly. It makes him some sort of a white horse prince, while actually it’s just some weird horse dude with a pair of fake wings on his back. Also, what’s wrong with the bang??? Are those cream or hair?

Aside from the name, Lulu said that it looked like Hakuba’s city mayor.

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I think so too.

We watched the Shining and I was so scared. However, I first realized that elements like background music, camera angles, lightnings, etc and etc could have such ambiguous yet profound impact on the viewers. We spent a lot of time talking about different theories on the Shining. My personal favorite is the one saying that little Danny was abused by his father Jack. Although I realized that many people probably wouldn’t agree with me, which is fine, because I got into this idea by a youtube video lol. It’s interesting how a two hour horror film can bring up so many discussions.

Fri Dec 23 10:11

I’m back at Shenzhen now. Slept pretty well last night, got waken up by music from the primary school (which was my primary school) nearby. Had tons of breakfast. Now heading to my high school to meet my friends. I guess this blog wrap up my trip in Hakuba. I really enjoyed it and hopefully I will be back next year.

Hakuba log 1: I am loving Snowboarding!

Mon Dec 19 20:12

We (Lulu and I) finally arrived in Japan yesterday! Now I am writing this log in a ryokan in Hakuba Happo (a city near Happo One, the best snow resort in Japan; it also hosted skiing related events for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano). Our journey from Berkeley to this warm and comfy room in Japan took more than 20 hours. But I have to say, in general, we were hella lucky.

First of all, when we got to the airport on the 17th of December, for some reasons SFO was stuffed with people. The lines were absurdly long and seven out of the eight self-service check-in machine were not functioning correctly. Then, just like God was really watching over us (cause our flight was leaving in 1.5 hours and we were still at #100000000000 in line) a woman was asking if anyone on UA875 (our flight to Tokyo) was still trying to get themselves checked in. We were then helped to get our check-in sorted out and passed the security checkpoint.

Our flight to Tokyo was ok. It was like one of the many (sadly) long flights from Hong Kong to SF. We talked a bit on the plane but most of the time Lulu was working on her lab report. I finished watching two mediocre Hollywood movies and started to think about the meaning of long flights: the flights were so long that they nearly killed my excitement and interest towards my destination. What’s the point then, to fly long hours to get to a place whose mysteries were beaten by the tiredness in the middle of the Pacific ocean?

After we arrived at Tokyo, we took one single-track railway, one underground railway, then a two-hour Shinkansen (bullet train) then one-hour Bus drive to get to our clean and soft tatami, and most importantly, open-air hot spring!!

I can’t stress enough my obsession with hot springs. The only reason (at first) that I wanted to come to a ski trip in Japan with Lulu was because Lulu told me there would be hot spring. Especially in winter, the deep blue coldness creeps into my body silently but keenly through my limbs. When I stepped into that hot spring, and the warmness quickly fills my body, I was finally satisfied and consoled. All the brutal harm I have taken academically in Berkeley this semester was not in vain.

Our last skiing trip to Tahoe was awesome, in a spiritual way, because I didn’t even ski for like 10 minutes. I was falling down, tripping over, dropping my ass into pieces, then all over again. But all that was before I discovered Snowboard today. The excitement soon drove me to ride snowboards until my legs cramped and didn’t notice that my fingers were cut by sharp ice. I have to say, I might never be a natural at snowboarding, but I really like it. I did have to force stop several times by sitting into the snow (which was like sitting onto a marble floor instantly and my butt is the only buffer I got). Once I fell forward and rolled several seconds down the hill. I was a bad lift rider. The officers had to stop the lift to wait for me to get down.  I was ashamed by my shameless actions causing jokes and troubles, but at the same time I wanted to get onto another lift, snowboard one more time down the hill.

We had a private lesson on snowboarding today and our instructor was awesome. (@Hakuba Snow Sports School, highly recommended for newbies like me). Now my back hurts, my legs scream, but my spirit happy and grateful.

(tl;dr Hot spring and snowboarding cure a broken bear’s soul.)

Btw, food wise our breakfast was shitting on Stanfurd per usual. We had a yummy and full dinner at an Indian cuisine (weird, the chief is really Indian). Since we are both over 20 yrs old, we ordered two beer, one sake (with soda lol) and we both discovered that sake (with soda…) was our favorite. Beer just tasted bad. like, really bad. I also believe that beer in general tastes bad. I’ve given it several chances, by trying out beer from China, Japan, South Korea, America, Germany and came to the conclusion that beer, or alcohol in general, tastes bad internationally.

“I don’t understand, why do people drink beer? If they’re looking for the bubbles, why can’t they just drink soda?” –Lulu

Well said.

End of Semester: life is a story

Just another casual end of semester blog post with a cheesy topic

I just finished my one and only final for this semester. (not that I don’t have other finals. It’s just that the other finals are either online or two weeks ago.) I don’t really know how I did on my last final tbh, but I don’t want to spoil anything now. Knock knock.

As promised, let’s start with my ski trip to tahoe. I drove another 5 hours in middle of nowhere (with my roommate sitting next to me, can’t dare to shut her eyes for more than 10mins lol sorry lulu) We listened to all kinds of music and I finally found the song I kept hearing back in middle school but couldn’t find the name : 念念风尘. I asked lulu to play it twice and each time I was sitting on a flying carpet and all those memories of premature days just flashed by… They kept changing and I realized that as I grew older I lost most of the important details: the long shade right under the crisscrossing bricks of shades of green, the chitchats followed by kisses of spring light on rosy cheeks, the smallest library the tiniest seats benches filled with broken books with yellow pages and highlighter marks and library card with long lists of young souls curiosity wandering in the sweetest dream promised by the entrance of a grand hall of fictional souls. I was not a heavy tragic stories reader in middle school. I simply couldn’t get it. I would read Gone with the wind and told my Mom (who recommended the book to me) it was a love story. No it’s not. Now that I’m much older, especially after this semester, I felt like most of the books I read back in middle school was never about the story. It was about the decisions, emotions, tears, laughters, songs, mournings, dances, collisions, banging, growling, hiding, running, it was the word of sounds and consciousness, the forgiveness and acceptance, the soaring and diving, it was knowing that story is life, life is a story, and that the story with a God is always better.

“If you stumble at mere believability, what are you living for?” –Pi in “Life of Pi”

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The Christmas Tree we saw at Tahoe

Back to the whole skiing newbie thingy: I was bad.

Pretty bad.

Like, really bad.

I couldn’t even handle standing up on the snow. Before actually stepping on real snow, or maybe 10 minutes in the wildly white world I was just bald, naive maybe, “I mean snow is still solid and according to one of the many outrageously important and forgettable physics theory of which name I couldn’t remember that I learnt in my freshman year, it should have friction right.” Ha! Friction!  Maybe I shouldn’t pnp that introductory physics class. Maybe then I could learn more physics theory to enlighten myself:Surprise! Snow is slippery! Skiing boards and shoes (is that how you call those insanely heavy instruments even? ) won’t help you now! They only drag you down. More mass, more gravity, remember? Wait a minute, gravity… Whatever I am not one of those Leconte Physics nerds who only care about swing dance. (jk sorry Lulu) I am a resourceful and fulfilled human being. I enjoy mentally and physically fulfilling and that’s why I’m here, to learn how to ski. Ok, gear up, let’s do this.

Then it’s the deep regret that I really should have taken more Physics class. Why can’t I stop the ski board? Is it faster than the speed of light now? Am I going to crash into that pile of snow? Okay this is leaving me with no time and choice except to just sit into the snow. And I couldn’t get out, AGAIN!!!

I wonder, how much snow is too much snow. and how much fall is too much fall?

Before I knew it, I was weeping. I’d like to think that it had nothing to do with the snow and skiing etc and etc. But then, I was having a stressful semester and all those things that I promised myself to leave behind at Berkeley suddenly all came back. I’m probably haunted, I thought.

I want to say that this semester is a great semester. probably the best so far. I am in my worst scenario possible. But I am not my worst self if that makes sense. I had more time investigating on my interests and abilities. To spend more time on yourself, they say, it’s never a waste of energy and you always get some sort of “revenue” from it. But I was forced to take time to look at myself. I was forced to look into the mirror, question, scrutinize, attack my past decisions and motives. I believed that all the arguing, shouting, crashing, that happened in my brain was all for a good cause.  But then at the same time it hurt me so much to admit that I was on a pilgrimage way too long and my luck had gone cold. It was a different world a long time ago. I just didn’t notice it.

At the end of each semester I always say that I have a wonderful semester. I tried my best. And it’s true. Just that the past two semesters weren’t about trying my best, it was about the other option, the option that I always neglected. I will admit that I am kind of idealistic. Whenever I want something, be it a major or any event, I always try to get it. That’s the case for most human beings. We achieve the direction and meaning of our life through conquering this summit and the next.

I didn’t realize that it was ok to pin up a white flag on one of the summits. I also realized that next time, before setting up a pilgrimage, it will be better if I can just assess the risk and cost. Risk and cost. The most fundamental things in my life are probably not the most exciting. But chasing after a leopard I forgot my goldfish and she was dried to death. That goldfish was floating in a glass bowl and she was so alive, so much energy with her sun dried fire burnt scales, so many laughter she gave me. I didn’t get the leopard. And when I came home she was grey like sand in an empty bowl.

I felt like I should say something grandiose now. First I don’t want to spoil anything, since nothing is set yet. Secondly, when I was taking my stat final today, I suddenly realized how smart my peers are. Maybe I had this realization a long time ago. I didn’t consider myself compatible to them on any scale. I was the outlier. the lucky one. the black goat. But then after this semester I found a weird place in the herd. I can’t figure out exactly where I am from a aerie view. But at the same time, I can really see where my peers will possibly be in the future and I wish I have a seat in that future.

After Thanksgiving and we are going to Tahoe tmr

Thanksgiving ended last weekend. As I was sending off my cousin at the airport, I felt extremely lonely. Sending off my friend from W-college was way better because I had my cousin beside me. Airports, at that instant, became the loneliest places on this Planet in my mind. On the good side though, I have my bed to myself again. (which is something I didn’t expect  myself to miss. I “upgraded” my bed from a twin into a full size one month ago. Since then, I have waken up at the other side of my bed several times in the morning. At first it was somewhat scary because I would wonder for like 10 seconds where I was and then realized that it was the same bed, only that I woke up at a different location and my eyes didn’t get used to the direction of the sunshine. Although I have to say, I get used to a bigger bed quicker than I expected. At first I had to sleep with my doll in order to not feel way too lonely in the morning. After two weeks it was all good. )

This year’s Thanksgiving was used to its optimum in my opinion. We visited Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, I got to ride my first CalTrain ride. (and took several excited selfies on board) It has been over a year since I had a trip with my cousin. The last time we travelled somewhere was in August 2015. Way before that, in January 2014, the trio (my brother, cousin, and me) went to Bali for our winter holidays (and sadly, my last winter holiday that covered Chinese New Year.)

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(Us watching a pond of sea water in Bali, near a temple that, if I am remembering correctly, worships a sea god.)

It was pretty exciting to get to travel to two of my best friends. We visited San Jose shortly before the Winchester Mystery House

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(the CalTrain station of San Jose)

While we were onboard, the scenery outside makes me wonder: Across the Bay Bridge, you can’t find another town like Berkeley, or Oakland, or just Alameda County in general. The buildings are much nicer, I was able to locate one hippie street art at San Jose. I have to say, I have taken the lively power of Berkeley for granted for so long. More thoughts on this, I was probably shaped by Berkeley into a somewhat hippie person as well: I grew to have much more tolerance towards people or people’s ideas that I disliked on the first sight; I was more willing to listen to people’s issues and realize that, despite our difference in living situations, educations, personalities, there are issues that we mutually pay attention to. Whenever I felt the connection between my peers and I, I was moved, sometimes profoundly, sometimes for just a second, but I was indeed moved. I never realized that despite being such lonely animal by nature, I was able to see parts of me (interests, viewpoints, ideas, etc) on different people. The experience gradually made me realize: despite the conflicts and dramas going on and the worries caused by them, it might be possible to hear each side out.

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By no means I am degrading the great scenery of San Jose, Palo Alto, all the cities across the Bay Bridge here. I’m just saying: I never realize that a college town can have such impact on the students.

Apparently when we were in San Jose there was an ice hockey tournament going on. The whole town squeezed into an arena and symbols of sharks are everywhere. One thing catches my eye: while we were walking towards the center of San Jose, we walked below a bridge, which had blue and white circles painted on its bottom. We thought that it might be because of the whole “shark” theme. Walking through the bridge is like walking into a sea park filled with sharks?

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(A picture found online. We were there during daytime. It looks way more “ocean park” at night.)

We waddled aimlessly for a while and decided to have lunch. We also found a “dog park” with no dogs in it. Maybe the dogs were at the shark’s game. I had my first “rum ice cream”, it was awful. I thought I could endure alcohol more in a different format. A question for my 30 year old me, or 50 year old, depending on when I figure this out: is it just me or does everyone actually find alcohol’s taste pretty bad? and do they just pretend they like it anyways?

On a side note, I found champagne taste of jelly beans. They were packed sweetly in a tiny toy champagne bottle (made of plastic) and only tasted like a hint of champagne. I guess I found my alcohol intake threshold.

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(it even says “Bubbly” )

We also had some Pho at the food park. We were having ice cream and fries as lunch and all of a sudden it seemed like everyone sitting around us was having this same bowl of noodle soup. So we got excited and went for a try. At first sight we thought it was just Chinese beef noodle soup but when we actually got to see it, it was clearly Pho. The taste was ok, I can’t figure out why everyone was having it. (maybe it was the only semi-healthy option in the food park?)

We visited Winchester Mystery House and had an rather excited Uber driver. He was educating us on the history of San Jose the entire way. Hearing that we were checking out the Mystery House, he suggested the Mystery Spot, which is clearly , a mysterious spot. We didn’t have enough time that day to actually visit both the Mystery House and the Mystery Spot. It seemed like my two companions were rather intrigued by mysterious creations.

The Mystery House was not as scary as I thought it would be. I did get a little bit dizzy at the beginning because of the strange staircases. In my opinion, it was a rather well designed house, with some strangeness to it but the strangeness was negligible. We even got to visit the basement of the House. But in general, I didn’t find the house mysterious.

The San Jose trip was the farthest we travelled in the Thanksgiving Holiday. Exhausted from all the walking and sightseeing, the three of us fell into sweet dreams on our CalTrain ride back to SF. I fell asleep despite that the train was lighted so brightly as if we were in an operation room.

After Thanksgiving it’s the last week of class. (although I thought we had two more weeks of classes. We did. But one of them was dead week.) For some reasons I felt rather sad to leave my Stat class. It was not a class of smaller class size where I usually got attached to my classmates and the faculties. My Stat class was huge. Maybe it’s because I put in tons of effort into my homework and lecture notes. On the one hand, I can’t wait for the class to end so that I can finally stop worrying about the annoyingly daunting conditions and types of hypothesis tests. On the other hand, I felt like I had a really rewarding and fulfilled semester. I learned so much and it would be sad to see the semester coming to an end, like any good novels I enjoyed.

Today is Friday December 2nd, last day of instruction. My roommate and I decided to go for a one-day skiing trip to Lake Tahoe before the whole deadness of dead week hit us. I got my Japan Visa and winter break is just around the corner. I have mixed feelings but now it’s not the right time to sort the feelings out. Anyways, I guess that’s all for this blog post. I wish all the students taking final in the next few weeks (including me lol) a success final and a satisfying winter break.

Jane Eyre and the books I read recently

“I can live alone, if self-respect and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure, born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be-withheld; or offended only at a price I cannot afford to give.”

I realized that the metaphor of automaton was probably the most popular and well-known part of Jane Eyre, as in “Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings?” Yet, my favorite quote from the book is actually as quoted at the very top of this blog. What attracted me is the accuracy of Mr Rochester’s understanding of Jane Eyre, given the short amount of time they spend together up till the point when the quote is spilled out from Mr Rochester disguised as a Gypsy woman.

Mr Rochester clearly understands Jane Eyre. Maybe this is what love is all about. Meeting another soul who understands yours and coming to the realization that one’s life can never be complete without its other half, that it is true that god splits one soul into two and destiny (yes such a vague, superstitious, childish, unreal, and above all, grandiose concept) manifests itself. Such romance, such pureness, much jealousy (from me).

Jane Eyre reminds me of the connection between itself and lots of things happening in my daily life. I have read Jane Eyre from head to toe for about three or four times (well, I’m only twenty and I definitely/hopefully have sixty more years to go) and each time I was able to see the story from a different angle and got different inspirations out of it. I guess it depends on what is on my mind when I read the book. Obviously what I focuses in primary school is way different from what I values in life now. I like Jane Eyre, both the character and the book.

The following paragraph is me grumbling about the “mandatory readings”section in my early school days. Please skip since they are neither nutritious nor helpful in any means. I still have to write about it b/c I can’t stop my mind flowing all over the place, per usual. 

I didn’t like the book as a young kid. I hate the fact that some numb educators(I mean can they even be called educators? they did tons of work but most of it has nothing to do with actually “educating” kids) decides to put parts of Jane Eyer into my primary school textbook. WRONG! nobody actually “reads”textbooks, introducing Jane Eyre by putting it into mandatory readings for school only pushes kids (me) away from reading it! As a kid I hated “mandatory” readings. Such a cold, strict, forceful and sad way of introducing reading to young kids. My primary school textbook included the section of Jane Eyre in which she revealed her true emotions to Mr Rochester. I remembered reading this section in textbook and was totally confused: first of all, I didn’t understand (in primary school) that between boys and girls there could exist relationships other than friendship, i.e. I didn’t realize that love in a romantic way existed. secondly, this section of Jane Eyre alone just makes Jane looks like a desperate woman yelling at someone she admires for simply not accepting her love, which is totally off topic for the book.

Jane Eyre has several movie interpretations, my favorite one is Jane Eyre 2006 version by BBC. I used one of the screenshot from the movie as the featured image of this blog post. This is Jane sitting and meditating. I enjoyed the 2006 version the most because: 1) Jane and Mr Rochester are not pretty human beings in this version, which fits the setting of the original work 2) For some reason I find Jane in this version has an aura of “independent woman” around her. If I have to draw out Jane Eyre in my mind, it would probably be the 2006 version of Jane. She seems to be perfectly fine reading, entertaining, or sitting alone. 3) Have you ever noticed the posture of a person can effect other people’s opinions on her? maybe I’m just crazy but the 2006 version Jane has the best posture. I mean look at it.

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(She sit quite straight.)

I realized that I had digressed quite a bit. But anyways, the connection I see between Jane Eyre and my recent life is the definition of “love” , well love is a big word, then maybe “romance”. I just finished talking with my friend about the many romantic relationships we’ve encountered and seen in our daily life. Imo, romantic relationships around me seems to always fall into one of the extremes: either the relationship seems to last forever, or the bond breaks within one month. I mean seriously one month?! Is that even enough time to know somebody, to even start to have deep conversations? Or is it just because I’m too slow?

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How many of us are actually “loving” our significant others? When the “one-month” relationships break up, do they feel disappointed? Surely breakup brings sadness. But will this sadness last, how long will it last? Moreover, do they feel disappointment? Are we respecting our significant other as our equal when in an romantic relationship? I realize that Jane Eyre is fictional and thus cannot be used as standards in evaluating real life relationships. “Evaluating”, I sound cold.

My mind is clearly wandering around again. Maybe I will come back and edit this post later. But if there is one thing I am for sure, it is that in Jane Eyre the word “soul” is used much more times than in real life. Love someone for his or her soul is the easiest way to ensure a stable and enriching relationship. Yet why do we forget about this and focus on much minor things all the time?

Before Thanksgiving

I don’t know how long this blog is going to survive due to my lack of motivation and inspiration in the blogging world (though, I am working on following more bloggers and documenting my life in a scheduled way, i.e. Polaroid pictures and journals). Anyways, I will try to make my 30 dollars for the .blog domain spent to its fullest.

Tomorrow is the first day of my Thanksgiving break. The “normal” thanksgiving break was supposed to start on Thursday, which is Nov. 24th. However, it seems like the holiday schedule is a bit funny for my school. I entered B-college in Fall 2014. During my first year of college, Thanksgiving Holiday started on Nov.24th, like most of my high school friends entering different colleges. I remembered this so clearly because one of my high school friends apparently had his holiday started on Nov.21st (That makes Thanksgiving break an entire week, excluding the weekend preceding Nov.21st) This awkwardly long schedule of Thanksgiving break is so confusing to me. But for my college, it seems like the four day Thanksgiving break is not enough for its mentally tortured students. If the school starts Thanksgiving break at Nov.24th, students start leaving school at Nov.23rd. (which makes it hard for instructors to have full classes to teach). Although, I must admit that I sometimes suspect that the instructors are secretly wishing students to not appear in classes in the hope that one day not one single student will show up in class. And thus, the school’s administrative people would have to do something in order to not waste both sides’ precious holiday time. The awesome plan that they came up with is to have no instruction on Nov.23rd, so that students can leave early as they wish, and instructors don’t have to show up to nearly empty classrooms and be disappointed once more.

One flaw about the plan: apparently students are leaving school on Nov.22nd this year. which makes me wonder how long will it take for my school to add yet one more day onto our Thanksgiving holiday schedule.

I have great expectation for this year’s Thanksgiving break. Partly because of my previous experiences, though gradually improving, were never the “best” experience I could have for Thanksgiving. I had always considered Thanksgiving break a short break. I remembered flying to New York for my first Thanksgiving break in college(old schedule, so started at Nov.24th) and was more than exhausted to get off the plane at 2AM in the morning (thanks to time differences across the US) and had to fly back to B-City, where my college is located, in less than three days. My first Thanksgiving break in college turned out to be such a tiring experience that for my second Thanksgiving break in Sophomore year, I visited S-city, an hour’s flight to the north of B-city. My friend from High School went to W-college over there. We had an awesome time sleeping in until Noon, finally leaving her apartment at around 2PM, having late-brunch(?)/early-dinner at around 3PM, trolling around the city without exact purposes, watching movies, then going back to my friend’s apartment at around 10PM, having late-dinner at around 11PM, then chit-chatting, or simply chilling, until 2AM in the morning, then falling asleep with lights on. It was an absolutely unhealthy, inefficient, and mentally satisfying (to my surprise) Thanksgiving break. This year my friend is visiting me in B-city. I started planning activities for the break two weeks ahead so hopefully I won’t wake up at Noon for this year’s Thanksgiving break.

My cousin is also visiting me from I-college south from B-college. Super excited for all the philosophical (seriously, he’s a much more mature person than I am) late-night talks!

That’s it for now I guess. I just finished my last homework before Thanksgiving and really, can’t control myself right now.