a string to connect pieces of my life

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I like

I like this time of a year, when students are all gone, the sky is blue, the air is crispy and the flowers are blossoming.

I like walking to the campus cafe and getting a cinnamon sugar donut and a cup of coffee in this beautiful morning.

And I like the fact that I am still able to enjoy all this although I had a terrible nightmare last night.

(Ying, I guess you were right. I do like to update my blog in the morning during weekdays.)

Monday, April 28, 2008

a photo entry

Cute penguin I adopted from Costco

Flowers from my husband for V-Day

A close-up shot

Hill Auditorium where I had my commencement ceremony

Diag with tens of thousands of chairs for the university graduation ceremony. Isn't it impressive?

Gardenia plant I bought from Busch's. It takes me back to my hometown and my early college years.

The most complicated food I had ever baked, which took me 3 hours. Ying tricked me into this one. It was very delicious though.

The 2000-piece puzzle I am working on. Rui also spent a few good hours on it last weekend.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

so much to say

In order not to bore my readers, this post has two sub-topics (if that's the correct word).

1. Commencemnt

First of all, I had never guessed I would walk in April's ceremony when I graduated. Secondly, I never imagined that it was so much fun. Thanks to my friends (Ying, Jinli, Natasha, Brian, and Dem) who helped make this day memorable for me!

Let me spare the details of gathering and walking, because those are pretty much the same for everybody. Here are some thoughts, if anyone cares.

---The invited speaker was NOT good. Her talk was long and pointless.
---Either the food was really good, or I was really hungry, or a little bit of both.
---The seating in Diag for Saturday's ceremony was very impressive. I was in awe when it popped into my sight.
---I began to understand why people want a wedding ceremony. It is quite a special experience to celebrate something that is important to your life with people who care about you.

After the ceremony, Brian took some pictures of me so that I could send them to my parents. When I asked him not to make me look fat, he reminded me that was how my mom liked it. Well, he was right.

Later on, Brian, Dem and I went to the bar in Holiday Inn (Natasha joined us after a while) to continue the celebration. We had some beer(s???), popcorn(s???) and fries. I had a great time hanging out with them, partially because of the buzz and partially because everyone (I think) was in a mood of celebration, and it was Friday afternoon, and the weather was nice, and we had a good chat about a lot of things, ...

2. BFF

Rui drove here after work on Friday. Although she didn't make it to the commencement ceremony, I was very happy that she was able to came this weekend.

It was really nice to have her around. We walked around the campus on Saturday and took some pictures with her in my attire, which almost looked like a bed sheet on her.

Then we went to Gellup Park and rent a pedal boat. The wind was so strong that sometimes it felt like we could never make it back to the rental place. The boat didn't move a bit no matter how hard we were pedaling. We were laughing hysterically because our struggles seemed quite hopeless.

In the evening we swung by Ying's graduation party. She has a guy friend there whose name is exactly the same as Rui's. I was a little disappointed that the space wasn't distorted a bit when they two meet. But how could I know?

This morning we went to the church. It was the first time that Rui had been to our new church building. She took a picture before we left, so I guess she liked it.

The rest of the time we were just chilling out. I made some food for her. And she worked on my puzzle for me. Also, I got her a little bit hooked on Dave Matthews. When we were at home, I was either playing Jack Johnson or Dave Matthews concert dvd. She liked a few songs by Dave (and who wouldn't?!).

At one point this afternoon, when she was taking a nap in the bedroom, and I was lying in my couch, reading "eat, pray, love" and playing Dave's concert, I thought to myself that "my life won't get any better". It might sound pessimistic, but it was truly not the case.

I was simply appreciating what I had in my hand as much as I could. My best friend, an enjoyable book, my favorite music, a sunny, quiet weekend afternoon, and the peace from my acknowledgement that I was being taken good care of by God. This was close to all I ever wanted.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

a productive day

Ying and I have made quite a bit progress today. Almost everything we tried was a success.

Now the Labview program for the pressure transducers works.

We re-calibrated the pressure transducers.

The acting time of the relays is now reduced to 33 ms instead of 100 ms as of yesterday.

I was able to understand a circuit diagram and correctly connect the pinch valve to the relay board. It was awesome.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

just want to be honest

On one hand, I know it is a difficult situation for Rui. I have no doubt that she cares about me a lot, and she has done so much for me.

On the other hand, I can't pretend that I am ok with it. Deep inside it has stirred up my insecurity and some hurtful memories from my relationships. Basically the voice in my head says "you are not a good friend" and "you are not worth it". I know they are lies, but they are some pretty good lies.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

need a break

I am so tired that I can almost throw up.

Last weekend was good, but it also felt like I didn't really have a weekend. These two days I have been very occupied as well. And my sleep has not been good.

So I am thinking...

I need a break to go somewhere else. I might treat myself to go see Jack Johnson (I am playing his concert dvd right now to soothe my mind) this summer. I should control my pace. I still need to sort out the things that are the most important to me. I don't have to do everything that need to be done.

Also, I bought a sleep eye mask online. Hopefully it will help my sleep a little.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Thank you, and Happy Birthday

I guess it is time to write about what I am going to write. Today is Brian's birthday. Honestly I can't quite remember how many years I have known him, although I do remember when we had the first conversation (Brian might disagree on that).

Anyway, this post is not about the history of our friendship, which would be some post in the far far future, possibly. What I want to write today is a few things I have learned from him or this friendship, as an evidence of my appreciation in case one day I need it (just kidding). And I am going to use a list.

1. God
It is fair to say that God has been the center of our friendship most of the time. I think that is the main reason why we have seen many blessings as well as numerous attacks. I have no doubt that if I had never met Brian, God would have sent another person to help me find my way. But I think in general Brian did a pretty good job.

2. Faith
When we first started to talk about religion, I was impressed by his passion and depth of knowledge about Christianity. He knows what he is doing, he does as he believes and he stands by his belief firmly, which I think is what every Christian should do.

3. Communication
It turns out that being upfront with people is not such a bad thing. It amazed me that how Brian said out loud his opinions and people appreciated it. Making sense is one key (again, know your stuff). And don't take different opinion personally. On the contrary, not telling what is really in your mind might backfire sometimes.

4. Relationship
Relationship is much more complex than just good communication. Being friends with Brian brought me another perspective of looking at troubles in relationships. He helped me realize that many times troubles are caused simply by selfishness (either loving self too much, or not giving God and others enough love). Not having peace with others could be a direct reflection of not having peace with God. After acknowledging that, it is really my free will to decide whether or not I want to deal with it.

5. Friends
He introduced me to a group of girls who I think are among the most awesome people I have ever met. They have been showing me their understanding and support during my up-and-downs. I can't believe I have been with my life group for almost two years!

6. American culture
We talked about pretty much everything when we were working together. From books to music, from religion to politics. Simpsons. Dave Matthews Band, Third Day, the Chronicles of Narnia, Philip Yancey, church, Jesus, Bob Dutko, dinasaur, Proposal 2, abortion, foosball, ...

He also invited me to his home for the Thanksgiving, where I had the best turkey in my whole life. It has literally changed my feelings for turkeys forever.

7. Grace
We exchanged long emails talking about the concept of forgiveness and love. He helped me understand the beauty of God's grace. More importantly, God has used this friendship to help me practice receiving grace as well as giving it. I have to say that neither was easy (actually, sometimes seemed impossible), but I have been working on it. When a relationship hurts, one way of showing grace is simply to stick around no matter how much you want to walk away.

Alright, I am going to stop here, although these are not everything. Despite all the damages made over the years and some issues that remains. I know I have benefited a lot from this friendship, for which I will be eternally grateful.

Happy Birthday, Brian!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

a dream

I was at home, with my parents. After lunch, I told them that I was going to the marketplace. So I went. There were all kinds of fruit there. I was tempted, but didn't stop. Then I walked past a big room, where a wedding was proceeding. The groom was ordinary-looking. Next to room there were stores that sell clothes and stuff.

I was kind of interested in a couple of shirts hanging on the wall. So I stopped to check them out. While I was negotiating the price with the store owner, a thought suddenly hit me. Why am I here in my hometown? Did I make an appointment for the visa application service? How am I going to get back to US?

I was trying hard to search memory but I couldn't find any trace showing that I did anything for my visa. This was so not me! Am I in a dream? But everything looks so real. Look at all these shirts, and the people in the wedding! How could it be a dream? However, I decided to trust my guts. Since I wouldn't just go back home without making any preparation for my visa, what was happening must be a dream, no matter how real it seemed.

After that was settled, I was happy and decided to enjoy as much as I could in my dream. See, since it was a dream, I could eat all the stuff I wanted and need not worry about getting fat. So I walked back to those fruit stands.

******* I am the divider between the dream and the reality ********

I don't think I was able to eat anything in that dream. What a shame! It is funny to me that I was able to make a rational judgement about being in a dream and then decided to go along with it.

It also got me to think that being in this world is just like being in a bigger dream. It is important to acknowledge what we seen is not the true reality, based on logic reasoning. And it is equally important to decide what we should do here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

trust issue

Rui just told me that she might not be able to come to my commencement. I know the commencement is a formality, and I know that she is not super at keeping promises, but I thought this time it would be different.

I am very very disappointed right now.

It just seems to me that each time I put this much trust in people I love, they would inevitably fail me. It is almost like a curse.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

a good start

1. Our department offered us free breakfast this morning. Unlike ME where people are many and food is little (at least it seems), BME is relatively small. So not only does everyone get their share, but also we can actually have much more. I have had two danishes and stored away two more plus some apple juice. It will make my life so much brighter if they do this every day!

2. My friend Kristi sent me an email entitled "thank you for blogging". How sweet! Kristi, thank you for reading and for thanking me for blogging! :)

3. I got Trudi hooked up with online scrabble. The website where we play sends emails to inform us that the other person has made a move. So that's the second thing I did today, right after having the free breakfast.

All in all, it has been a good start for today.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

some fun, and a little bit annoyed

Tonight was our last CC this semester. We had potluck, which was pretty good. After dinner, we played the game charade. Man, I was surely good at guessing and impressed pretty much everybody. Our team won. So that was awesome.

However, I started to get really tired of random people asking how often I talk or see my husband. I mean, I feel comfortable sharing such things with my friends, but who do you think you are to poke into my life and make comments like "oh, it is so Chinese" or "oh, I feel really sorry for you." Actually tonight I was so annoyed that I said to that person's face bluntly "don't be." Then I asked him how often he talked to his family. Ironically he didn't give me a direct answer.


I doubt the meaning of my existence. I doubt the intentions of others, including God.

I miss Rui and Jia very much.

I just came across a paper in my field whose author's last name is Shit.

Poor guy. Please don't come to US ever.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

one happy moment

I need to work on the final, but I didn't feel like to. So I boiled some coffee, took "eat, pray, love" and lay down in my couch.

With the curtain open, the light is just about right. The author was describing her experience of having the best pizza in this world, which made me giggle. Once in a while, I took a sip from my coffee mug.

I am completely content, at least for now.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

another certificate

This morning I took the training class for lab safety and received the certificate from OSEH, AFTER I had done tons and tons of experiments for my Ph. D. degree.

They finally got me. Yep, currently my life is full of such ironies.

Monday, April 07, 2008


1. Always check shoelaces before I run;
2. Never rush just because I am afraid of missing something. It might be missed totoally due to the rush;
3. Jackie Chan's nose and Angelina Jolie's lips don't work for me;
4. When the damage is limited, emergency room is also an optional place to catch up with friends.

Many thanks to the people who helped me or offered to help me!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

just a quick update

I have been having all sorts of nightmares for more than a week. It didn't affect me much though. My mood is a little down. I feel tired and sleepy every single day. But I was like that sometimes.

The work is fine. I don't mind having stuff to do all the time. However, I do need to sort out my priorities and get them done first, which is a not-so-short list by themselves.

I love working with my current colleagues. They have been very patient with me and taught me a lot of things. Also, a guy in the lab upstairs where we prepare our test samples is absolutely an eye candy. So, yeah, I don't mind working there.

The weather was gorgeous. I walked home again after the class. Hopefully it will help my sleep tonight.