Fifty Three

On our first anniversary,

My husband and I went to iHop, the Getty, video chatted with this mother, and then went home to eat dinner with my family. I always felt the usual idea of an anniversary is so bland. Especially for couples without children, wouldn’t you want to spend your day surrounded by mutual friends and family rather than isolating yourselves on a weekend trip? After all, it wasn’t just the two of us at the wedding. The least you can do is drop a hello for your witnesses.

Anyway, that’s today. We have also been using Duolingo to retain the little Danish we learned while he was doing his PhD in Denmark. Right now, I’m still on Clothing. It’s going to be a while before I can post my new “skill” on LinkedIn. I’m also working on Italian and Spanish despite my horrible memories of Spanish class from high school. I guess my overall goal is to become a designer who doesn’t just design for your own company, country, or demographic. Learning a new language reminds you that there are whole other ways of living that we aren’t considering in our design.

Speaking of design, I noticed how tired design students are all the time. Their weariness makes me scared for the relaxed lifestyle I lead. Will I really be so caught up in my work that I will have to spend all-nighters at school? Or will I manage my time and know myself enough to product quality ideas without sacrificing my quality of life? Those are my questions for the tired design student. In the race to grow your brand, make your name, I’d rather be a turtle than a hare.

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Fifty One

Within a year,

I have done more than people usually do in a few years, said my mom. She was just trying to make me feel better, I know it. All I’ve done was get married, travel to China and Denmark, and change my career. I guess when you’re in your 20s or at least when you leave school a lot tends to happen within a year.

Currently, I’m in a love-hate relationship with my potential major (product design). Loving doing the thing, but I hate the people in my class. I just dislike people in general and I don’t warm up to strangers very well. The group last semester was fine, but this semester, I have to adjust to a whole new group of people, none of whom are that willing to be close friends with me. After most of my classmates from last semester left, I’m unwilling to make any steady friends until I get in.

Also, my career seems to be a lot of waiting and being on hold. I have classes Tuesday through Saturday except for Wednesday. My Tuesday and Thursday classes barely have any homework but I can never finish my work for Saturday!? That has gotten me down a lot. As a result, I’ve felt so inferior that I was going to quit until an admissions counselor told me I don’t suck. Everyone was happy to hear it, but the effects have worn off on me. Back to being depressed about my life and the increasingly nagging feeling that I should go back to some kind of normal school.

I miss writing. I miss reading. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I also miss science. I look at my old classmates sharing science related stuff on Facebook and I no longer miss science. Or, at least I don’t miss sharing pop science and trivial studies just to legitimize my career choice. At least I am being honest with myself when I say where I am now is leading me to what I want to do.

Fifty

With family,

Sometimes you never know. Today, I picked up my sister from school and dropped off her friends and all was fine. Then I shared this awesome notebook called “People I Want to Punch in the Face” that I want to buy, and she retorted “Stop spending Mama’s money!” So then I ended up going to Yoga all depressed and moody, so depressed and moody I couldn’t keep my balance during the easiest poses.

After that disappointing yoga session, I went back home in an awful mood, in this awful chilly weather (It’s 60 degrees in California right now), and curled up in bed. Then she made bacon and chicken soup! And my grandma made my favorite food! And most of all, my mom made juice and didn’t force me to drink it. I drink some anyways, and no argument happened. No argument whatsoever. So, what started out as an awful day ended up okay.

As for school, I believe it’s going to be a while for me to go to Art Center, and still I’m going to keep applying until they let me in. I don’t suck, but I’m not  great either. I don’t stand out at all in terms of my work as the best in the class. I’m not talented enough to make it into Art Center within a year or obsessed enough to try. Overall, I was also upset today, because I’m bored. At least I had some routine, somewhere to go when I was in science. 20% of me miss reading meaningless research and lab work, but most of me believe I have a happier future. It’s just it seems farther than ever from where I am now.

I see my classmates from Smith appreciating the fall weather, but I have to remind myself that 60 degree Californian weather almost made me push everything off my shelves in a fit of rage today. Also, I need to refill my lamictal pills, which was something else that was pissing me off during yoga. Ugh.

Forty Nine

After a long and unforgettable summer,

I am finally starting art classes. I took a design and business class at a local UC, and I’m glad I did. Everything was so fresh after being stuck in the science world for so long. Discussions were more about every day life than medicine, biology, and research. Although people were no less humble, at least they were real. It was just art or business. Nothing about bragging of whose lab you are working for or hiding which lab you are applying for. It’s all about helping or competing with each other—straight up, no secrets.

With that done, I’m finally starting product design night classes. That leaves my morning to sleep and do whatever the hell I want during the night, because everyone just bothers me in the morning. If I’m not interrupted, I have to go out to get something or do something with someone else or else I will feel trapped. That’s what’s tough about dropping out of school and moving back in, the suffocation. However, I have no fear, because doing extra work for my product design classes gives me calm and some feeling of direction. I hate nothing more than a lack of control over my own decisions.

And beliefs. I have also been going to church with a very close friend of mine who I’ve known since forever. I have no other consistent friend in Southern California than her, except that the best way for me to see her is to go to church with her. She invited me to go the first time. And when you go to church the first time and everyone is just so welcoming and in need of some new members for this start-up Baptist church, you go the second time and the next. I made it clear to her that I am not a Christian, and yet I still go. In fact, I’ve joined the book club for crying out loud. This weekend, I’m setting my foot down and telling her I will only show up to an intelligent book discussion and not the [very-extremist-not-very-well-thought-out] sermons. I’m going to a Buddhist temple nearby instead, because it’s so peaceful there. I also need to scout out some spiritual activity for my sort-of Buddhist boyfriend and his family to go to when they fly over.

I should write about my summer that I spent with my boyfriend and his family later, because I learned a lot from it about one thing: love and family. All I have room to say for now is that although some of my family have grown distant over the years, I have gained new, wonderful family through my soon-to-be husband, and what a lucky girl I am.

Forty Two

After a night out with my friends and myself,

I’m feeling cranky as fuck. I went out with my friend to an Asian fusion restaurant where I accidentally ordered something not vegetarian and had to give it to my friend. Then I agreed to get boba afterwards — the SoCal Asian American way to lift the mood and get acquainted — because she also invited this other friend who I barely knew. And after those series of bad decisions, especially since I’m slightly sick with a sore throat and headache, I decided to go off on my own and get some Ricola. And of course, I got distracted and wandered into a few shops, but I didn’t buy anything, which is progress.

I walked into the room and saw what was wrong: My desk and floor are covered with clothes, books, papers, and everything else I didn’t bother to pick up. Three apples are still on my shelf, because I was too lazy to wash them. My mooncake box is sitting there with two uneaten mooncakes that I can’t possibly digest on my own. I also feet pretty fat, which is strange, because I worked out more in the past week than I have all summer. Oh yea, it’s because I just dropped my yoga class.

Then there are my readings, just piling up on me. I know it’s only, let’s see, four to five hours of reading to do before next Monday, because I could barely get through my biology notes yesterday from being so tired. I was so good the past week until two days ago. I kept up with everything, but now every little thing is stressing me out again. Maybe it’s just me taking on too many big commitments: long distance, becoming treasurer of a club, and being on my house council, but that’s what Junior year is for. Junior year: growing the fuck up before it’s too late.

Later this evening, I realized that it’s because I’m trying to balance one more commitment. Before, it was just friends, and schoolwork, and Hulu. Hulu could wait. Hulu wasn’t a person who loves me with 100% of his heart, and I can pause Hulu whenever I wanted. My boyfriend however, isn’t television. He may seem like it, since he’s just in my computer screen in this painfully long distance relationship, but I don’t feel an absence when a TV show isn’t on like I do when I’m not Skyping with my beloved.

Also, I wasn’t taking my vitamins, and I was in denial that the weather’s getting colder and let a cold sneak up on me. I need to take better care of myself, and take back my friends, my work, and my moments alone instead of becoming so dependent on my boyfriend. He’s great. Wonderful, even. But my friends are right, I cannot be consumed by him. Well, okay, at least I can not Skype with him for more than one hour a day. Today was what? One and half? Two hours? Yeesh. It’s hard to say goodnight to that man, but I’ll try my best for my best friends, who helped me make it this far.

Thirty Nine

As a Pisces,

I need to work on my feelings before I can manage my logic. So when I face a difficulty, I usually wait out my moods. I calm down, feel the danger disappointment fill up and then drain out of me, and with some step by step coaxing, I recover on the reassurance that everything will work out.

Sunday, I avoided opening an e-mail from my PI about my unfinished draft of my research paper. I spent the morning buying Victoria’s Secret bras and in general, used hanging out with my best friend as an excuse not to check my PI’s corrections. Night comes, and I’m happily Skyping my boyfriend about how life is great and how research is going well. I check my e-mail, saw the crossed out paragraphs and the “wrong” this, “wrong” that, and my mood plummets.

My boyfriend notices that I suddenly went quiet as I thought about how stupid I must seem to my PI and to the rest of my lab now, since my PI told me to ask peers on the same level as me for help. A grad student himself, my boyfriend tried to comfort me, telling me how his first drafts were covered in cross outs and red marks as well, but he is well, a little more stable and logical.

At least he stayed with me, watching my grumpy face think about how to get myself out of this funk. I looked at the paper again and thought about the specific changes I can make on my own and listed out the questions I can ask the grad student and PI for those major points that I missed. I pieced my sanity back together piece by piece, and he is there with me, watching me bleed and heal. That’s the best we can do in this long distance relationship, and I am so grateful for him doing his best.

Everything turned out fine in the end. I got most of my draft done and my PI and grad student answered my questions without making me feel stupid. In fact, I am finally having intelligent conversations with those lab bosses, and I finally feel like I have the right to call myself a research assistant, or a “research” anything. I’m pacing myself, stopping work by five or six, and going home every night to eat with my family. Everything will be alright, my dear.