just ate a bite of leftover donut that i guess sat too close to the leftover pizza after i transferred it to the pizza box to give the donut box to a friend, and it was like eating a fried, semi-glazed pizza. very strange texture taste, which made my expectant brain reel from the unexpectedness. o.0 anyway.
just got back from SD last night! Praise God again for changing bad weather forecasts/patterns to good. Apparently the time I landed last night in Bham was supposed to be when the worst storms were supposed to hit, but all there was was very light rain. 🙂 the donut came from yesterday morning, when i went with a few fellow OSR conference attendees to Donut Bar, supposedly one of the “top 20 donut places in the US” which happened to be about a mile’s walk from the hotel. they were quite good actually, even though donuts aren’t usually my thing. the pizza came from 2 nights before, when my school’s other OSR rep and I went to explore Coronado Island briefly after the day’s talks.
was planning to go into lab today originally, but the weather’s a bit blah, and i’m feeling lazy/need to sort out a ton of stuff, so might do that first, and then go in on saturday to make up for it. also need to clean, as one of my students is coming for her make-up lesson later tonight.
the SD trip was actually very good. saw a couple old friends from different phases of life there. first night, met up with a friend i’d met at UO collegiates my freshman year (and hadn’t met since), who’s now in the navy. we had ramen with one of his navy friends and his wife (the ramen was so good! omgosh i miss good Asian food so much!). later that night, i met up with a friend i hadn’t seen for even longer – since i graduated high school or earlier! so … like almost 10 years @___@. we’d gone to chinese daycare together in middle school, and now he’s out of college and working. dang. haha. we ate at a really good dessert place called Extraordinary Desserts in downtown SD. pretty pricey place, but soooo good. their tea was surprisingly really good too! that same friend owns a motorcycle, and i got to ride it on the way back from dinner on my last night there ^.^ i was kind of apprehensive at first, but it was pretty fun, and now i have a better idea why people enjoy riding. in his words, and those of another older gentleman i talked to on the plane ride back, it gives one a sense of “freedom”. i was also quite impressed at how well the helmet keeps out air and wind – since i wear hard contacts, i often get dust blown into my face at even walking speed, much less going 40+ mph, but the helmet sealed it so well i was able to see completely clearly, which was nice. and breathing through it was much easier than i’d thought with the little vent, so the mask didn’t fog up at all.
the other people i saw at that dinner were people from my church in socal – it’s already been 3 years since i’ve seen them, which is kind of crazy to think about, but it was nice. we went to a sushi place that happened to have 30% off all the special rolls, which was awesome. i think they used a little too much mayo, but at least the eel was fresh, which is very unlike how it is here.
with all of them, it was really nice to catch up. i felt free to be completely myself, and it was so simple to fall into that easy rhythm one has with old friends – the give and take of conversation, the laughter, the randomness, the lack of awkward silences or that polite, reserved pretense of interest, and the attentiveness of people actually listening and enjoying each others’ presence. I don’t know if it’s that it’s because they’re old friends and familiar, that they’re guys, that they’re Asian, that they’re (for the most part) slightly younger than me, or that they’re from CA/the West Coast. but regardless, it was such a breath of fresh air.
the conference itself was also pretty good. i think OSR is moving in a positive direction – there’s a lot more enthusiasm and fresh ideas this year than before, and people are speaking out and mobilizing more, rather than just talking about it, and not doing anything. i think that’s partly due to the “fresh blood” around so to speak – the old vanguard has in a sense left, and the new fresh 1st and 2nd years are more motivated and have drive. weirdly enough, it also seems like the southern region has a lot more fervor and interest in OSR than other regions, which i didn’t expect. i remember when i first came in, i thought the central region was a powerhouse, but this year, as the 12 of us or so running for regional delegate positions stood outside as we went one by one in to give our speeches, people from other regions who came out to refill their drinks or get some food were surprised by the sheer number of people we had running. one guy from the central region even remarked how only 1 person ran for chair of their region and there was no one who wanted to do one of the positions, so finally he just raised his hand to volunteer to do it, and people clapped and cheered for him. o.0 so it looks like we’ve ended up in one of the more/most competitive regions. but that’s kind of cool too – it means we’ll get things done, and potentially be an area of greater change.
(also through that experience, i realized i haven’t had to do any public speaking or auditioning/performing for a very long time. i guess doing the oral presentation at SEMSS and for class was some public speaking, but i feel like it’s pretty different to present a scientific idea/presentation, compared to presenting/representing yourself. it’s akin to writing an essay on a book or article, compared to writing a personal statement on an application. and i suck at both of the latter now, possibly even more-so than i did when i was younger!)
also, downtown SD is apparently VERY different from the UCSD area, which i had visited once in the year i was in socal. there are actually a ton of skyscrapers (mostly hotels i guess) and it’s very urban, but pretty new. the drivers are also CRAZY haha! they basically reminded me of drivers in China – they would weave, turn, scrape around another car… but no one honked at each other, showing that this was the norm. even my SD friends have started driving similarly! i think part of the reason is also the fact that there were no crosswalks or lights in downtown/the gas-lamp district, which was very disconcerting. basically, you just crossed whenever cars slowed to allow you to pass, or when there were no cars at the intersection. in general, the drivers were very nice and let you cross whenever you were there, but it was still just disconcerning haha.
anyway, i think it’s about time to start cleaning up a little now and doing some actual productive stuff. ttyl!