I suppose I might as well write some things on here since it is New Year’s Eve and all.  It’s 10:53pm here on the West Coast as I type, but this will probably publish 2 hours ahead since it’ll probably be in AL time, but whatever.  I don’t have a lot to say, as I usually don’t for these types of things, but since I’m alone in the house at the moment, and the cold is kind of keeping me awake, why not.  (I don’t plan on staying up until midnight this year, for once, but we’ll see.  The neighborhood already lit some fireworks up a few minutes ago, or at least I assume that’s what the noise was outside).

This was the first year in many (and certainly first since I started my PhD) where I feel like I’ve actually been able to enjoy my break at home.  Usually I have the ADA abstract deadline due at the end of my break, so I’m usually frantically doing experiments and analysis before the break in lab, and then trying to squeeze in time to write the abstract and send e-mails and worrying about getting responses in time from relevant people in order to turn it in on time.  This year, since I’ve literally spent 6 months working on an assay that has no working controls, I feel fine not submitting anything to the conference this year.  Plus, there’s always the late breaking abstracts in Feb/March if something does amazingly happen to work out, and anyway, the conference isn’t somewhere i’m interested in going at all so yeah.  It’s been nice.  Today I saw some orchestra friends I haven’t seen in like… 4-5 years+ – one I met up for dinner, and the other, who I haven’t seen or talked to since graduation, we randomly decided to facetime (my first time using that, via his phone). It was good catching up.

In fact, this break in general has been like a major catching-up break: 10 year high school mini-reunion, PACO friends, calwushu(/gw2) friends, UC Berkeley symphony friends, chinese school friends, etc, and of course, family (including sister) as well. Understandable I guess, because my previous visits home have been so short and far apart that I haven’t been able to see very many people in years.  Pretty crazy to think about that fact – that friendships and time are now measured in years and not days, weeks, or even months.  Even for people who are all working in the same state, or even in the same neighborhood, like Southbay – it seems like it’s so difficult for people to get together now, and that’s only going to get worse as people move or get married and start families or get more established in the working world.  Life is only going to get faster, and it’s going to get harder and harder to just stop and appreciate what’s going on in the now.  I’m reading through Ecclesiastes right now, and that seems to be the overarching message – that one of our biggest blessings is to be able to enjoy what God has given us, and not to keep toiling and doing things that are ultimately meaningless.  (Though I feel like there’s some twist at the end of the book, so maybe I shouldn’t say that yet haha).  Ate out a LOT this break too, so definitely got all my food fixes pretty much, both at home and outside. (Lots of Thai/Burmese/Indonesian food this trip… they all taste really similar to me, too…)

Anyway, it’s been kind of an interesting year, I guess.  Wrote my first grant and lost a ton of sleep (literally) while doing it, passed my Candidacy exam, and have now been a NORC fellow for a year 0.o  Finally made a cosplay of a character I’ve wanted to dress up as since at least undergrad, and who I’ve wanted to be like since high school.  Met a whole bunch of new people via cosplay (though how close of friends they will become remains to be seen), and now have kind of an alter ego lol.  Also learned how to somewhat do make-up because of cosplay -.-||  Started actually doing photography (and got my first DSLR camera) within the last month, and learning to do editing and such.  Oh!  Also of course, started playing violin in a band!  Which is something I’ve always wanted to do as well (not necessarily with violin, but being part of a band).  And I guess technically having recorded for a real song that’s now out on iTunes.  Pretty crazy.  Also played GW2 a lot of this year and got to reconnect with some old friends and make new ones (thanks to Sam for the original game, and Anthony/Sam for the expansion recently).  Also experienced aromatherapy for the first time this break, and karaoke’d for the first time since… probably sometime at Berkeley…?  This year is also the first break in a long while where I feel like sis and I have connected more again, so that’s been good. Can’t think of much else.  Oh I guess it’s also been the year of the big authorship battle haha.  That was certainly a long and unnecessary thing that took a lot of energy.  Ummm and yeah I think that’s it.  So new hobbies and connections maybe, is what 2015 was.  And frustrating, research-wise.  But yeahhhhhh.  Hopefully 2016 will bring in better!  Happy New Year everyone!