Thursday was Thanksgiving day and I was very glad that I got the chance to smear the butter and seasoning on the turkey skin the day before Thanksgiving Day. After 5 hours in the oven the next day, the turkey was ready. I also cut the turkey and served it on the table. Although, nobody really wanted the dark meat from the legs and wings, I actually really liked the dark meat, but after finishing two big wings with mashed potatoes and chicken noodles, I was too stuffed to have more food. It’s always nice to have a family dinner or lunch during holidays. It’s quite like China here in the US where people go home for big holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
This trip was planned a couple months ago when I knew my paper was accepted. But when it came close, I realized there were still lots of things to do. The only time I went to California was my 2009 trip to Vegas when I passed parts of California. So officially, this was my first time to California-the golden state. My advisor was kind enough to pick me up from San Diego airport after my 7 hours on the plane plus transferring time. The air was fresh and it was very comfortable-very different from Lexington. I guess after a long time on the ground, I did feel a little uneasy when my plane took off from the Blue Grass Airport. Although my fluid dynamics courses told me the chances of a falling plane is rare, I still pictured lots of bad scenarios on the plane. Anyhow, probably because I got older, I was quite exhausted when I arrived. The 3 hours difference in San Diego was something that I tried hard to adjust on the first night.
My schedule during the whole trip didn’t allow me to explore the city and the only time I had for myself was the dinner time. The fact that San Diego is a coastal city justified that I should have Mexican seafood. So after many years of not being able to have octopus, I ordered Ceviche, a cold raw fish dish, which was sour enough for me to lose my appetite. Being close to Mexico boarder was very interesting, so I took the trolley to see the boarder. The dramatic change from San Diego downtown to San Ysidro was convincing enough for me not to go to Mexico, at least not in the near future.
The conference went well, and it was a great opportunity to meet lots of important people in the field. I learned a lot in the conference not only from my own presentation, but also the mingling time during lunch and of course tons of academic sessions. My trip back home wasn’t that exciting, simply because it was an overnight flight. I barely slept on the plane because losing 3 hours back and 4 hours on the plane literally were not enough for any kind of sleep. But coming home always feels good no matter how tired I am.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Although the temperature is mild in winter here, we had a dramatic temperature drop 2 days ago. It snowed a little bit and the snowy view in the back yard was pretty cool. Being living in the apartment with dogs wasn’t my favorite part so I really appreciate the back yard in the new house. The only issue, though, is that Jacob is too adventurous and sometimes he jumps out of the fence. As much as I would love to give him a lot of space, it’s not safe at all. So I tied a leash with 40 feet length in the center of the yard for him.
After the Qualifying exams, it seems I am finally back to where I left two years ago. Losing 2 years in my PhD stage is not something that I should be proud of, but I guess everyone is different and there is nothing I should be ashamed of. It was just pure bad luck to experience those type of things back in UC. However, I am lucky to have a second chance and finally have what I desired.
Monday, November 4, 2013
I have always wanted to watch the beautiful autumn in the mountains, but for whatever reason, I never had the chance to really do so. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the ultimately best place to see the change of the season at this time of the year. Heading out from home on Saturday afternoon, the traffic started to get bad at Pigeon Forge. It was the worst at Gatlinburg, thanks to that single road to the mountains. All the cars jammed on that one-lane road with tourists constantly crossing the street randomly. We probably spent extra 2 more hours just sitting in the car barely moving. With the dogs in the car whining, it wasn’t a good start. Gatlinburg was very crowded when we got there and the next day was the same. Since dogs are very limited in the town and the park, we didn’t have much of a choice for food or trails. After a very brief breakfast outside the KFC in the car, we drove into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was very beautiful with the colorful forest and a lot of the sceneries were like scenes in movies or TVs. Although these images are not really that breathtaking in the pictures, being there with that fresh air and chilly wind would surely be amazingly different.
Monday, October 28, 2013
It’s very interesting that I have experienced the lab moving twice during my PhD study here. Technically, I also had a lab moving when I was studying for my master’s. It’s hard to imagine that all the equipment that has been sitting there for decades will eventually be moved in a week or so. Setting up the experiment is always the hardest part, because you never know what will eventually come up. In a lot of the cases, you spend 80% of the time setting up an experiment and only 20% of the time doing the experiment. That’s why not many people would be fond of lab moving. This time, we had some professional people helping us and it was way easier to get everything settled down in the new room. It still took us a week to move everything, but I have to say the difficult part has passed. Let us just hope there will be no more lab moving any more. Fingers crossed!