Tuesday, December 16, 2008

visions of sugarplums

Winter break is about to start! My classes are over and I feel like it's time for me to transition into being a real adult. Time to crank out my research and prepare for entering the working world! Okay this will be a long transition, more than a year. That's okay. I need to look at the end goal in order to even start running down the field. But first... the holidays!

The weather in Massachusetts is wacky, to say the least, and in two days I'll be back in San Diego where the weather is nothing but predictable. I have no major plans for San Diego, but it will be the first time James spends Christmas with my family. Hmmm...! I feel like this is a big deal but I'm not sure what else to think about it. Christmas tradition for me involves meeting a lot of my parents' neighbors and making awkward, polite conversation about what I do in Boston, eating lots of home-baked cookies, going to church on Christmas eve and hearing the same verses read that I hear every year (although the church we go to these days has a really nice brass quintet), eating tasty appetizers with the extended family on xmas day, walking around the neighborhood to see the ridiculous light displays (my parents' 'hood goes overboard), and inevitably fighting over the car with my siblings. Some highs and lows, obviously. My favorite parts are: cooking for my parents, singing in church (the only time I sing at the top of my lungs in a public place filled with strangers), hanging out with the kitty cat Sushi, picking fruit from the backyard, and sleeping in till 10 without guilt. Nothing is more comfortable than my bed at home - it's like some kind of magical time-warp cashmere cloud that sucks away any conceivable jet lag and knocks me out for 10 hours nightly. Or that's what it seems like, anyway.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

it is not trivial

Classes are finally over! It took literally two days for that realization to sink in. Now I'm in a weird transition period, where I know I'm going home for the holidays in a week, and I still feel like I need to get some research done. It's one of the few times a year where I get a chance to step back and look at where I am. The rest of the year we just repeat the same answers, over and over, like a robot, to those same questions that you don't really know how to answer anyway. How's research? When are you going to graduate? How are classes? Uh... pretty good, about a year, pretty interesting. But what am I really doing, where am I going, what is my plan? What am I doing with my life? Do I repeat the same answers again and again because I still want the same things, or because I tell myself I want those things even when my mind starts to change? If I repeat them enough, does it stay true? The easiest thing to do is just stay entrenched in the work, the class projects and the experiments, such that there's no spare second to think too deeply about the purpose of one's life. Way too complicated and uncertain.

The other thing that frustrates me is how differently we act with different people. I think it's because once you get a read on someone's sense of humor, you start to say things that you know they'll get, and this is different for every person you know. But at the same time, why can't we be equally confident in talking to everyone? Maybe my new year's goal will be to stop being intimidated by people. And also to stop reading random news sites at 1am when I should be sleeping. My achilles' heel!

It's pouring outside and my pink rainboots have holes in them. The economy is not doing well, yet I am hopelessly in love with some $300 leather boots. Maybe I should carpool to Washington and ask for some money. But who's going to bail me out?