One Year Since Graduation

 

To be clear, it has been 1 year today August 18, 2009 that I officially graduated from the University of Michigan.  I walked across the stage December 14, 2008.  I knew that I was going to study abroad in Hong Kong for my final semester and knew that I would not being back for the Spring graduation.  Upon returning, I took one final math class that summer to complete my Aerospace Engineering degree and minor in Mathematics.  It also gave enough time for HKUST to transfer my credits back and put them on my transcript.

When I was first thinking about this blog I was a little nervous because it almost seemed like I haven’t done much in a year.  Most of it was composed of moving to Indianapolis, which is a big feat in itself since I didn’t know ANYONE here.  But I’ve done that before with living in Cincinnati OH, Greenville SC, San Diego CA, and Hong Kong, but it is definitely scary at first and I always have a taste of regret during the first week.

One huge thing that I am happy about is that my 2 best friends are STILL my 2 best friends!  We frequently communicate with each other although we all live in different locations.  I also must say that I have made 23 look graceful ::pats self on back::  I still love to change up my hairstyles.  This was shown by me doing my big chop right before my last final exam!  I never thought that I’d go natural, but moving away from your hairdresser is a good incentive.

Being in a relationship, I sacrificed a lot of myself and that has taught me the biggest lesson of the year: Do not lose sight of myself and my gifts.  I have found a church that I enjoy, and God aligned it so that I can tutor there.  The kids are all really great and range from about 4 years old to seniors in high school.  I think I was put on this earth to share my blessing of understanding math to anyone that finds it difficult and frustrating.  I plan to continue doing this, but possibly on a larger scale in the future.  I still dance and even made it to the semi-finals to be an Indianapolis Colts cheerleader.  Of course, I can’t forget about Cooli.  He gives me reason to enjoy going home everyday and it has been a great decision to be a mommy of a puppy. 🙂

 

I’ve also done two things that I’ve always wanted to do: Walk in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk, and go to New York City!  I have wanted to do the breast cancer walk since I was in college in honor of my mother who test after test finds benign cists.  It scares us every time and I can imagine how many have gone through the same experience ending with a different result.  New York was even more than I have ever imagined.  I love it, but I could never live there.  Over this next year, I plan to continue my mental growth by learning Spanish and taking Yoga.  I am also become more conservative with my body in regards to nutrition.  My long term goal is to compete in a half-marathon! Wish me luck 😀

Random Link of the Day: You aren’t a real model

Cultural Differences already noticed

I just started class last week and I have an American professor who is hear for a year to teach the B-school kids something on ethics.  I can tell he wants to teach like profs at home, but he has even admitted to me that he can’t.  1. he can’t bring up a topic and have everyone divide into groups and 2. he won’t ask the class questions.  Maybe it’s a cultural difference, but a lot of the local kids just feel this urge to talk in class.  Usually it isn’t a low murmur either, it’s really disruptive.  So now I usually choose to sit in the front so I can hear amongst the talking.  However, it has been admitted to him by a student (through email) that when he stops talking, the class stops talking and that no one likes to stand out.  For that reason, when he asks questions, he’ll stop in the middle of them and be like “well you all won’t answer anyway” or we can’t break up into little subgroups because they won’t discuss at all.

Most sources said it wouldn’t be too difficult to find people that spoke English in Hong Kong, but oh it’s a struggle.  I feel kind of like I discriminate when I need directions and I’m trying to find someone on the street that speaks English.  We usually resort to the youngish 20-30 year olds that look like they are in hip and educated.  It usually proves to work, but sometimes we still get rejected.  Not really sure if: 1. they don’t know the location we’re talking about, 2. really don’t speak English, or 3. just really don’t want to help us.

I just thought this was funny :)

I just thought this was funny 🙂

There is such an emphasis on exercise and being fit.  Even during our orientation, there was an entire segment on how to work out and where and all the extra details.  Along with that, the food never really fills me up!, which is quite irritating.  On a positive note, I have found a great deal of places that serve ‘American cuisine’ usually meaning delicious cheeseburgers, french fries, pizza, lasagna, omelettes and deli sandwiches.

Eating Spaghetti with Chopsticks

Eating Spaghetti with Chopsticks

For some reason, the horse racetracks are such a big deal.  I think it’s because gambling in any other form is illegal in HK so everybody goes to the races to give away their money.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a lot of fun, but not nearly as big of a deal as all the locals make it.  They have newspapers printed with stats and probability and it seemed like everyone studied that backwards and forwards.

At the track

At the track

Go 8!!

Go 8!!

It’s not too bad though.  Nothing that I can’t deal with for the next couple of months.

My first –from the other side

So I know I should have written this one long ago.  I’ve been in Hong Kong for 2 whole weeks now and have barely talked to anyone from home let alone give an update.  I think my main rationale is because I’ve been surprisingly keeping up with my journal entries.  I think these have been the most eventful consecutive two weeks that I have experienced.  I didn’t really believe the director of the program when she said that I would have a roller coaster of emotions.  I started off in Arizona with the boyfriend where I was really enjoying, my time, the weather and his company.  My last two days there, we went snowboarding with some members of his family.  I get home at like 2am Monday morning knowing that I have to unpack, repack, get my hair done, handle school and financial business and visit a lot of people before my flight leaves early Wednesday morning.  I get through all that, then I am here.

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The 16 hour flight wasn’t as long as it seemed, but it was definitely long, especially when I had a window seat and I kept wanting to get up to stretch my legs, but out of courtesy waited until the old couple next to me got up to go to the restroom or wherever.  The food wasn’t too bad: chicken teriyaki in noodles, ramen noodles, and some lasagna.  I wrote most of my family and friends an email in the airport and finished setting up Skype so I could call them.

I’m going to do a quick run-through of some main highlights then maybe do a blog later that will go back in detail.  I’ve been on two tours of some cool places in the city where I met a lot of other exchange students.  I’ve gone to see “The Big Buddha” which was really cool because we had to take cable cars to get there over mountains and water.  Inside there was a museum on Buddha and some other cultural things.  I also went to Ocean Park, which is like their version of Sea World with big roller coasters and panda bears, but no Shamu.  There have been many different temples, churches and monasteries to visit especially during New Years.  That was also great because we got to see some of the traditions as well as the big parade and fireworks.  We’ve also done a lot of shopping and a lot of partying.  Surprisingly the clubs play some really great American music like Chris Brown, Neyo, Beyonce, Rihanna, etc.  I just got back from Macau last night.  We had to take a ferry to get there and they have a strip like Vegas.  There, we went to the Ventian Casino where we also saw a Cirque de Soleil show ‘Zaia’.

Everybody seems pretty cool, but for most it seems like they want to meet and please as many people as they can so it seems like they are just easy-going and will go along with the crowd even if they don’t want to.  I think I’ve pretty much found my crew that I will hang out with for most of my time here.  I have definitely been concentrating more on my studies than I thought I would, but it keeps my mind off other things and missing people too much.  We are supposed to be going to the Philippines this weekend!!  I will try to do more of a weekly update; until next time.

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emiT enoZ Rant!

Sorry if that was a little confusing to read, but that’s how I feel when I’m trying to keep up with these different time zones.  Okay, so exchange rates and currency isn’t so bad cuz it’s all multiples.  But, it will still be a little tricky when I get to Hong Kong because I’ll have to try to do conversions on the spot to see if I’m getting my money’s worth (good thing I’m an algebraic beast!).  But then still, I’ll have to try to haggle down the price so I’ll end up ahead and getting things cheaper than my money’s worth.

I digress.  You know how they say engineers and multiply, divide, take integrals all that stuff, but can’t add and subtract?  That is so true!!  (The following is for all my nerds)  You know when you take an integral and there are limits on the integral so you have to add that extra “+C” business.  Yucky.  That always messed me up because that’s where the adding comes in.  Okay I still digressed…

[Real quick on that note: Why do people say I digress?  That’s not grammatically correct.  It’s I digressed.  and who really cares anyway.  If you are going to get back to the point, do it instead of telling me that you are going to do it.  I feel similarly about the “Outline” slide in a presentation.  But I guess it makes one believe that the real meaning should be that ‘I’m going to get back to the subject’ instead of the actual meaning that ‘I have gone off subject’.  Unless you are digressing from your digression…wayyy to deep, just now]

Anyway, but the time zone thing.  I still don’t understand it.  This WikiAnswers was the dumbest explanation I’ve heard.  And I thought you weren’t supposed to answer a question with a question.  Here’s another explanation that talks about it in terms of sun and whatnot.  I get that.  But when I have an appointment in China for 5pm on the 16th, why must I look online to convert that to an American Time Zone?  I didn’t know if China is really ahead or behind us.  So would that mean whatever time am on the same day, or the day before, or the day after?  NO CLUE!  Why can’t everyone just use the same time (all standardize with whatever the time the sun is at its highest over Greenwich and this crazy ‘International Date Line’.  And then everyone will be fine.  It will be okay if it is dark at 3pm.  Because everyone will still be on the right time.  In Michigan just say come in to work at 6pm because no one will really know the difference since it will be light outside.

They talk about it will be easier to keep track of time if you travel between time zones…HOW?  It makes a lot more sense to me to say leave Michigan at 5pm and get to California at 9pm that to leave at 5pm and get there at 6pm.  I’m just saying.