Monday, January 31, 2011

January Food Post

{In which I post pictures of what I eat because I love my sister}

Confession: I am not a foodie.

Obviously I prefer my food to taste delicious rather than awful, but most of the time I consider eating a rather inconvenient chore that should be as quick, easy, and cheap as possible. (The only exception is eating socially — I'm more than happy to spend quality time/effort/money on a special meal with good friends, but not if it's just me.) In fact, I found eating so burdensome my freshman year of college that I took to sleeping to conserve my energy rather than walking less than a block to the dining hall and swipe in with my pre-paid meal points (wow, that sounds kind of crazy even to me).

Diane is sorely disappointed in this flaw of mine, as she and her friends love fancy food. She requested pictures of the food I eat in Taiwan, and being an obliging older sister, I took my camera to work with me every day and photographed all my meals, although I am not all that interested in food photography myself (I realized that I am rarely interested in the pictures afterwards).

But for Diane and for those of you who genuinely like food, I'm going to share a few of the best food pictures I took this month. Hopefully I'll continue doing it in future months as well, if you like this one.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Goodbye, WordPress!

{In which I explain why I switched to Blogger}

Don't worry, I'm not giving up on blogging already — it hasn't even been a month yet. I'm just moving my blog to Blogger. (I'll explain why at the end of the post for those of you who are curious.)

Without further ado, the most important part of this entire post (aka SHINY NEW URL):

Yeah, exactly the same except for "blogspot" instead of "wordpress." All comments and posts have been transferred to Blogger via the Wordpress2Blogger conversion utility. Comments are closed on the Wordpress blog - go to my Blogger site if you'd like to comment. (Note: some of your comments got lost in the transfer and I had to put them in manually — thus some wonky timestamps.)

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(Side note: if you'd like a more convenient way of keeping updated on blogs you read than visiting each site individually, I highly recommend subscribing to feeds using Google Reader, which allows you to read posts from all your favorite blogs in just one place so you'll never miss an update. Consider trying it out!)

If you prefer to have new posts sent to your email address, click the link below:

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So this is the end of the official announcement. All the rest of this post is about why I decided that Blogger suits me better than WordPress, so if that sounds really boring to you, just skip it. Oh, and I have a dedicated food post coming up next week, so be sure to tune in then!

How I Got My Job (Part II)

{In which I give a virtual tour of my workplace}

This is Part II of the post. To read Part I, see How I Got My Job (Part I).

I woke up the morning after the interview feeling much better, and applied to a few more jobs, vowing to take any future interviews more seriously.  Then my phone rang again. It was the HR manager calling to ask when I could start working at the earliest, because she was processing my offer letter! I was in a cloud of disbelief. That was when I realized that I maybe should have taken better notes during the interview.

Friday, January 28, 2011

How I Got My Job (Part I)

{In which I describe my job-searching process in Taipei, Taiwan}

I finished teaching English as a TA at NTHU (a university in Hsinchu, Taiwan) in mid-August, and I spent the next two weeks enjoying myself and hanging out with people all over Taiwan. It was great, but my parents were worried about my plans for the future (well, more like the lack thereof). All I had was a vague idea that I wanted to try living in Taiwan for a bit (I'm sure many of you are wondering "WHY????" but that's not the point of this post. Maybe I'll write a "Why I Want to Live in Taiwan" post later or something.)  It was a step up from having absolutely no desire to do anything at all, so maybe that's why my parents didn't forbid it. Still, they weren't — and still aren't — fond of having their oldest daughter bumming around in Taiwan when, theoretically, she could be going to medical school.

I knew if I got a job in Taiwan I'd have a more legitimate reason to stay. My parents also insisted that I do something about finding employment. So one night near the beginning of September I created an account at (a Taiwan job search site) on a whim and pasted in some information from my resume. I then applied to four openings, which made me feel productive enough to turn to other activities.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fun with Microcentrifuge Tubes

This is what I do at work in between labeling rows and rows of tubes, pipetting various amounts of clear, colorless liquids into them, and then waiting as said liquids react mysteriously over a period of time:

B&W Tubes

Yes, I take pictures of stuff. Thankfully there is (some) variety to my work and I don't work with tons of tubes every day. And it's nice to have rainbow-colored tubes because that breaks up the monotony:

Rainbow Tubes

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

妹妹 (Mei Mei)

Doesn't she look so effortlessly cool in this photo? I'm lucky I have such a pretty sister as a model. I generally prefer portraits to pictures of scenery, so I'm glad Diane's (mostly) willing to pose for me and let me take a ton of pictures of her. Even though she can be kinda picky about those pictures. But I let her delete the ones she hates (because I'm just a great sister like that). I really like this one though. Too bad she's so far away. Who am I going to take pictures of now??

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Swan Lake

{In which there are swans in a lake and a clip from a movie based on Swan Lake (no, not the one with Natalie Portman)}

Black Swan

Ah, the black swan. My mom's favorite bird. The photograph doesn't do it justice, but unfortunately I think it's the best of the bunch I have. Ah, well.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

How to Get Grandma to Buy You a Car

{In which my grandma reveals she has our best interests at heart}

Many of you may have heard this story before. But since I've been reading lots of fun blogs by doctors/nurses/med students lately that made me laugh as well as think omg I don't want to be a doctor!!, this story came to mind again. So I felt compelled to share it. (And yes, I may have copied it from my final paper for one of my English classes senior year of college. But I promise I changed a few words here and there. Ok fine, I actually changed it quite a lot. That paper kind of sucked.)


Friday, January 21, 2011

Seaport Sunset

Tree at Sunset

Photo taken with cell phone, December 2009 at Seaport Village, San Diego. Currently my cell phone wallpaper (unfortunately that phone doesn't work in Taiwan, but I still use it as a notepad/watch/alarm clock/mp3 player/emergency camera).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I've been bringing my camera to work with me every day, so there will be photos from work... eventually. Meanwhile, here's a photo my coworker suggested I take when we were out eating lunch last week:


It's a sign for the restroom, in case you were wondering. The Chinese characters are pretty standard; it's the English letters that are interesting. The letters don't spell out the pinyin of the Chinese characters the way you'd expect. "Restroom" in Mandarin is pronounced "ce suo." So why is there "banso" on the sign? Try saying it out loud. Congratulations, you just said "restroom" in Taiwanese! (Well, probably a very mangled version, unless you actually know the language. It really should be more like "benSOH," but still, you kind of spoke a foreign language!) Cool, right?

A waitress caught me taking a photo of the sign and laughed. "Most other people just stand there and read the sign out loud," she said. "You're the first one I've seen actually taking a photograph of it." Then she went and told all her coworkers that there was someone taking a picture of their bathroom sign. I'm glad I amused them. Plus, it was such a Taiwanese sign I couldn't resist. :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Twig by Twig


Ok, I guess "twig" might not be the best word for the subject of my photograph. Or maybe it is. But I chose it because it reminds me of this beautiful poem:

Ars Poetica

by Archibald MacLeish

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,

As old medallions to the thumb,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.


A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs,

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind—

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs.


A poem should be equal to:
Not true.

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea—

A poem should not mean
But be.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Good Impression

{In which I discover the reason for my mom's suspicious behavior}

My mom is usually not a fan of makeup and contacts. She always told my sister and me that makeup is terrible for your skin, so you should use it as sparingly as possible — preferably only for special occasions. As for contacts, I first tried wearing contacts in middle school, but it made my eyes really red this one time. My mom was very concerned and declared that they weren't good for my eyes, so I didn't wear them much until college. Even now when I do wear makeup or contacts, she always reminds me to be very good about washing my face and tells me not to wear contacts for too long at a time.

So the day before I left for Taiwan, I was just chilling at home before we left for some errands when my mom came over and said, "Linda, aren't you going to put on your contacts?"

Friday, January 14, 2011

At the Berkeley Marina


My new camera is awesome and I love it to pieces, but I don't think using it means instant awesome photos. I've heard it's the person using it that matters, and while I know I'm definitely a beginner and still have a lot to learn, I like to flatter myself that I took decent photos even before I got a DSLR. So in addition to posts of recent photographs and events, I also want to dig through photos from the past and share a few every once in a while. It's a good way to revisit past events and see how I have and haven't changed in my photo-taking habits. I definitely regret not taking more photos. You can never have too many, in my opinion.

That photo above was taken with my Canon PowerShot SD800 (RIP, dear camera!) in spring 2010. Danny took Michelle and me to the Berkeley Marina, where we ate sandwiches from Bakesale Betty's and talked about God and deep spiritual things. And boys (haha). And relationships. And how messy those can get.

We sat a table at a beautiful spot between trees and the sea. I loved the texture of the old wooden table and the lichen that grew in the cracks. I couldn't resist taking lots and lots of photos, and I'm so glad I did. That was an amazing afternoon.

Berkeley Marina

Thursday, January 13, 2011

How I Get to Work

One thing I love about living in Taipei is that it's so easy to get around everywhere, even without a car (or scooter). Taxis can be found almost everywhere and the bus system is cheap and extensive. But the MRT (the Taipei subway/sky train rail system) is my go-to form of transportation. It helps that I live really close to an MRT station (and a transfer one, at that), since that's how I commute to and from work every weekday. I get to miss the vehicular rush hour traffic, but that doesn't mean no waiting time:

MRT Station

This is a photo of people waiting to get onto the platform. The entrance is on the opposite platform, so people are coming down the stairs in order to be going the right direction. There are long lines stretching across the platform, which is so packed that the rest of the commuters are forced to wait on the stairs until a train comes to relieve the crush of people (the exit stairs are at the opposite end of the platform). I guess it's kind of hard to see from this photo how many people there are. Ah well, I'll try to see if I can get better ones.

Unfortunately for you (but fortunately for my sanity), I don't see this every day. I usually miss the worst of the traffic since I don't arrive at work until around 9:30am, so I only see this when there's a holdup due to some sort of issue, like a malfunction or accident. They tend to get resolved pretty quickly though, since a lot of people depend on the MRT as their work transportation.

When something happens to cause a delay, MRT employees will hand out tardy slips as you exit. Like, "Hey this person was late not because he or she didn't want to get out of bed on time because it was too cold; no, it was entirely the fault of the MRT system as there was an unforeseen delay of [however many] minutes, so please go easy on the bearer of this notice!" Or something like that.

Although there were two such delays this week (already!), I managed to make it to work around 9:30ish, so I didn't bother with the slips. But I still took one to photograph and show you:

MRT Tardy Slip

So yeah, the MRT is wonderful and convenient and all that, but I'm not a huge fan of taking it in the mornings because everyone is packed like sardines (well, just for a few stops, thankfully). Plus most of the commuters are middle-aged office workers. Not enough eye candy. :P

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bamboo Fence

Bamboo Fence

I took this photo at Desert Springs while on vacation with my family. We were going to eat at this Japanese restaurant, but unfortunately it was closed for the holidays. But it had really pretty landscaping, so I snapped a few photos before we dashed through the drizzle and back into our cars. This is a photo of their bamboo fence. Playing with depth of field is fun!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Graduation Present

My Canon SD800, a gift from my Uncle Eric, broke last April - for no apparent reason. It was pretty devastating not to have a camera for my last month of college. Thank goodness my dad had a Canon T1i so I have graduation pictures! And very nice ones, too. Unfortunately, I did not have a camera the entire summer, which really sucked. I traveled all over Taiwan and made lots of new friends, and wish I had more photographs to remember them by. Plus I just like taking pictures in general. I knew I wanted to get another camera, and after playing around with my dad's camera I hoped I'd be able to get a DSLR. But I wasn't really sure when to buy one, or if I could afford one yet.

Then my parents visited me around  Thanksgiving and my Dad asked me what I wanted for my graduation present. They'd mentioned that they wanted to get me something nice way back in May. My first instinct had been cash, of course. But my mom said that I'd just spend it on random things and wouldn't I rather have a Coach purse or Tiffany jewelry? She preferred gifting something that was more sophisticated and tangible than money. And then I left for Taiwan and we didn't talk about it again until they came to Taiwan. By that time I knew what I wanted. "I really want a camera," I said. "A DSLR, like the one Daddy has." So my dad gave me a budget to pick out a camera and accessories, which I did. I chose the Canon T2i and a few lenses. He bought those for me, so when I went home for Christmas and New Year's, I had a camera again. Yay! Thanks Mom and Dad, it's an awesome present!

I love you, Mom and Dad!

Yup, I took that photo of the two of them with my awesome new camera. I'll be posting more photos soon.

Love you, Mom and Dad!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hello Again, Taiwan

I meant to blog yesterday, but I completely crashed before I managed to do so. I left from LAX on Wednesday night and arrived at TPE on Friday morning. The flight wasn't too bad. I got to sit next to a cute boy. He had great taste in beverages, too. He let me watch a movie off his screen and would smile at me during all the funny parts. So even though we didn't really talk all that much, between our sips of apple juice and the silent antics of Chicken Little (the Chinese subtitles helped), I had a good time. He was in sixth grade, maybe? I'm terrible at estimating ages.

We landed around 6am, and after going through customs, claiming baggage, and taking the bus back to Taipei, it was slightly after 8am by the time I got back to my room at my grandpa's apartment. Then I left for work and all my coworkers were shocked that 1) I actually bothered to go into work and that 2) I got there before 9:30am (by 6 minutes, to be exact). Pretty chill day, lab meeting, did some research on primers, and got to leave at 6:45pm! Amazing. Got home, took care of some stuff, and then went to sleep around 10pm. I know, right?!

And now it's Saturday and I have lots of cleaning and organizing to do. Hm. Well, I'm sure I'll get around to it eventually...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


No, this blog is not my new year's resolution. In case you were wondering. But I do hope to update consistently and share with you my random thoughts, memories, real life anecdotes, photographs, maybe even some creative writing.

Since I've moved across the Pacific Ocean, I've become much more appreciative of blogs as a way to stay updated on my friends' lives and adventures. My sister's blog is my favorite, of course. :) It's what inspired me to create a blog myself. Plus, she said it wasn't fair that I got to know what she was thinking and doing when she didn't get to read stuff by me. And that I should totally start a blog.

So, you're welcome, darling sister (don't be too disappointed it's not a Tumblr). And I hope that you — whether family, friend, acquaintance, or stranger — will also enjoy this blog. I'll try not to bore you to death.

I would have started this sooner except I had a hard time coming up with a name. And as you can see, I've declined to use "" as my url. Thanks for the helpful suggestion though, Brian. I'll be sure to keep that in mind if I decide to start another blog.

Anyway, how I actually decided to name my blog was to compile a (still growing) list of my favorite words and play around with different combinations. A few other favorite words: elusive, linger, resplendent, achingly, clarity. Well, those are the ones with slightly more positive connotations. For some reason these words are also on the list: scorn, treachery, disdain, ruthless, defiant. Some words I choose for the meaning, some for the sound. I'm still collecting words, so if you've got favorites too, be sure to share them!

Thank you so much for reading, and happy new year :)