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Midterm #1

The first Chem 1A exam is taking place tonight. 

I plan to Twitter about the glorious adventure that is to take place, so in case you don't already know - follow me at etoilenoir!
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UC Berkeley, the Swine Flu, and you!

Got this in my e-mail.  Looks like there's a swine flu outbreak at UC Berkeley.   Yaaayy!

To:  All Instructional Titles

Dear Colleagues,

The 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak is now responsible for the increasing, but
still limited, number of influenza-like illnesses we are experiencing
on campus. The campus' Pandemic Flu Preparedness Team, led by medical
and public health experts at University Health Services (UHS) and
School of Public Health, is monitoring the situation with local, state
and federal health officials.

And yes, I had not one, but TWO students come to lab this morning with the icky-poo.  They were definitely coughing up a storm and sounded horrible. 
And by Murphy's Law, I will now contract swine flu.    -_-

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Surprise visit from my parents

My parents came for a last-minute visit to have brunch with me.  My Mommy brought some home cooking for me, and they took me grocery shopping too. 

It was a bright ray of sunshine amidst this dark and desolate storm.  And very much needed.

Back to the library I go.
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Candy Land in San Francisco

Lombard Street is being transformed into Candy Land!  (SF Examiner article)

After 60 years of sparking the candy filled dreams of kids of all ages, Candy Land is coming to life for a day.  Lombard Street known for being crooked and picturesque will be transformed on Wednesday, August 19th into a life-sized game of Candy Land.  In celebration of Candy Land being "a sweet little game... for sweet little folks,” there will be four groups of six children aged 6-10 [that will] play the game.  The children will pull from an oversized deck of color-coated cards and will advance through the squares of purple, red, blue, orange, green and yellow covering this twisting stretch of Lombard.  At the finish line there will be a cake shaped like King Kandy’s castle, eco-friendly confetti and balloons.

My first thought: Wait, just 24 kids get to play the game? That's it?!
My second thought: WAIT. Just kids?!?!

My third thought: Well yay that I'm a big kid!  I can skip classes, right?  I mean, the third day of school is never really all that important, yes?

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Yesterday, in the span of four hours, I sold or gave away every piece of furniture.  My desk, my bookcase, and the bed.  I only kept my torch lamp, realizing I would need a source of light for the next few days. 

Today, I finished all the packing.  Amazingly, I fit the majority into three suitcases, and a medium-sized box of the books (and a small box of maplesyrup's stuff) will be mailed back to California.

Tomorrow, my last day at NIST.  The worst part is that I still have work to do. -_- 

Tuesday morning, at the very crack of dawn, I'll be off to the airport and heading home.

Is it bad that I'm not excited to go back?  I feel bad for not wanting to, but there's just too much anxiety and uncertainty with going back.  I really don't know how everything will be, but... I just have to trust that everything will be okay...  right? 

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Ready to go home

In just three days, I completely changed my mind about going home.

It first began with a simple, one-line message from Vicki. 

"Come home.  Here.  Take the time to just be."

I've been trying to take the time to figure everything out.  All the things running through my head, what I'm going to do next, how the next year will be, and the sort.  But I wanted to do all that away from California; I wanted to hide away from it all and not go back and face things.  But Vicki laid it out so simply for me - I need to just BE.  Forget about what's happened, never mind what's to come - just focus on the now and present. 

Then I got an e-mail from my dad.  A while back, I signed up to be on the Sweet Tomatoes subscription list, and as a result, I always get coupons from them.  There aren't any Sweet Tomatoes/Souplantations on the East Coast (closest one is South Carolina), so I forward the e-mails to my parents.  (Being Chinese *and* qualifying as senior citizens, they rather enjoy Sweet Tomato.)  I got another e-mail, and as usual, I forwarded it onto my parents, and I mentioned something along the lines of "Booger, here's another coupon that I won't be able to use."

"One more week, you'll be at home.

Home sweet home.


All my dad replied is to say that I'll be home again soon.  But what hit me so hard was the phrase "home sweet home" that he used.  My father is not an emotional man, nor ever shows the slightest sign of such.  In three lines, he said he's waiting for me to come home, and he knows that it's truly HOME  for me.

I teared up when I read that e-mail.  A huge part of me wants to go back home so badly, to be with my Mommy and Daddy, and to be with the friends that are supporting me through this. But there's an equally huge part of me that doesn't want to go back. I want to stay here in DC and hide from everything.  Stay as far away from it all, and not have to face anything. 

But deep down... staying in DC means staying away from the people that I love.  Home isn't just the house that my parents live in - it encompasses the love and warmth from my family and my friends.  And I don't think I can hide away from that anymore than I already have.

And then today.  I got a card from my Mommy in the mail today, and it turns out to be my graduation card. She had forgotten to give it to me during graduation, and originally was going to hold onto it until whenever I came back, but she decided to send it anyway.  Inside was a small card that I recognized instantly.  In leaving my high school, which was a very difficult decision for me, I had written down the lyrics to this song:

Be still, my soul
The Lord is on thy side
Stand calm within
The storm of grief and pain
Trust in thy God
To order and provide
Through every change
His faithful light remains
Be still, my soul
The restful peace within
Through trying times
Eternally, in love

"The storm of grief and pain"?  That is exactly what the past five weeks have been like for me. The sheer amount of change that happened has absolutely changed my plans for the future.  And I don't know what's going to happen now.  I'm not exactly sure how to go about the next phase of my life.  There's a million "what if"s going through my head, and my mind is racing as to every last thing.  But I have to trust that everything will be okay.  I have utterly no idea how anything can be okay after everything, but I just have to trust that it will. 

I need to just be.  I need to be home.  And I need to trust that everything will be okay.

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(Unlocking a previous post because it's what I'm referring to, but comments disabled because that post doesn't really apply anymore:

It's been more than a month now. (Five weeks exactly, actually.)  But it's been a difficult month.  I lost all motivation for anything and didn't care for much... which is that I really fell into a bad depression. 

I recognize that now. "Lost motivation" and "not caring" was simply what I told myself I was dealing with, when it really was a bad depression. 

But "was" isn't quite the right term, since it's still here.  I'm still dealing with it.  I know I can't NOT care for things anymore, so I'm trying to actually do things and be productive.  At one point, my e-mail Inbox got to almost 700 e-mails.  Absolutely ridiculous, but I simply didn't want to go through and respond to people's e-mails.  I'm slowly whittling that number down; I'm about to 350 now.  I'm still not sleeping very well.  But for the past two weeks, if I'm still awake by 6:00, then I just get ready for work and head out.  My mind is alert, so I figure I might as well take advantage of it and get things done.  I stayed at home for the first couple of weeks.  Yeah, I called a lot of friends each and every night, but I was keeping myself couped up in my room.  Lately, I've been heading out with bellevoyageur a lot.  Annapolis, Wine Festival, NASA Tweetup... practically something every other day.  Even went into Viriginia last week to see the boys. 

I'm slowly trying to climb my way out.  And just taking it one day at a time.
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"One day at a time." That's been my game plan as of late.  Some days are good, some days aren't; I have ups, and I have downs.

But today? 

Today was good.

Today I smiled.
Today I laughed.
Today I danced.

One day at a time.
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Getting away for a while

It's 6:30 in the morning, and my mind is racing.  I need to get away from all this.  To think about everything that's going on, to sort through everything that's in my head... to make some decisions that I've been procrastinating on.

I'm going to play hooky from work today.  Head over to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware.  Or maybe Ocean City in Maryland, too?  Probably be gone for most of the weekend.

Well, guess I'll be offline for the next few days.  Not that it's going to make a difference on Twitter or Facebook, heh.  As always, calling is the best way to get ahold of me.  (E-mail is not a good option at the moment.  E-mail inbox is building up far too quickly.)

And maybe I'll find my motivation again too.  Just maybe.