Ah... the end of another learning journey. I think coming to America is like self-discovery lol. Now that I'm back in dorm, I feel relieved cos travelling is tiring. But at the same time, I also feel lonely since the school is so empty. I have enough stuff to do though.
So exams ended rather quickly after the last post... I didn't even have time to breathe, and I left that night for NYC, then the next day flew to LA to join my aunt. Along the way I met Zhufeng first then Siyun.
LA was unpleasant because of the weather. Everyone was sian so we were off to a poor start. When we got to San Fran I felt that things got better, but I still felt like I was being torn apart all the same, being with two friends whose interests seemed totally different. It felt as if the only times we were together and happy was the times when natural beauty took us by surprise - like when we were cycling to and over the Golden Gate Bridge, or at Point Reyes. San Francisco is a really nice place to stay anyway. If I didn't have family and friends in Singapore that would probably be the prime place to stay. 1) There's silicon valley to work at - it's really where all the tech companies are concentrated together. It didn't turn out to be as much of a valley as I was expecting it to be, but it was still nice, and the roads were clean unlike NYC. 2) You can drive to places with natural/man-made scenery that really takes your breath away. 3) City is no too far away. 4) San Francisco feels safe. It doesn't feel like there are too many people. 5) There's lots of Chinese food there. 6) The temperature is just nice - such that you'll sometimes have to wear a sweater, but only sometimes.
NYC! Yes I'm finally clearing attractions that a tourist will have to see - there are just so many in NYC. Feels like I must do it since Ithaca is in NY and it feels like NYC is supposed to be my backyard even though it's really 5 hours and 85 USD away.
And this photo was taken at Princeton [I found out that there's a Kingston nearby, though Queenston is in Ontario haha] The lake froze over and we took photos on it. I walked across the lake on the ice while holding on to a rope tied over the lake [it can be seen in the picture].
When I was about 2/3 across, I heard cracking, which was a horrible feeling. I ran the last bit - the part near the other side was unfrozen already so I had to dive for the other bank and cut myself in the process. But now I know how scary it is. Wanted to try doing this at Cornell but I don't really think I dare to now :(
When talking to Siyun and Zhufeng, I felt like a country bumpkin. They made me feel like one anyway. Cos after coming from SG, I kind of went straight to an ulu place, so there weren't things like blimps [in SG we'd have called it airships], Cheesecake factories aren't common in Ithaca, and there are no big brand name shops like Saks Fifth Avenue. They don't find it special like I do. When they talked about these stuff, I really felt like a country bumpkin. :(
Anyway I felt that both of them are achieving so much in their lives, things that are not just academics. I'm doing so much for academics and I felt lousy about not doing anything else. I'm not sure how to put it - it's not about competing... it's just a lousy feeling because I feel like I'm only good at studying. And then again, I'm not all that good. I'm going to try doing other stuff too :D I think I'll start by asking to mark Java papers. I'm going to email nownownow haha. -done-
Siyun even has time to watch movies and shows etc - something that I've never been interested to watch - and can relate to the things Americans talk about. Zhufeng lives with three Americans in his room and thinks that I should integrate more. I think he traded in his closeness to other Singaporeans for integration. I wish... I didn't have to trade it in. Anyway at Princeton, Zhufeng's friends joined us for the last dinner at this Greek restaurant, and I got to hear about one of Zhufeng's friends' pre-college working experience at a restaurant. It was so interesting, different from what we do, and yet similar. She was a waitress and she was commenting on the laziness of this colleague of hers. They made references to things that I didn't understand, but otherwise I got most of it. It felt so down-to-earth and similar to what we do in Singapore, a far cry from the 'who's dating who' or 'which party/song is popular' that I hear from the girls in ice-skating class at Cornell. And other than ice-skating... I just hop from lesson to lesson not really getting to know anyone, not hearing anything.
Over this trip I listened to more western songs than I would have - songs that I still think are trashy but also catchy (like... ohwell I don't remember the names, but I can get the tune...) because of New Year Celebration, but also because Siyun played those channels in the car in SF. I was exposed to two people who are more open to integrating, and through them I realised that perhaps I was shutting myself out, like how those I hang out with at Cornell are, too. But opening up is really stepping out of a comfort zone [thanks Ben Chee] and it's going to take a lot from shy me.
I like my name, but I've had quite enough of introducing myself -.- In Singapore, I'd have to spell it all the time; over here, spelling it doesn't seem enough. I think it's because they assume that they're listening out for a chinese-sounding name, like how maybe ley is actually li or lee. oh well. MORE INTRODUCTIONS to come in the sem starting in 19 days. :( I'm not looking forward to the coming sem. Not just for the above reason.
I wish I could just be myself and do what I want :( I wish someone would teach me how to do the above/following.
Anyway for 2011, I resolve to
1) Feel comfortable talking to Americans. I don't know how, but I'm going to try.
2) Stop hesitating. If I catch myself hesitating, I'm just going to do it.
3) Stop cracking my knuckles - I was caught in an important photo doing that and it was horrible.
4) And the rest are the usual study hard, do well
Oh and I wish to be happy, that this blog will be filled with more happy posts.