Flowchart of Consideration
2 variables of experience and expense.

Can't get in Ithaca?
Increase experience rating
Decrease experience rating

Will never be able to do in Singapore:
Increase experience rating
Decrease experience rating

If experience > expense
Do activity

Places to go in Japan
Mount Hiei
Hongan-ji in Kyoto [Temple of the Original Vow]
Taiseki-ji + Mount Fuji
=> Might be interesting to go for the first gongyō of the year (from 2:30AM on January 1)
Hara, Suruga - Hakuin's birthplace

3 Things
1) Today, during a physics quiz, the guy next to me was quibbling with the TA whether there was a need to provide numerical answers for the quiz, or whether the manipulation is enough. ?!

2) I found a case of cheating today - two people submitted identical code.

3) Satori 悟り = Awakening. Such a nice term, don't you think?

Omg Kabir's poetry... I wish I understood it in its original script.

And separation from Ram:
that's loss of life -
or worse - of mind.

The true Master -
what can he do
When the pupil is inept?
Trying to awaken him is just
so much air
Blown through an unfingered flute.

[from Songs of the Saints of India]

By last night, almost all the snow had melted, and you know what. The grass is always green below the snow. To be fair, some of the grass had yellowed, and some parts became extremely muddy, but most large patches looked like they had never gone through winter, never been under the ice.

This morning, now at 6.56am, the grass turned white again. Hmmm the road turned white too. Oh and the vehicles turned white too.

And omg! The wind is whiny, and white, too.
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vday demands an entry!! I have 14 mins left before laundry is done :)

Why does everybody complain that it's cold!! It's so nice when it's cold... I mean it's not all that cold now what. The cold air is refreshing and it takes away headaches you wake up with -.- haha

Today the winds were especially strong, picking up the snow on the ground and whirling it back up, distributing it more evenly over the walkways. In the night, the snow on the ground sparkles so prettily :D

Oakenshields was supposed to have a special vday dinner today but it didn't seem so special. Then again, there was pad thai, which was nice :) Oakenshields was so empty, unlike the CNY dinner or even the random medieval dinner last sem. All the ppl who were there are probably single haha ironic but logical.

I wanna walk through a real heavy snowstorm sometime :)

I have a date with physics tonight - late night date okay! Then tmr have to wake up early to do more ECE/MSE boo ohwell at least I was quite awake today.

Omg snowboarding is so fun!!

Today I finally felt like I was snowboarding and not tumbling. I had control over the board.

Snowboarding is so fun because once you pass the tipping point, there are no other worries, you just have to focus on getting down safely and not falling or crashing into trees, knocking into others, or tipping over into somewhere you don't wanna go.

It's also very exciting.


School's Cancelled!!
School's cancelled till 1030, effectively making my first class 12.20. YAYYYYY omg so exciting. The last time school was cancelled was cos of SARS hahaha

Here's the official email from the school
University to Close at 2:00 A.M, Wednesday February 2, 2011 and Re-open at 10:30 A.M.

Cornell University will close effective 2:00 AM Wednesday morning, February 2, 2011. The University is expected to reopen at 10:30 AM Wednesday, February 2, 2011, with classes beginning at 11:15. Essential personnel should consult with their supervisor as to their individual start times.

When the university does re-open, we ask that supervisors be open and flexible with employee work schedules, especially if they have long commutes or special conditions related to travel. Employees may use their accrued time or make other arrangements with their supervisors to make up the time where possible.

TCAT will be running their normal routes on Wednesday, but there may be delays due to road conditions. Commuters should check www.tcatbus.com for updates.

The inclement weather team will continue to monitor the weather system affecting our area through the night. We plan to post another update by 6:00 AM Wednesday. Please monitor the University Operating Status & Inclement Weather Phone at 255-3377 at as well as the Operating Status page at http://www.cornell.edu/about/status/.

This information posted: 2011-02-01 23:23:00 -0500


I slept before receiving this email, so I woke up normally.

To celebrate, Tzer Han and I had an elaborate breakfast: Here's photos: [with meatballs!!]

Blowing Snow
When the wind blows, the snow is so beautiful :D

End of Winter Travels
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.


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