I have no idea what’s up with me today.  Perhaps ’tis due to being in Madison too long, being too busy with work lately, or missing time with friends…but I became nostalgic today for some reason…

First, I started thinking of family in Taiwan this morning when I was in lab.  I played some traditional Taiwanese songs on youtube, and I started seeing pictures of the green terraces with tea bushes and Taipei 101.  I was home last May for two weeks due to an urgent family matter, but I was not back for three years before then.  I started thinking of my time with my parents, grandparents, and some longe-lost friends when I was back during the past seven years.  There were many wonderful moments: trying restaurants with my mom, going to the ocean with my dad, spending time in traditional markets with my grandparents, singing with my aunt and uncles, meeting up with friends over meals, and cooking for the family.  Who knows when will be the next time I will be back visiting family members?  Although the flights can be lengthy and the time differences would mess with my circadian rhythm, I just miss people’s friendliness and hospitality.  Wisconsin is a friendly state in the Midwest, but ’tis nothing compared to Taiwan.  Plus, life in Taipei is more exciting with night markets and a convenient metro system.

After getting off from lab, I decided to treat this nostalgia with a quick fix of Chinese food.  I went to QQ Express across the street, ordered the noodle with seafood combo and peanut chicken, and paid six to seven dollars for a mountain of food.  I am picky with Asian food since most restaurants would Americanize the dishes with too much salt, oil, sauce, and glutamate…but ’tis something different from eating oatmeal with tons of vegetables and protein for every meal.

While eating dinner, I decided to watch Shall We Dance?, a great movie starring Richard Gere (one of the sexiest men alive for his age), Jennifer Lopez (hot sexae ladae), and Susan Sarandon (whom I’ve noticed from other films that I cannot remember now).  The movie actually created the other three things I missed…

Chicago.  Yes, the movie was filmed in Chicago, and I missed that great city as I saw the skyline, the the L train, bridges, and one of the malls.  I was in Chicago quite a few times: last January, last August, and also during New Year’s Eve…and I do enjoy being in a large city with things to do and places to go.  I remember my time with Ben over New Year’s Eve: walking along Clark Street from his Belmont/Lincoln Park neighborhood to downtown, going to a party with Wisconsinites on the twenty-somethingth floor with a great view of the downtown area, being introduced to some Chicagoan favorites, and simply catching up with him.  Actually, that also made me think about how Ben and I surprisingly bumped into each other at Memorial Union two to three years ago and started renewing and deepening our friendship more and more since then.  I also went to Chicago quite a few times with my brother to celebrate our birthdays, and that was fun too.

I have many favorite things to do.  I work out and exercise quite regularly with volleyball and broomball although the weather would rarely permit biking nowadays, but the tango music and dance moves made me think of ballroom dancing.  I noticed a couple doing ballroom dancing steps at my friend’s wedding in Oct 2010, and the beautiful and graceful moves captured my heart.  I decided to learn to dance other than aerobic dancing and took the Ballroom Dancing I course last summer.  ‘Twas one of the highlights of my summer with a funny instructor with a South African accent, seeing people who are not too well-coordinated and musical attempting to move their legs and arms, and pretty much relaxing.  Slow waltz was one of my favorites, and I still dance to waltz music whenever I hear one.  I also missed foxtrot, swing, tango, and cha cha although I did not learn too much about some of those.  I started thinking about when I went dancing with my friend Eric last May and even to swing dancing last September.  However, the movie made me want to dance more, even now!

The dancing part made me miss my joyful self.  Being submerged with work ain’t too fun in life, and I just feel that the beginning of a semester is always tough with so much to do.  Even with research, I want to move forward, but my professor can be slow with things.  I met with my professor today, and I will unfortunately have to do more mouse work and eventually kill more mice…which I hate.  With teaching, I felt impatient when my co-TAs would submit things in the last minute or would rely on me too much.  I could hardly smile this afternoon due to all the things on my mind, and having a nervous college does not help.  He is open to me and would share with my things, but he has little faith in himself…and even cried in front of me after he taught today.  I did talk to him and offer him tips with encouragement since public speaking is one of his fears, and I hope that I will continue to be patient and stimulating to him and others around me.  However, I hope that I will not become a victim by focusing on them since I have other things to accomplish and people to meet too.  I hope that I can be carefree and start dancing around with happy feet.  I hope that my heart will not be chained with concerns but be lightened.  I pray that I can be humble and cheery.  Heck, I think I’m going to walk around town while dancing to songs in my head after posting this entry.


Things have been going well for me. My trip to Chicago was a blast, and I definitely needed some time away from Madison. ‘Twas nice to see an old friend there, hang out with him, meet his friends, and have numerous long walks with him. Spending more than twenty-four hours in Chicago without adequate sleep could be tiresome, for I took a few naps after I got back. My brother also moved out of my place, so I helped him move and cleaned my place from 4PM until 11PM yesterday. I was so tired that I napped from 2 to 6PM after getting back from lab.

2012 seems to be a great year. I am not sure if I will post too many entries–especially the personal ones–on here. I have been scared and freaked out since some folks who read my blog found me on facebook or send emails to my personal email account somehow. I did not even post my email address on here nor even reveal my name, so ’twas quite frightening for me. I guess that perhaps this is what I get for posting things publicly on the internet…and that was a turn-off for me. There are reasons why I try to be as neutral on here as possible: by not posting face pictures of anyone (including me) and not revealing lastnames. Oh well…I guess life goes on for me too. I’m just going to be even more meticulous…or else, I guess I can turn this blog into one with recipes or what not…

That’s it for now.

When I went to lab in the morning, I was surprised to see a mail for me.  ‘Twas a postcard sent from Copenhagen with a view of Nyhavn, and that reminded me of my trip to Copenhagen in the summer of 2007.  My friend Joe was studying abroad at Copenhagen Business School, and I was studying abroad in Universitat Bonn.  I decided to stop by and drop him a visit, and ’twas a lovely weekend!  Copenhagen is such a beautiful city with fresh air and friendly people, and I just love the culture there.  The buildings were amazing, the food was a lot better than the food in Germany, the activities on water and on land were superb, and the hostel was the best one I have ever visited.  The view of Nyhavn in the postcard reminded me of a guy I met at the hostel who told me about the boat buses.  I went to purchase a day pass the following morning and traveled around Copenhagen by foot and by the water buses.  A water bus is shown in the postcard too!  Anyway, Nyhavn is also a place with many restaurants and cafes too, and I enjoyed being around that area.

The postcard was sent by my good friend Amanda, who I first met as an undergrad in university housing.  We both became house fellows and remain close to each other.  I went to the farmer’s market with her once when she was visiting Madison, and she joined me and others to march to the capitol on Valentine’s Day 2011 to deliver cards to Governor Scott Walker!  Since then, I have been reading email updates from her about her life, and she has been in Spain for quite a while now.  She just went on some travels and eventually stopped by Copenhagen.  I am glad that she went to Denmark since not many folks from the United States, including those from Harvard and Wisconsin who studied abroad with me in 2007, would visit Denmark.

Amanda has sent me quite a few postcards since we graduated from college in 2008: one from Door County, one from Grenada, one from Jerusalem, and now one from Denmark.  I am a guy who loves to write and receive postcards, and I am blessed for Amanda to remember me and send me a postcard when she travels.  I unfortunately am mostly stuck in the United States, so I cannot keep sending postcards from Madison to her and others.  When I go to a different state though, I usually buy chocolates or specialty food for friends and only sent postcards when I was in Alaska.  Hopefully I will be able to visit a different country in the near future and send more postcards to renew friendships.

After lab, I went to purchase something for Ben, whose place I will stay at when I am in Chicago for New Year’s Eve.  Ben is a friend of mine since my junior year, when he was a resident and I was his house fellow.  He graduated in that December, and I lost touch with him when he went to Madrid other than on facebook.  During the summer of 2009, I heard a hi and noticed that ’twas Ben in front of me when I was studying at Memorial Union.  He was in town for a wedding, and he even noticed that I lost weight and was looking great 🙂  So he came back from Madrid and has been in Chicago since then.  We chatted for a while, and he told me to give him a buzz when I am ever in Chicago.

Chicago has become my get-away-from-Madison destination.  I love the feeling of a large city with so many great restaurants to offer.  I love the architecture, the lake and the river, the convenient buses and metro, and so much more.  I first stayed in Chicago for a week during the summer after my sophomore year for a conference, and ’twas great.  I went to the Christmas Market one winter and was lost in the city.  After my brother came to Madison for college, we would go to Chicago to celebrate our birthdays.  After then, I would go by myself by studying maps and finding spots that interest me.  I went to Chicago in January to view the performance of The Mikado through the Lyric Opera of Chicago and met with Ben during his lunch break.  I spent most of the other time walking around the city and getting to know it a lot more.  I drove to Chicago in August at 5AM with two Germans, and we spent the evening with Ben for dinner and at Navy Pier before driving back to Madison and arriving back at 5AM @_@.  Ben always told me to stay the night over at his place and experience the night life.  Since I need a break from Madison, I thought of going to Chicago over New Year’s Eve since ’tis more festive there compared to Madison…and Ben said YES!  So the trip is now official, but we will not be going to bars since those can be expensive.  Hello?  USD200+ for a ticket?  He is taking me to a haus party instead, which should be nice 🙂  I am glad to be able to see Ben and catch up with him again, for he has been someone who would renew friendship with me from time to time.

I then went to hang out with Chuck for a bit and went for a long bike ride.  When biking along Lake Monona, I thought of M when I saw the scene of the capitol and Monona Terrace from John Nolen Drive and snapped a photo with my phone.  Unfortunately, I cannot send pictures or emails with my dinosaur phone.  Then, I noticed that M sent me a text message an hour ago!  I sent a text message back, and he told me that he had a busy but productive day working on applications.  We sent text messages back and forth as a ping-pong tournament.  Although my fingers were frozen from biking, I was glad to be able to hear from M.

Since I could not send a picture from my phone to M, I took a few with my digital camera and told him that I will send him something via email instead.  When I hopped back onto my bike, I noticed that my cellphone was ringing, and ’twas M!  We talked on the phone as I was walking my bike back to my place, and the conversation took around eighteen minutes.  I ended the conversation since I arrived back at home and I needed to put my bike into the rack.  I told him that I will call him back, but he told me that he needs to work on his applications but can chat on google…so we have been chatting on google since then 🙂

I sent M the pictures, and he thanked me for them.  One of the pictures was cropped and is now the header of this blog.  Anyway, I remember from our phone conversation on Christmas evening that he loves the view of Madison from John Nolen Drive at night, and I thought of sending him a picture telling him that I miss him and that I do think of him from time to time.  He told me that he thinks of me from time to time too, and that he is looking forward to seeing me again–perhaps with Indian food in a cozy restaurant or apartment…and we might even cook for each other!  We have been on google chat for more than two to three hours now, and we have chatted about planning trips together, cooking, Chinese and Indian food, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Chicago, applications, exercising, electronic music, singing, piano, Lady Gaga, classical music, and other topics.  ‘Tis nice to have him around for sure 🙂  I just hope that we will be able to continue bonding with each other and eventually do something together, even as a celebration of him getting his PhD!  He seems to be a wonderful guy, and he seems to enjoy my company as a “wonderfully friendly guy” and “good-looking ;-)”.  Anyway, his iPad is low on battery, so that ended the night.  I’m off to bed!