Despite my inner desire to be an extrovert and the center of attention, today I realized that it isn\’t my nature. Nowadays, I am less obnoxious, less dramatic than I used to be. OMG, what has Jenn turned into!!!

It made me happy to see everyone there. :) Everyone I really liked (and the ones who couldn\’t make it…) made it to my party and the hostees of course! It was great. And so awesome to be surrounded by lines of incredibly sweet desserts. Thank you to everyone who came and made my day so special! I loved my strawberry birthday cake although I did make a lame wish.

But it was a dessert bonaza. Right now, I could die in sweet happiness!

So many thanks to Lele, my parents, my sister!, Cliff, Shroom, Noah, Shinelun, Carol, Janette, Charles, Joon, Polo, Hari, Shipra, Daisy, Alex D., Lexi, Alex E., Andy, Sandhya, Lisa, Lorri, Jake, Jeff, Ian, Ron, Karen, Justin, Adi, Mike, Jessica, Thomas, Naim, Rachael

I saw Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith today! Big spoiler: Anakin Skywalker is Darth Vader! (overused joke har har).

And thanks to Lele who gave me my first 23rd birthday greeting! :)

From Peggy:

First-year students at Med School were receiving their first anatomy class with a real dead human body. They all gathered around the surgery table with the body covered with a white sheet.
The professor started the class by telling them, \”In medicine, it is necessary to have 2 important qualities as a doctor. The first is that you not be disgusted by anything involving the human body.\” For an example, the Professor pulled back the sheet, stuck his finger in the butt of the corpse, withdrew it and stuck his finger in his mouth. \”Go ahead and do the same thing,\” he told his students.
The students freaked out, hesitated for several minutes, but eventually took turns sticking a finger in the butt of the dead body and sucking on it.
When everyone had finished, the Professor looked at them and told them, \”The second most important quality is observation. I stuck in my middle finger and sucked on my index finger. Now learn to pay attention.\”

Good thing my sister decided to attend optometry school instead!

And with a whoosh, boom, and a click, it is finally over!

Although after 9 months together, I almost feel a small drop of nostalgia. What happened to the predicted fun? What happened to the nights we were supposed to spend gossipping and laughing over our mistakes? What happened to a connection? What happened?

And somehow, it never did.

My last few words to her were: \”That\’s the way life is. Sometimes we can\’t help but be who we are. Good luck with moving. I wish you the best.\”

My mom called me a few days ago that she had just deposited $200 into my bank account, explaining how my sister will send me $100 to me. She told me that it was for a digital camera they wanted get for my birthday since they didn\’t know what model I wanted. Then I called my sister who was annoyed that the surprise was ruined. Whoops, I guess my mom ruined the surprise. But awww…how nice of my family!

Usually, I never get presents from my parents for both xmas and my b-day (besides small trinkets). My parents believe that everything they have given me (tuition for undergrad, the use of a hand-me-down car…is sufficient and speaks well for its meaning). And as a result, I have always believed that a single day should not be treated any more special than the rest. Why should an anniversary between two people be the only day that one buys flowers for the other? Yes, why must some cry out of loneliness as a so-called special day passes?

Society has made me all but too aware though (i.e. Sixteen Candles). And as a result I make a big deal about it almost every year just so that I won\’t be expecting something magical to happen.

One of my project team members bought in her dog (named Milo) to our brand new office today (very well decorated with bright colors and cardboard furniture from Ikea). As I was sitting on the beanbag reading papers, Milo kept coming up to me licking my hand. I turned around, waving him off. Suddenly he came up to bare elbow because I have a tendency to always roll up my sleeves. He started licking. Then he stood on his hind feet and started pawing my elbow. Cute! My team member told me that I should make sure to take a good bath next time.

I left campus with a slight reaction to the pawing on my left arm. :)

Walking into the room, I said out loud, \”I had a feeling that the user study section wasn\’t detailed enough…and the reviewers indicated this was one of the major weaknesses of the paper. I knew it!\”

To my surprise, Polo said suddenly in an observant voice, \”I have noticed that you tend to know the right thing. During instructor meetings…and our team meetingsl…it\’s something I have noticed…\”

And I admit that one of my major weaknesses is a lack of confidence sometimes. And yet I speak up when I shouldn\’t. But I hold back when I should say something.

There\’s a fly in my room. I wonder if it\’s because of the peanut butter (crack) that I keep here.

Yesterday was the CMU commencement (all the ceremonies in one day). The keynote speaker was forgettable as well as the student speaker. Despite their many pieces of advice, nothing really struck me. Time is of essence, but why tell us how important and valuable our time is…when we have heard it all our lives. Especially when stuffed into a college that is neck-breaking, heart-breaking…we already know how our lives are precious. Show us how to live it.

But the most enlightening thing was talking to my friends\’ parents. They seemed so proud of their children, no matter what they did. That they come to a campus, awe-inspired at their children\’s work, amazing things that I could see they wish they could have experienced but through their children, they experience it all. I talked to Janette\’s mom who almost reminded me of my parents. They too came from Hong Kong and immigrated to the states right before they had children. Mrs. Fong told me about the differences of Hong Kong culture and American culture. It wasn\’t something that I had thought before. She said that in Hong Kong, people casually call each \”stupid\”–a way to show affection for another. Similar to the Spanish \”tonta\” or the smiling way here people say \”i hate you!\” But sometimes those kind of things can be misinterpreted and that we think my mom called me stupid and we suffer insecurity. Likewise, my mom was somewhat like that. Very hard on my sister and me. I was the oldest and didn\’t always did things right. In my fading memory, I only remember feeling hurt and so much more insecure. But here many years later, it was meant to be seen as a sign of affection?

That\’s hard to really reconcile those years. But now I only know how hard being a parent must be. I always wondered if my parents hadn\’t been so \”strict\”…would my sister and I be…the same people we are now? Would we have assimilated fully into the American culture? Would my sister and I actually follow the social norm of drinking alcohol…doing the things that people my age normally do? Or do matter what, the personalities we were born with…will make us the same people?