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Cue summer

November 12, 2009
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How does one say goodbye to friends? I have never moved away from a place and not expected to return. If I do come back eventually, most of these people will have dispersed by then.

Sarah, China. Answer: take 2 bus rides together and take a picture in front of a Christmas angel.



Lin, Malaysia. Answer: Eat at an “authentic asian cuisine” restaurant and watch Michael Jackson’s This Is It. (The movie is pretty good. I recommend it.)

Not authentic. Their tables made for good reflection lighting, though.



November 8, 2009

Connor: so hows life?
me: s’alright
me: finish school in 2 days 😀
Connor: im experiencing a rather odd emotion
Connor: im so happy for you
Connor: yet I hate you at the same time


November 7, 2009
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I’ve been studying at the library more these past few days. This is my view when I look out the window:

The grass area is called Great Court.

Today, I bought passionfruit yoghurt at the markets ($5). It was lovely.

Today, we also surprised a friend for her birthday.

Beautiful birthday girl, J, and the one who organized it all, C.

Almost done!

October 30, 2009
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I’m 15 hours away from turning in my final essay for the semester, a sociological biography. Only about 2 weeks left in Perth. Scary stuff.

Anyways, I haven’t been working too hard on this assignment b/c I don’t feel personally invested in the class like I’ve had with biological oceanography and field techniques. That’s not the most legit line of thinking, but ah well. Also, this class is p/np. Unfortunately, I’ve made myself personally responsible for accurately reflecting on this person’s life. This is what I think I will be talking about: (1) something about Australia and immigration, maybe structural inequalities and (2) something about ethnic identity.

I’ve realized that having immigrant parents plays an unexpectedly large role in my identity. Like…my work ethic. You realize that your parents have sacrificed and stepped way out of their comfort zone so that you and your siblings could have a better life. At home (= California) that attitude seemed to be a given among most of the people I had hung out with because, well, almost everybody’s parents were first-generation immigrants (plus the whole filial piety thing). And, well, one of the reasons why you work so hard in school is so that you can honor their effort and sacrifice. I’m sure there are plenty of more nuanced ways I can go about thinking about it. I watched Mao’s Last Dancer with some of my friends, and in the scene where Li Cunxin arrives in Texas (the protagonists arrives in America on a “cultural exchange,” the first person from China every to do so), he’s overwhelmed by people friendliness and their gifts, shaking his hand and telling him, “Welcome to Houston! Welcome to America!” One of my friends giggled and asked me, “Is that what your parents felt like, Daphne? ‘Welcome to America!'” I was surprised at this question because it was the opposite situation I had imagined in my head: my parents arriving, lonely, in the middle of the Buffalo winter, not knowing anybody in the country, not knowing any English, somehow having to accept that they have left their families in Taipei and have moved to America, hoping their move will facilitate the moving to America of the rest of their family. So you know, they can all have this better life thing America has promised. Pretty proud of them, my parents.

Seriously, I’m too scared to study abroad for 5 months in a country that doesn’t speak English (not even a Chinese-speaking country), and my parents had the balls to pick up their whole lives and move to a country without knowing that language fluently. All in the hopes of having the best possible future for their children. I’m pretty sure if they had stayed in Taiwan we would be doing well enough now, but maybe my brother and I wouldn’t have the absolute best possible circumstances to set up our adult lives. So my parents decided to move.

Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Right-o. I may or may not go back to work on my essay. Toodles.

Cheers for that, mate

October 27, 2009

An e-mail from my friend (talking about finishing up an assignment):

okay i overestimated my abilities again! i guess i’ll wake sparrow
fart tomoz and finish the bugger off. Goodnight MATE!

This girl is hilarious, and I love her. She is the only girl I know that uses “mate.”  She also saw one of my folders labeled “hella data” and asked me what “hella” meant.


In related news, more on Australian (the language):

I’m going to head = I’m going to head off now
Let me know if you run into any dramas = Let me know if you have any problems
See how you go = Give it a go and hopefully it will work out
Are you guys still keen to meet this arvo? = Do you guys still want to meet up this afternoon?
cheers = “thank you,” or “you’re welcome” (confusing, right? I’m sure there are a few other uses floating about)
arvo = afternoon
post = mail
chemist = pharmacy
tute (pron. TOOT) = tutorial = discussion/recitation
programme = program
idea is pronounced “idear”
pattern is pronounced like “patent”
process is pronounced PRO-cess (instead of PRAH-cess)
data is pronounced DAH-ta, with DAH pronounced as in “dapper” (instead of DAY-ta)
“h” is pronounced HEY-che (instead of AY-ch)
“z” is prounced ZED (instead of ZEE)

For better or worse

October 26, 2009
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Things I’ve gotten used to:

Looking left, then right, when crossing the street
Buses that run exactly on schedule
Buses that actually require fare
Buses that I can swipe my smartrider card on and have fare deducted automatically
My own room
Internet with bandwidth limit
24-hour computer labs, all at the swipe of my student card
Staying late at computer labs with mates to finish reports
Going to a university right on the river and getting to see the beautiful river scenery everyday
Dual-flush toilets
Rain that comes in sudden bursts
Cheap produce (especially kiwis and bananas)
Having a full-out rack for drying clothes outside
Free and practically unlimited source of fresh lemons
Living 2 blocks from campus
A library that tells you exactly where the free computers are
Awesome and lovely people in my units
Feeling safe walking by myself late at night
Small doses only of sleep deprivation
Lecturers that are very understanding and laid back and approachable (example below)
Calling professors “lecturers”
Feeling fulfilled in the work I’m doing
Feeling anxious at going home because it will be a change

At 4 AM the day an assignment was due, I e-mailed:

Morning Peter,
Would it be possible to get an extension for the biological oceanography report?

Let me know,

A few hours later, he responded,

Hi Daphne,

No problem. Can you get it in by Monday? I know it’s a big report, so it’d be better if you had more time to finish it.



Granted, Peter is also the coordinator for another class I’m taking, and that second class also had a big report (worth 50% of our mark) due that same day, so he knew I was working on both reports. But still, one of the most encouraging messages I’ve gotten from a professor/lecturer.

Biological Oceanography, visually.

October 20, 2009
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Here are some of the graphs I’m using for my report. There are 13 total pages of graphs.

You know, just in case you’re interested.

Our research questions: Do physical variables (temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, nutrients) and biological variables (phytoplankton and zooplankton assemblages) vary with distance from shore and with depth? Are biological variables correlated with the physical variables?

Countour plots used to show the differences in 2-D, created in Matlab (by someone else, not me).

Countour plots used to show the differences in 2-D, created in Matlab (by someone else, not me).

Read more…