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I write verbose posts about polyamory, love, lust, and self-discovery on my other blog Victoria's Imaginarium.

Friday, December 28, 2012

First 4.0 GPA in life :)



(16 credit hours taken, 13 are counted towards graduation, 10 are graded)

It wasn't a fully science semester, but hey, I barely passed Introduction to Organic Chemistry and now I got fucking A in Intermediate Organic Chemistry!!! It was truly a miracle how The Secret and The Magic helped me overcome phobia and severe exam anxiety for ochem. I am grateful :)

I also completed 6 online courses and mice surgical handling training. Now I am an authorized mice user and will be starting a proper hematopoietic stem cell research next semester! :D

It feels so good to know that I do have what it takes to achieve my ambitions :)


I know it always seems like confidence is what I was born with, especially in academic stuff, but you have no idea how I once lost it. Completely.

Unfamiliarity with U.S teaching method (more precisely, UW-Madison style of teaching), stiff competitiveness among students (curved grading), inconsiderate roommates (or should I say, ignorant, selfish assholes), long-distance relationships... and severe exam anxiety for ochem. Oh Lord. You dunno how frustrating it was to score almost-perfect scores in quizzes and then flunked all midterms due to this stupid anxiety/phobia thing. Mind goes blank, alphabets look like alien symbols, hands shivering, clock ticking, and puff—  everything studied before returns to zero.


I made it through my first semester though. Results weren't great, but not too bad. I did okay (I thought I did terrible, now I'd say I did okay compared to my second semester).

I didn't expect things to be worse, but... well, I was too ambitious, and overestimated myself. The next semester, I took 5 science courses and almost died. Had to drop Intermediate Organic Chemistry, which at that moment took most of my time yet seemed to have very little hope to pass. With the help mainly from my faculty advisor, I was granted a late drop right before the 3rd midterm. Thank God.

Too bad it was a little too late; damages to my other courses had been done. I was at my lowest point in my life. I even thought I would be sent back to Malaysia by my sponsor... I literally wanted to stand in the middle of the road and let a truck run across me. The genetics course I thought I was gonna ace, fml, the professor from China set the final paper fully math-based and I bid farewell to my A.


But I survived. My advisor said I already got rid of the toughest courses altogether in that semester and I shall ace the rest of the semesters till my graduation!

I realized the true reason behind these continuous hardships some time in the middle of second semester. But I didn't have the will to put The Secret in full use after abandoning the practice for 2 years plus... It was The Magic that saved me. I started to count my blessings everyday, and drown myself in overwhelming gratitude for everything in my life. There were still stress/panic attacks, but I tried my best to maintain positivity.

Then everything else just rearranged itself onto the right track!!! I never felt so... confident, tranquil, blessed, delightful. I never felt so good about life. I dunno how to describe the magnificence of gratitude to you... It's like I am reborn. It's like... my surviving phase has come to an end and I am finally living my life with full integrity!

Thank you God! Thank you Rhonda Bryne! Thank you Universe! Thank you my family! Thank you my partner! Thank you my friends! Thank you my mentors in lab! Thank you my professors! Thank you my advisors! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I can never thank everybody enough... thank you :')




Also, (ranting is not tolerated by Rhonda Bryne's teachings but heck, don't care, let me get this off my chest) thank Lord I got rid of  the credited but not counted towards graduation and not graded ESL (English as a Second Language) course which was a total waste of my time. My first English semester was taught by a woman professor (all female professor in the ESL department are strict and picky bitches). This semester... I was like the only one— okay, one of the only two— who actually paid full attention to the poor hippie professor. You can't imagine how it was like to sit through a English tuition class 3 times a week with 10+ China students (except one Japanese) who have fucked up grammar, terrible articulation yet are cocky, rude and ignorant. They conversed in Mandarin when the professor was teaching, and in half of the their conversations, they were either criticizing/making fun of the professor/Americans in general, or talking about how great everything about China is. Why the fuck are you doing here if you're so patriotic and anti-America?! Let's just admit that you too submit to the superiority of an American degree. Morons.


The most epic episode with these China classmates, before a class near the end of the semester...

Professor: Cinrol, is your ethnicity Chinese or Malaysian?
Me: Chinese. Malaysian is a nationality. The ethnicity of major population in Malaysia is called Malay.
Guy A: 啊原来你是中国人?!(Ah so you are Chinese!)
Me: 华族。我是马来西亚人。(My ethnicity is Chinese. I am a Malaysian.)
Guy A: 你会说汉语?!我还以为你不懂汉语!(You know Mandarin?!! I thought you don't know Mandarin!)

(dude, I have already said I understand 8 languages and can speak 5 of them fluently when I introduced myself on the first day of class... You did not listen to my introduction???!)

*he returned to his seat*

Guy A: 还以为她不懂汉语…… (thought she don't understand Mandarin...)
Guy B: 啊那我们之前说什么她都听得懂?(Ah so she understood what we have been talking about?)

They already found out that I do understand Mandarin and they still talk so loud about me in Mandarin...


Now you know why I call them "China students" instead of "Chinese students"... it's to draw distinction between ethnicity Chinese and nationality Chinese. I have been telling people I am a Malaysian... I'd rather people mistake me as a Malay than to think I come from China. Introducing myself as a Malaysian saves a lot of explanation too. Most Americans dunno that Malaysia is multi-racial and and I really hate going through the same explanation part to clear the misconception that Malaysian Chinese and Indians are immigrants... oh well, some of our racist Malay governors and citizens thought so too, even though the Chinese and Indian populations have been present in Tanah Melayu for like 400 years.


(shit... Rhonda Bryne is right. I should not rant... now the tone of my grateful post has turned bitchy and I dunno how to revert it... okay, let's try...)



But I am grateful that (taught by Rhonda Bryne too, it's a way to resume gratitude haha) a semester with those China students actually made me learn to eliminate my prejudice against China students. Because I felt bad for judging them merely based on the traits they showed in class... A few of them was actually friendly to me. Bad students, yes; doesn't mean they are bad human beings! And not all students from China are like them, I do have friends from China who are respectable :)



Anyway, I just want to say that this first ever GPA 4.0 means a lot to me, and I should do my best to get  more GPA 4.0 in the remaining 4 semesters :) Next semester I am taking at least 10 credit hours of science courses (I am still on waiting list for a 2-credit-hours lab course) and Second Semester Japanese. What I am more thrilled about is that I will be starting to go deeper in research!!! Have to complete Sophomore Year Project (I haven't got rid of it cuz I am a transfer student) and submit Junior Year proposal before Feb 13 to apply for funding (meaning I only have less than 3 weeks to do it ahhhhh) and start Senior Year Research Thesis! That spells s-t-r-e-s-s but I am gonna nail it by hook or by crook!!!


Bright future, I am coming!!!




Thursday, December 27, 2012

Missed my flight to Tokyo

No relevant pictures cuz I was too stressed to, and you don't need to read this blog post if you never plan to fly internationally with many transits in between alone.

So, thanks to Storm Draco, my domestic flight from Chicago O'Hare International Airport was delayed, and then it took 5 freaking hours to reach San Francisco International Airport. Common sense told me it shouldn't take so long, so for a few times, I actually doubted whether I was on the right plane. 

The departure time of my international flight to Tokyo was at 6.00 PM, I should be arriving at San Francisco at 5.30 PM— but when I arrived, it was already 5.45 PM!!!


Boarding time should have ended already, but I was hoping that I could still get onto the plane, so I ran to take the AirTrain to get to the departure side of the airport and ran to Information Counter. The two old ladies at the counter obviously didn't understand English well (they both have an accent and have brown skin). From them I got the worst service I had ever received in the US thus far— they didn't even greet me or asked me what help I needed as I approached, they just sat there with the most ignorant and unfriendly attitude I have ever encountered in the US! I asked them where Japan Airlines' desk was (AA staff at Chicago Airport told me to get my official boarding pass from JA at SF Airport), the ladies didn't seem to understand my question and requested to see my unofficial boarding pass issued by AA, the directed me to go straight to the boarding gate by simply pointing at a vague direction.

"Where?" I asked, and they pointed at the same direction again. I was doubtful, but I was running out of time, so I decided to follow their instruction. WRONG CHOICE. I couldn't get through the entrance to international flights' gates, of course, because the temporary ticket American Airlines issued was not an official boarding pass (why are connecting flights operated by different airlines so fucking mafan?!). The security asked me to go get it at the check-in counter.

I ran there. The counters were already closed. I got to know that the JA people already left.

It was 6PM. I checked the schedule display screen, flight to Haneda had already departed.


I fucking knew it'd happen.

I didn't get panicked though. I mean, how hard could it be to resolve a problem like this, especially in the states? (at that moment I was so really so grateful that I was in the USA and not other countries) It's just that my shoulders almost fell off already cuz I had been running everywhere for 15 minutes with a backpack containing 2 laptops and a big heavy tote!!! (didn't bring a carry-on baggage with wheels cuz I was planning to buy a cute one at Tokyo)

I just needed to figure out who to talk to. I went back to the Information Counter, put forward my question but again, the two immigrated ladies (I supposed so) didn't seem to understand what my question was. Forgot how they responded, I just know that I didn't get any help from them.


I called JA and told them my situation, the staff asked me to go to AA counters since it was their fault that I missed the JA flight. Took AirTrain to go back to another side of the airport, talked to the AA staff, found out AA already re-booked me to transit in Hong Kong via Cathay Pacific Airlines. CPA staffs didn't issue me boarding pass immediately, I was asked to wait till one hour before departure time to know whether there were still empty seats available. But in the end they gave me one!


Long story short, I managed to fly to Hong Kong, then back to Malaysia. Also managed to contact my family to pick me up at the airport at 1PM instead of 6PM! I didn't inform them straight when I got stuck in San Francisco because I wasn't sure whether I would be issued a ticket by CPA, and when I got the ticket it was already boarding time. Once I reached Hong Kong, I whatsapped Michelle (my US line doesn't have coverage outside the states) and asked her to contact my family and told them to pick me up at 1PM. Luckily she got my message and contacted my family! Thank you Mich, thank you :D

In fact I was pretty chilled throughout the whole drama lah, just a little disappointed cuz I didn't get to spend my Christmas in Tokyo. I was so thrilled about it :( And it was fucking tiring having to check in and claim my baggage 3 fucking times each. Especially at San Francisco Airport, CPA only allowed me to check in my baggage after they confirmed that there were still empty seats available (which was 1 hour before boarding time), meaning I was carrying my baggage, backpack and tote (on a trolley) everyfuckingwhere I went, dinner, duty-free shops, even washroom!!! (Airport safety rule: never leave your belongings unattended. And don't leave your belongings with strangers, you never know if someone slips something illegal into your stuff)

From Madison to Chicago by bus: ~3 hours
Rotting at Chicago Airport: ~3 hours
Fight to San Francisco: ~5 hours
Rotting at SF Airport: ~5 hours
Flight to Hong Kong: ~16 hours?!!
Rotting at HK Airport: ~3.5 hours
Flight to Malaysia: ~4 hours
Car drive back home: ~3 hours
Total: ~42.5 freaking hours, around 2 days wtf


The bright side was, I got to experience Hong Kong for a short while, and didn't have to travel alone with all my baggages from Haneda Airport to Narita Airport. So I am still grateful! :)

And I am so proud of myself for going through this alone! 









ps: I didn't call WSK because he was unreachable by phone by the time I reached San Francisco, we both flew back to Malaysia on the same day but via different airlines— he bought round trip when he went back during summer and he couldn't change the route of returning trip to be on the same flight with me. But we will be flying back to the US together, with 17 hours layover in Tokyo!!! Can't wait!!!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

First Sledding Experience

(Video at the bottom!)


Snowstorm Draco has turned our campus into Narnia!


Taken on my way to work


Outside of McArdle Lab. Parts of Wisconsin dig out of 20 inches of snow. 


This slippery ice-snow layer on the ground made walking SO DIFFICULT


This was even more challenging. Layer of frozen mud water. Walking on this is like ice-skating.


Doesn't change my liking for winter though :)


Taken on Bascom Hill


Bascom Hill covered in white


The UW annual traditional massive snowball fight I missed:


[ December 20, 2012 - Many UW-Madison students got a pass on final exams Thursday, accompanied by the chance to revive a traditional battle on Bascom Hill as a winter storm blanketed the campus with snow perfect for packing and pelting opponents. Between 500 and 600 students turned out for the snowball fight between the Lakeshore dorms and the Southeast dorms, according to UW Police, who said the Lakeshore residents won the battle.
Source: Wisconsin State Journal ]

I finished my last paper on Wednesday morning and the snowball fight was on Thursday 1pm but I didn't know about it! Was there one last year?! Nobody told me about this "unspoken" tradition! Next year, babe, next year :)


Don't you think UW-Madison campus looks a little Europe-ish here? :D




Staircases buried in newly-formed snow slide


But never mind we made up after Rudy's last paper was over :D Cat-eye effect in the top left picture was original (not edited), cosmetic lens made my true eye size and eye shape stand out :D




I took a picture of Rudy's weird posture without him noticing and he took revenge hahaha


Kit kept attempting to sled on Bascom Hill's almost-flat slope and had me try it.


Then Rudy couldn't stand Kit's desperation + kesian-ness and brought us to the slope beside Elizabeth Waters Residential Hall (bottom right pic) to have a proper sledding experience!



The reasons why I was being a coward...

Kit: *at somewhere far from us, getting himself to the top of the slope with the assistance of a climbing rope someone tied to a tree*
Me: Oi look at that guy *points at Kit*
Rudy: ... he must be imagining himself conquering Himalayas.
Me: Eh I also wanna sled from up there leh but I very scared la... what if I can't brake and go all the way down??
Rudy: Then you sled across the trees and into Lake Mendota.
Me:
Rudy: Oh yeah hor you can't swim right?
Me:

******

Kit: Aiyo why you so scared? Won't get hurt one lah.
Me: How do you know there are some rocks underneath the snow?
Kit: Where got rocks? Snow only lahhhh

later

Rudy: *throws something white and round at me out of a sudden*
Me: OUCH!!!!!!!!!
Rudy: So pain meh?
Me: *groan and rub knee* THAT'S A ROCK YOU IDIOT!
Rudy: Huh really ah?
Me: YA LA!!! FUCKING PAIN OKAY!!!
Rudy: Batu ke? I thought it's a snow ball--
Me: Snow ball where got so compact and hard and heavy one!!! IT'S A ROCK LA!!!
*Kit approached*
Me: *shout at Kit* Who says no rock! Rudy just threw one at me! 




Wednesday, December 19, 2012

UW Yule Ball · Moaning Myrtle


"The Yule Ball is of course a chance for us all to - er - let our hair down." —McGonagall
The Yule Ball is a tradition of the Triwizard Tournament. It is a formal dance held on the evening of Yule (the pagan Winter solestice/Christmas celebration) of a tournament year, and is opened by the tournament champions and their partners. At Hogwarts, where the Yule Ball was held in 1994, only students of fourth year or above were permitted to attend, though younger students could also go if an older student invited them to accompany them. The ball begins at 8:00 p.m. and ends at midnight.
Source: Harry Potter Wiki

So yep, I attended the 3rd annual UW Yule Ball as Moaning Myrtle. Sadly, most American muggles there didn't really know or care much about Harry Potter. It was just a end-of-the-year ball with some Harry Potter elements here and there. The crew who signed me up for look-alike contest, well, it's normal for me to expect him to know the characters right-- but no, he didn't even know who Moaning Myrtle is -.-" hence it wasn't surprising at all that the crowd ended up dancing to Op op op op instead of some Harry Potter soundtracks. Well, Yule Ball in the movie did play some pop music also la, just that in real life Potterheads  tend to expect "Yule Ball" to be more Harry Potter than a ball should be, I guess.

Anyway, we had Fleur Delacour and Victor Krum for the opening dance! :D




Hahaha that was me screaming at the Sorting Hat because I was pissed at him for not knowing who I was, even after I told my name! Moaning Myrtle was a ghost and she was already sorted into Ravenclaw! Anyway the Sorting Hat did sort me into Ravenclaw after I answered his questions. And of course it was just a normal hat couldn't talk, the talking part was played by a crew hiding behind a curtain. Pity his throat, had to fake a British accent in a low, rough voice (also fake!) the whole night!

And the reason why the organizing committee had to muggle-rify and Americanize this ball was all clear in the way people responded to personality quiz questions asked by the Sorting Hat.

"What would you choose to be your Horcrux?"
"My what?"
"What magical creature do you like the most?"
"Dragon/unicorn/mermaid." (Mermaid is not adorable at all in Harry Potter's magical world)
"Which task in Triwizard Tournament do you think you can win?"
"???"

You get the idea. My assumption is, most of the people came just because it's a ball; meaning lots of people wouldn't enjoy the night if it's strictly Harry-Potter-themed? 

But then again, it was really shocking how people would line up early and 500 tickets were gone within 10 minutes. I didn't manage to get a ticket at first. I was dead tired that evening because I stayed up the previous night studying for a midterm, I knew I was gonna crash when I hit the bed so I asked le haboyfriend (he coined this term, go ask him lol) to go grab tickets for both of us. It was 5.00 p.m. when I told him to go line up, the ticket counter would be opening at 5.30pm. He said okay. I shut eyes. When I opened my eyes at 5.45 p.m., THIS WONG SOONG KIT WAS STILL GAMING!!! I yelled at him and he quickly went, but soon he called and said the counter was already closed when he reached the place. We posted on the event page and asked if anyone changed their mind, but there were at least another 10 posts with the same quest, some even offered to pay and nobody with extra tickets replied. (the tickets were free and on first-come-first-get basis, the ball was a charity event)

I was depressed for 2 days. Can you imagine how depressing it was, I already matched my outfit as Moaning Myrtle, and the ticket counter was nearby my apartment, and I was still awake 30 minutes before the counter opened... should have gone myself... so close...

And then I decided to put The Secret in practice. I told my friends I didn't care how, I would make sure I got a ticket for myself. I did rant to Kit but there was a sense of chill-ness/confidence inside me. I didn't really try hard in fact, but Law of Attraction worked AGAIN-- like magic!!!

Someone posted on the event page that she had an extra ticket to give away, and Kit saw that post cuz  he had been checking up on the page every few minutes! (driven by guilt and love) 

Long story short, I got a ticket 30 minutes before the ball started!!! Kit didn't manage to get himself one, but I am still grateful that I got myself at the ball!


moaning myrtle yule ball uw wisconsin-madison
Already bought the scarf a year ago! I have 2 wands too but Moaning Myrtle is a ghost and shouldn't be holding a wand. The pink Nightmare Before Christmas tie was a mismatch but it was the only tie I had!


moaning myrtle yule ball uw wisconsin-madison
Couldn't fit myself in the toilet bowl so I stood at the side. Lololol.


If you have no idea who Moaning Myrtle is, this is how she looks like:
moaning myrtle

So what do you think? Did I pull off her look good enough? :3 The constraints of my hair and Asian face didn't leave me with many options. Moaning Myrtle was the only choice I could think of cuz I really didn't want to go as Cho Chang! Ugh I hate the actress who played Cho... she kissed Daniel Radcliffe when he was my Bieber! And for this reason you won't find any picture of her in this post. (did I tell you I am a little anti people of my own ethnicity?)





butterbeer harry potter
They really served butter beer! But it tasted like they added melted butter-flavored candies in normal beer wtf


I must be too thrilled about going back to Malaysia this winter break I thought the pretzels were mee goreng -_-


moaning myrtle cho chang
Thought I had to spend the whole night without anyone I knew, then I bumped into Winnie and other friends :'D
She was Charlie Chaplin at Freakfest and now this slutty Cho Chang. Tsk tsk.


moaning myrtle cho chang fleur delacour
With Fleur Delacour. So sweet!


moaning myrtle cho chang victor krum
High Cho was high. Tall Victor was tall. Grumpy Myrtle was grumpy. And I donated the dog purse.


moaning myrtle
Left: with Winnie    Right: With another Winnie haha


There was a room for us to draw Christmas cards for orphans. Spotted this not-an-owl bird thing! Hahaha



Winnie and I got called onto stage as both of us made it to the semi-final of look-alike contest! No pictures to prove though, because no friend to take pictures of us -_- and the event photograph did not take any picture of us semi-finalists wtf. 

I was the first semi-finalist the emcee introduced to the crowd, I was confused what I was supposed to do so I just... waved shyly wtf. True to my character...? 


... okay. Maybe not. I should have screamed or something. Never mind.


And the finalists who didn't win are
Can you guess who they dressed as?
(no offense but is it just me or do you guys also notice the extent she could open her mouth?)


patil twins sisters dumbledore yule ball uw
Patil twins and Dumbledore! :)


And the winner of look-alike contest... *drumrolls*

moaning myrtle trelawney cho chang
The moment I saw her at the ball I knew she was gonna win! She must have foreseen herself winning the contest through the crystal egg in her hand ;)


trelawney
Yep, this mad woman Professor Trelawney, who taught Divination (a fortune-telling class) in Hogwarts! Skeptical Hermione thought the class was bullshit and quit after being insulted by Trelawney, whereas the Patil twins were great supporters of her. She did make some important prophecies about Voldemore though.


After the look-alike contest, Winnie and I found out that our other friends had left without informing us, then we left since there were no one else we knew at the ball. (you can't really make new friends for company at a ball, everyone goes with someone they already knew and they would just stick the whole night. And it was already near 12pm. And finals were coming. Hahaha I sound so Asian) 

Do I want to attend the 4th UW Yule Ball next year then? Yes I think, if my closer friends manage to get tickets and if I am not too packed with exams. Although the ball wasn't as Harry Potter as I would like, it was still a pleasant experience which I wouldn't mind experiencing again, and hell yeah, a ball is a ball! Maybe I will dress glamorous next year, forget about look-alike contest! :D


Check out the Yule Ball scene in the movie!





Ending this post some super cute animated images from Pusheen.com :


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Crazenne, xoxo