Aug 22, 2015

Aaand this is why I'm a chemist.

One time, whilst in China, we were eating this vegetable that they had served us for lunch. At the time, I had no idea what the vegetable was, but I've since learned it's called bok choy and you can buy it at most grocery stores. This pleases me exceedingly, but I digress.

For some reason (which I may learn about at some point over the next year in o chem) this particular batch tasted a little off. All my girls and I were discussing how not-great it tasted, and I was sitting there, looking at Megan (my friend from p chem last year) and I said, "You know what it is? It tastes really basic. Yes." That was the end of it in my head, and I was so happy to have finally, after eating like half of our serving, placed what was weird about it. It tasted way more basic than it usually does. I guess it's more acidic usually.

Anyway, Megan is a double major in chem and bio, so she nodded and replied back, "Yeah, it does taste a little more bitter than usual."

Bitter. Haha. As soon as she said it, I knew I had used a unique term. Still correct, but the normal thing to say would have been bitter. And yet that word just did not come to my brain, at all, and I was totally satisfied at having thought of the word basic instead.

But you know, I still am satisfied with it! It just accentuates my working knowledge. Haha.

Moral of the story: bases taste bitter, and as a fun bonus, acids taste sour. Hence lemons. And apparently I will always have chemistry on the brain for the rest of my life.


Aug 15, 2015

Sometimes I feel like an adult, sometimes I feel like a student.

Today those happen to overlap!

I just wanted to say that I'm so proud of myself for buying used textbooks from amazon. I imagine I saved around 50% by doing that. And as a bonus, I'm relatively certain that I'll use the same textbooks this semester as next. I might have to buy one new one, but the other two should be the same!

Hooray. :) And I get paid soon, so that's fantastic. And by "soon," I mean in like 3 weeks.

Apr 26, 2015


A successful moment in my life:

Today I was walking home from school and a lady was in front of me who had some sweet shoes, so I said, "I like your shoes! 我喜欢你的写!" and she understood! Hooray.

(Side note, I don't actually know the character for shoes, so swype might have led me astray.)

Second successful moment in my life:

Today I was helping Chelsey fine tune her teaching and talk more about the details of objects as we were on a break between class. We were in her classroom and I was just picking up various objects she had been using in teaching, taking about the details of them. Wow, look at this racket! Its strings are horizontal and vertical! Listen, ssh ssh. Did you hear that? When I pluck it, it makes a sound! These details have nothing to do with the lesson, but they're important to talk through. At this point, Jimmy (from the story yesterday) came back in the class to hang out. And look at the feathers on this birdie! They're soft, can you feel it? And this tip is rounded! Oh, it's also soft can you feel it? And wow, look, it has a stripe!
Jimmy joins in, "It has a stripe!"
"Yeah, and hey Jimmy, come here, there's a stripe on your uniform!" He looks down in amazement. "What about me, do I have a stripe?"
"No. No stripe."
"Yeah, there's no stripes on my clothes. What about Teacher Chelsey?"
"No stripes."
"She has no stripes, either!"
"She has no stripes either!"

It was perfect. He modeled everything exactly like he would have in class, and he engaged in it on his own, I didn't prompt him to chime in until he decided he wanted to. What a cute little powerful demonstration for Chelsey on how easy it can be to keep the kiddos engaged. :)

All y'all can continue to be jealous.

Ender's Game is paying off!

Looking back, my blog recently has been so introspective! And as fun as that is for me, probably about now would be a great time for something lighter. Time for a China story!

This one is from March 17th! St. Patrick's Day :)

We have a slightly different set up student-wise than when I was in Nanlang. In Nanlang, there were 9 children total. Two in the youngest group, four in the middle and three in the oldest, and the three of us teachers taught all of them. Here in Xiaolan, there are 26 in the youngest, 26 in the middle, and 27 in the oldest. Three of our teachers are dedicated to just teaching the youngest kids (ages 3-4) and the other six teachers teach all of the middle/older kids (ages 4-6). Each class has 8 or 9 kids in it, and all of the kids are awesome, particularly our older kids.

In the older class, we have some really awesome speakers. My story today comes from one sweetheart named Jimmy. I actually started out the semester not liking him a ton (he thought it would be fun to squish up my face. I thought otherwise), but he grew on me really quickly! He's a good little kid. Very smart and considerate-- as soon as he realized I don't like the face smushing, he stopped-- and he wants to be a good kid, so he'll obey you and follow the rules adamantly.

Well on St. Patrick's Day, I was sitting in his class watching Chelsey teach, and she was handing out token bags to all the kids. They each have their own token bag that has their name on it, and as the kids get stickers, a lot of them like to decorate their bags with said stickers. One girl, Lucia, didn't have her token bag. Which is weird, we're the ones who keep them, so it was just MIA, and it actually had been since the day before. I looked around and couldn't find it, so we were just taking the token bag of one girl who hadn't been here in a while and flipping her name tag over and letting Lucia use it for the day.

I was writing Lucia's name on the paper and decorating it a little, drawing the four suits of a deck of cards on it, and Jimmy would turn around to watch me. He kept saying, "Lucia token bag snow," and I'm sitting here like, "Yeah, this is Lucia's token bag, and sure, I suppose that club looks a like a snowflake." Haha. But he was so insistent! Lucia token bag, snow! I mean, dang Jimmy, I'm not a bad artist, this is clearly not a snowflake.

When I was satisfied with the name, I handed the token bag to Lucia, and Jimmy was still stressing out a bit, not paying attention to class at all, and at this point he tries telling Chelsey. "Lucia token bag! Snowman! Token bag!" Chelsey's trying to teach a class and her class has nothing to do with snowmen, so she's a touch confused and just writes Jimmy off. "Yes, that's Lucia's token bag today," and moves on. Which is totally understandable, I don't fault her at all. But he seemed a little disheartened, and I realized it was probably because he knows where her token bag is and we're just not listening well enough. As his attention shifted back to class, I left them and went looking through all our props, looking for anything that might be vaguely snowman related. Bags, hats, puppets... nothing.

After our first class with the middle and older kids, we have a water break, so I took that time to find Jimmy. At this point, he has already moved on from whatever he was trying to say, and he was just enjoying his break. But I grabbed Chelsey to come listen and then pulled him aside and got down on his level--

"Hey Jimmy, where is Lucia's token bag?" He looks at down at his.
"Token bag."
"Yeah, but where's Lucia's?" and I find her across the room and point at her. "Do you know?" He nods and starts thinking. After a few seconds, I start getting nervous. I know this kid knows, but his silence is unsettling. He communicated with me, I understood him! Just not well enough, and I'm starting to lose conviction that he knows.
Then he pops his head up. "Yesterday, a snowman bag."

I look up at Chelsey, "Do you have a snowman bag?"
She pauses for a second, "Yeah, I do! I had it yesterday!"
"Is it here?!"
"No it's back at the apartment."
I nod, "It's in there." And then I thanked Jimmy and he went back along his way.

It was the coolest. Later we went back to their apartment for a meeting and the first thing I did was make Chelsey check for the bag, and sure enough it was there. I was so proud, in part because this little kid had knowledge he needed to share in another language and he was able to, but also because no one else really seemed to think he would know or try to work with him. He's just a kid, right, barely 6 years old, what does he know?

But I was able to listen to him! I've read Ender's Game, I know how it is. And it was such a proud moment in my life to be able to work with this little genius. Bah! I love it.

Sometimes, my job is kinda cool. And now you can all be jealous.

Apr 25, 2015

The reality of Choice and Accountability.

So I'm in China. Alive and well. If you want pictures, you'll have to check out facebook. If you want stories, I will hopefully get around to telling some here, but also feel free to email or text me. I've been journaling a bunch while I'm here, and I meant to blog too, but my computer's battery promptly died upon being back here, so I have to blog from my phone, and that's a tough way to type haha. But I'm struggling through it right now, so maybe you'll hear from me again before too long.

The thing I want to talk about today actually has nothing to do with China. I just wanted to share something that I think is very important. There was a long thought process behind this (starting with some stupid article I found on facebook that made me worry for a minute that I might be a disappointment to my mom and dad), but this is the end result:

I am comfortable with who I am and the life I live and most of the choices I've made. I don't see eye to eye with some of the LDS teachings, and I love some of the LDS teachings. I'm grateful for the music I've found and incorporated into my life, and there are many people who I've met who have changed the way I think and I'm grateful for those growths. I'm proud of those growths. I've made a lot of choices in my life that lots of people think are mistakes, but I stand by every single one of them, and although I have actually had people think less of me for my belief in God, or for listening to rap music, or any number of other things, I hope someday we can all have the ability to not care about what other people are doing with their lives and focus on what you're doing with your own life.

Because as I see it, the choices I make in my life don't matter nearly as much as why I made those choices, and I made my choices for myself, not for validation from someone. And to compare me to anyone else would be an insult to us both. The only competition I need in my life is with myself. The only choices I feel I've made that were poor are the times when I knew I could give 95% of my effort, and I chose to only give 60, the moments where I looked at someone who needed me, and I had the time to help, but chose to walk away instead.

I will fix those choices, but putting off school to go travel the world or prioritizing climbing over homework? Those were my choices, and they are no one else's business, and I am happy to accept the consequences of my choices. That's why I made them.

And I suppose, if you really want to make them your business, then go ahead and judge me off what you see. I'll just be over here continuing on with my life.