mind, body and soul

Sometimes as I’m lying in bed trying to fall asleep, my mind will start having Deep Thoughts and Great Ideas and it sounds so great in my head and I groggily reach for my phone to save the words and phrases that somehow sound so smooth. This was from last night, with some major surgeries done this morning for something at least resembling actual fluency.

In any situation of stress or conflict (or anything else, really), we have three available approaches to find a solution, that come from three places in ourselves: the mind, the body and the gut. Throughout the day we use these three means of making decisions at different intervals and different intensities, either consciously or unconsciously. At work, for example, most of our energies come from the mind. We make intellectual and data-driven decisions and act based on knowledge. Physical needs are generally put on the back-burner for most people these days; we snack and eat without thinking much of it, and maybe stretch our arms a few times a day. Lastly there is gut feel and intuition, or the moral subconscious actions and flow of our days. I’d say this last one also ties into our general mien and personality. I strongly feel that a balance of these three “ways” is vital and natural. Without actively creating a more fair balance of the three aspects in your life, I’d expect it to be tough to be content with your whole self.

Mentally, we need to be stimulated and follow logic. Physically, we need to satisfy the chemical needs of our body (think exercise and endorphins). And intuitively, we have to consider what we gut-feel are the right things to do. When in a situation of conflict, consider evaluating your actions in a single direction, but most likely (of course) going in a direction influenced by two or three factors. I feel that being aware of the decisions one makes, and being cognizant of how that decision came to light, helps immensely with one’s well-being. Even if we don’t know the path we’re on in life, there’s major comfort in putting up torches along the way and bringing light to where you are in each moment. And that comfort can lead to a less stressful trek going forward.

Why can’t people just say what they mean to say and do what they want to do, instead of regretting their words and actions that hurt the ones they care about? Makes life simple. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s the devastating feeling of being lost, lacking understanding of a situation that hurts.

book of mormon

Last night Stan and I watched Book of Mormon at the Pantages. Lucky me – Kency bought tickets for the wrong day, so she sold them to me discounted :) It was super hilarious and I was laughing out loud almost the entire time… there was a good mix of mature and immature humor, which is just my type. And very nerdy/pop culturey, which made it great. I’d definitely recommend it if there are still tickets for sale, but I’ve been hearing about them being sold out super quick!

On the way there, we saw a (large) lady driving next to us talking on her phone on speakerphone. It was good of her to keep hands-free… by holding her phone with her boobs. She was literally using her boobs as a table top, with her phone flat against the near-vertical angle below her collorbone, right at her cleavage. That’s lots of skills! I used to make jokes about this when I was in middle school, but I never thought I’d come across the situation in real life!

a bunch of random things

I took this amazingly clear/sharp photo of a dragonfly hanging out with turtles at Caltech’s Throop Memorial Garden last weekend. Stanley, Wesley and I were killing time before our fourth/last session of our motorcycle training class, and I gave them a tour aka showed them the turtles at Tech.

The class (Basic RiderCourse) is an alternative to taking private motorcycle classes and passing the DMV riding test. There was an evaluation at the end of the class, which I guess must satisfy the same requirements as the DMV test, but it is supposedly way easier. The test consists of making two opposite turn U-turns in a box (20 ft x 60 ft), a swerve to avoid an obstacle, an emergency stop, and a 135 degree turn. I pretty much failed the box and passed the rest so I passed! Woooooo soon I’ll have an M on my license instead of a C. Pretty exciting stuff. I would recommend taking the class, especially if you’re under 21, because it was a pretty fun (albeit expensive) weekend adventure. It’s $250 for 21+ and $150 for <21-yo. After taking the class and passing the evaluation, you get a form to turn in to the DMV, at which you take the written DMV test and voila! Motorcycle license! And knowledge about how to ride a motorcycle! In other news, I decided to get my MS via thesis instead of purely coursework. This means that this fall quarter, I won't be taking any coursework and instead be a full time researcher. This extra time will be invested in finishing my research project, and preparing the results for a publication and writing my thesis. Since it's a bit of a late decision, I'm going to not declare my candidacy until winter quarter, for which instead of registering as a student I'll pay a "filing fee" and be an off-campus student who's only thing left to do is turn in her thesis. This gives me a bit more time to figure out what I'm doing for my project, and also I have more of an excuse for not having found a job by March. Yay! My hair is growing out, which means that I have bangs, along which I have fro. I think if I use my blow drier or straightener I can get rid of the fro-ness but I get distracted too easily and I forget to. Whatever, nobody sees me these days except my intern and sometimes my PI. And sometimes Stanley but he says I'm pretty no matter what my hair looks like <3 ALSO useless information that I find faintly significant: I hit the bottom of my MAC gel eyeliner! By the time I reached the bottom of my Bobbi Brown one a few years ago, it had dried out and was annoying to use. But this MAC one has been nice and smooth for at least two years! Good job, MAC. Mos def buying another when I finish. (Plus it's cheaper, $15 instead of BB's $22!) Um another useless thing that I might as well mention as I'm on a roll, is that I got the Essie "no chips ahead" top coat and it seems to work really well. So if you're looking for a top coat that actually works, then I'd recommend it. (Although I haven't tried any other top coat that is specifically formulated to prevent chipping, so maybe it's not better than anything else...)

It’s been awhile

The following is an e-mail from the past, composed 4 years ago, on February 29, 2008. It is being delivered from the past through FutureMe.org

Dear FutureMe,

It’s leap year today, in the year of 2008. That’d make me a Freshman at UCLA. It’s strange to be writing a letter to myself, but I guess I can just take this as a letter to anonymous. Like a blog, maybe, or a diary entry.

I wonder what I would want to know about myself in the future. Over the summer, I received that letter that we wrote to ourselves in 6th grade with Ms. Stull… the things I put in that letter were pretty lame. Like my favorite song, favorite movie, favorite color. And the friends that I had back in super six. It’s interesting to think that those were the things that I found to be the most important to me. What’s important to me now, though? I guess it’s still people, but it’s an intimidating thought, to imagine what kind of company I’ll still have in four years. I mean, not genres of people, but rather, specific friends I’ve made over the years. People come and go so quickly, it seems, especially in college. Or maybe that’s just my excuse. In four years, my high school friends (namely ISB class of 2008 and Mike Wu) will be in college. And graduating, actually. To me, graduation from college seems like it’ll be a really long time from now. But the senior friends that I have right now say that their college experience went by too quickly. As we get older, I suppose time passes more quickly. Is that something lost, or is it something to be taken advantage of? I hardly remember anything from when I was young (elementary school), but the lessons I’ve learned, and things I’ve experienced in high school are precious to me. Maybe it’s a question of consciousness. It’s not like I knew what was really going on when I was seven years old. On the other hand, I hardly know what’s going around me now. I’m painfully unknowledgeable. And yet, I’m not doing anything about it. I hope I can learn. But that’s all I can hope for.

Yeah, seriously, I don’t know what to write. I got a tattoo a little more than a month ago. I guess what I’d want to hear about the most would be my thoughts on certain decisions I’ve made (and not made). I’ve had too many problems with being fickle and indecisive, but in the end, it just seems like… eh, lost my train of thought. Anyway, my tattoo, of the last character of my Chinese name. When people ask me what it is, I only tell them what it is on the surface. But when I’m answering, I think about why I did it. My name, my identity. It’s something that it’s easy to lose track of. A tattoo is so definite, so defining, that whatever it is just seems to prove a little part of who one is. It’s not just my name, my culture. But the reasons behind the design of it. Not solely the physical design but I guess the mental side of it as well? I’ve always found it hard to describe my conceptual understanding of things. Art. Life. (Maybe those two are equivalent.) But alas, it’s late now, and I’m going to go celebrate leap year. I hope the system doesn’t crash because of the date…

-Jennifer Wang

PS. Dennis wants me to say he’s cool. Well, that’s unfortunate… because putting “Dennis is cool” in here is … lame. Too late, though.

PPS. I hope I’m still friends with Will, Heather, Kristen, Rose, Mike, Kency, Emili, Layla, Dennis, Stacey, Frances, Esther, June, Emma… and everyone else awesome. If not, go get in touch with them again!

leap day!

I’m so excited for leap day because, like I’ve mentioned before (more than two years ago!) I’m going to receive an email that I wrote to myself four years ago. I will post it, and probably write another post for another four years from now. I checked the website for the first time since four years ago, a few weeks ago, and it is confirmed that it still exists and will be sent to me on leap day!


Last weekend my family and I drove up to Vancouver from Seattle. It took about three hours to get there, including the half hour wait at the border crossing.

We spent a total of three nights and three days in the city, which I thought was probably a little bit too much time. The first day, we wandered downtown, checking out Canada Place and Gastown in the morning. We ate at Salt, which was a chacuterie and cheesery. The entrance to the place was a sketchy alley, but it was definitely a cool place to experience.

In the afternoon, the weather cleared up so we headed to Stanley Park. A lot of this trip felt like chasing the sunset, since so far north dusk started around 4pm. But it was nice to catch so many sunsets; I only wish we could’ve taken our time observing them. And that it was less cold.

The second day we headed out to Capilano Suspension Bridge. Definitely my favorite part of the trip. Even though the weather was gloomy and overcast, the forest really seemed to thrive in the wet weather, and I was amazing with the smells and atmosphere. I got some great portraits of my family on the bridge :)

After Capilano, we had lunch in downtown at The Keg, a steakhouse, then we headed to Richmond. I convinced my family to take a detour to check out the Gulf of Georgia, which was just a vista point on the coast. It was a really nice view but the winds were so strong near the ocean!! This shot was from Garry Point Park. On our way back to downtown we stopped by Granville Island to eat at Twisted Fork, which was a delicious, tiny French bistro. Hat tip again to Yelp :)

Using my camera so much during the trip made me really excited to start my 365. I also realized that I seriously need to get my sensor cleaned, or at least get a hurricane dust blower for when I change lenses. I also really loved using Yelp internationally, and was super happy to try so many well reviewed restaurants. Now that the trip’s over, it’s time to pay for all those impromptu desserts with hours on the stationary bike…