Firsts

Chirps is up and running, and I’m copying my assigned readings for the semester to my master to-do list. In the dorms without air conditioning, we’re running fans and shutting windows. The ensembles are auditioning. People aren’t dropping classes quite yet. Posters for open houses are popping up everywhere. Welcome to the fall semester! The class of 2019 is settling in, ...
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California Appreciation, via Summer in New York City

I love New York. I realized this after I returned from visiting a friend in D.C. and was hit by an intense wave of comfort and relief upon stepping off my bus and into the familiar Manhattan streets. This city has managed to worm its way into my heart. I love so many things about it. From the museums to the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park to the efficient public transpor...
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What Makes a Home? Finding a Piece of Pomona in Cambridge, MA

I felt like Goldilocks in my weeklong exploration of New York City’s wild concrete jungle and Northern Vermont’s wild lush greenery. After returning to cozy Cambridge, Massachusetts, I allowed myself a good stretch and a happy sigh that said, “I just experienced wild on two different extremes, but this is where I feel at home. This middle ground is where I’d like to be.” The...
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On Leaving China

Last Monday, I woke up at 4 AM and proceeded to spend the next 24 hours traveling via bus, plane, and car, finally arriving in my hometown of Seattle, Washington. I was not ready to leave to leave China. It felt wrong to suddenly rip myself from the life I'd built for myself in Kunming. I was getting used to life in my apartment, building friendships I cared about, feeli...
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Coming Soon to Theaters: A Paper, a Poster, and My Last Year of College

Here we are in August, and this has probably been one of the fastest summers of my life. I can tell because a lot of things that I’ve been mentally logging as “future” are suddenly up close and personal. August means: the end of SURP, which in turn means: a sizable research paper, clumsily starting to take form a presentation poster, which I know will be rectangul...
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So What Exactly Do I Do Here at Princeton?

When I first stepped onto Princeton's castle-like campus, I was in awe of all the beauty, all of the ivy, and all of the greenery. If you walk down to South campus, you will stumble onto a beautiful river tucked into the woods. If you go up to North campus, you will reach the notoriously affluent Nassau street (not so friendly to my wallet). I am currently living in Bloombe...
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Independence at Pomona, via Summer in Cambridge

Grapefruits are bittersweet, right? After weeks of searching for an analogy to accurately depict my thrilling rollercoaster of a summer, I have settled on a fruit whose mixed taste is representative of my feelings at the moment. It is a bittersweet day leaving Boston. (Well, Cambridge technically. For two months, I lived and worked across the Charles River from one of New En...
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Fieldwork in China, or a Huge, Frustrating, Dynamic, Messy Learning Process

My past couple posts have focused on my experiences traveling in China, but haven't really touched on my academic research, which is the whole reason I'm here! With absolutely zero fieldwork experience and minimal preparation (see my post on Preparing to Do Research Abroad, which describes my research topic and preparation process), I hopped on a plane to China. I figure...
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There ARE Black Beans in this Country, or the Impact We Have on the World Around Us

Brief update from my previous post: I FOUND BLACK BEANS. I heard rumors that black beans occasionally grace the shelves of the nicer grocery stores, and we finally had a chance to go this week. They were expensive, so I was only allowed to buy one can using our grant money, but I take what I can get. Anyway, on to the next topic. Since my position as a field technicia...
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Making Money, Then Spending It on Fruit Juice

Here I am, almost halfway through my summer project already! Time flies here on campus, especially with not as many students around and no homework to do. My research has progressed to its intermediate stages, and summer living is settling into somewhat of a routine. I’m managing to pick up some extra odd jobs here and there on top of my SURP stipend, so my finances are loo...
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