30 May 2009

a good and faithful servant

it was this sort of day.

from saturday:

dear mitzie,

the sun's beams flit through passing clouds in the sky. it's a beautiful day. i think you would have reveled in it as much as we are now, although it probably doesn't compare to the magnificence of a heavenly landscape that you're now free to enjoy. i'm actually glad for today's memorial service, not because you're no longer with us, but because it's given those of us who've been touched by you to come together and share fond memories. it's been years, even decades since i've seen some of these old faces, but so many came from far away to celebrate your life and how good God has been. to think, a caucasian woman spending virtually her entire adult life serving a chinese immigrant community - that takes a different kind of love.

mitzie, you were like a grandmother and old friend to me. i sadly don't quite remember the last time i saw you, but you were always a stalwart mainstay at ccc+c, someone who held up the church and community through your service and deep faith. and there were so many times when i climbed on that thousand-times-painted horse or whirled on the merry-go-round (both no longer there), both part of the playground you established as a safe place for us to play and fellowship.

i hope to become even a fraction of the woman of God you were. i'll see you in due time.

- e

28 May 2009

skimming of summer: the start!

yushiro's also exuberant about summer!
(look at that air!)

such music to my ears!

i'm currently at home for a short week - such a lovely oasis and a good buffer between the hectic runaround of the semester and the beginning of working world next week. being back in good ol' ambler brings a wash of various memories and emotions, some nostalgic, mostly comforting. this is my parents' opportunity to treat me like a kid again, and although the proud part of me still says "hey, i'm an adult!" deep down...i know you all think this...it's actually reeeally nice being pampered. what can i say? i like being at home :]

i've also really missed my (goofy) friends and the philly area at large. it's mostly the fellowship that i've found is somewhat missing up at school - not that i haven't made good friends there, too, but it's a bit different. it takes time, obviously, to build deeper relationships, so i need to be patient. but still, there's something about the candidness and heartwhelmingness (not a word...but i take license to make it up) of these goofballs that make me smile - and feel not a bit guilty when slapping them upside the head if needed (mostly the guys...and those who offend their wives...):

(L) the wife hushes the husband, (C) only allen seems to look good in this shot, and (R) sheila is actually taking a photo of the guy w/ a fro in the background, which is why the two of us in the foreground look so awkward

now we look normal! part of the old family group, kop koinonia, aka the king of blue chester group

fresh scones and happiness tea (a blend of green tea, green rooibos, and other flowery things like hibiscus) - great combo!

dianna, my tea connoisseur, taught me the right temperature and steep time for green and black tea.
i'm indebted!

ok, and not to make my cool communities in cambridge feel jealous, here's a sampling of those partners-in-crime:

hello architecture bible study @ the king and i - we made it! (minus 2 people)
too bad you can't see our lovely feast, but it was good!

me and the boys, relaxed and listening to live musica on newbury

then, over sangria, we decided to all be rockstars like kathy (the original owner of the shades)

oh fun times :D here's to more to come!
come visit me in boston!
and...so excited to find out the gender of my coming nephew/niece!!!

>> currently: listening to npr in the car (how i've missed!), driving with the windows down, still reading "a cook's tour" - a.bourdain, trying to go to bed early...earlier...., writing extraordinarily long emails

23 May 2009

little glimpse of the last of things

i have to go through the rest of the photos and fix them (the lighting was so yellow...gross)...and photoshop out the dead bugs that died on all my models. but coming soon, a glimpse of what i've been up to for the past month and a half or so... somehow the photos don't do it justice, but hopefully it'll give you an idea of my sweat and toil.

in other news, i will be in boston for the summer! come visit and i'll actually have time to entertain you!
some general goals for the sunny days to come:

1) review my leed knowledge, which has lain dormant for...almost 2 years??
2) explore the nooks and crannies of boston
3) find the best brunch
4) really use my kitchen
5) learn to play the guitar
6) learn to sail
7) actually exercise in some fashion (preferably through dance or runs along the river)
8) take weekend camping/hiking trips
9) learn spanish
10) design something cool in masonry
11) work on a revamped portfolio...and perhaps a website
12) help my mom renovate the house...or at least pick out paint colors
13) visit people!

ambitious? perhaps. ah well, i'm still looking forward to a summer that will most definitely be more relaxing than this past year. a reflection on the year to come...once i gather my thoughts. or, once i find my thoughts after they've scattered.

listening to music whose lyrics i don't understand, strolling leisurely through boston, getting turned down by cab drivers

18 May 2009

to infinity...and beyond!

rendered w/ the latitude of algeria...just because

so close to being done! we just had our final project review for our building tech class this morning, and now just one more to go on wednesday...

for this project, we had to design a long span roof that would cover 30,000 SF of space. no program, just pure structural integrity (hopefully). my partner mallory and i were interested in designing an unreinforced masonry dome that would act purely in compression. i have to fix the texture mapping, but that was one of the renderings of the project.

i actually like this one better, although it was just an initial study to see how the materials would look on the surfaces. obviously the scale is really out of whack...but i like anyways.

it was actually a really refreshing review and format: instead of us each presenting one at a time, we put up our boards science fair-style and had reviewers circulating around to critique us. we got 3 official critiques from various engineers and a couple non-official ones from our TAs and studio professors. all in all, it was efficiently timed and we were done in an hour and a half, which is completely unheard of in a typical design studio review.

anyways, back to the last project, which is an animation sequence for our design skills class. more later.

listening to what pandora has to offer with my noise cancelling headphones on
figure out what's going on for the summer, read about historic preservation in beijing and christian hedonism

16 May 2009

my so-called disfunctional family

now that it's nearing the end of the term, it's sort of hard to believe our first year of architecture school is coming to a close. we pulled through, and as a class of 24, it's pretty remarkable and crazy how well we've gotten to know each other. sure, there are still people who i don't know as well as others, but we've come to a point when, after spending almost 24/7 together, we've come to know everyone's little (and big) idiosyncrasies, habits, and moods.

i can recognize people's sneezes.

everyone plays a different role in our mini level 1 world and has their signature line or even accent (thanks to nadya + ann, people now speak in a pseudo-eastern european/russian accent that no one can really identify). we've got inside jokes like:

"i just keeee-ding!"
"this kind of thing" (said w/ a korean accent - no, we don't do racial profiling, just an international class)
"bless you!"
"never working, always sleeping" and other variations (german accent)
and more

and we know when people are sick, when people have or haven't been in studio, which visitors come, etc. i guess it's a mix of people caring and being nosy busy-bodies, but hey, how could you not notice some things? and in general, it's a nice thing to have friends who value each other's presence.

anyways, i didn't mean for this to be too sentimental, but it made me smile to think about the new family :)

15 May 2009


(well, almost!)

at least, i'm done with studio!!! the final review was this past wednesday, and the week leading up to that was practically one

i never really noticed until now how important sleep is, not simply for the well being of your body, but simply in terms of separating days and giving you a sense of time. because of our crazy sleeping patterns (and i won't go into what exactly they were, for fear of too many comments), it was more like napping several times rather than truly sleeping and experiencing a more definitive passage of time.

this is the true time warp that rocky horror spoke of, although it was bizarre in a very different way.

the critique itself went pretty well. i think the reviewers (a smattering of professors/practitioners from various universities) were fair with their criticism and also gave some promising encouragement, which was really good. sometimes their comments can be unproductive, but this time i think they were pretty perceptive with their questions and suggestions. they even said that, given another week or so, the project could've been really pushed to a higher level, and to be honest, i agree with them. i know i could've done more and am not sure exactly how i would've done so, but hey - it's done for now, and hopefully the ideas generated will spur me on to further good works. i'll upload some photos of the final work once i actually document.

as for the process in general, this last week wasn't just pure torturous work, but had bright moments, too. some of the things that kept me going were:

1) supportive friends and late night visitors who gave encouragement and that extra push to keep going
2) wake up calls
3) prayers
4) praise music practically on pandora and ipod (some favorites: "hosanna" - hillsong, "surrender" - downhere, "
5) the other part of the 24/7, jason mraz and other laid back tunes
6) a supportive critic who urged us to "wind down" the night before w/ some wine (although...sadly we did not wind down but wound back up)
7) the wood shop laser cutter - sad, but true. it got my files cut and made model assembly easier!

and you know what's bizarre? i hardly relied on caffeine to stay awake through all of this. weird, right? i guess my body relies on other strength to keep going.

so much going on... i'm still figuring out what's going on for the summer. there's a chance i will be having quite a masonry one, but that's yet to be confirmed. who would've thought that masonry camp all those summers back would've resulted in this constant reoccurance of brick and stone in my life??

anyways... off to finish my laundry, a la jason mraz's "geek in the pink."

listening to vampire weekend and the viva la vida album (coldplay), reading a cook's tour - a.bourdain, feeling RESTED but still not quite completely awake, very excited for research prospects to come!
relieved, anticipatory (word?), curious...

09 May 2009

care in a box

in the past couple weeks, i've gotten quite a few cardboard surprises in the mail - fun and exciting! there's nothing quite like receiving physical mail, whether a package or a letter. my mom has been one of the most notable to send packages, mostly food shipped overnight. yes, this is possible if you use ice packs (in the form of frozen chinese soups)! it makes my friends jealous...and yes, i'm spoiled, but in a good way :) it's one of the most tangible ways my mom shows she cares, and she sends me cute emails ahead of time letting me know the contents of the box and that the rest of the space is filled with love :D

i also got another package of awesomeness from joy, a prospective student who stayed w/ me during the open house. although she won't be coming to mit, she insisted on sending something as a thank you. i wasn't sure what it would be...but, as a knowing fellow architect, she sent the best thing possible: snacks, and healthy ones at that. very good judgment!

and while i'm at it, thanks to alice and megs, who also sent me things last semester - my studio mates enjoyed alice's cookies, while i've enjoyed the tie-dyed shirts megs, ay and i made before i came to school.

anyways...just the little connections to the outside world that sustain you in tough times. pressing on...

06 May 2009

sweet soul music

with one week until our final studio review, stress is running high and freak out moments are becoming more frequent. so after yesterday's penultimate review, what do i do? i take the natural course of action.

i went to a concert on a school night.

most of my friends thought i was crazy when i asked them to come with me, but hey, it's not everyday that one of your friends from college comes up to the area to perform after releasing a new album. this is blair bodine, fellow proud ambler native, and if you haven't heard of her, you should check out her website or myspace page.

it's been a while since i've seen her - probably since college, actually - but through mutual friends and snippets of conversation i've at least been aware of what's been going on. she performed with the ny songwriter's circle at johnny d's in davis square, a restaurant/bar venue with live music. so, for a mere $10, i got to hear five great performers (all guitarists), catch up briefly w/ a friend, and relax. and have chocolate chip bread pudding. i can't argue with that.

the night was a lot of fun and reminded me of how great live music - especially acoustic - can be. the format of the night was a sort of round robin, where the 5 songwriters each played a song one after the other and repeated this in 3 rounds. some of the songs were hilarious, others more soulful. i don't have clips from the actual performances, but here are a couple below from blair and another guy, john schmitt. i also really liked zach hurd, who you can find on myspace.

01 May 2009

and...family live!

check out my brother and jenny's recent video update on their life in the uk!


they called me on sunday just to say hi and check in, which made my day :) so good to hear their voices...especially now that school is a whirlwind (maybe too tame - a tornado?) between now and the end of the semester.

my mom also just sent me a package with food. i love family!

the dalai lama speaks

my extremely blurry cell pictures of the video projection of the dalai lama...
how removed from the real person indeed

today presented a quintessential example of just how removed we architecture students can be from life in the mit community. four of us were eating lunch in front of the student center and noticed the unusual bustle around campus. what was going on? why were throngs of people lined up by a large tent outside of kresge auditorium? and why did we see groups of women wearing some sort of ethnic dress?

the answer? the dalai lama was on campus.

!!! how did we not know?? apparently mit just established the dalai lama center for ethics and transformative values, and he was here for the dedication. it's sad this news almost sailed right over our studio bubble. one of our instructors even wondered why we were sitting around working rather than heading over to the lecture, and this was one of the first times she has ever encouraged us to do something other than studio. we weren't able to pry everyone away from their desks, but some of us went to one of the overflow rooms to see his holiness via video projection. you needed tickets, distributed by lottery, to get into kresge to watch it live, but the screen was as good as anything to hear a bit from the 14th dalai lama.

his talk was mostly about the importance of establishing secular ethics, outside of religion, in practicing leadership and compassion in today's world. from his stance, since much of the world are "non-believers" (his word), then it's necessary to find a non-religious way to promote ethics and values. i'm not sure what he was giving as a basis for these ethics and values (still vague), but it seems like he wants to promote this compassion-centered model for leadership in the future, and a place like mit would allow for education, science, and ethics to come together. how will buddhist beliefs and the scientific method exist together? i guess we'll see?

in general, the speech was of the visionary and uplifting type, sprinkled with jokes, youthful laughter, and the occasional pointed barb (mostly aimed at the chinese government). i was surprised that he had such a lighthearted and humorous demeanor. every time he laughed, we looked at each other and couldn't help but laugh along, sort of like when a grandfather - or baby - starts chortling.

oh, and in the middle of the speech, he took out a red visor and put it on (top photo). somehow that reminded me of those chinese tour groups, when they all wear matching visors/hats and follow the guide holding a flag. and at the end of the q+a session, when the last woman was asking her question, he started slowly pulling up his socks and putting on his shoes. maybe it might be sacreligious for me to say this, but those little gestures made me smile and think what a cute old man he is - in the most respectful way, of course.

anyways, i've been curious about the dalai lama, since he's one of the few religious leaders who has been so widely and favorable regarded by much of the world. some of his appeal seems to transcend his role as a buddhist leader, instead focusing on his role as an advocator for peace. one of my friends and i talked a bit about whether the pope or another religious leader would get the same all-embracing reception that the dalai lama did. i'm actually not so sure. i can't quite explain the dalai lama's widespread appeal, although when seeing him i did find him to be an engaging and endearing character. i don't agree with everything he talked about, since i find it hard to separate ethics from its source in faith (then what becomes the standard? our flawed selves?), but he has done very much in promoting peace and general positive values, and at least i can agree with that.

so very interesting - glad we opened our eyes to look beyond our computers today :)

_currently: listening to regina spekter, reading a cook's way - anthony bourdain (for fun!), waiting to regain her life back after 2 weeks are over
_feeling: sleepy - as always