Happy 2016!!!

Hey there, sorry to have been MIA for so long. The 6-7 week trip to the States kept me plenty busy while I was there. I neither had time to do real work or time to myself. Then I still had to work throughout xmas and new years (because it’s China) >.>;

Regarding some of the issues with men at work, I deeply emphasize with your reaction. Most men are brought up to speak their thoughts with confidence and to be leaders in the workplace. Somehow that has translated into many men as arrogance and pushiness. This problem is especially compounded in the computer, technology, science and mathematics industries, where men (for a very long time) were established as heroes and famous figures. Amazing female scientists and technicians are quite stunted and glossed over in textbooks, leaving their images to be opaque or nonexistent. Most people (including many women themselves) cannot help but associate a chem lab with some guy in goggles. It’s just a psychological reaction people have because of how they were brought up. Still, I feel that everyone should be better than how they were raised and always need to step back to see the picture of reality in equivocal terms. Men need to realize women are already in the workplace and that they are hold equal jobs with equal responsibility and doing equally well at it. This should also push managers to not discriminate in hiring or promoting workers.

My guess is that if you try to tell a specific coworker that the way they are talking to you is belittling, they will become very defensive or simply dismissive. I think we were lucky in college to be around some guys who are not like this (Erik, Cam and a few others) – or perhaps we just that the opportunity to choose who we want to hang out it, whereas your company picks your coworkers.  I am also lucky to have a brother who is not like “most men” and has always applauded my efforts in math and science, just as I have applauded him marrying a wonderful software developer.

Maybe there is a way that you can bring attention to women in the science workplace by doing something at your office or outside of work – like starting a kind of social group. I am sure there are plenty of other women in Seattle who feel the same way and who would want to give support to spreading awareness. You can post information about this on a blog or around the office (at least starting at your desk).

On another note, things are going very well for Simon and I in the new year. We have already started some major spring cleaning, as Simon’s apartment has accrued lots of junk since 2008 (when he first moved to Shanghai). He has agreed to throw it away so that we can find more room for our own things. We have already moved a nice dresser and a cheap sheltered closet (made of cloth, not wood) into his room – the other closet is unfortunately immovable. I plan to throw away his old towels and sheets and buy some new (better quality) ones. Otherwise, his apartment is quite spacious for two people at an extremely reasonable price (our rent is about $800 per month, then split between two people — keeping note that we are in downtown Shanghai at the best/most convenient location). Normally, an apartment like this would cost 2x or 3x the amount! But, since Simon has been their since 2008, the landlord has locked in the old price! It’s a steal, really.
His mother, Rena, and her boyfriend, Hover, have been absolutely wonderful! Both of them have Simon and I over for dinner. Hover has been a chef in Shanghai for a number of years and Rena is a professional baker. Both of them are semi-retired right now (although they are about mom’s age). When we go over for dinner, its something like “dry aged steak” or “homemade corn tortillas with taco filling” or “homemade macaroons with their own ice cream” or other fancy things. They really know how to cook and bake well and I am learning a lot about healthy eating. They don’t use white sugar or artificial ingredients (or even canned items) in their cooking! Instead they will substitute with something natural (like honey or brown sugar)…They are always showing off their new methods and dishes 🙂
Since moving to Simon’s, I have joined a local gym that offers untraditional classes instead of the usual treadmill and weights outfit. I have done three classes so far: yoga, cycling, and extend barre (which is like strength training ballet). All three of them were wonderful workouts so I plan to go back next week. Hopefully I will be even more fit in the new year.
On January 31st, Simon and I will take a full 2-week holiday to Korea and Japan. When we go to Korea, we will be staying in Seoul and meet up with my friend Alyson Kung (from Lincolnshire), who is there doing volunteer work. We will also go up to the DMZ, as well as the old capital (Gyeonju) and Busan (Pusan). After a week, we will move over to Japan. Since both Simon and I have already been to Tokyo, we plan on going to Osaka, Kyoto and Nara! We will definitely be going to an Onsen (hot bath & sauna), as well as doing two full hours of Ninja Training. I expect it will be awesome. I am looking forward to this long holiday, as I had to work during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday.

boy troubles

Hey how is your trip going? I hope it’s well. I’d love to catch up over phone, but I’m sure you’re super busy. You are such an incredible person. I’m so proud of all that you’ve accomplished and experienced since graduation.

I’ve been noticing in myself that I’m extremely defensive whenever males try to tell me, like, anything. Whether it’s telling me to do something, suggesting that I do something, explaining anything, or responding to something I say that did not warrant a response; I assume this irritated voice and say something that boils down to “yeah I get that but no.”

Note it’s only guys. Young guys. If a girl or someone much older (who, when they speak to me, usually actually has something of value to say) offers anything in this vein my response is much more open. But it feels like I’m so much smarter than these other guys, who just spout bullshit because they like hearing their own voice and taking on a “superior” role by pretending they have something interesting to say. I’m tired of being treated like I’m simple, especially at work where we all have similar regimes of understanding. And I’m tired of hearing a man’s opinion on every fucking word that comes out of my mouth.

Haha can you tell I’m frustrated? Anyway, that all’s coming from the part of me that’s acutely aware that I’m a woman  in what is still very much a man’s field in what is very much a man’s world. The part of me that considers all people equal understands that all of this defensiveness and anger comes from having too much pride. Like the vice kind of pride. That I should let go of caring about others’ opinions of my intelligence and acuity–because it has nothing to do with me! These people aren’t thinking “Sarice is stupid so I have to talk to her like this.” Much more realistically, it’s just the way they talk. So I should just let it roll off my back.

This option sounds so much easier and more relaxing in the long run. I’m not sure I can ignore the angry woman side, though.

It’s starting to feel like a problem because I’m having trouble maintaining a pleasant conversation with dudes. Do you have any advice, or any experience with this sort of thing?

Love you~

Health test

OY Fran! Today I had to do this health diagnostic test thing at work. I mean, I didn’t have to, but if you do you get $25/month off health insurance, and it was at work so it was very convenient… But apparently I’ve become terrified of doctors. I was always healthy but this visit was going to be my first check-up since living on my own and I think I was scared I’ve developed health problems due to never eating vegetables and always eating cereal for dinner.

For the test we weren’t supposed to eat for 9 hours beforehand. I got mine done at 11AM, so I figured, no big deal, just skip breakfast. But I did not anticipate being severely hungover. Note, becoming “severely hungover” these days requires only two glasses of wine, but still. The whole morning was a mix of terrified of the doctor and generally clinging to life. Because of the test, I couldn’t eat or drink anything except water and black coffee. I was convinced I was going to come out of that doctor’s appointment prediabetic at best, called out for having a b.a.c. at worst.

The test itself was a blood sample that would analyze cholesterol, glucose levels, and triglycerides, plus BMI and blood pressure tests. Turns out, everything was solidly in “normal” range. Blood pressure was a little high, but doctor said it was likely from stressin out about doctor. And in fact my cholesterol is so good it’s literally off the chart. The doctor lady said “Wow! Whatever you’re doing with your diet, don’t stop!”

….

Cereal for dinner and wine forever!!

More cat friend

I think she really likes me! Last night she slept under the covers with me for a little while 😍

She’s mine indefinitely! We should ttly Skype soon so you can meet her! 😀