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.