Wednesday, May 30

IR iz philosopher

There is a word that really disturbs me when I hear it: "expat". I resent being called an expat because it has such an aggressive meaning, at least for me. I think this is because you can divide it into "ex-pat", where "pat" is the first part of a romanian word meaning country (or latin word for that matter, "patria" = lat., country). My country has not disowned me and I have certainly not renounced my citizenship to my country. I don't feel less of a romanian or more of a singaporean by living in Singapore. What does living abroad make you? Confused, at least! Do you carry a part of your country with you wherever you go? If yes, how do you carry it? Is it in language? In habits and upbringing? In friends and community?

If it's in language, then I am totally losing it. I am starting to feel that when I start to talk or write in Romanian it's like I am recovering from a stroke or similar. My thoughts are starting to form themselves in a mixture of english and romanian that is disturbing me when I start to talk in either language. Maybe it's because of all the books in English that I have been reading. Maybe it's because I haven't had an intelligent conversation with my romanian peers (Marian excluded) for months. Maybe it's because I should be keeping this blog in romanian (or start a new one?). I still have to figure it out.

As for friends, gimme a break! It's almost useless trying to keep in touch with all my friends from back home, so I limit myself to a few, and then only through YM. As for friends here, I suppose acquaintances is more of a better word. Friends as in you-can-wake-me-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-no-matter-what-
pat-on-the-back-kick-in-the-ass are very hard to come by. Most people in the romanian community*, or at least with those I have come to know, unfortunately generally occupy themselves with gossiping about others. It's hard to make friends when gossip is your only subject: you run out of gossip material, you cannot confide because you know you end up as gossip material, and it's so puerile it's annoying!! So you're left with acquaintances, maybe go to a movie sometimes, out to dinner, maybe sometimes shopping (though very seldom - I think it's more comfortable to shop with friends) and stuff like that.

Community is out of the question, by the above reason. I think a defining trait of romanians is that most of them are more preoccupied with what others are doing (or with how badly the others are doing) to take a good look at themselves.

Maybe you are a citizen of your country no matter where you go by your habits and upbringing. By the food you eat, by what you think is polite or impolite, by the way you greet people or the way you give presents. Who knows? Maybe you're a citizen of your country by the way you remember your country long after you've left it. I remember the smell of silver fir trees and snow on a very cold winter morning, on a balcony in a house overlooking a troubled river, in Lacu Rosu, Romania.

*[As for making asian friends, it's hard enough to be an ang moh here, let alone one that always speaks her mind, and can be thought, by some local standards, well ... nuts. Nevertheless, I have found more compassion and friendliness in my asian friends than in my romanian acquaintances here]

Tuesday, May 29


The good news is that I passed the QE! Yey! Unexpected, after the total fuck up with the virtual memory, but still very well received. I found out that the guy that made up the questions for the architecture part is an assistant professor who does research in 3D graphics. That explains the virtual memory part, but it does not explain them not bothering to check if it's in the reference book or not. As I've said before, it's wonderful to be reminded you're at the bottom of the food chain. It's a ... refreshing feeling ...

Kinabalu is coming in 12 days! I decided to rent a car since the park is about 80 km from the airport. This will also help me for the Alps trip since we'll both (M. and I) be driving and I haven't driven a car in a year or so. The Autobahn is a very scary concept for me right now

I must focus on my training. This week is the last week of climbing rest I am giving myself. It's been almost two months already since I injured my elbow and I can't stand not climbing anymore. I must focus on running, hiking, but also climbing with weights.

Friday, May 25

My head ...

did not stop pounding all day yesterday from lack of sleep from the other night and because i watched the whole season 2 and half of season 3 of grey's anatomy. You gotta love a good soap opera sometimes.

The lack of sleep is due to the fact that in a unexpected act of friendliness from my part I asked most of the grad students in my lab at my home over night to watch the UEFA Champions League (Marian just disowned me) final. (I sometimes get these attacks which i later regret dearly) Yey ... not so yey because it started around 3 am and ended around 5 am. The guys arrived around 11 pm. I made them watch climbing videos (cs graduate students => chances of them actually playing a sport close to zero) and they seemed impressed - at least by the deep water soloing. Besides that, they played [drums in the background] Monopoly (!!!) and seemed to be pretty entertained by it.

I am trying now to get back to work but I am in a very dreamy state.

Wednesday, May 23

I never learn ...

Not to take so many pictures - I put up the Rockmaster 2007 pictures. What I really hate about me taking pictures is that I always take a huge amount of them, and then it takes me two hours (in this case) to sort them out!

To check the gas tank every once in a while - I took advantage of my flat mates out of town and decided to cook last night, and of course that I ran out of gas right after I put the meat in the pot to fry! Lucky me! Marian called the gas company this morning (providing fire for his woman to cook the food! :) ) and they were there almost instantly to change it. Resumed cooking and the food was Oll Korrect. (I didn't eat any of it, because I had to rush to school)

Not to try anything stupid while injured - Like doing a pull-up on the rim of the lab door, which resulted in PAIN PAIN PAIN for me. IR iz stupid.

Tuesday, May 22

A lot of things going on

To continue my cooking spree, I tried Spanakorizo. It was absolutely delicious, the combination of lemon and spinach is truly something. Even though I must admit I put a bit too much of rice, which actually makes this dish Orizospanak :)

I went to Rockmaster 2007 this weekend and was so impressed by our guys and gals' performance that I decided to go climbing yesterday! How cool is that?! Well, I tell ya! It's NOT COOL!!! I should have waited another week as I promised! Sheesh! I never learn! I didn't feel any pain at first (except from my ego that is), but then my elbow started to go numb so I left the gym. As for ego pain, well, my endurance is GONE, I am afraid to lock on my left arm, I am scared of doing anything lest I injure my arm ... So there! Finger strength is reasonable though. Will resume climbing in one week, it's a promise. I was going to join the next competition (Pumpfest) but now I am not so sure about it.

Yesterday Marian was supposed to have a presentation of his research review and two professors from his committee were supposed to come, but guess what?! One of them forgot! And he was a junior staff also! So we stood there with our supervisor and the other professor and talked and talked and in the end decided to reschedule. The junior staff then wrote ample emails with his sincere apologies, including one to Marian alone. I mean how forgetful and indolent can you get?!! I am so sending a "gentle reminder" for my presentation. Sheesh!!

Our flat-mates are off to a Cambodia trip so we can actually soil and mess up the kitchen. Yay!! [It's so embarassing, after we cook and clean up, she comes and cleans again after us] I would have loved to go too, but I am saving moneys, remember?

Sunday, May 20

Code name: Tom Yum

I cooked Tom Yum Kung and Pla (to satisfy both marian and myself, i took the shrimps while he handled the fish) on friday, after this recipe. For desert I tried a Mango (banana for marian) sticky rice, from here.

The tom yum was missing some more chillies as it turned out, but it was great!!! I like it clearer, as you can see. After we ate there was still a glass of soup left so i added some more chillies and drank it. It was amazing!! Pictures here. Also i was missing some lime leaves, but i improvised and used the limes' peel. I know i was wrong, but i couldn't find the leaves, alas!

For the sticky rice, the other fruit next to the mango is a durian. I love durians, and i had heard that they go well with sticky rice so I had to try it. It's great! The durian was kinda dry, it's not their season now i guess. As for the sticky rice, don't cook more thinking you're going to resuscitate it later, it does not work this way, the rice will get very dry! So sad!

Friday, May 18


I remember telling you that when i was feeling depressed i got me an emo haircut. Actually, i don't know about its emo-ess, what i do know is that it is short and the hair on my left side is longer than the hair on right side. All nice and dandy, exactly how i wanted it, since i don't like my hair to have an equal cut.

There was just one problem with this haircut: whenever i ran i would see my shadow in front of me (running at night). And I would see somebody with more hair on the left side than on the right side bobbing up and down, up and down, longer/spikier tail on the left side, up and down, up and down ...

So last night I had marian chop it off for me! It's still longer on the left side (marian is no hairdresser and neither am i) but I cannot see it when I run! Hooray!!

PS. I bet it looks funny from behind though.

Wednesday, May 16

Dear all,

It has been nearly a year since yours truly has had even the slightest drop of alcohol. Up until monday night, when i took three mouthfuls of Bailey's (cream of whiskey i think) which are still giving me serious hangovers. Why, oh why is that? Lots of small things have happened in these past days, so forgive me if this post sounds like a grocery list.

Inspired by the guy to whose birthday party i went (the guy i dun like) who cooked, i attempted something myself. I love cooking by the way, but i refrain from it because it drives my non-inhouse-cooking-only-eat-in-town-don't-mess-up-the-stove-or-kitchen flatmates crazy. So, while perusing the internet yesterday, i found a link (on a ruby on rails website of all places) to a blog of a greek girl who has a lot of greek recipes! And what do you know?! Lots of food that i know from back home is greek! To make a long story short, i decided to do these (had some left over cheese and flour). The only problem is that i had corn flour and not wheat flour, so I had to rush to FairPrice to get wheat flour (don't attempt to use corn flour!!). And I am so happy to announce you that i think i found some toilet paper made out of recycled paper! So cool! I have been looking for it for a while, since i really don't like to think that a tree has been cut down for me to [pardon my french] rub my ass. I didn't get a thorough look at it because i was in a hurry to get home, it was already tenish and i had to talk to my dad.

Which I did! (After four months or so of silence on his part) He seems to be his old cherry self, enjoying his life with his new found (one year younger than me) love. All is good. Life goes on.

Last but not least, when my paycheck arrives, I will cook: Tom Yam Kai or Tom Yam Pa (chicken or fish - whichever marian decides), a sour and spicy thai soup that i absolutely love!! (i adore the seafood one, but marian doesn't like seafood, alas!) And as desert i will attempt a "Mango sticky rice", picture here. ETA: friday evening, i promise to put up pictures. The greek tiganites that i cooked were so absolutely delicious that i wolfed them down [*slurp].

Monday, May 14

Pequeno vals

Oh boy oh boy oh boy! First, i must try to change the reservation from the 12th of december to the 6th-7th - chances of finding available seats: close to zero.

Secondly, I must go into town and buy a present for somebody i don't like (and more importantly, sombebody who has done me harm in the past - which i try not to forget ... but i always do - "dog personality, i have!") - it seems i am the only one who knows where to buy tents (other than the 20$ ones) in singapore.

Thirdly, I went to the Rockmaster climbing competition on sunday, to support the girls. And the intermediate routes were HARD man!!! I don't think i could get as far as our girls ... and now i am in open!!!! And injured!!! Whoa!! I will go for the next competition (2-3 June), but only for the singlet. I will try to start to climb next monday (one week from now) - of course i will stop at the first sign of pain, i promise!

Last but not least, youtube the title, it's a nice song, enjoy!

Friday, May 11

Mastercard moment

  1. Plane ticket to Buenos Aires: 2900 SGD (1450 Euro)

  2. Plane ticket from Buenos Aires to Santiago: unknown 80USD without tax, return

  3. Number of stops: 4 - Kuala Lumpur, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Buenos Aires

  4. Number of days spent travelling in and out: approximately 3 per trip

  5. Me with a stupid grin on my face holding the reservation slip: PRICELESS!!!

P.S Please excuse the dark circles under my eyez: IR is very tiredz. Also excuse the strong color of my t-shirt: IR wants to wakes up everybodyz in the labz!

Thursday, May 10

Geeks `R Us

Finally moving my desktop to Feisty Fawn today, when i noticed an interesting library name. And I quote from the Ubuntu web site:

"libsexy is a collection of GTK+ widgets that extend the functionality of such standard widgets as GtkEntry and GtkLabel by subclassing them and working around the limitations of the widgets."

You kinky developers, you!!

Wednesday, May 9

Today isn't the day

... when I go to get my tickets because Marian played football last night and his left calf muscle is not feeling oll korrect. I am fantasizing about posting a picture with me holding the reservation slip in my hand here on this blog.

In other news, I am keeping up with my training (but that's already old news). It's getting harder and harder to wake up in the morning at 6 and go on my hike after i've ran the previous night. So I'm thinking of running and hiking in alternate days (i.e one day do nothing in the morning but run at night and the next day hike in the morning plus light conditioning at night).

I am trying to get my life in order after the exam and also cope with not climbing. Even though not climbing is only for one month, it seems like a lifetime for me. My evenings are now empty (used to climb on alternate days) and all my dreams now are climbing related (they're more nightmares than dreams).

For aconcagua, i need to learn spanish! Yey!! [Senoras et senors, who left their mobile phone on snooze in the lab!??!?! It's driving the rest of us loco loco!!!] I wonder if there are any podcasts with "learn to speak spanish" - i can listen to them on my hikes (running is out of the question though - can you imagine me running and going "unos, dos, tres"?)

Just saw the funniest thing: this yellow humming bird had a go at my window! After deciding it was not tasty enough he went on the balcony rail and started removing the paint that was chipping away! Way to go birdie!!

LATER EDIT: 7 hours later and the humming bird is back!! It's the same one i think, at least he has the same behavior. I wonder if he'll be interested in a flower or something :)

Tuesday, May 8


Seems like ages since I've written here! Well, a lot has happened!

First, my exam went better than last time but i'm still not satisfied. It seems that the professors which make up the questions have a really dark sense of humor, or else I don't know how i could explain only virtual memory questions for Computer Architecture (virtual memory has only 8 pages in the computer architecture book, as opposed to, let's say, cache with a whooping 200 pages), volatile memory questions for databases (wtf?) and a question that included the term "exponential backoff" (as in CSMA/CD, as in networks) for the operating systems question. And, as with last time, there's still no possibility of feedback. why? Because they don't care, that's why. Enough with the ranting though ...

Since i cannot climb i've been avoiding all climbing related blogs, posts and emails. This means that i'm not reading any of the climbing blogs out there, i am not reading the team emails and i am not writing any team emails (not that anybody would answer my emails anyhow) It gives me a sick satisfaction to turn my back on everyone, even though virtually.

I restarted my training, I ran a total of 31 km last week, a total of 12 this week + 8 km in walking up hill with my trusty (and heavy) backpack. Yesterday was a killer! My body has forgotten how it feels to carry something heavy and was rebelling yesterday, that's why today IR is taking a day off. I plan on starting a mild conditioning process, probably doing pullups with my good hand, leg raises and body tension.

Aconcagua related news, tomorrow i'm going for plane tickets (again). I found an itinerary on Zuji: Singapore-Frankfurt-Sao Paolo (Brazil)-Santiago de Chile ... It only takes me 2 days (2 DAYS!!!!) to get there and 2 days (2 DAYS!!!!) back. I hope the agency will be able to find a better route (especially now that i know the airport codes and i can help them! - I think they were searching for another airport in santiago .. that's why they didn't find anything) ... Tomorrow is the day anyhow!

Tuesday, May 1

Happie Labour Day!!!

How I celebrate Labour Day? Through working!!! Yey!!! There are a lot of small things that i need to catch up on. Also a lot of small things that I need to talk about.

Today I am resting my fingers, since they feel now as they used to feel after 5 days of climbing in Railay. That's because i was soo scared that i would end up with absolutely no finger strength that i went up and bought this really tough silicone thing that i squeeze. I bought the hardest one and now it's almost like a very very soft rubber (yup! i squeezed a lot!) I know it won't help in the end but it's got a very high psychological factor!

when i was a very very young girl my mom had this looong blue skirt that she used to wear. I remember how i tried to wear it a lot of times, but either it was too long (short legs) or i didn't fit into it (too fat). When my mom came here she left it for me. And now it fits! (I still have shorter legs than mom, but i am wearing heels) Yey!!! how cool is that?

I am catching up on my running also! Boy have i been a busy bee! I ran 11 km on saturday, 8 on sunday and 6 yesterday! I hope i can squeeze something in today also, but i think my heels will be the end of my running streak! Anyhow, i was last night number 85054 in the world! can you imagine that? My time of 22 minutes and something seconds for 5k is also among the fastest in singapore (for girls that is!)

Enough bragging, back to work!