July 19, 2010

Oh man, the past month has been such a whirlwind of events. So much has happened, I don’t even know where to start. I guess I’ll go in order like a sensible person. Get ready for a long one:

España (6/6-6/11)
So the month started off with the OHBM conference in Spain. Barcelona to be specific. The conference was pretty standard; lots of posters, lots of talks. I’m not going to bore you with the details. The city, however, was fantastic and definitely worth talking about. Unfortunately, I really only had a day and a night free to look around, so I decided to hit the high points of the city like a good Asian tourist. I started off with the Sagrada Família, this gigantic church that’s been under construction for the past 130 year:

My ticket told me that my money will be used to help finish the church, but I’ve got a sneaky feeling I won’t get much recognition for the contribution.

Following that, I visited Park Güell, which was apparently also designed by Antoni Gaudí, the same man who designed the Sagrada Família. What I was told is that his architecture is scattered, fairly prominently, all across Barcelona. Of course, I never got to see the others, because the park was ridiculously large. I ended up spending about 4 hours just walking around, looking at the various structures:

The final night, I went with a colleague to see the coast and grab some Tapas. Incidentally, this was my only picture of Barcelona with me actually in it:

As always, Europe was gorgeous. I need to meet someone that’s willing to go vacationing there with me.

Boston (6/21-6/25)
After a week back at home, I was off to Boston for a workshop. It was a collaboration workshop, so I spent my mornings/afternoon coding with a girl from BWH, but I had most of my nights free. My birthday was on Tuesday, therefore I continued my five year tradition of spending it with random strangers(or by myself). This time it was with some dude my Dad went to grad school with.

The following night I had dinner with Ling and Franco who are working in the area, and the final night I spent with Chil and Ryan who are working at Philips(where I did my internship). Over the week I came down with a cold and was running a fever for most of those nights, so everything was kind of a blurr. Hopefully I wasn’t sprouting nonsense all night(more than usual at least).

Camping(6/26 – 6/27)
Coming back from Boston, I had a night to do laundry and then I was off camping with Dan, Ian, Jesse, Chris and Tobis for Ian’s bachelor party. We hiked part of the Appalachian trail, which was fun. I was still exhausted from my cold though, and I vastly underestimated how hot it is to hike with long hair. Definitely need to bring more water and a bandanna next time.

*Note – All the pictures from here on out are from Dan or Kai’s collection. I’m so horrible about remembering my camera.

So here’s us pretending to know what we’re doing:

Tobis ended up not feeling well, so rather than trekking to our campsite, we  just set up camp at a nearby site off the road. Jesse cooked hot dogs, Chris set up a fire, and the rest of us put up the tents:

The next day we went intertubing, and yes, that’s me doing my “Sexy” look. You can tell because I was sticking out my stomach to appear more like a man of wealth and status:

The whole experience kind of made me miss home. Some of my fondest memory from Utah are of hiking and camping with my family and friends. Maybe I’ll add it to the Utah roadtrip I’ve been brewing in the back of my mind for the past few years.

Wedding (7/1-7/3)
The weekend after was Morghan and Ian’s wedding. Dan and I were ushers, so we had to be there by Thursday for the rehearsal. This, along with Monday off for the 4th, made it the longest vacation I’ve had in a long long while. The wedding was, of course, beautiful:

You’ll notice those are watermarked. That is because I am very much not going to pay $10 bucks for a print of someone else’s wedding photo. But here’s a group photo of the Cornell folks without the watermarks: (Unfortunately my eyes were closed, but who can tell right?)

The reception ended up being exactly what you would expect from Morghan and Ian:

It was styled to be kind of a games night, in memory of the first time they met(at a “Regression Session” at Cornell). There was no alcohol, so there was only a brief period of awkward dancing from me. Unfortunately, Dan caught it all on video. As if I wasn’t already indebted to him. =(

Every time one of my friends get married, it always make me feel like I’m behind. I suppose it’s a kneejerk reaction, because 24 is still pretty young to be married. But seeing the wedding definitely confirmed that it’s something I want, and that I should make an attempt to move forward in this department. The past couple of years has been so stagnate, and I suppose I can come up with all sorts of good reasons, like moving to a new city, or being busy with school. Realistically though, it’s because I just haven’t made an honest attempt at it in such a long time. Definitely time to change that.

The Fourth (7/4)
The Fourth was mostly spent with Dan and Kai. We went to a baseball game(where the Nats got demolished):

and followed up with a visit to the DC Zoo. It was hot though, so all the animals just laid on the ground:

Later that night we met up with Nolan, Chin, and Tobis and saw the firework show on the mall:

I can’t remember if it was Kai or Dan that mentioned that the red lights make the monument look like a monster, but now I can’t stop seeing it.

It was a great show, but I think what sealed the deal for me was the company. Fireworks(and I suppose even weddings) come fairly often, but it’s rare to have a chance to just hang out with a group of old friends:

Overall, a very good month.


I was thinking about weddings earlier today. (I can’t even remember why; a movie on TV I think.) But it suddenly dawned on me how different the whole proposal process is perceived by guys and girls. I mean I always understood the guy half. And to me it’s fairly straightforward: You meet a girl, you fall in love, you date a while, then you propose. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of stress involved(the proposal part I mean, there’s definitely a little stress in the relationship part). I mean yes… I suppose you’d be nervous about finding the right time and place. But realistically if you’ve been dating long enough, the time/place doesn’t make a huge difference as long as you made an honest effort, and the chances of you getting rejected is very low. I’d wager that most guys know for sure by the 3rd or 4th year of dating if they’re going to propose or not. After that it’s more or less an issue of timing(Are we too young?) or stability(Can we handle the stress of a wedding/marriage with X going on?).

What I realized today, though, is that this is probably a very different mindset from girls. This is not to say that they don’t worry about timing and stability, I’m sure that goes into their decision. But overall, for them it’s more of a waiting game. While most girls can be pretty confident that they will get proposed to if they’ve been dating for like 4 or 5 years, there’s probably still some doubt. It makes sense I guess, because in the end it comes down to the amount of control you have over the situation. It’s very easy for guys to be nonchalant about it, because in their minds they can be 100% percent sure that they’ll propose in the future. Girls don’t have that luxury, because you can never be 100% sure about someone else’s actions. It’s always much easier to be relaxed about something you haven’t done, than about something that you’re waiting to happen. Also, I kind of get the feeling that weddings are a much bigger deal for girls than guys.

This is all assuming, of course, that you’re traditional. Although I don’t know anyone personally that’s done this, there’s definitely girls out there who would probably have no problems with doing the proposing themselves.

To close I’ll list some interesting stories/facts related to the topic:
-My debate teacher’s husband proposed to her by putting a ring in a paper bag in the toilet and calling her to look at it.
-I have received 6(probably soon 7) wedding invitations so far from friends I’ve gone to school with, and zero from people related to me.
-I am pretty sure 90% of the girls I knew in high school are married by now.
-Mean marriage age in US is M:27 & F:26. Mean marriage age in Utah is M:24 & F:22.
-The longest I’ve heard of a couple dating was from a guy I worked for at Philips. He and his wife dated for 7 years before his wife  told him she’s moving out of the state if he didn’t propose. (And this was not like a 3 years in high school, 4 in college kind of thing. They were in their 30-40’s.)
-The shortest I’ve heard of was 6 weeks(from first meeting to proposal).
-The longest I’ve heard of someone dating and then breaking up is 5 years. Although 3 of those  years were long distance, and I feel for long distance, it’s less about the time, and more about how often you see each other. These guys only met up like 2-3 times a year(as far as I know) and didn’t spend any of their breaks together.
-I’ve only been to one wedding that I can remember of.

Just found out John and Jeanne are engaged. Not a big surprise I guess, they told me they’ve been going out since high school(6 years?). But that makes 4 couples I’ve found out about this year, all my age, and only one of them Mormon.

I’m still young I guess… but it’s starting to feel like I’m not that young…