In roughly an hour and a half, I will present my experiences with study abroad and research to roughly 60 students in Dr. Tim Lyden's Anatomy and Physiology class. I'm a little terrified. It's mostly just excitement that's getting lost somewhere in my throat I think, but I'm nervous either way. Of all the presentations I've done in the past few years, this is the least....research-y. My normally effervescent nerd-soul will have to be kept on a tight leash, as I'm talking about something besides zebrafish for once. I'll have to whip out all the fancy colloquial words like "ain't" and "nifty".
On a brighter note, my fiance and I have a hotel all set for NCUR. Now we just need plane tickets and the name of a good show on Broadway to go see. AAaaaand a money-tree.
I've been home for over a week now, and it's a little weird.
A lot of it has less to do with being back and more with getting ready to leave. The last week largely consisted of sending out more job applications and looking for a place to safely pass out in for a week after driving the 28 hours to Seattle. Some might see it as apartment searching, but after the amount of walking, driving, and flying I've done in the past few weeks, as long as the mice don't mind another snuggle-buddy I'll be happy where ever.
Our goal is to get everything squared away by the beginning of March. Between the planning and the worrying and the arguing and the nerve-racking, I'm about one more bout of food poisoning away from ecstasy. At least I think we've got our new apartment nailed down. We sent them money and called dibs. DIBS I SAY.
There's other things that are weird about being back. Even though Taiwan has a lot in common with the States, I've had to readjust to the things I was used to a month ago. Some things, like the floor toilets and the possibility of becoming road pizza whenever I was near a street, have been left behind fairly easily. The floor toilets provided a Great Fun in trying to not fall into them. Other things have taken longer. For instance, now that I'm diligently job searching, I pretty much need a crowbar every time I want some separation from my chair. Being in my apartment for long stretches of the day is very different from my time in Taiwan and being almost constantly on the move. While it was exhausting to travel and do so much, it was by no means boring. Even when I am successful in rending my behind away from in front of my computer, River Falls provides only so much diversity in locale. It's a far cry from the kaleidoscope of Taiwan's scooter-filled metropolises, murmuring seashores, and wide variety of architecture and local business.
It sounds strange to me, as I'm more of the "hide in my cave while everyone else has enjoyable interactions" type, but I also miss having a lot of people around. Part of me misses all the people-watching, but I wasn't exclusively a wallflower over there. It's a good thing too. Almost everyone in Taiwan - and there were a lot of them - was nothing but kind and willing to put up with me masticating the Chinese language into a pulp. Even though it was difficult to get our points across, I really enjoyed being around so many people that were as nerdy as I am. I've worked in a lab with other people before, but not with as many people or with as large a set-up as in Taiwan. Adding to the awesome, most of the people we were working with were brilliant. It was a little intimidating at first, as I am neither tri-lingual, bi-lingual, and I don't even have a master's degree, but everyone there was just too generous for my embarrassment to last for long.
Now, I'm back to my friends who have no qualms with telling me, "I love you, but you need to actually open your mouth when you talk or quit attempting speech with a mouth full of peanut butter" and other sweet nothings regarding how much of a socially-stunted over-achieving dork I am.
Not having a state-wide snow emergency was pretty nice as well. The heaven's picked the exact worst time to dump it's contents on me. I'm having enough trouble accomplishing everything I need to and squeezing in last minute visits with friends before we go due to my job/apartment/figuring out how to move/packing up things. The last thing I need is being blinded by plumes of snow on a frozen highway.
Until the Midwest road system becomes largely dependent on tunnels, I'll have to make do. There's a small mountain of things on my to-do list, including:
Find a Job.
Figure out how to ship things to our apartment.
Finish my research with Dr. Huang.
Meet with some bio/chem/tech clubs and a few teachers on campus to give presentations of my experiences
Prepare said presentations
Prepare a poster for NCUR that combines my last year of work, including the trip to Taiwan.
Meet up with friends one last time before going out to Seattle (and convince them to come visit)
Help out in the play my fiancé is currently struggling to keep afloat.
Fun side note: I can make soy milk now, thanks to the tutelage of Dr. Huang's wife.
Also, I totally typed in "globspot" instead of blogspot and think the former is Much better.