The strange thing about living in 23°C weather during “winter” (yes, i was on t-shirt eating lunch today with colleagues/friends) is that you can’t really readjust the brain for how cold it will be even if you have been exposed to it. all warm clothes are on hand after a warning from a friend “you should dress super warmly on Sunday.  It will be frigid!” She grew up in Toronto so she knows when it’s cold. and it’s actually colder than that reported thanks to the breezy wind.


so, am due to arrive bright early on sunday morning.  this week has been hectic! yesterday i could hardly walk or carry a notebook.  everything is set though.  the cat will finally have a home. it’s hard to imagine sometimes, but here in the US, the first thing that enters people’s mind when adopting a pet is how much money they’ll have to spend for the poor cat’s medical bills!  he even got a personal visit from a respectable vet. after long delays, the news finally came today that he’ll have a good home in Boston, i’m relief and happy.  tomorrow, we’ll have a nice family gathering at my tiny but happily empty place, kids and parents and sisters and younger brother.  family is definitely sad that i’m leaving.  the question came up several times why i’m leaving in the first place.  i had thought long and hard about this, risking dragging it out for over 2 years in fact, for the exact reason my family is pointing out: family is here, little kids here, potentially good job here, why leave?  this move is a career move.  many people have their jobs, their family, their home… i have my career.

parting gift by officemate

it might sound odd, but it’s the one thing i can always rely on.  you always hear singers or dancers talk about how important it is to have good strong technique, because even when things are not going well, they can always rely on good old techniques (2nd nature) to get them through.  it’s the same for me.  life can be rocky, but i can always go back to what i know best.  even with such an absolutely loving family which would no doubt support me through any hardship, it’s best to establish a strong footing to keep myself balanced.  In the past, I had times yielded to others’ wishes.  What i’ve realized is that when I do things because of this or that instead of because it’s what I want to do, the end can be unsatisfying (what i’ve many posts earlier referred to as do/love for the wrong reasons…)  I wouldn’t say that i’m a selfish person, but it’s good to sort out what one wants/needs in life. as long as you don’t hurt others, it should be pretty forward to follow through.  in the end, a happy you makes a happy surrounding-you 🙂 .

bike+hike trip

But what’s special about this job?  I would have to go back 5 yrs ago, when I, freshly out of school and having very little publication to show for, was frantically looking for a position.  it took a while (i even baby-sat for my sister for a couple of months!), but luckily, I had 3 options in the end.  the first, which i wrote a little proposal for a little grant, was to work one-on-one with an advisor.  the second was very related to what i did for my thesis.  the third was as part of a big group doing ocean circulation research.  i picked the 3rd.  i had picked it all along, even with almost no background (was a different field). as soon as they said: “we don’t know if you have the appropriate background, but we think you would manage”, i took it.  i am beyond happy with my choice.  i have grown so much as a person and as a researcher in the past 4 years.  this is the best one could have hoped for at a work place.  i can only thank the two “advisors” i’ve worked with endlessly for their incredibly helpful and friendly environment and advises.  Even though it took quite a long time because i practically switched field, things are paying off handsomely now.  The best parting gift i could imagine arrived yesterday (from the publisher, with 2 advisors as co-authors):

>> I am pleased to accept your paper for publication in Journal XXX. Again congratulation on a very well
>> received paper.”

Yes, it was a well received paper!  that pretty much sums up what the project has done for me.  toward the end, it was also nice to see the “advisors” asking for my opinion/expertise.  I’ve also befriended with so many great people in the group.  we’ve done many things together, biking, hiking, cooking, moving, going to the operas, you name it.  I’m sad to leave them.  But, it’s really time to move on.  I’m now at a point where I’m viewed (as it should be) as an independent researcher.  I was looking for a new position, a position was offered, in the exact group I wanted, to do what I exactly would like to get involved in, in collaboration with the group i’ve just left (we’re all meeting in May already! farewell greetings were “see you in May”), and finally at a good university in my favorite city.  Such opportunity doesn’t come by often.  The only reservation is the work itself.  It’s the most challenging project to date, you could say a career make/break position.  if succeeded, i’ll be known in the community.  if not, i’d be buried in some office forgotten.   4 years ago, i were not in position to even imagine the demand of this particular job.  now, i’ve built somewhat an appropriate background.  only time will tell. the dynamics of this new group will be very different than that of my old one (and they’re all French instead of German 🙂 ).  I’m a bit afraid, but i look forward to it.

So, long winded answer, i took the job because it’s the best position at this time in my career (and the fact that i love walking and dislike driving).  i’ve relied on my judgment and so far, it’s moving forward ok (something i can’t say about my direction skill…) .  so, a toast to the exciting challenges ahead (starting with walking around in frigid weather looking for an apartment!)  a very warm thank again to all for checking in during my transition.


About thả diều
writing-challenged opera-addict

3 Responses to reflection1

  1. Have a quiet last day in Cal. That’s all good news. And it’s not like you’re going to the other end of the world — it’s still the same country.

    >> life can be rocky, but i can always go back to what i know best.


    And in Boston you can skate outdoors!

  2. Eyesometric says:

    Fly high with a fair wind Thadieu.

  3. idlehouse says:

    i thought you move here to be near me!!

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