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Laundry On Sundaes

Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.

Monthly Archives: June 2010

I’ve mentioned in passing on this blog about going to Vienna this summer, but never quite explained it in detail. So I’m going to take a break from packing right now and do just that.

I’m leaving tomorrow for a 10 week long research program called the Vienna Biocenter Summer School. It’s held by The Institute of Molecular Pathology(IMB), The Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (IMBA), and The Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL). I will be working in a lab at the IMB, doing a research project involving identifying neurons and circuits in Drosophila. The program also includes lectures, social events, and sightseeing trips in Vienna. I will be living in a double room in a student dorm building.

I think this is the first year they are holding the program, since I haven’t seen any evidence of it existing before. And it was a bit harder to find than some of the other summer research/premed programs. Through numerous methods of research for something to do this summer (internet searches, workshops, etc.), I’ve never once come across it. Until I received an e-mail forwarded to a club I’m involved in at Columbia. I applied to it almost as an afterthought, since the deadlines for all the other programs I applied for have already passed. And what do you know? I’m flying to another world tomorrow.

Looking back, it has been almost a year since I started this blog, and it’s been quite the year of new places. In the past year, through words and pictures, I’ve taken you to… in China: Beijing, Chongqing, Jiuzhaigou, and Sanya; in Canada: Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, and the Niagara Falls; in the US: New York, Miami, and Washington, DC; and now Vienna in Austria.

New adventures await. Follow along :)


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The lovely Emma Watson is starring in the new video for for her boyfriend George Craig’s band, One Night Only. Check it out, it’s super cute.

This video makes me jealous due to several things:

A) She’s Emma Watson. Duh.
B) She has amazing style.
C) She’s with her boy and I’m not.
D) She’s in NYC and I’m not.
E) It makes me want a recession special at Gray’s Papaya.

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Oy it’s been a long time since I’ve done a DIY tutorial… so let’s do one now!

I got the idea from a Youtube video… it looked simple enough to make so I decided to try it out. You can make it as a card for Valentine’s Day card, an anniversary, or just-because.

Project: pop-up card
Difficulty level: easy

Step 1: Get your supplies: sturdy white paper or cardstock (I used posterboard paper), sturdy red paper or cardstock (again, I used posterboard; DO NOT use construction paper, it will not work, I learned that the hard way), scissors, glue

Step 2: Cut the white paper into the size you want your card to be. Score the center and fold. Cut 2 identical heart shapes from the red paper.

Step 3: On one of the hearts, use a pencil and draw a spiral pattern, following the edge of the heart shape. Each section should be about 8 mm (1/4 in) wide.

Step 4: Hold the 2 hearts together and carefully cut along the spiral pattern. Now you should have 2 heart “springs.”

Step 5: Put a little glue on the center of one heart and glue the 2 hearts together at the center. Let dry.

Step 6: Position the 2 hearts on your card as you like. Put glue on the outer circle of one of the hearts and glue onto one side of the open card.

Step 7: Put glue on the outer circle of the other heart, now facing up, and close the card onto it. Let dry completely.

Step 8: You should now have a heart on each side of the card connected together in a spring! Decorate as you like, with more hearts or whatever. I chose to do the initials of me and Yufei inside each heart, with smaller hearts scattered around.

Step 9: Decorate the cover. And you’re done! Now go send some love!

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I’ve been cooking a lot recently and I’m loving it. The strawberry cupcakes were delicious and the jam also turned out great! So now I I’ve decided that it’s time I shared one of my own recipes: chicken wings in cola sauce. I’ve seen other versions of this dish that involved boiling in water first, baking, grilling, etc. This one does not. It’s as easy as it gets and it tastes great.

8-12 split chicken wings, tips removed
1 can or bottle of cola or other soda drink
1-2 scallions, roughly chopped
2-3 gloves of garlic, sliced
1 small piece of ginger, sliced or minced
Vegetable oil
Soy sauce

1. Put chicken wings in a large bowl, sprinkle salt over it and add a bit of soy sauce. Let it marinade for 30 minutes or so.
2. Put a deep pot on the stove and set the heat to high. Add a bit of vegetable oil and heat it for about a minute. Add the scallions, garlic, and ginger and stir fry for a few seconds.
3. Add the chicken wings. Let them cook on high heat for a few minutes until the wings change color and no longer look raw.
4. Add the cola. You need to add enough so that it covers the wings. Bring the liquid to a boil, then turn down the heat just enough to keep it boiling.
5. Keep cooking the wings, uncovered, letting the water evaporate. Stir once in a while to prevent sticking. Cook until the cola is reduced to a thick, sticky sauce. This will probably take 45 minutes or so.
6. Transfer into a plate and let cool for a few minutes. Enjoy!

You can make this with any carbonated drink. I’ve tried coke and Dr. Pepper (they didn’t taste all that different). I do suggest using non-diet soda though, since the one time I tried it with diet coke the sauce wasn’t as thick, probably due to the lack or sugar.

Let me know how it turns out if you try this!

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Actually, a ferry… to Victoria! I know this post is pitifully late, but I still wanted to share our Victoria Day long weekend day trip to Victoria.

On the boat!

The majestic, ivy-covered Empress.

Parliament building of BC.

After a picnic lunch in a park, we saw this little guy in the parking lot. We fed him sunflower seeds :D

The incredibly beautiful Butchart Gardens:

I’m on a horse!

In the Japanese Gardens

A lovely albeit long day :)

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My family went strawberry picking yesterday, and since fresh strawberries don’t keep for long, I decided to use some and make cupcakes! I got the recipe here, except I used margarine instead of butter and replaced half the sugar with brown sugar. I loved that all the ingredients were stuff that I already had in the house. They turned out delicious, but the frosting was a little runny (anyone know how to fix that?). Perfect treats for summer!

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I’ve been toying with the idea of becoming vegetarian for quite a while now, though this may come as a shock to a lot of my close friends since I’ve never really told anyone about it. But the more I think about it, the less of a far-fetched idea it seems. I’ve never been crazy about meat, I don’t avoid it purposely but I’ve never been much of a carnivore. I already have a low meat diet right now, especially with red meat, and I don’t think I’d miss it too much if I did away with it altogether (this may be proven wrong). A lot of meat products kind of gross me out too, like the chicken and pig feet my dad keeps making at home recently. Besides, I just really love eating fruits and vegetables.

The thought of maybe becoming vegetarian has been on my mind a lot recently due to many things: the aforementioned gross meat stuff at home, the intrigue of reading about vegetarian bacon, my friend Angela taking to me about the paleolithic diet, the documentary Home I watched recently… So I thought, why not? Why not try it? It’s come to the point where I stop just thinking and researching and do something. So here’s the idea: I will try to be vegetarian (lacto-ovo) as much as I can for the 2 months that I will be in Vienna. Sort of a trial period, if you will, to see if I can do it, if I will like it, and how my body will react to it.

This raises a whole lot of questions for myself, so I will try to answer them here, to let you know and to keep it all organized in my own head. So why exactly am I doing it? Mostly for the sake of my own curiosity and experimentation. I just want to experience it for myself. But would I be missing out on Austrian cuisine if I don’t eat meat? What about the Weiner Schnitzel? As you may know, I am a total foodie and I am not ready to miss trying anything at least once. So I think when it comes to traditional foods when I’m in Vienna, I will try at least a little bit, just for the experience (which is why I wrote “try to be vegetarian as much as I can”), no other exceptions. What about after Vienna? That depends on how those 2 months go, but I don’t think I can ever be truly vegetarian for several reasons. First, when I think about my favorite foods, a lot of them have meat in it. I enjoy eating meat, it’s delicious. Second, I don’t believe that meat is inherently bad for our bodies; like most things, it’s fine in the right amounts and my current diet is quite healthy. Third, I don’t think that my family would support vegetarianism, and in most Chinese eyes it would be simply seen as being a picky eater. Lastly, again, it’s about the amount and the method; there are sustainable and ethical farming practices. I might try to cut down my meat intake even more and make a more conscious decision when choosing what to eat though. But who knows, maybe 2 months of vegetarianism will change me.

I will keep you updated and document this personal scientific experiment as I go along.

Thoughts? Advice? Words of encouragement or warning? Think this is crazy? Let me know!

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