Summer 2008

Summer is always my favorite time of the year. Not because it’s damn burning. With a sleeve-less, beach shorts, and a pair of flip-flops, I can walk around coldroom casually without cursing or pointy epidermal surfaces; with the same gear under the bright sunny sky I’d get burnt within 30 min. Yet I still love summer, profoudly, endlessly, and passionately. So even in the mist of school opening chaos and frantic schedule packing up the rest of the year, I just have to capture my own summer memories before they turned out to be forever others’ properties.
The reason that I love this season so much is because of the nature of its activities. I can still remember clearly a coach (the one who brought team USA to Taiwan’s Jones Cup in 2002) said to us in Hofstra’s basketball camp back in 2000, he said "you don’t improve during the season, you compete during the season, and you improve during the summer." I have been keeping that i mind ever since.
Every summer I try to expand myself as much as possible, and they’ve proven to make the most difference. Athletically my breakthrough in both basketball and tennis came after that summer. Musically I excelled in guitar in the summer after high school graduation. Academically I studied SAT (MAN!), learned English (in La Salle, Stony Brook) and French (Mc Gill, NSYSU), and set foot on labwork research. It is also the time when I climbed/hiked my first few of 100-Peaks. Thinking back, it is also the season I began my journey to North America, becoming independent in New York. To me, summer is the time to explore.
This summer, the "first-ever" experience came as being a junior high school biology teacher. The 12-hour teaching period itself deserves an article itself. I always knew I could teach; I’ve taught English, coached basketball/tennis, and lectured Sports Medicine with triumph. Yet I’ve never taught formally, in a junior high school, in front of assorted 50 noisy students, formally as a biology teacher. BIOLOGY!? anyone knew me before 2003 acknowledged my frustrations in that field. I’ve always been the equation person, the wizard, math genius, Biology? no. I even put my future plans in high school year book as "overcome bio-phobia and become a doctor in Mc Gill." Me teaching biology? I could pop people’s eyes more than the stock market. The process wasn’t easy; the students of HouYi Jr. High were of typical suburb public school: less parental care, more energetic. Having energetic children is a good thing unless you are their jr. high teacher, and that’s exactly what I was facing. Plus, I never liked stern and boring classes; that would not happen in my class either. So it was very challenging for me to keep the students’ mind focused and asses connected to the chairs; I had to use many vivid examples and visual/audio examples to creat the images for them to link. Most importantly to me I thought I had passed on how to think "rationally" to them; that meant a lot to me. In the end when I collected the feedbacks from them and told them I would not be back for the upcoming semester, disappointments were written across their faces. That meant a lot to me. Most of the feedbacks were very positive (you made me like science!), although one of them wrote that I was the least wanted person he would like to see. The class gave me an average of 4.6 out of 5 on my teaching. Enough said. Appreciations go to Pei-Yin who gave me the opportunity and trust, and every others who supported me along the way.
The other breakthough I had was academically related. Had I made a double-digit impact factor discovery? No. Had I at least complete a solid western figure? No, I couldn’t even degrade FAK using degraded collagen after 9 attempts. Had I at least come up with a good model? No, I’m still struggling to grow a hair (a cilia, to be exact) for my cells. So what have I done? I unloaded the cytoskeletons in my incubator. I face to face told Prof. Tang that I’m planning to give Post Bach. Med a shot after my master’s degree. It was hard man, a 2.5-hour talk with him never sounded easy, and that one was especially hard because I had to conjured the courage to speak up the words that were too frightened to be spoken. I remember how different I reacted (on the inside, of course) when he brought up life as a scientist and a medical doctor. It was so divident and undeniable. It was Harn’s steak sandwich or Jamie Oliver’s spaghetti comparison, where I am sure Jamie’s spaghetti is definitely one of the best in the world, I just love simple sandwich much more. Yet I have to say, with the way my life has been treking, I am not going to deny the opportunity to learn from one of the best to add to my skill and eventually develop my own style of dish. It’s just for now I still have so much passion for medical service and that’s where I would like to take the gate to enter the real world.
Apart from those two, the rest were just seasoning and gravy. I went to PengHu for the first time to witness the true meaning of "bright bright blue sky." I cycled all over Kaohsiung to embrace the city with love. I re-picked up my tennis racket to ensue my passion. And of course I worked desperately in lab to commit to what I had planned to do in NCKU. Life’s been great, really. It is always filled with ups and down, laughters and tears, rainy cloud and sunny rays. This summer, with all the blessing from god and love of people around, I’ve experienced life, once more.
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