Uncertainty can be happiness

"Security is a false god," or running around the world as an FSO

Archive for the ‘friends’ Category

The Peak and other delights:

Posted by quirksalight on December 13, 2010

The rest of our group made it to HK and we were now a merry band of 4 Penn alumnae running around HK. Excellent.

Staying in Kowloon, we hit the local shops, the malls, and markets for interesting finds. Personally, I found some sunglasses, a bottle of Miss Dior perfume (which I hadn’t been able to find for a while), comfy/dressy shoes, and a jade necklace. The necklace was a part of a collective bargaining session at the Jade Market in Yau Ma Tei, with Laura taking the lead for our goods. Nice market, but definitely a place where you need to be able to bargain and knowing the language will do you a lot of good. Next, as one of our main agenda items for the trip was eating, we hit up a Buddhist vegetarian dim sum place. Hmm… the artificial meat in the dimsum was a little strange… but the veggie bits, such as the tofu skins, excellent!

Tea at the Landmark Mandarian Oriental – running late because turns out you can’t just get a taxi on the street to get you from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island, but have to call one for that purpose. Easy enough at any hotel, but to those who didn’t know this tidbit of info, quite frustrating, especially when you’ve got reservations.

Next, we split up and the three of us, Kim, Jen and I, headed up to Victoria Peak, just after sunset. Even though it’s not high tourist season, the tram line was LONG. And a crush to push our way into the tram – I seriously had to hip check a guy out of my way who tried to jump ahead of me.

But the view was totally worth it. With the wind whipping through our hair, we stood on top, watching the glittering skylines of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon spread before us, and the ferries moving across Hong Kong Harbour like balls of light floating across the water.

Recommended by our guidebooks and several friends, we first hit up Dragon-I for drinks and apps. Turns out that there is a Happy hour special of 2-1 drinks from 3-9pm. Just don’t get the one with Benedictine liquor – horrid… tastes like cough syrup…. unless you like that sort of thing…. Otherwise, it’s a great deal for drinks in that area.
Met up with an AFP photographer who I met at the G20 in Seoul the past month. He and his colleague joined us at Classified, a wine and cheese bar in the Soho/ Lan Kwai Fong area of Central HK. It was good to meet up with him, though his colleague wasn’t feeling well and went home shortly after arriving.


Posted in adventure, amusing, Food, friends, fun, Hong Kong, outdoors, travel, vacation | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

4 days

Posted by quirksalight on June 20, 2010

So I’m at the point where I can count the days I have remaining on one hand, and this is my last weekend in the US, the last weekend before I’m a working FSO at my first post.

It’s been a great weekend. A raucous night with my classmates and the 151st on Friday followed by a fantastic going away party thrown by JL and LL in Georgetown on Saturday night. I’m really going to miss my friends, old and new, much more than when I left before.

It’s strange – I’ve done this before, get ready to move to Korea. It’s mildly deja vu-ish; 2 years and 4 months ago, I was doing the same thing. Yet, it’s oh-so-different. Different bags, a lot more stuff, and definitely more paperwork (seriously!), but heading to the same country on the same airline with the same layover in SanFran. 😛

Some parts of this is weird – I don’t see myself as all that different from the person I was in my previous trip, but to those who knew me then, I’ll be a cat of a different coat. Hopefully this won’t affect how we interact and see each other, as people, but this is something I guess we all have to “see what happens”.

C’est la vie.

Posted in 152nd, adventure, ancedotes, DC, friends, fun, Korea, training | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

End of wedding season ’09

Posted by quirksalight on November 21, 2009

A teacher of mine once told me that you go through periods in your life; weddings, kids, divorce, and death.
Apparently, my friends and I are in the “wedding” period of our lives. It kicked off last year, though I missed them all due to being in Korea. It’s continuing though this year and on to 2010, with several “save the dates” already sent out. Interestingly, more of the high school classmates got married much earlier- early twenties, rather around 30.

I’m happy for my friends, and it’s great to be able to celebrate their nuptials. They do seem to come in a flood, though. From May to October 2009, a friend of mine (or two!) were getting married per month, with the exception of June (which was good b/c of the OA).

Just another step in our lives. It does make me wonder how my relationships with my friends will evolve through our thirties, when we are going full steam ahead in our careers and have become more settled (or unsettled). Who will be the first to have a mid-life crisis? Hah!

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The fly

Posted by quirksalight on August 14, 2009

By mistake, I knocked over a piece of pottery onto a glass mug and the mug broke. This is one of those “commemorative” mugs you get when you go somewhere and attend some event. However, this one has some history.
I got this mug, from a friend, when we attended an event together. But the circumstances surrounding the event ended badly, and I kept it (though tempted to break it) in anger as a reminder. As the years passed on, the wounds of the broken friendship began to heal, and I began to forgive. Because I missed my friend, and had valued the conversations and insight our friendship had provided.

We began to communicate again, and it appeared that things were progressing to a point where maybe, just maybe, I could consider us friends once again.
But that was a false hope, as communication became more and more one-sided and I got frustrated at the 180 turn about, once again. I stated plainly that I was tired of the lopsidedness and walked away.

So I look at this glass mug, which traveled across time zones and states, to meet an ignoble end at the butt of a 7th grade pottery piece, falling on it as I tried to smack a fly. And I see the physical embodiment of the end a friendship, which, like the mug, met an ignoble end.

I do not regret the friendship. It was full of ups and downs; I learned a lot about people, how I interact with them, and some very valuable lessons about interpersonal relationships.

However, even optimists eventually see the writing on the wall. We just try a couple extra times before doing so. C’est la vie.

Posted in ancedotes, annoyance, Bizarre, commentary, friends, In Memorandum, memory, Mental Stream, metaphors | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

More of the Potomac…

Posted by quirksalight on August 7, 2009

Paddling from Thompson’s Boat Center, past Georgetown and back. Aug 1, 2009. A great day – nice, upper 80’s, partially cloudy. 🙂
Two hours on the water followed by a great burger at Five Guys… nice way to start off a Saturday.

Posted in amusing, friends, fun, kayaking, Nature, outdoors, Sports, Washington DC | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by quirksalight on July 21, 2009

…aren’t really what you want to be wearing when Diplomatic Security stops by for a chat. Yep.

JR called me today to tell me that she just finished her interview with an investigator for my background check up in Long Island. As we were talking, the doorbell rings, and yep, it’s an investigator. And I’m in my pajamas and glasses, which is what I’m usually wearing when I’m not planning to go out.

Turns out the investigator had tried to reach me, but my cell didn’t go to voicemail. As he was interviewing the neighbors, he just decided to stop by. (I think) Kind of a pre-interview, as he had a list of things I need to get together for tomorrow’s interview and contact information for people in the area, not in the SF-86.

Oh, a random coincidence: Turns out he graduated from the same high school as I, and with the daughter of my next door neighbor. How odd is that?

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Cupcakes of another color…

Posted by quirksalight on July 21, 2009

Today was the opening day for the brick and mortar version of “Occasionally Cake“.

Located in the Mount Vernon area of Alexandria, this store focuses on custom designed pastries, but also have wonderful cupcakes. Not your average chocolate, vanilla, etc, but original creations, such as pink champagne (pomagranate and champagne icing), chocolate raspberry (chocolate cake, with chocolate ganache and chocolate raspberry icing), and strawberry lemonade (lemon cake with strawberry icing).

Here’s the half dozen I picked up:

After eating these… I’d highly recommend this place if you’re looking for unusually delicious pastries for a special event or to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Disclosure: One of the proprietors is a former HS classmate.

Posted in Food, friends | Tagged: | 1 Comment »


Posted by quirksalight on July 20, 2009

This past Sat was the first time I’ve been kayaking in a LONG time. Right at Fort Washington marina, we headed south on the Potomac and up Piscataway Creek for a guided nature tour. It turned out more just a guided tour and not so much on the nature bit, but was fun nevertheless.

A random bit of amusement happened, without me even knowing it. Turns out one of the “maybe” people had decided to come kayaking, and biked to the marina from DC. Unfortunately, he arrived a little late and snafus with the kayak rental staff prevented him from getting a kayak until we were already down near Piscataway Creek. So upon my return home, I find an e-mail with this photo:

with a commentary on the whole situation, including a summary of the conversation I was having with AW at the time. Highly amusing. I suppose JH will take a car instead of a bike next time. 🙂

Posted in adventure, amusing, ancedotes, commentary, friends, fun, Humor, Nature, outdoors, Sports, Washington DC | Leave a Comment »

Wedding bells

Posted by quirksalight on July 13, 2009

And they are NOT mine!
That said, this past week was the second of the weddings that I’m invited to in 2009. After missing, I think, 6 last year, there’s 4 this year. As a former teacher said to me, “There’s a time in your life where it’s all weddings”. Yep.

Ever quirky, AF and GR (now GF!) had a small ceremony and reception at Le Bec Fin on Wednesday. I have to admit, the first thing I asked AF when he told me the date was if they chose a Wednesday to discourage people from actually attending. 😛 It was actually for the numerical order: 07/08/09
Anyhow, it was nice to be there and celebrate a very happy moment of one of my longest and closest friends. 12 freaking years! Man…

It was very casual and impromptu. After getting the vows, exchanging the rings, and signing the marriage documents, several people got up and spoke about the couple, together and individually. I got up and told the story of how they had met and started dating. Hadn’t really planned on it, but as I later said to the bride’s father, I had told this story a couple of times in the past, so off the cuff wasn’t a big stretch. Involving a series of coincidences, a ratty old sweater, and yarn over a 5-6 month stretch of time, it was a long and apparently VERY amusing story.

Dinner, drinks, bar hopping… It was a great way to celebrate, and to finally meet people, who in some cases, I’d been hearing about for years. As this was part I, I can’t wait for Part II!

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Oops… the poker…

Posted by quirksalight on April 20, 2009

After Rothenburg, I crashed and fell asleep on the drive back to Wurzburg. But we didn’t have all that much downtime, as we were supposed to meet a couple of his friends at the Standard for poker. Apparently Wednesday night is poker night in the U Wurzburg Physics department. H invited us to join them last night at the beer hall, which we of course accepted. Texas hold’em style, 5 euro buy in, tournament with the top two splitting the pot. Sure, why not? A little poker never hurt anyone. 🙂 MH was more amused at the potential for trash talking between some of his collegues and I – apparently there was a high potential for his amusement.

Heading to the Standard bar, we meet up with H from last night, J and his wife C, and F, the postdoc. Some initial chitchat, though J was extremely dismayed upon hearing my reasons for leaving grad school, “There’s no difference! No matter where you go, it’s all the same! IT’s exactly the same!!” Uh huh. Yeah… he’s trying to finish. I think my reply was, “Sorry, dude. Grad school is grad school.”

We start out, and the guys (F and J) told me that the weekly poker night had been going on for about 6 months, and H is playing for the first time. At their question if I had played before, I answered, “Well, I haven’t played regularly for a long time.” Their answer: “Oh, regularly? Hmm…” hahhaha…. of course, at this, MH is just sitting back with a grin on his face. Honestly, I haven’t played at all since grad school, but then again, the first two years of grad school did have the weekly poker nights, mainly at my house, which MH was very well aware of. 😛

so we continue playing, and I’m playing pretty conservatively, with a couple random plays to see how the others were reacting. And I noticed a couple patterns. F had a tendency to lean back when he had a decent hand, and J would sit up straighter and almost brace himself when he had a good hand. Almost as if one is bracing for battle. MH’s eyebrows talks WAY too much, and twitches when he’s not sure. H was the hardest to read, but then I found out later that he had never played before, which makes sense that there was no pattern to read; he doesn’t have any established to read. And C would always play conservative.

With the knowledge in hand, I pushed and bluffed my way to being in the top two for both tournaments we played. Funny, sometimes I would ask them if they wanted me to explain how I won a specific hand, which they did. J quipped that he wasn’t sure what was worse; that I won the hand, or that would win and explain what I was thinking and how I won. Though all of them asked me to continue explaining.

I think I paid for my dinner and drinks that night with the poker winnings! hahahah!!! F wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going to be around for next week’s game, as they all joked that they weren’t looking all that forward to playing with me again. Oops. MH did get his wish for some trash talking, though.

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