Arabic Class Updates

I guess I cannot sustain a 4 hour sleep per night too long. I was exhausted after my Arabic class, so I decided to Uber home. My uber driver happened to be Pakistani, so we exchanged some simple greetings in Arabic before I dozed off. Arabic remains one of the hardest things I ever attempted to learn so far, and I still struggle.




I was born in 1990 and today I turned 26 years old. But I felt I have been born many times. I was reborn at the age of 18 when I left China for college in a small town in the US; again at the age of 20 when I decided to become a programmer; again at the age of 24 when I had Essure; and now, again.

In between 25 and 26, I became a serious runner and spoke fluent Spanish. I started running in 2015; I was merely bored with my life and decided to see if I have the capacity to do something I always hated, which is running. Then something happened and changed everything. In December 2015 I ran my first half marathon. I signed up for it because everyone I knew on Facebook seemed to have ran a half, and I wanted that as a milestone. Instead during the course of my training, I became the person who studies training plans and discusses them endlessly with friends and even strangers behind water fountains. The night I finished my first half, I signed up for a marathon. Then in the next few months, I signed up another two marathons. Running went from something I occasionally do to who I am.

Spanish is something I always wanted to learn, but never had the resource or time, until I moved to New York City two years ago. I went to the first class at Instituto Cervantes and just kept going. In August I traveled to Mexico City alone and suddenly found that I could understand almost everything. I also went on Spanish speaking day trips with Peruvian and Colombian tourists, went to cheer the Mexico City marathon and made friends with fellow Mexican marathoners, and we were planning to run the Rock’n’Roll half marathon together in Mexico City next March.

I’m a good student and I worked hard: I hardly missed any classes and I always do the homework and the required reading; I took a lot of notes and on Friday nights I would study them instead of going out. The classes were expensive at $580 per course, and that’s about 30 hours of class time. But it was all worth it.

It is this year that I became a new person again, the person not quite who I want to be, but much closer to the goal. I reinvented myself into a runner and a Spanish speaker. I had to, because the person I had been would never have been capable of. In the next year I will probably focus on getting better: run faster and learn to understand more Spanish dialect. And the person in 10 years will again be completely different from who I am now.

Google doesn’t know what to translate when we talk about love

The other day I received a text message from Louis.


What was he trying to say? 「赤ちゃん」means infant or baby, 「女の赤ちゃん」could mean “my daughter’s infant” or “my girl’s baby”…I was confused, how many girls are there?

And then I thought, he must have used Google Translate, and the only way to know what he meant is to translate it back to English (or maybe Spanish). So I did, copied the sentence back and hit [Translate].

It said “You are my baby girl.”

Language Learning Resources

As I was 9 years old, I told my mom that I wanted to be a linguist. My mum was very surprised at me, for she can only speak Chinese, and has never heard of any occupations related to linguistic. However I do kept my dream of becoming a linguist until high school. Then I found out that linguists are paid less. So I gave up.

I gave up the idea of becoming a linguist as a professional, but not learning foreign languages.

Here are the resources for language learning that I’ve kept in my bookmark lists, with sites I’ve tried or will try in the future. I will keep updating this page with links such as online courses, podcasts and other supplemental materials here. I have started learning Spanish in June 2011, after I received my Japanese N1 Certificate. My ultimate goal in language learning is to be like Steve Kaufmann,, or even get beyond him. Continue reading “Language Learning Resources”

101 things in 1001 days / Since March 15, 2009

The mission: to complete these 101 things in 1001 days, counting from March 15 , 2009.  The complete items will have a different color and maybe a picture link.
Progress will be tracked monthly,  any news on progress will be left in the comments.  This list is completed on December 12 , 2011.

Status Report:




1. Get my first tattoo    Jun 13, 2009

2. Learn CAD

3. Visit North Korea Jul 15, 2010

4. Lose some weight until I’m 108 lbs ( always work in progress : )

5. Learn basic German

6. Read at least 1 book every month ( 33 in total )

    1. Oedipus the King
    2. 历史深处的忧虑
    3. The Thirty-nine steps
    4. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
    5. 伊豆的舞女,雪国,古都,千只鹤
    6. 俗世奇人
    7. 一只狗的遗嘱
    8. 生活在别处
    9. 把时间当作朋友
    10. 纽约不怀旧
    11. Animal Farm
    12. What we talk about when we talk about love
    13. Code Version 2.0
    14. In Fact (Creative Nonfiction)
    15. Writing Down the Bones
    16. The Making of a Poem
    17. The Rape of Nanking
    18. Cathedral
    19. A Widow for One Year
    20. Fight Club
    21. On Chesil Beach
    22. Will you be quiet, please?
    23. 挪威的森林
    24. 日本小史
    25. Furious Seasons and other stories
    26. The House of the Spirits
    27. Raymond Carver: Collected Stories
    28. 曾国藩 (上中下)
    29. Intimacy
    30. Random Family
    31. The Glass Castle
    32. The Joy Luck Club
    33. Interview with the Vampire
    34. Yung Wing: My Life in China and America
    35. Tinkers
    36. Room
    37. Half Broke Horses
    38. Herland
    39. Brave New World
    40. The Handmaid’s Tale
    41. Ecotopia
    42. Bless Me, Ultima
    43. The Hunger Games
    44. Nothing to Envy
    45. The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas
    46. Falling through the earth: A Memoir
    47. The House on Mango Street
    48. A Pale View of Hills
    49. The Sense of an Ending
    50. Does the 21st Century Belong to China?
    51. Life of Pi
    52. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
    53. The Design of Everyday Things

7. Donate blood

  • Jul 12, 2009

8. Learn some American Sign Language

9. Establish my 1st personal website ( you are reading it now )


10. Write a movie script

  1. 晨昏颠倒 is working in progress
  2. Children in the dark is working in progress

11. Ambidextrous ( work in progress )

12. Learn to sing as a diva

13. Volunteer work

  • Latham Food Bank   Aug 27, 2009
  • Oakwood Cemetery May 1, 2010

14. Visit Cuba or any other country in the Caribbeans

15. Learn basic Russian

16. Join the Honor IT Society

17. Plant trees

18. Get a scholarship in college

19. Learn to dance ( work in progress )

20. Travel across the USA by car (From Troy NY to San Antonio, TX, March 8 to March 16)

21. Read “Cien años de soledad” (One Hundred Years of Solitude) in Spanish

22. Get an autograph & photo from Tom Cruise

23. Read Ulysses

24. Send postcards to friends whenever I travel

25. Do a co-op or an internship

26. Learn C++

27. Watch 101 movies

  1. Grand Hotel
  2. The Short Films of David Lynch
  3. Diary od a lost girl
  4. Wallace & Gromit:
  5. Night and Fog
  6. Bolt
  7. 入殓师
  8. An affair to Remember
  9. Shanghai Express
  10. Ninotchka
  11. My life without me
  12. Ice Age: 3
  13. The Trip
  14. Cruel Intentions
  15. Yes Man
  16. Dance MOViES 2007-2008
  17. White Sky
  18. Dance MOViES 2008-2009
  19. 东邪西毒
  20. 薔薇の葬列
  21. Far From Heaven
  22. Encounter at the end of the world
  23. The Cove
  24. Cloudy with a chance of meatballs
  25. 耳をすませば
  26. The Beaches of Agnes
  27. Memories
  28. Donnie Darko
  29. Los Abrazos rotos
  30. Ghost in the shell 1995
  31. Ghost in the shell 2004: Innocence
  32. あの夏、いちばん静かな海
  33. Un homme et une Femme
  34. Cleo de 5 a 7
  35. Experiment in Terror
  36. Chung Kuo 中国
  37. ゆれる
  38. Tokyo Godfathers
  39. North Korea: A day in the life
  40. Seoul Train
  41. Darwin’s Nightmare
  42. Salt
  43. Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story
  44. Passionless Moments
  45. Ghost in the shell 2003
  46. 新世紀Evangelion (26 Episodes)
  47. Yes Men Fix the World
  48. Blow up
  49. Paradox Rules
  50. Russian Ark
  51. The Take
  52. Toy Story 3
  53. 新世紀Evangelion: Air/ まごころを、君に
  54. Day & Night
  55. Meshes of the afternoon
  56. Mala Noche
  57. When you’re strange
  58. Black Swan
  59. 世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ
  60. Letters to Juliet
  61. Dead Poets Society
  62. Knight and Day
  63. Reservoir Dogs
  64. The Red Shoes
  65. Cries and Whispers
  66. Babel
  67. Touch of Evil
  68. A Railway for two
  69. Stand Alone Complex
  70. The Trueman Show
  71. Pleasantville
  72. The Handmaid’s Tale
  73. V for Vendetta
  74. Sin Nombre
  75. Mission Impossible IV
  76. La piel que habito
  77. Haywire
  78. The woman in Black

28. Keep in better touch with old friends

29. Do some crossword puzzles

30. Go to the gym regularly

31. Donate at least 5000 grains of rice a month at  Free Rice

32. Get my driving license in NYS (November 2012)

33. Pick up playing piano

34. 日本語の勉強

35. Try to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test and get through Level 2

36. Convince 1 people to make his/her “101 things in 1001 days” : Tian did =)

37. Make a wine label for my parents’ small production

38. Learn equestrian

39. Send 200 postcards through Postcrossing

40. Learn Cantonese till conversational level

41. Make a T-shirt

42. Try to learn to hang upside down

43. Visit my teachers in High school & Junior High during vacation (August 2012)

44. Take photos with Mena in summer vacation

45. Draw 10 postcards and send them

46. Call my mom and dad every week (In fact I almost did it everyday)

47. Finish my GRE vocabulary lesson 

48. Learn to play the guitar

49. Donate $50 to Postcrossing after I receive 70 cards

50. Make a list of Clubs & Organizations I will join in college

51. Learn the skills of public speaking

52. Get excellent score in Calculus (I got 100!)

53. Learn to play Ice Hockey (at least have a try)

54. Make a shopping list before I go to college

55. Get through my VISA interview      Jun 9, 2009

56. Learn some linux (I’m using Ubuntu now :)

57. Write a real  letter to someone

58. Keep updating my blog

59. Taste typical food of a country I’ve never tried before

  • I found out that I like Indian food :)   Thank you, Varun~~

60. Get teeth whitened

61. Watch all seasons of CSI : Las Vegas

62. Buy a Digital Camcorder and use it

63. Sew a picture for Mena and surprise her!

64. Tell my ex that I’ve really loved him before I leave for college

65. Keep Smiling

66. Give an umbrella to a stranger in the rain

67. Persuade my dad to quit smoking

68. Fold paper trees, and use them to decorate my room

69. Go to a first-aid course

70. Apply for dual major, or co-terminal

71. Go to a writing course   09’Fall, Creative Writing

72. Join the varsity swimming club

73. Try o.b.        (Jul, 2009)

74. Be a mentor

75. Perform in a multicultural show

76. Visit the New York Film Forum

77. Take photos with new friends and send them to my mum

  • with Alison!

78. Get a job!

79. Take a picture on Empire State Building

80. Taking Spanish at Instituto Cervantes

81. Write a request of proposal for my film project and send it to a producer! (This is really brave)

82. GPA 4.0, at least in one semester :(

83. Learn Java

84. Finish an online course (whatever it is!)

  • Dec 15, 2010, finished the online course for my Japanese language test preparation

85. Read Kafka on the shore in Japanese

86. Grow long hair

87. Learn to bake apple pie and make one for my parents ♥

88. Teach Chinese and start a club at school

89. Send Mena an RPI bear as a gift

90. Make a Short film [A Day in the Life] Sep 23, 2010

91. Make a list of all my childhood animes

92. Take the GRE once ( Do I need this to get in grad school? )

93. Read the Bible








101. Write another ” 101 things in 1001 days ” or another future plan like this