I have been home for four weeks and back again, and not fully re-adapted to life in office just yet. Right after I arrived in Pasadena, Bora called in the middle of the night, and in two days she flew in.
We talked over the days about many a things, but one thing was what keeps us sane. After listening to many ghastly stories that she had to tell and blanching several times along the way, I am quite grateful for the environment I am in. Not only do I think that Caltech may be one of the best schools in terms of graduate student support, but I also think that my friends of the year–Koreans and non-Koreans alike–are possibly the most gentle and amicable people possible.
I rely heavily on regular life patterns with these lovely people tightly woven in and out. Thursday lunches, gym workouts and garden maintenance, occasional “International Gourmet committee” and game nights, and greetings coupled with apple pies or fig tarts from Inha when I arrive home–they keep me going.
Whether I will be able to support myself completely alone without a social support network is something that I don’t want to find out, but I guess the involvement of other people does make life less robust. But sometimes the most colorful are not the most strong–like the California poppy, which are now in full bloom.