December 3rd, 2004 (4:35pm)
This is the last day I will work here until middle of Feburary next year. I cleaned up my cubicle and even took the time to wipe tea stains off the table surface, all the while feeling irony dripping from every pore of my body: why is it human nature to clean something when it's _not_ going to be used?
To my own disbelief, I have surprisingly little I really feel like worth saying despite this being like the last day before I go to work my ass off all the way through Christmas and New Years. The good news is that apparently a shiny new IBM T42 is being prepared for me with a humongous 1.5GB RAM - which in a few years will probably become standard, but currently, that's about as much as I ever dreamed of having on a laptop computer. Bye bye swap file.
I should probably also mention that the coming Sunday is the japanese language proficiency test for this year; I am signed up to take Level 1, but I have zero confidence in passing; All the mock tests place me at about 50% for grammar and vocabulary. Passing is 70% and no way my listening comprehension is good enough that I can make up the difference.
It seems that everyone from this entire area is congregating at the Saitama University in Urawa for this test. It's kind of nostalgic: Urawa was the first excursion I made in japan in my search for recycle shops on my first weekend here. I am sure walking down that road will reawaken some interesting memories. It's amazing how much changed in the past two years and half as well, while two years ago I walked down that road with anxiety and trepidation, I expect that I would be right at home this time, and I am even at peace with the unfortunate fact that I will be failing the test this time, as I honestly had no time to formally prepare for it.
I read somewhere that on Eienstein's last visit to Princeton, he was looking around, eyes dashing from place to place, as if to capture and store all that he could for his memory; I find myself inadvertantly doing the same, gazing from the small china tea-pot (kyusu) to the workstation wrapped in bubble wrap to damp some high frequency noise the motherboard generates (seems like an electrolytic capacitor is about to burst but has been teetering). What's this power with familiarity? When did I fall pray to it?
My cousin in London seem to love that city, and to be honest, I really did not find the city particularly charming. I mean, I do appreciate London in my own way - that it is a city where history and culture seeps from every corner and every umbrella and every teacup, but it simply wasn't my cup of tea; I didn't feel that people there were distant and cold, most seemingly hiding behind some veil of politeness and contempt. I attributed the city's attraction to her as that it is a place that she can call home - after all what is a home but a place where you are a part of? Like when you have lived in a neighborhood for so long that you recognize some crack on a wall formed in some trivial storm many a years ago, or notice that the favorite passtime of a neighborhood old uncle's is to sit at the corner on weekday mornings to watch the school children go off to school, these familiarity ties you to a place that becomes home, to a point where you appreciate its beauty and drawback together. I admit I felt that ever tiny bit of contempt - that she had committed herself to London like so; yet it's ironic that this cubicle that I rediculed so much when I first moved here would draw my eyes as it is right now.
Maybe similarly, "love" is just a similar feeling that extends to a person; and that emotions can indeed be cultivated with time. Who knows.