Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hiking at St. Moritz

It has been quite awhile since our (a gang of phd students) last hiking trip together. Initially planned for Creux du Van which requires very high physical fitness, we have decided to change our trip to something moderate, St. Moritz Emerald trail, Grisons-Lombardy stage 1, due to the rainy weather recently.

St. Moritz lake
Woke up 5 in the morning, (perhaps the earliest of the year) we departed from Zurich HB heading towards Chur and then St. Moritz, and it took us 3.5 hours! Since we were moving in a large group (of 9 people), it was quite an challenging task to get the seats where we can sit together. We managed to do it for the Zurich-Chur trip, and almost did it as well for the Chur-St. Moritz leg, only to find out that the seats were reserved. As the train was quite short, we had to separate into 4-5 groups and were sitting with our backs facing the front, for 2 hours! I spent most of the time sleeping though, as it was quite uncomfortable and I was sleepy anyway.

Soon after our arrival, I was certain that this hiking trip is going to be a great one - what picturesque scene of mountains, lake, and gentle sun. We started our hike by walking around the St. Moritz lake before going slightly uphill to the mountain lake, Lej da Staz.
Lej da Staz
Its color was almost black, in a contrast with the St. Moritz lake which was blueish. We spent some time for technical breaks and followed the route suggested by the website towards St. Moritz Bad. The landscape was a great remedy for us who have been living in the cities for a long time, and the forest was full with lots of interesting flora and small animals. We kept on going for like one hour and reached an Olympic ski jump site. It looked like an abandoned place with the grasses growing wild, but should be awesome when it is covered with all the snows during the winter time. After a few minutes walk, we arrived at Lej Marsch and conquered an area near the lake to begin our picnic. The floor was very soft and the soil was somehow wet. We can even trigger an earthquake by just stomping on the floor.

Olympic ski jump
After our lunch break, we moved on to the next lake, Lej Nair, which was pretty small. Along the route we started to see more "civilizations" and beginning to return to the normal world. Since we still had some time to spare, we jumped into a local restaurant to enjoy some ice creams and beers while enjoying the sun and mountains. It was really a nice place to enjoy your life after retirement and we even joked that everyone of us can buy one unit each of the apartment there. Then we can become neighbors and do hiking together. Ha, I am not sure if I could afford a house at a place like this in Switzerland!

small waterfall with stones around
Recharged with energy, we continued our journey to the lake Silvaplana and walked past Crap da Sass castle. There was also a small waterfall with lots of vertically aligned stone arranged by somebody. As the rain started to pour, we have decided to get back to the St. Moritz station instead of walking for another hour to Sils under the rain. Everybody was tired like hell and even fell asleep on the way to the train station. We used different route back, passing Lanquart before reaching Zurich.

Since we have spent "lots of energy" for the hike, we have decided to award ourselves with a dinner at Ah Fatt's place. As usual, we finished a tableful of foods within an hour and finally reached home after spending 18 hours outside.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Geneva day trip

This trip was kind of decided 2 months ago, but I just realized about it one day before. And it turned out to be a great one. Instead of visiting the place, it was actually to meet my ex-colleagues from Univ. of Tokyo who are now working at CERN on the ATLAS experiment.

Life is really unpredictable I must say, as I would have ended up working at CERN for my PhD under the same group as my master's lab. Due to my eagerness to try out something different and also my tendency of moving around (like from Osaka to Kyoto and to Tokyo in Japan), I have gambled my future to do my PhD at a place unknown to me at the time, Zurich in Switzerland. And of course I am glad that I have made this choice as it has changed me tremendously in terms of my perspective about physics and society and also extended my network over the world.

Geneva Lake
After meeting them, I am glad that they are doing well in their researches and going to graduate soon. Even though I will be later than them as I am not in a hurry or so. And I am not regretting as well to be not involved in the Higgs boson searching group, which I was assigned to during my master. I am not working on something BIG either at the moment. But I am enjoying it, so do my friends enjoying their analysis works.

We had a great time having lunch together talking about our labmates when we were at Tokyo. It is pretty amazing that everybody is still working towards what they planned to do a few years back, and nothing is stopping them right now. This is truly scientist mentality or Japanese tamashi?. :) After the lunch, out of the sudden, we walked towards the Geneva lake and entered the public swimming area. And guess what? We rented swimming trunks and jumped into the lake! This is perhaps the 2nd random stuff I have done after the 5-minute-decide-to-go-Vienna trip. It was freaking hot these days and I was completely relaxed after the swim.

Lake Parade
On the way back, I was lucky? to bump into annual Lake Parade of Geneva and had some fun time screaming together with the crowds while watching those fancy parade tracks. Next time it would be them coming to Zurich visit me, as they are leaving to Japan soon for their thesis writing. They will most probably be at CERN again next summer but God knows where I will be next year.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer break 2013

What comes after a hectic schedule? Yes, you are right, it's holiday! Two months earlier than last year, I have planned my holiday with my gf. Because I will have another hectic schedule from the end of August to the mid September, presenting my projects on muon compression. Since we have organised everything two months in advanced, basically all the tickets were cheap if not the cheapest.
Garden and Park of Versailles Palace

Our first station was Paris, which has taken us about 4 hours by TGV from Zurich main station. We have spent a few days in the winter over here last year and decided this time to visit some of the places that we have missed and also to experience the summertime Paris.

We had a really nice french cuisine at a restaurant nearby our hotel on the first day. During the 2nd day, we spent almost half the day at the Versailles palace which is extremely huge, both the palace itself and the garden. Then headed back to Paris downtown to search for Japanese rahmen.

Night view of Louvre Museum
Then we went to the Louvre Museum to wait for the sun to set, and took some night pictures of the "pyramid". We came back to this museum the next day early in the morning, spent a couple of hours visiting before going for another round of rahmen. Those 2 Japanese rahmen were perhaps the best we have had before in Europe, and there were inexpensive (7-10 Euro). After filling up the stomach we went to the Arc de Triumph and shopped around the famous street, The Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Before departing to London the next day, we spent some time at the Montmartre and the fun part was trying hard to avoid those "bracelet tying experts".

Greenwich Meridian
Arriving at London in the evening, we were informed by the hotel reception that there is a large shopping mall called Westfield nearby. Without second thought, we rushed there for our dinner and were amazed by what it has in this complex. We had Nando's since 10 months ago (also at London) and spent some time surfing Internet in the mall (since there was no wifi in the hotel). We spent our second day around Leicester square and had dim sum as our lunch. Found Thai durians at only 8 pounds and also visited M&M for some goodies. Then finally visited Harrods that we have missed last time and were astonished by the grandness of this department store. We decided at night to go to Greenwich the next day and it was a completely satisfied day trip.

Penang! restaurant
First we went to Canary Wharf which is like Wall Street in the States in terms of function, and feels like Odaiba in Tokyo in terms of the view. Moving to the south we have visited a farm with lots of animals to play with. From there we walked through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel (under the Thames river) to Greenwich where we have visited some museums and the Royal observatory and most importantly Greenwich Meridian which defines the zero of the Longitude.

On the way back we went to a Chinese restaurant and had a simple dinner with sour spicy soup, wan tan soup, roasted duck and fried vegetable. We realised that there is a filming going on nearby our hotel and stopped there watching for a while. Hopefully we will find out which film it is next year since it looks like a big budget filming. On the final day, we have decided to try out Penang! restaurant at Westfield and have ordered Curry Laksa and steamed Siakap fish and Teh tarik. The foods turned out quite good and the prices were reasonable. Then we went to Victoria and had our dinner in a Spanish restaurant which is included in our Wicked theater tickets. Great dinner and excellent performance of the Wicked!

Manneken Pis (Warning! It is really small)

Grand Place
The next day morning we had a very trip to Brussels (90 mins transfer time) before going to Amsterdam. After spending some time lining up at the tourist information counter, we managed to get a map of Brussels city and also the estimated time from the station to the main attractions. After depositing our luggages, we rushed towards the famous Manneken Pis (a small kid peeing) and Gross Markt. The place was filled with lots of tourists and artistic buildings, and also a couple of expensive waffle cake shops (about 4.5 euro with strawberries and cream). We managed to come back to the station on time and grabbed a box of Godiva chocolate.

Typical photo of Amsterdam canals

"I amsterdam"
Arriving at our hotel after spending an hour figuring out the transport system in Amsterdam (which in the end pretty much the same as in Zurich, but with gates). Decided to have buffer dinner they offer and it was fantastic. With about 25 euros, we had something that cost more than 300 chf in Zurich, and we still can't believe it. The next day we have visited some famous places like the dam square (and had a box of freaking huge french fries), the flower market (colorful and wonderful!), and went to Heineken experience (main factory until 1980s) to learn about beer brewing and of course had a few glasses of Heineken! 
Windmill at Zaanse Schans

Wonderful flower market
The next day we went to Zaanse Schans, a village where the windmills are still working. On our way there, we have met an artist who is working there and he has been learning Chinese himself and from the tourists. It was fun chatting with him and we have bought 1 of his drawings (he better becomes the next Picasso! LOL). Since it is a village and not so crowded with the tourists, we could really enjoy the scene there and felt really relaxed. We had even the chance to rent bicycles and cycled around the village. Visited as well the cheese factory and Clog (wooden shoe) factory, we were amazed at how many types of wooden shoes they can make. I had the impression that it is going to be very painful to wear those shoes but it turns out it is not the case and they are water-proof and very warm to wear. 

Returning to the Amsterdam station, we had a canal city cruise and it was extremely worth the $$. And then we had our once/twice a year KFC! Oh, hot and spicy! On the last day finally I found the "must eat" raw Herring fish (Mackerel with onions and pickled cucumber). My first immediate response after eating was ..... Penang asam laksa! 


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Meeting at Sursee

CHIPP is the acronym of Swiss Institute of Particle Physics, which I belong to, since the beginning of my PhD. The CHIPP annual planery meeting is usually 2 days long, but since there are many things going on this year, it was a 3-day-meeting at Sursee, in the Canton of Lucerne. Even though most of the students were not attending the meeting, I was pretty impressed by the number of particle physicist in a small country like Switzerland. Perhaps less than a dozen back in my howe town.

Along with updates from phenomenologist engaging with LHC physics, current status of the LHC experiments, ATLAS and CMS were also reported, neutrino updates, along with several planned experiments at CERN and PSI regarding anti-hydrogen and positive muon. While most of the items above were known before I arrive at the meeting, there were several "new and interesting" proposals going on at the moment.

First, LONG baseline neutrino experiment from CERN to Finland. Yes, no kidding,
read here for more details. Next, a 100 km tunnel for e+e- collider at CERN (read here).
Considering the time needed from planning to actual physics run of LHC experiments,
the plans were quite reasonable and sounded plausible from what we have achieved currently in the LHC and neutrino experiments. Hopefully all these projects get funded and receive huge international supports.

Other than physics related projects, it seems that plastic scintillating fibre detector is a hot research topic at the moment.  A professor from Geneva University claimed that it was his idea to start with, and now everybody is following the same path. Other than application for LHCb experiment, it is also intended for mu3e experiment where timing and very high rate are crucial for the reconstruction of muon decay vertex. Several type of MPPC arrays were also developed together with Hamamatsu and I hope that I am able to build something nice for my coming project in the muon compression experiment.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Learn to Teach

Some of the people are born as teachers but to teach is a skill that you have to go through intensive training and accumulate experience to excel. To teach is not only to stand in front of the stage and to give a talk. It is much more than that, and of course depending on which type of course or thing that you are teaching, theoretical or practical.

I have registered for this course "Learn to Teach" which is offered by the Learning Center of ETH Zurich and University of Zurich. And I am glad that I have attended this course. It was a 3-day course targeted at PhD and PostDoc who has teaching assignment now or plan to do so in the future, and only limited to 10 people.

On the first day, I was informed through the email to bring a thing that is related to your life or that could explain what kind of person you are. I brought my Japanese electronic dictionary which was with me most of the time when I was in Japan. Others have brought things like book, spoon, crystal and pencil, and each has an interesting story linked to the life of its owner. Then came the fun part; everyone has to give a 3 minutes presentation explaining their research works and they will be recorded! It was the first time I had such thing and I found looking at myself in the video very funny. Maybe I should have tried it before as I could see many of my habits, quite a few of bad ones, and also how my voice and accent were during the presentation.

After the presentations, we were taught about the important points when giving a presentation, especially the short one. Those are like understanding the level of your audience, speaking with confidence, engaging audience, etc. Also we have learnt about how to give feedbacks to our colleagues. While there is no strict rules, usually they are grouped into head, hand, heart and other observations. At the end, we reviewed all the videos taken and gave feedbacks one by one in details to everybody. I won't tell the details here but there was a lot of "aha" moments for me, and I will keep all of them in mind when preparing for my next presentation.

Second day started with the introduction to teaching portfolio, which is kind of similar to a documentation of your teaching, but including also your teaching style and what kind of teacher you aim to be in the future. This is particularly important when you are applying for a job with teaching assignment, and I believe this is also important for non-teaching positions because this shows that you have the experience of teaching and also communicating with the other people, unless your teaching is one-way-traffic. There was also a section about how to plan a lesson and it was very useful for my teaching duties in the advanced student laboratory of institute for particle physics.

The final session of the day was about "Use of media" and it was really interesting to find out the pros and cons of every available media nowadays, such as blackboard and whiteboard, flip chart, Overhead Projector (OHP), and the digital version of it (like a camera). We were being told to tell a story about using the media, and some of the groups did it really well and creatively. I was working with two others on the blackboard, and we have shown that blackboard is really good for teaching subjects like mathematics and physics where equation derivations are heavily involved. However, it is not so nice to use when you are teaching subjects like biology because it takes time to draw the cell, etc and a bad drawing often confuses the students. Also, as I have experienced it before, it is really bad for the students in the front row as they have to inhale a lot of chalk dusts.

On the final day, we were given some tips on how to deal with stress during teaching, and I am eager to try them out during my next presentation. Then I will tell you if it works or not. :) Finally, 10 of us were asked (a day before) to present something based on the topics discussed (Use of media, teaching portfolio, presentation, lesson plan, etc).
I spent my whole night preparing a teaching plan for my student lab and I received very helpful comments and also compliments from the others. Hopefully I can make my lab appear more interesting to the students and they learn more effectively with some guide from the plan as well.

The course ended with a final feedback session among the teacher and the students. I have complimented her for the well prepared course and also her concentration ability to absorb the content of the presentation and at the same time observing the "head, heart and hand" of the presenter. To me it was very difficult, as I could only focus on either one. Overall, this course was very successful as I can everybody was very happy with it, and I hope that everyone will continue to improve their teachings and to make this world more wonderful with their researches!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

CERN Computing School at Split, Croatia

About three years ago, I went to the Computing school co-organized by CERN and Brunel University at Uxbridge, London and enjoyed it a lot. This year I had the chance again to participate in the smaller version of it - thematic school, which means instead of focusing on network, computing and data analysis, it is now focusing on one single topic, which is computing technologies for this year. The school director is a very wonderful guy and his passion has bring the summer school to a higher dimension - study hard, play hard and social hard! I have been to many summer schools and have never experienced something like this. And this is going to be his last year organising such schools and he is retiring by the end of this year. :(

Port of Split, Croatia
The venue of the school was at Split in Croatia, and is a tremendously scenic city alongside with Dubrovnik. The city lies along the coast of Adriatic sea and within the region of Dalmatian. It has a very rich history, from Roman period until Communist period just 20 years ago. As they have became part of European Union (EU) since 1st of July, the country is developing fast and the standard of living will be improved over the coming years. The living cost now is just slightly higher than in Malaysia so act faster if you wanna enjoy this country with less $$.

Back to the school, we spent the whole week learning about the front end of computing technologies. Basically our situation now is different from like 15 years ago where every few months you will see a new processor with higher and higher frequency. The era of parallel computing is evolving very fast, not only CPU but GPU and accelerator are heavily involved in delivering high performance computing. Of course, without the software part, hardware is nothing. Currently there are several ways of parallelise your program such as OpenMP and Intel TBB. The former parallelise your program at compiler level whereas the latter is library-based. OpenMP is currently the standard and I have started to implement it in my simulation and analysis programs. It's pretty simple.

We had also other lectures about comparison of different compilers, awareness about memory when programming something, and data oriented design. Overall I have benefited a lot from it and got to know more people in the physics computing field. I am also very fascinated by the development of the Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor, which has 61 cores and 244 threads. This was unimaginable for me a few years back.

Closing dinner of the school (my table)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

First time living in a hostel with strangers

Arrived one day earlier at Split, I have chosen to live in a hostel, in a 6-bed room. (Well, for cost reason obviously! It was about 15 CHF) Many have done it before, some even frequently, it was the first time for me! Living with somebody else in a room is nothing new for me, as I had experienced it before in the past when I was participating in training camps and summer schools, where I knew who will be my roommate before hand. However, it was totally unknown this time and I felt both excited and anxious.

Tchaikovsky Hostel
Fortunately it turned out great and I got to meet a few young Asia students currently doing academic exchanges with European universities in different countries. What an exciting way of knowing new people! Perhaps I should try more in the future. :)

We hanged out together during the night and had dinner together as well. I particularly enjoyed the conversations regarding their experiences travelling in Europe during their 6 months stays over here. It was kind of luxurious to come to Europe when I was still studying in Japan but it seems that it is pretty common nowadays as the cost for travel has gone down. Also with lots of travel blog, offline phone map and Trip Advisor-like apps, it has became so easy and convenient to travel anywhere in the world.

After dinner

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Entering 3rd year of PhD

Time has flied so fast that now I am entering the 3rd year of my PhD. After upgrading myself at the EDIT 2013 school at KEK and J-PARC, I am back in ETH taking some courses to improve myself and also spending time on teaching the advanced student laboratory. At the same time, since a postdoc from PSI is leaving to the United States, I was travelling a lot to PSI to have more discussions and had some kind of technical and knowledge transfer about one of the projects that I have to take over from him. It was a waste that I didn't spend more time before, to work together with him. However, that whole month was really fruitful and I had a better idea of how this project is going forward.

Not related to my PhD but on 5th of May, there was the 13th General Election of my country. As I have already went back during the Chinese New Year, I have decided to vote by postal and therefore one week before the election, all the students went to Bern to vote at the Embassy of Malaysia. The voting process was not so complicated and there was around 30 people who were there deciding the future of our country. And we were following the announcement of the results the next week while having party at one of the students' house. The outcome was disappointing for a lot of people but it was moving into a good direction I would say, as a democratic country.

Something worth mention about this year was that, IT IS REALLY COLD! Seriously, the weather has been very cold (than normal years) since October last year, and while other European countries are having > 30 degrees, it was around 10 degrees in Zurich. And during a long weekends (+Monday), I escaped with my gf to Milano and Cinque Terre in Italy, because the weather forecast said that it WILL BE SUNNY over the WEEKENDS!

It turned out that the first day in Milano was rainy but not so bad. I had to spend 4 hours taking a train there though. However the shops over there were too high end that I managed to buy only the postcards and an Italian basic conversation book. Looking at how people spending their money, I was very suspicious about the economic crisis mentioned in the newspapers. Next day in the morning we took the early train departing to Cinque Terre, the town Monterosso to be exactly, which takes about 3 hours. On the way the train went through Genova and started from there we had a nice view of the coast from the train.

As we arrived at the Monterosso, the first town on the North of Cinque Terre (5 villages), we were overwhelmed by the tourists, mainly coming from America. But still, it has been a long time we have been to a beach and we completely forgetting about the other tourists. After checking in, we took the train departing to the last village, Riomaggiore. Unfortunately, it turned out that there was a landslide a few days before and they have closed the hiking trails linking the 5 villages. So we had to take a train from there to the 4th village from the north, Manarola. And this was the best of all, and one of my favorite travel locations so far. The sky was super blueish and the seafood in the restaurant was perfect, if not too much. We couldn't eat until the next day basically, after having 6 appetizers, 2 main courses, fine wine and desserts as lunch sets they offered.


Then we spent some time walking around the village and took some nice pictures. And if you like photography, this is definitely the place you should visit in the future. Afterwards, we went to the other villages as well and there were very nice as well, although not as much as Manarola. Then after having a night walk in Monterosso with delicious local ice creams, we were completely exhausted. The next day, we spent about 8 hours on the trains, with a break at Milano while waiting for the train, and finally reached Zurich in the night. 

This trip was really random but I am glad we have made it! :)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Japan trip spring 2013

A few weeks after coming back to Zurich, I had a trip to Japan to attend a detector technology school. It was my second time going back to Japan after graduating and the longest one as well for more than 2 weeks. Basically I spent 1/3 of time in Tokyo, 1/3 in KEK and 1/3 in J-PARC. First time to do was of course to meet my fellow Malaysian friends in Tokyo (quite a lot were from Osaka but now working at Tokyo) and then enjoy Japanese Rahmen! (was eating it almost everyday when I was at Kyoto) Seriously, my life won't be as interesting without them, and some of them were with me during my ups and downs in Kyoto and Tokyo. I am very glad to have them, and it was a hard decision to leave Japan and to go to Switzerland.

Before starting of the school, I had the chance to visit my lawyer friend at Roppongi for lunch in a Chinese restaurant nearby. He was my badminton buddy back in my dormitory at Tokyo, TIEC. Even though we are from completely different background, we had good time together and were competing in a badminton team tournament together as one of the men doubles.

Back to the real business, I was thinking of participating in EDIT since last year. However, I had not much experience with the latest detection technologies that time hence has postponed it until this year. It was being held at Fermilab, United State. I have chosen photon detector and neutrino detector courses for the school and was glad to be given both my first choices under tough competition. I spend my first week at KEK for the photon detector, and have learned a lot regarding it. (I am working with it as well in the advanced student lab and realised from this course that there are several flaws in my setup at ETH.)

There was a free day during the course which is sunday, and I visited a Japanese badminton family at Kitamatsudo. I knew them through my senior in Japan and have been keeping in touch with them since 4 years ago. I would visit them when I was in Japan to play a few rounds of badminton and this time he presented me with a Yonex racket that I was dreaming of getting one (It was about 285 CHF! and I had given up buying it). At that moment, I was completely stunned and said no, no, no, I can't accept this. However, in the end I was being persuaded somehow. What a gift!!! After the badminton session we had lunch together and I shared with them some stories of mine in Zurich. Sometimes I felt that myself is very lucky to have met so many nice people in my life. This is also the reason why I have been working so hard, hope that one day I would make them very proud of me.

For the 2nd week, I went to J-PARC for the neutrino detector course. Coincidently, my coursemate at Kyoto University is my teaching assistant! (I was supposed to be working together with him during the master course but I have decided to go to University of Tokyo to challenge myself.) I had fun working there from early morning until the evening, and then dinner together in the somehow rural Tokai village. But it was fun, with lots of great foods, especially seafoods (well maybe with lots of radiation as well). We were partying until quite late in the last dinner, and it was such a wonderful school that I will miss for some time.

As the semester was already started, I couldn't spend any extra time here and had to leave the next day to Zurich. As my gf is missing Japan very much, I am pretty sure you will be reading my 3rd trip to Japan very soon. :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

New year 2013

Finally I have my own time to invest a little bit to this blog, after 6 months. So this is basically how I was in the past few months.

As I have mentioned before in my previous post, together with JE, ZY(F) and CL, we went to Vienna, Austria and Budapest, Hungary for our year end holidays! It is worth noting that I have decided to buy the ticket after looking at the SWISS advertisement for just 5 minutes. CHF 120 for return direct flights was for sure a good bargain and I managed to convinced my crazy friends to tag along. And the next next day after sending off ZY(M, hope to have him back but well, he doesn't like Zurich, haha) at the Zurich Airport,  we were back there again flying to Vienna airport. We were eating like hungry ghosts everyday at Vienna, from Schnitzel, Spare ribs to dozens of desserts at famous cake houses. Visited a couple of palaces, museums, and christmas markets in the city.

After 2 days in Vienna, we took a train to Budapest and arrived there with highly alert mode, as we have heard that pickpocket rate is very high there. Although our plan was to look for suspicious people and avoid them, in the end I think we were the most suspicious people there.  This was for the first time I have been to an ex-communist country and I could really feel the difference compared to cities like Zurich, Vienna. As Hungary is in the middle of Germany and Russia, they suffered a lot during the World War and it took them quite some time to recover. For that reason, the living standard here is not as high compared to western Europe and the living cost is also much lower than in Zurich. 100 CHF was basically enough to survive there for 2 days including hostel and foods and souvenirs. The best view in Budapest was perhaps the Parliament that is situated next to the Danube river.

It took me a few days to recover from the travels and then it was 31st of December 2012. As usual, together with a bunch of crazy PhD students we went to Ah Fatt's place at Dietikon and had our new year eve party over there. On the way back, we did our count down in a bus with many strangers and that was superbly amazing! Afterwards we went to Rigiblick to enjoy the view of Zurich downtown and fireworks, of course not without beers and snacks. Different countries, different locations, different friends every year. Time is ticking away from us .......

Before I could spend time flashing back all the previous events, busy life started again in the new year. After several meetings at PSI, I had also a demonstration of advanced student lab for physics teachers in Switzerland. Then a special lecture on Bayesian analysis in a particle physics experiment by my boss's PhD supervisor. Then I was back in Bolehland again together with CL. Oh, and before that, I have won finally 2 single matches and being promoted to D1. However, my team fared badly and was last in the 3rd league. Will be dropped to 4th league in the coming season and hopefully we can get back to 3rd league again next year.

Back to my back home trip. Celebrating my birthday on the arrival day's evening (haha, on purpose!) was perhaps not a good idea because of jet lag. The foods were really nice but my stomach wasn't in fully enjoy mode. But still it was great to be back at home. Maybe it is because of me getting older and the limited time I could spend with my family, I started to appreciate time together a lot compared to last time. My parents are in their 50s, and I am soon 30s. No matter how far apart, I love you Mummy and Daddy! and of course my sister as well. (else she will kill me, :p) In this 2 weeks, I have accomplished almost everything that I have planned to do, such like hair cut (bloody hell RM 7 only!!! compared to RM 150 in Zurich), car driving lesson (yes, I still don't have my license yet, T.T), new specs (luckily the eye sights are not getting too bad), meeting elementary (after 17 years! everybody still the same. What a miracle!) and high school friends, etc. Chatting with them reminded me of how little I still remember of the past.
This is most probably my brain is full of information about new location and friends each time I moved to another city. (Penang->Osaka->Kyoto->Tokyo->Zurich) And I am sure the list will continue to grow. Two weeks were really short, I wished to have more. Perhaps after my PhD, I can think of spending 3 months with my family.