|The heart with a mind of its own.(Be present.)||The mind with a heart of its own.(It's past.)||The dream that is your waking life.(Go there now.)|
Today in the lab which has increased by two. Two graduate students added to our already full lab: Zaphod, Dongmei, Yansheng, Feng, Guofeng, Lu, Ying, Bill (his American name which sounds nothing like his Chinese name obviously), Sublingua, and two As Of Yet Nameless Chinese Women Graduate Students. It's a rather smoothly running lab for all its crowdedness (is that even a word?). I think that it's because of the Chinese dislike of anger and confrontation. Even though they are competitive, they are also very--what?--subdued (?) about it and that makes for a calm lab. Other labs with all Americans have far fewer people and far more problems.
However, recently, I have become rather aware of just how lonely I am in that lab surrounded by people who cannot really speak to me (their English is bad, my Chinese non-existant). Today, I spoke with Zaphod, Lu (who asked me the names of some colors and what time I went home the other night, a conversation that went something like, "Sblngla, you autoclave at night?" I said, "Yes, I didn't leave until almost two." "What time you leave lab and get home?" "Um, not until two."), Ying ("How is pressure?" Meaning: on the column that I was using to run chromatography. "It seems okay, it didn't go up or down." "Maybe be okay."). And it was only a ten hour workday. Actually, that was quite a lot of conversation for me to have engaged in. Usually it's much less than that.
Part of what has made me aware of how lonely I am is the fact that my boss asked another American whether she was going to apply for graduate school and if she wanted to work in our lab. The woman declined, not feeling quite ready for it, but Sophistica is a friend of hers and was trying to get me to talk to the woman about my experience in the lab amongst the Chinese.