The mystery of traditions

Today is the Chinese New Year.

Yesterday million of families have cleaned their homes and houses. They did not throw away the resulting trash bags, as that would be throwing away last year’s good fortune and memories.

Today despite cooking, guests, families, there will be no sweeping: that would mean brushing off the new year’s luck.

Science cannot explain why traditions matter, but it does. It makes me feel connected. It makes time flow differently… It gives symbolism and poetry to our reality.

Poetry. This rings true, doesn’t it? It doesn’t change the content, but brings rhythm and structure. It make our individual lives rime with those of a larger community.

So I’ll be keeping with these traditions. Even if it means I have to leave my warm bed to rush and do groceries before my friends come to make dumplings… now!

To my future goddaughter…

My friends got pregnant with you.

You and I, we haven’t met yet, but you will learn that I’m not a big fan of small humans. They can’t express what they want, their movements are unpredictable and scary, and they are so needy for attention.

You’re lucky evolution has made many adults think these characteristics are cute and forgivable.

Against all odds, your parents asked me to be your godparent. I hesitated. While I was pondering what the hell your mom was thinking, I realized that being a godparent is not about me. Maybe it’s not even about you.

It’s about me having a place in your parents’ life.

And to that request, I can only say yes.

(Written two years ago… I have since then met her. More on this later)

Things I like.

  1. Getting on the side of the tram that minimises what I have to walk at arrival
  2. Coming up with a good analogy
  3. Biking in the city, which is my definition of freedom
  4. Having a set of translucent flag post-its when reading a novel
  5. Arguing about MBTI
  6. Paying bills on e-banking
  7. Staying in bed on very sunny days. No noise, no light, no outside stimuli.
  8. Being truthful and sometimes nervous when I blog
  9. Rays of sunlight through half-closed window blinds, reflecting on the moving dust
  10. Making a friend, because it’s so rare.

This is inspired by Jessica Gross’ project, Things we like. I like how it made me pause and cristallise those small events into words.

Montecastelli: the cello-piano duet

So we went on stage. I remembered that I always hated being on stage alone, on the piano. I never understood the difference between practice and stage. Why one was important, and the other one not.

The whole lab was watching from below, gathered in this small chapel made of stones, in the middle of Tuscany. It was cold, but not too cold. It was odd, but not too odd.

He pulled his bow – played the levée –

And I fell in love.

I fell in love with the moment. Continue reading “Montecastelli: the cello-piano duet”

Of complex networks, and why we love hook-ups.

This post is about two friends hooking up.

But before getting to that part, it’s a confession of how unstable and unbalanced I have become since I started research. Work-life balance now depends pretty much on whether Github loads correctly. The lack of results or any kind of milestones is nerve-wrecking.

I cope by doing sports. Lots and lots of sports. Enough to mess up my hormonal system.

Fun fact: did you know that professional athletes force their body so much that it is constantly in survival mode? It reacts by cutting non-essential functions, such as reproduction functions. Next time when you watch sport, think of these professional athletes as all temporarily sterile. Continue reading “Of complex networks, and why we love hook-ups.”