Fresh from My Oven

Have I told you that I got a cute mini oven as my birthday present? *thanks, dear bear ;)* As proofs that the oven doesn’t just sit there unused, here you go, some of the results…

Baked Chicken Wings

One day, in a Pakistani shop where I usually buy Indomie here in Trento, I found this mix powder to make Tandoori chicken. The result was fantastic! But still, it was too hot/spicy to my taste. The next experiments, with similar ingredients, I tried to bake chicken wings instead. After few experiments to find the perfect recipe, I finally found it!

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Empty Inbox Policy

Just recently, my office decided to change the mail server from Microsoft to Google. I’m using Gmail since the beginning of time, forwarding my office mails into my private Gmail account, so that I only have to open one mail client for everything. So, even though Google lets you sign-in to more than one account, and it’s so easy to switch between accounts, at first I thought, “Oh, what a hassle, now I have to check my emails in two accounts.” But now I feel that this is actually a good thing, that work emails are now strictly separated from private emails.

One more good thing comes out of this change, I finally dedicated my time to manage my inbox. Someone sent me this lifehack after he saw my inbox with 5000++ emails, saying something like “Don’t you know that there is this feature called ‘archive’??” :D. I thought, why should I? I know which ones are read and which are unread anyway. But then, I would like to give it a try. It took me a whole day to clean my inbox and re-organize my mail client. Now that Gmail has this new feature of automatically separating emails coming from social network, advertisements, forum, etc., my filters and labels become obsolete, I don’t need them anymore.

And you know what, it works like magic!

I become more thrilled when there is a new email comes into my inbox. I simplify the rules from lifehack, I don’t separate follow-up and hold emails. Everything that comes into my inbox, whether it is something I need to reply, or something I need to do, becomes my to-do list. When that email is replied, or I do something about it (put it into my calendar, add it to my task list, get the task done, or whatever), it can be archived. And then, I become obsessed with cleaning my inbox! Emails that need to be replied I reply immediately. Before I usually wait for some time, or even forget about them completely *replying emails is not my favorite activity*.

Well, the downside is that now I check my inbox more often, because I’m so eager to make it empty again ^^; I need to work on that. Uhm, actually, my smartphone knows when there’re new emails, so I just need to watch out for phone notifications, no need to check every 10 minutes. Anyway, I really recommend this trick to make your day more productive.

There’s one more policy that I’ve added in my life: empty sink policy! Do dishwashing right after cooking or eating, no compromise :D

Updates on PhD Life

picture is taken from PhD Comics

In order to be consistent with ‘one blogpost per month’ this year *damn, I was more productive back then…*, I will just write some updates on my PhD life, which is going quite well. I’m halfway through my second year now, and I can say.. I’m back on track, after being a bit lost during the first year :).

#1 Qualifying exam… passed!

PhD Research Proposal – Qualifying Exam from Paramita Mirza

I passed the exam before Christmas holiday started last year, leaving me in a super relaxed mood during the holiday :). Out of the three members of the commission, only one of them was active in the discussion, maybe because she was not so far related to the topic. Almost all of them agree that this was too much as one single PhD topic, someone said I could produce 3 PhDs with it :D. Well, a bit ambitious plan is fine I guess :p.

#2 Work hard, travel hard!

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Myself: redefined

People change over time, so once in a while I feel the need to redefine myself,  asking myself “Who am I?”, to be able to go forward.

  • I love cats. Not only because they’re cute, but also because they give me some comfort human cannot give. Only applies if the cat is friendly with me.
  • I hate waiting. Sometimes the impatient is manageable, sometimes it’s not.
  • I love water, and sun. A beach, by the river, a lake or a waterfall on a sunny day is the perfect combination of place and time.
  • I hate loud places where we have to shout to each other to communicate. Except when we don’t have to communicate, just enjoy the music and/or drinks and sing along.
  • I cannot express myself well, verbally. But this skill, I’m sure, can be learned and practiced.
  • I don’t need a crowd of friends surrounding me, few but very close ones are more than enough. But only one special person is not enough, especially if that one starts drifting away, I’ll drown.
  • I did bad things, at least from my point of view. But I shouldn’t let myself feel miserable about those bad decisions in the past, nor should I let other people make me feel bad.
  • I hold grudge. For at least 5 years.
  • I still cannot manage my time and my priorities efficiently. I hope this can change.
  • I can never trust a man 100% that he will commit to one woman for the rest of his life, in particular those who are adventurous and/or sociable. I’ve had some examples. So for now, for me ‘marriage’ is under a big question mark.
  • A woman’s jealousy is destructive, especially to herself. Taken from Blue Jasmine. That’s why the previous point is an important presumption.
  • My attitude towards ‘love’ is unpredictable, sometimes it can be very irrational, sometimes I analyze everything logically.
  • My view on religion is depicted in The Invention of Lying.
  • I’m in a way self-centered, since I put more time into intra-personal thinking than inter-personal.

Now, why do I make this public?  I could just save it to myself to be read, let’s say, 5 years later, and see how much I’ll change in terms of thoughts and opinions. It’s just that, I feel that because of the fifth point, other people misunderstand me for a sweet-shy-quiet-little girl, or sometimes the opposite: an arrogant-quiet girl, while in fact, I’m much more than that. I can even sometimes be very bitter and resentful. Oh well, I’m only human.

Note that I’m not in my healthiest emotional state while writing this. If I’m happy and content with myself and my life, this self-reflecting thing would have never crossed my mind.

Ski Vacation II (without snow)

As in the previous year, February is the time for ski vacation or… as the Bear said, Winterurlaub! The destination is exactly the same, Horní Blatná in Czech Republic, and we stayed in the same green house called Pension Florian.

The house remained the same, except that… now there’s WiFi! :D I still can’t decide whether that is good or not. Last year I felt so happy and relaxed during the vacation because I wasn’t bothered by emails or (bad) news or friend’s updates in social media. Sometimes we need to get away from such things to fully enjoy the holiday. However, one thing that makes me grateful that the WiFi exists is that I wouldn’t miss the latest episodes from one K-drama I’m following :p.

the view from Pension Florian, too little snow for skiing

The other thing that is not the same as last year is… there’s no snow! :( Well, there was some, but too little for skiing. So yeah, no skiing at all, but we did some hiking and trip to nearby towns, like Johanngeorgenstadt *which is already in Germany*, Nejdek and Karlovy Vary, which are wonderful! Prague is not the only beautiful city in Czech Republic ;). These towns are mining towns located in the Ore mountains, a mountain range that forms a natural border between Saxony (Germany) and Bohemia (Czech Republic). Read more »