By HappyDude (Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 08:44:54 PM EST) cultural decompression, working (all tags)
I break my silence for thee, sir.

That, and Very has been begging me to write something. Anything.


So I got a job in Austin about two months after I got home. I'm working for a small mobile games and applications studio and I really like it so far. I started at the end of October and I've only recently gotten comfortable there.

I'm part of 5-6 person team working on what is currently the studio's only application (they started as a games company). The platform for our app is BREW, which despite its small installed base is quite nice to develop for. On top of learning BREW, I've had to acclimate to the studio's dialect of C++. That and I had to come up to speed on a code base that is easily pushing 100k LOC. I think I'm doing pretty well though. The engineering leads believe in spending money for good tools, so the only source of frustration is the idiosyncrasies of mobile development.


My first month and a half back in Austin, I lived in my friend Cloin's living room (hugely grateful for that). I moved into my own apartment a couple weeks ago and it's been nice to have my own space. On the downside, I spent a crapload of money getting moved in. I didn't have any contact info for my old landlord here in Austin, so I had to pay a months rent as deposit. Then a week later I went to IKEA and got a whole bunch of furniture that I needed. Luckily IKEA is cheap.

I think the best news here is that I'm back in Austin! It's mid-December and I don't want to kill myself because the weather sucks so much. I can't even imagine living through another Beijing winter, much less early spring. I've got a car now, but I'm still biking to work just because I can. I could go on, but I'll spare the northerners among us.

As a small side note, this is my first time living alone. It's really boring.


  • I made some awesome JiaoZi the other night from scratch. Then I made pot stickers with the leftovers. A couple more iterations of that recipe and I'll have a great repertoire of Chinese dishes that I can cook.
  • I really want to get a Wii, but I don't have the money right now and even more crucially, I don't have a TV either. Luckily there's a crapload of great games available for the DS.
  • I've had enough good beer now that I actually enjoy drinking good 'ol boring Chinese beer every now and then. My local grocery store even stocks Harbin beer, which tastes exactly like the Yanjing beer that flows like water in Beijing.
< Aha, that explains everything | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
ATTN SLOZO INFIDEL | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden)
Glad to hear you have . . . by slozo (2.00 / 0) #1 Sat Dec 16, 2006 at 05:21:54 AM EST
. . . settled in nicely there. I hear there's a lot of snow in Austin . . . you'll be missing the high winds, smog, and dust storms in no time!

Made the "jiao zi" (dumplings) from scratch, eh? Pretty neat . . . although, I bet it wasn't the same as eating it in a "hole in the wall" restaurant on a flimsy plastic table with wooden chopsticks, a roll of toilet beside you, and a couple of cockroaches strolling on by . . . despite those circumstances, though, the food was usually of a good quality - how were your dumplings? I am also curious as to the recipe you used . . .

Cultural effects - do you find yourself getting any practice speaking Chinese? (I know not the resident population of immigrant Chinese in Austin, but I imagine it's not that high) And, more interestingly, do you find yourself treating/thinking about the Chinese you meet, especially those fresher off the boat, differently in any way? It does change things, speaking the same language, and having lived in their culture, learning of the cultural characteristics we knew nothing of before. There is a great deal of commonality for me now with the Chinese . . . how is it for you?

And, lastly . . . you are obviously still communicating with Very . . . how's that goin'? What's she been up to?

Answers by HappyDude (4.00 / 1) #2 Sat Dec 16, 2006 at 10:08:47 AM EST
  • The jiaozi were nearly perfect. They were slightly bitter, but otherwise smelled exactly like I remember. I gave one of the pot stickers to a Chinese guy that I work with and he seemed to approve. I got the recipe from the internet and my head.
  • I speak Chinese every now and then at work, but not to communicate. A guy on my team is from Hunan province and I have a lot of trouble wading through his southern accent. If I can swing it, I might enroll in Chinese classes at the local community college.
  • The number of Chinese here is relatively high for a city in Texas, not including Houston which has a thriving Chinatown. I do feel a bit more empathy for the plight of FOBs here in the states. Living in a strange culture is hard!
  • Very is doing well. She's got a full time gig teaching at an international Montessori kindergarten that has benefits and everything. We mostly talk via IM but it's hard with our schedules (and time difference). We're not really making time to talk on a regular basis.

[ Parent ]
Very good, thanks by Very (4.00 / 1) #3 Mon Dec 18, 2006 at 05:40:54 PM EST
Very has been, well, living in Beijing still. Like HappyDude mentioned, she's got a new job working with 2-3 year olds that keeps her very busy. She is also doing a long distance Montessori training course.

On top of that Very has jumped into the swing dancing scene and still spends her time blogging. Reads all your posts too just doesn't comment.

All in all she is enjoying life and finding being single not that scary.

She'll be going back to Malaysia for 2 weeks over Christmas and New Years. Woo hoo!!!

And now she's done talking in the 3rd person.

Hope things are going good between you and your wife. :)

[ Parent ]
ATTN SLOZO INFIDEL | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden)