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My summer May 12-June 18

Despite the quarantine and closures induced by Covid-19, this summer has been quite eventful for me. In some ways good and in some ways bad.

Post comprehensive exam success I was struck by a serenity and joy I do not often experience. However! Sin embargo! Cependent! Однако! しかし! The world has a way of grounding you every time. For us it was dog food and undisposed garbage.

What am I talking about? Well, we had been in California for 3 entire weeks, at my mother’s house (this was my training ground for the comprehensive exam), and we had forgotten to throw out our garbage and close the dog food properly before leaving Tucson. Result, Fly infestation. I had been chatting blissfully with my brother and sister in law when I received a worried text from my property manager. God bless her soul. The poor woman had the misfortune of walking by our window and noticing a swarm of flies. Shocked we decided to cut our California vacation short and return to California. At this point you are probably wondering what this has to do with math or physics?? Well I hate to disappoint, but it has nothing to do with either. ;)

So… we find ourselves back in Tucson, where I am conducting my studies, and quickly take care of our fly problem. We were excited to be back home and settling into our Tucson dwelling once more. I continued my work on quantum open systems, picking up where I left off prior to completing my comprehensive exam. My comprehensive exam experience indeed raised more questions than it answered. I proposed myself the task of devouring all of the papers in my work cited pages. I had read a significant amount of each paper but wanted to understand them all in more detail. After being back for one week I decided to start a language learning challenge of one month as well. I have been learning Japanese for about 5 years on and off, and I recently started learning Russian. My challenge would be to speak with online tutors every day for a month!

I have plenty of research, language learning, and exercise to do. I was hit with the 2020 pandemic hobby development motivation that many new bakers were also hit with. I already had many hobbies, so I simply decided to refine my skills. I must have taken the exercising a bit too far because early June I suffered a severe lower back injury that kept me in bed for almost a month.

Detour. I wanted to increase my running and biking conditioning as well as my leg strength. This meant I was weight training, running and biking regularly. The body has limits and must be given time to catch up with demand. I did not take good care of myself and ended up in bed with little ability to walk! For almost two weeks! Sorry if this update is spinning out of control, I am writing as I remember what has come to past.

This is where things start to get interesting, I am unable to walk and in dire pain but have committed to a 1 month language challenge, I have research, I am now trying to become a tea brewer apparently. I want to get in better shape, trying crazy things like 3 day fasting in order to alleviate pain, etc. Then to the confinements are annexed curfews due to the riots and protests that arose due to the horrible police brutality seen in this country recently. So now there is a revolution going on, the Corona virus is taking names, and I am at home unable to walk in incredible pain. This meant I could not participate in any demonstration :(. I felt like some of the most important events in history were taking place and I could not participate. BUT!!!!! This is the point of this post. In the midst of my crippled state I found sanctuary in the goals I had set for myself. Research and language learning kept me psychologically intact the two weeks I was lying in bed living the important events vicariously through media. My intellectual goals gave me a means to progress and to enrich myself without moving. I found it uplifting being able to educate my Japanese and Russian tutors, from Japan and the Ukraine, on the events that were occurring in my country. This was all done in horrible Japanese and Russian of course. I highly recommend always having an intellectually stimulating hobby that does not require the body for those times when the body brakes.

6 days ago,I was still in bed not moving much, only doing simple stretches in order aid recovery. I had watched so much Netflix! I limited myself to documentaries and educational programs in order to ease the guilt. I watched a novel doc on WW2 and one on the Japanese Fish industries. These were the highlights of my Netflix viewing experience. The Japanese Fisheries documentary brought sadness too my heart because it made me recall the fact that I would no longer be interning at Fujitsu Labs for the summer due to the pandemic, however I am lucky that AMD took me in :) I really appreciate them and IPAM. Back on track!!! 6 days ago, while doing a squat I felt something yank in my problem area and just like that I could walk again T_T oh thank God! Since then I have continued my research, exercise and language learning challenge with greater enthusiasm. My challenge ends on the 21st of this month and I will comment on my progress then! Lucky for me my research with IPAM and AMD on quantum Monte Carlo, machine learning, and quantum computation will begin the day after. A plethora of wonderful learning is on its way. I also started another challenge last Monday. This challenge requires me to do 300 push ups 300 sit ups and 100 sit ups every day. I will be doing bike rides as I see fit. I really do not want to end up disabled again so I will not bike or run too much. I will also do the squats without weight!

For the next two months I plan on continuing my language learning practices but with 30% conversation practice 40% listening practice and 30% writing and grammar practice. I will also complete the workout challenge and perhaps add on a reading challenge. This will be hard to balance with my AMD and University research but I plan on making this summer a memorable one so no slacking!!

P.S. Do not trust Tucson tow companies, one crashed into our car while towing another car

-_-. Like I said, eventful days they have been.

Best,

Alberto.


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