A Relaxing End

This is it, my 6th and final blog.

These last two weeks have been the most relaxing so far.  I had already finished collecting all of my data by the end of my 8th week and due to technical difficulties with the thermal plug device, I was no longer able to evaporate silver onto my cells, meaning I could not progress and collect more data.  Nevertheless, these last two weeks were a perfect chance for me to reflect on what I had accomplished and how I have grown from this experience.  I also had the chance to present my data this Tuesday to the rest of the lab and explain everything I did, what I learned, and how I'm going to continue this research in my future. Because of my research here, I now want to pursue solar cell research for graduate school.  

My last major excursion in Taiwan was visiting the National Palace Museum with two other lab members, Elvis and Bryant.  At the museum, I was fascinated by all of the beautiful pieces of art including portraits of ancient Chinese philosophers, calligraphy, great statues of Buddha, jade sculptures, and porcelain dishware from the Ming Dynasty, etc.  I also had the chance to see the most famous exhibit at the museum: the jade cabbage with an insect, although personally, I did not find it to be that amazing.  I preferred the red mini-sculpture chiseled into a glass pot, which is seen in one of the pictures above.  Nevertheless, it was a great experience.  It also gave me the chance to buy souvenirs at the museum's gift shop and buy gifts for Professor Lin as well as my friends back in Berkeley.  Afterwards, Elvis, Bryant, and I all went to Shulin night market nearby, one of Taiwan's biggest and most popular night markets.  Here, I bought a Taiwan-styled shirt for myself and also had the best chocolate milk bubble tea I've ever had.  I also had the chance to see a full pig get roasted, which I found both equally awesome and unnerving.  The National Palace Museum and Shulin night market were the best two experiences I've had in Taiwan.

Coincidentally, Professor Lin's birthday was today, which is also my last day being in the lab.  It was fitting because we had a simultaneous birthday and farewell lunch for him and me.  It was a great time and speaking with him, he gave me extra encouragement about my research and my future and he also promised me he would write me a wonderful letter of recommendation for when I apply to graduate school, for which I'm really grateful.  Today also happened to be a strange day, as the past two weeks were extraordinarily hot without any rain, but today, it is raining.  I couldn't help but joke that it was a poetic symbolism of a sad mood, since it is my final day of research.  As I'm writing this blog, I'm constantly thinking about the time I spent here, struggling with research, learning the procedure, and ultimately, succeeding and acquiring the data.  All these experiences amalgamated and made me a better person and researcher today.  As the new school year begins, I am ready to return back to Berkeley to take what I've learned here in Academia Sinica and apply it to my resesarch in Berkeley, and later, my future graduate studies.  It's been an amazing 10 weeks, and I could not have asked for a better experience or way to spend this summer.  Thank you to Professor Lin and the other lab members who were so accommodating to me, and thank you to the Cal Energy Corps for providing me this life-changing opportunity.  It has been an unforgettable experience.