1yearversary in Hong Kong

Jumping jacks at Sun Yatsen Memorial Park Sports Centre

This post chronicles the period of September 2021 to February 2022.

Hooray! 🥳️🎆️ Today (28th February) marks one year since I got released from quarantine and got to start my post-doctoral fellowship at HKU. It has been a moving year with some very low points in the first few months but with a steady increase in happiness as the year progressed. Some glimpses of those events have been offered here and here, but I know most of my ardent readers have heard the stories as they happened.

Let’s have a retrospective from two perspectives that summarize my main life here: productivity and network

Productivity

In terms of productivity, I’m glad to say that we already have one publication out. We in this case refers to Youngah Do and Arthur Thompson. I’ve written about the paper here if you feel a desire to learn more about correlations between articulatory gestures and semantic features.

Here is a picture of us celebrating our acceptance in Cognitive Linguistics.

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I’ve also done quite a lot of reviews for other papers, namely for 8 articles with multiple rounds for most of them. It has been interesting to “be on the other side” of the author-reviewer interface. I’m not convinced that they are two sides of the same coin. However, I can share that one of the authors (or team of authors?) sent a very kind message that they really appreciated the way the reviewers had done their job. So while I’ve had to face a learning curve in reviewing, I think my style has become better over the year. Sorry for the one paper I rejected but congrats to the ones that got major revisions or even better. I’m somewhat proud to already have seen some of the articles in print.

And I must say, I actually enjoy reviewing – there is a certain excitement or arousal when confronted with new ideas. So I hope for more review opportunities this year (but not too much).

Here is a picture of my Reviewer 1 face.

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There’s of course also lots of projects in the work. And if often feels like juggling many balls. In other words, it can feel a bit overwhelming or like drowning in a bath of project balls. You will see the picture this metaphor leads to in a bit. Or scroll down now and find out now.

But I the point I want to make is that there are ways to stay on top of different projects. I find myself most productive working deeply on one or two at the same time rather than multitasking all the time. To help me do that, I use a combination of my bullet journal (let me know if you want me to make a blogpost about that), google calendar and a simple kanban system that involves post-it notes but that can also be implemented in systems like notion. Once again, let me know if you want me to talk about that, I love talking about academic workflow tips and tricks, and I know I’m not the only one. For instance, my kōhai 後輩 from Japanology Ann-Sofie is building a business out of giving tips for effective planning, check out Plan A here.

Here is the picture of me metaphorically drowning in a pool of multitasking balls. I smile because I have dealt with it.

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Network

Especially in the latter half of 2021 I have made quite a few new friends, and that has been a very good web of support for events that were to come.

Halloween

For instance Halloween, which I spent with my Korean friend Jinyoung. She came to Lamma where it is apparently a big deal to celebrate it. I really loved seeing all the costumes. We didn’t really dress up, but here are some pictures that will give you an impression.

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Christmas and New Year

For Christmas and New Year I hosted friends at my place. The deal was simple: I would make dessert and they would cook all the rest. And an even better part of the deal was that we had different cuisines from across Asia: China, Korea and Japan (in no particular order I love you all equally).

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For New Year my Japanese friend Tomo came over again and this time I was treated to a full-blown Japanese dinner. This was after we had eaten pizza so of course we couldn’t finish it. But on the upside, we had food for a few days after the event.

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But it wasn’t the only Christmas party I went to. In fact, I had a wonderful Christmas Eve: I was on a boat, with the CJ highschool crew. I had a good time.

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And I also went over to my supervisor Youngah’s place. Jinyoung had told me to memorize the phrase chodaehae jusyeoseo gamsahabnidaang 초대해 주셔서 감사합니다앙, which means “thanks for inviting me”. Luckily it maps well on the meter of Jingle Bells so I was able to do so. The food was also really good.

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And speaking of good food: also with other friends from school we had some really nice dinners. I didn’t take a picture of the food at Christmas but at Thanksgiving – which was the first time I celebrated that, like ever – we had a big turkey. With the magic of perspective it looks even bigger.

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And at the end of 2021 I also found myself part of a pubquiz team, which has been pretty fun as well. Our team name is “I thought it was a disco”, which is a welcome change from the typical “Jezus Kwistus” I get back in Belgium. Here’s a picture of us being victorious.

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Chinese New Year

In the start of 2022 we also said goodbye to Szeto and Ian, two members of our short-but-interesting-lived TypoClub. So Ian, Szeto, Gabor and I had a goodbye lunch for Szeto (going to Italy) and Ian (going to Sweden). Given the current stringent covid measures in Hong Kong I don’t know when I will see them again.

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I also said goodbye to one of my office mates, Jackie, who has been very fun to work across from. Luckily we still have Gabe and Anna to talk to. Well, after this covid wave ends. Here is a picture of the four musketeers on Lamma. Good memories and better times.

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For Chinese New Year, finally, I also had the same nationalities over. Ying Heng, Jinyoung, and Tomo made delicious food. Behold!

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We also celebrated Jinyoung’s birthday.

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And in general we wish you happy and prosperous Year of the Tiger!

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Other meetups

I also appreciate the other friends that have made my life richer. For instance, shoutout to Maggie and Sasha (🇺🇦️) for being so full of wisdom. Maybe it helped that we were also full of Flammkuchen.

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And of course Dasha, Rita and Anna. The occasional hangout has meant a lot to me. I love how we can vent about life to each other. And also enjoy the simple comfort that a blanket brings. #blanketlyfe (It was really cold in Hong Kong the past few weeks.)

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Mood pictures

Are you still here? If so, here are just some miscellaneous pictures from the past few months.

I learned a lot. For instance, while the hermetic law of as above so below has a truth to it, the law of as within so without is something I no longer find true in certain contexts. Go ponder on that one reader, and let me know if you want to discuss it further.

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Oh yeah, the staycation!

I got these coupons last year from the hotel I did my 21 day quarantine at, and they were expiring. So I did a staycation in a fancy room on the 78th floor in an executive suite. Honestly, I just came for the bathtub and the view, both of which were excellent. Here is the view.

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And here is what the view was seeing.

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There was also Dongzhi:

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A meet-up with a student from Taiwan, Tungle (rhymes with jungle).

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A PhD defense, congratulations Tingyu! I should say, Dr. Huang! Here is a picture of an almost complete Language and Development lab.

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Fogginess

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But what I’m really looking forward to is clear skies.

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Wouldn’t that be nice? And it seems the Weather Gods have answered the call. On this 1yearversary the weather is clear and the temperature agreeable. I think a small party is in order. Here’s to whatever the future may bring. 🐯️ 🐯️ 🐯️ 🐯️ 🐯️

Have a nice day and thanks for stopping by!
*tries to look seductively at the camera*

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PhD in Linguistics

My research interests include ideophones, (Premodern) Chinese, historical linguistics, Cognitive Linguistics, and lexical semantics.

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