Wednesday, October 25, 2006

And on Adam's advice, proof that we ARE NOT DATING!

We stayed with Jeremy, a JC friend of mine where we put up in his living room, Shoko taking the sofa bed, I taking the floor.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

CHICAGO! (Nothing smart to add larhhh)

So, fall break was over the last weekend, from Thursday to Sunday and Shoko and I (WE ARE NOT DATING!) decided the take a short flight up to Chicago, which is an hour's flight and 5 hours' drive away from St Louis. But oh, what a world of difference! In a word, Chicago was alive. Buzzing with excitement, it was city that knew its status in the world (3rd largest city in the States) and the direction it was headed (up!). It has all the trappings of a great metropolis; a fantastically ginormous business district, a flourishing arts scene (Broadway on Chicago, museums all over the place), a well-developed and reliable public transportation system and most importantly, a sense of self; a keen belief in its identity that was shared by its people and on proud display everywhere one turned.

We flew up on thursday and day 1 was spent touring the University of Chicago, an old fabled school right out of the pages of Harry Potter. It's ivy covered brownstone walls evoked images of medieval scholars hurrying down its hallowed hallways carrying scrolls of parchment rich with the collective knowledge of eons and ages past. It was a huge campus, sprawled out across several blocks (Chicago is neatly organised according to a grid system. Even I found it a challenge getting lost there.) It's law school however, left much to be desired. Decrepit looking on the outside with a scarcely maintained pond/puddle/cesspit in its front yard and just a general feel of neglect and lack of maintenance.

On board flight AA2079 to Chicago

Entrance to the U Chicago Quadrangle. I felt scholarly just walking through those gates.

Typical mode of transportation in U Chicago

Cast iron clock in the main library, it reads on its face, Presented by the Class of Nineteen Hundred and Nine.

Main library. Tell me you can't see the sorting hat and the annual feast and floating candles.

Little Chapel in the middle of campus. (It's almost nicer than WashU's. Almost)

Not-so-little Chapel in the middle of campus. (OK FINE! IT'S TAMADE BLARDY HUGE!)This is Rockefeller Chapel and was donated by the founder of U Chicago. It is HUGE. I didn't feel like it was appropriate to take pictures inside so this is all I have of it.


School bookshop. In the basement. Customers are given a map because it is a real possiblity that one might get lost in it. But so cool walking through narrow corridors framed fully by books on either side.

What I loved about the school was that it's students, past and present clearly had a very strong bond with the school. Notably, there was a palpable sense of camaraderie and brother/sisterhood. I also liked that its alumni had a very strong presence in the school and according to Jeremy, our tour guide, a pretty influential say in school policies as well.

I don't suppose I'm going to go into every minute detail about my trip in Chicago so I'm going to just bit more about the more memorable bits of the trip then let the pictures speak for themselves. Ok? Ok. Set.

on the second day Shoko and I made a trip to Sears Tower, the third tallest building in the world (I think) and it was there that I truly fell in love with chicago. From the 103rd floor with the city sprawled at my feet in well organised grids spreading out as far as the eye could see towards the north and east and Lake Michigan framing the west, I fell in love with Chicago for the first time. It was really inspiring, watching from up high, this marvel of man's construct. Gazing down upon the result of countless years and of toil and effort and the eventual growing fruit of ceaseless labour I was (again) seized by a stirring urge that the world truly is our oyster if only we tried.

One other thing I really loved about Chicago was how although it was such large city, I never once felt unsafe walking its streets or taking the subway and buses, even late at night. Something I've not felt since arriving in St Louis 2 months ago.

OK. Enough talking. How do i love Chicago, let me count the ways:

Sears Tower


Oh, the lengths to which we go just to bring you the best pictures, including but not limited to standing in the middle of a busy intersection.

Chicago Tribune Building

Street Art. (I refuse to call this graffiti)

Broadway on Chicago. We caught 2 musicals, Wicked and Altar Boyz, both of which were side splittingly good. We were very lucky because 2 hours before every show, a lottery is drawn to give out 20 tickets at 25 bucks each for front row seats. On Friday we decided to try our luck and entered our names. Amazingly, out of over a hundred names, Shoko stuck lottery and we managed to get 2 tickets at 25 bucks when the street price was something like 85 bucks.

Too much good food. Too much.

And that friends, was Chicago. Phew.

I wanna go back!!!

Monday, October 23, 2006


Heavens. I am loving this country more and more with each passing day. Not to say of course, that everything's perfect and a-ok but for now, I am truly, madly and deeply in love.

2 momentous events this past week.

1. National League Championship playoffs between the St Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets with Zach (GOOOO CAAARRRDDSSS!!!!!)

2. Chicago with Shoko.

On the first, I must say that while the experience came with a rather hefty price tag, it was worth evey penny. As I'm sure all of you know, I've never been much of a sports fan, but I think that's just about to change with Tuesday's game. Since coming to the states, I've been to 2 baseball games, the first between the St Louis Cards and the Pittsburgh Pirates and the second, the Championship playoffs last tuesday. What a world of difference the playing field makes, the former being one of the preliminary rounds and the latter a championship game. The first game was dull and about as fascinating as CLT, the second was so tension filled and alive with energy, I swear I almost got a gastric ulcer. It was fantastic really, feeling the palpable energy and the air so thick with anticipation you could cut through it with a knife. I've often wondered how people can be so passionate about a game they don't even play but that night I got a taste of that mind-gripping fanatacism and passion.

The Busch Stadium, home to the St Louis Cardinals. (GOOOOOO CAAARRRRDDSSS!!!!)

zach, who studied in NUS for 1 year, learning mandarin (he speaks mandarin very fluently) and got his Masters in Philosophy on Sino-American relations from Hong Kong. He unfortunately had to endure the game with constant questions along the lines of what?! WHAT HAPPENED?!!!

The view of the pitch from our tamade damn good seats.

Big screen, Crazy fans

National League Championship Series (WHICH WE WON!! GOOOOOOO CCCAAARRRRRDDDSSS!!!!!)

ABSOLUTELY EXHILARATING I TELL YOU. Lost my voice even. FANTASTIC. The mad euphoria and the ridiculously high spirits of the crowd, no doubt aided in large portions by copious amount of beer (the stadium is named for the biggest beer manufacturer in the world) (mother, I assure you, I had none of it) no doubt was so infectious we were riding on a high all the way home.

On thursday, Shoko and I (I swear, cross my heart and hope to die, we ARE NOT DATING!!!) made a trip up to Chicago, which is 5 hours drive and 1 hour flight away from St Louis. Not that far but my goodness, what a world of difference it is! Chicago is the third largest city and metropolitan area in TUSOA (The United States Of America) with a population of 9 million.

At this point, you would expect that I would load some pictures, write abit more about Chicago and how I was absolutely and completely swept off my feet in 4 days. You would also, however, be wrong, because I am now rather tired and have a tonne of readings to catch up on. As such dear friends, stay tuned for Liangwei's non-dating adventures in Chicago. Till then, have lots of fibre and stay healthy!

Sunday, October 22, 2006



Saturday, October 14, 2006

One time, in band camp.

Ok. Long time no post, sorry for the absence friends. It's been busy busy busy. In any event, the closing days of summer are here and the leaves are changing. I've taken to bundling myself in at least 3 layers of clothes before leaving the house and dashing helter skelter from home to car to school to car to home. I love the weather here, it's nice and cool and there's still some sun left so my runs through the park are breathtaking affairs of flitting sunlight through red, gold and yellow leaves and the soothing crunch of gravel under feet. The air is crisp, fresh and invigoratingly chilly and it quickly, gently kisses away any trace of prespiration or fatigue. It's a good reprieve from school and work; the mind is clear and the body is moving, primed to push itself to exhaustion, one leg after another, over and over, again and again, repeated until the protests of strained joints and fatigued muscles grow too loud to ignore. I love the endorphine rush at the end of a vigorous, hard run. Your skin burns from the cold and your breath is misting in the chilly air and the world is spinning slightly and your muscles are screaming their protests in none too subtle terms but oh, such a beautiful ache.

In any event, the past 2 weeks in pictures:

Nuremberg Conference. YOu've heard enough about it from me, these are the 3 prosecutors - Whitney Harris, Ben Ferencz and Henry King:

Taking advantage of the last days of summer, picnic at forest park. beautiful. We had intended to get some work done at the park but we all ended up falling fast asleep by the water.

Trip down memory lane - Bowling with the Asian Law Students Association. (Memory lane because that's what we used to do when we were younger but because I'd ever gone bowling with the ALSA before. But I'm sure you'd figured that out)

Jessup training - last week we decided that we were sick of school of we adjourned to Maguerite's house for curry and brainstorming. I love this bunch, Luke, Marguerite, Ashley and Rachel - every single one of them brilliant, passionate, friendly and wonderfully warm.

Marguerite worked for 2 years with the peacekeeping force in Kosovo. She speaks french and has a frenchy french boyfriend.

Luke has just gotten a clerkship with a judge on the 6th circuit court of appeals. Aspires to be an academic. Loves teaching.

Ashley. I've mentioned her before, straight talking, totally unlike her appearance. Amazes me with her strenght and tenacity.

Rachel. Went to music school, went to art school, lived on a boat in her early childhood. Parents worked with peacekeeping forces all over the world. Named her female cat Mr. Burns. Runs marathons. Has lost 5 toenails to running said marathons. Trying for an internship at the Hague.

Liangwei the noob.

Phew. So. that was the past two weeks. Next up: law school goes to the symphony! (yes cousin, this was just for you:))