I moved to Knoxville on 27th, and have been stuck in moving stuff until now. Before moving, I always believed that I am a minimalism. This thought disappeared when I started to pack. Even though I don’t have tens of boxes of things compared to others, still I was shocked about how much bits and bobs I own. Eventually I used two suitcases and one extra large box to pack all my stuff. It doesn’t seem that terrible right? Because I don’t have furnitures. These junks are just my personal items. My life principle will be “don’t buy unless it’s an emergency” since now.

Let’s go back to Knoxville. It’s a quite nice place, especially for PhD study. Why do I say that? Knoxville is small but quiet, but not too countryside. I would say it’s an in-between place. There is not much entertainment here though, unlike metropolis like NYC. I heared lots of people moved here since WFH became popular because of pandemic, which causes the craziness of the housing market. But still, it’s much more affordable than Maryland. A not so good news for me is that Knoxville is really car-centered, which is not friendly for people can’t drive like me. Previously I was thinking if I can uber to everywhere since all my classes are online for the first semester, and now I realize that’s not possible. The nearest and only place I can get to is a McDonald near my apartment.

My roommate went out for travel to Yellow Stone after we moved here for 2 days. She has, literally, everything. Now our apartment still has hundreds of boxes in the living room and her bedroom, which is crazy. I am eagerly waiting for her to be back right now, not only because I can’t clean the house unless she finishes unpacking things, but also because she has a car, and it’s important. Now I’m stuck in the apartment with her two cats, Boba and Babo. Even though they are super cute, still I want some fresh air. Additionally, she is the one who will teach me how to drive. That’s why I’m counting down when she’ll be back.

Yesterday one of my advisors, and also one of the best advisors in the world, Josh, invited us (some PhD students) over to have dinner. We headed to his house first, met his crazy but cute infant dog, and idle gossiped for a while in his backyard. Then we went to the restaraunt, farmacy for dinner, met Katie (Josh’s wife and a brilliant librarian in UTK) and Jonah (Josh’s shy and beautiful son). We talked a lot over the dinner, especially around “how to balance work and life”, a good question proposed by Wei Wang(another new PhD student in the group).

This was my first meeting with fellows at UT and I felt truly happy and fortunate to join this research group. Everyone is so kind and chill and encouraging, which made me less anxious about the upcoming PhD life. For the record, because I’m the only one who didn’t have a car yet, Maryrose and Wei kindly drove me, which I am really appreciated. I felt spoiled by everyone.

Before end: I joined Alex’s team on 1st Aug as a new Grad assistant in her NSF project, and met some lovely people from both UT and a local community college. I am still trying to get familiar with the project and hopefully will be 100% devoting into my work next week. The Bursar’s office is still working on the financial aid process, so I’m also anxiously checking on my portal lately.

Okay, gotta go. Boba and Babo are meowing outside my room!