Monthly Archive: August 2005

First Day of Orientation

When I met one of the orientation leaders for my group this morning, I almost wanted to call her Jennifer Lopez. She looked exactly like J.Lo right down to the J.Lo glow of her complexion, although perhaps a bit shorter and with longer hair. Interestingly, she was also from NYC and went back there to work during her 1L summer. Together with Professor Croley, affectionately known as the Tom Cruise prof., we have half of Hollywood here at the Law School (half of the Hollywood stars I know of anyway).

I got to know a number of other students: one worked for CIA in their Middle East division (or section, or whatever it is called) before coming to Michigan, and another worked at a consulting firm before quitting that job to work in a small motel. Everyone seemed cool and laid back, which coincides with the impression I had from the Preview Weekend back in March. I even got to meet the folks I knew from the March event–all of them decided to come to Michigan.

The orientation itself was nothing exciting and consisted of the usual stuff: tour of the school (once again), chatting with the orientation leaders, having dinner with other people in my section, etc. I had to skip the opening remarks of the Dean of the Law School just to get to the university-wide international student check-in program, which could have been just a 5-minute thing but turned out to be a two-hour long boring presentation, at the end of which the check-in was done.

Also managed to get two extra Michigan vs. Notre Dame football tickets so that Jeni and Calder can join me for the game. The Notre Dame ticket was hard to come by, and for the second one I had to exchange it with my OSU ticket. Only after I did the exchange did I know that sometimes the OSU ticket can fetch as much as several hundred dollars, but oh well… scalping is illegal and the ND ticket doesn’t go for much lower on the black market anyway.

Now off to do my long list of reading assignments… School hasn’t even started yet and we are already getting reading assignments. Ugh.


Also of note, came across this Prof’s bio. Very interesting stuff, but too bad his course next semeter conflicts with my Property class.

Hot Hot Hot

Moved into the dorm today. It is so unbearably hot in the room that I was sweating like a pig all day. Eventually I found out the reason: a vent blowing hot air right outside of my window. I went to put a cardboard over it: not too much help, but at least room is a little bit cooler than before. I may have sweated too much and am starting to feel dizzy. Hopefully it gets better later at night.

Ping back home

Ping did her interview with the business school today and toured the school afterwards. It’s a good thing that the law school and business school are right next to each other. I stayed in my dorm and started unpacking while keeping an eye on Anna, when I realized I still needed to buy a whole bunch of things before calling this my home for the next year.

Sent Ping and Anna off to the airport and ran to Target to get some dorm supplies. Checked class schedule online and found out that I had been assigned to a section with Professor Clark as the torts prof. He was the one who offered the highly enjoyable (and to some degree, inspirational) mock class during orientation, so I am very excited about having him in the first semester. Another prof I really wanted to take class with is the legendary JJ White, the most respected figure in UCC code, bar none. Before the schedules were posted I secreted prayed to be assigned classes with both Clark and White, and at least I got one of them in the first semester.

Off to buy the books tomorrow. Gearing up for the years ahead. After a nice vacation and sweet family reunion, now more than ever I am ready to begin enduring the brutality that law school promises.

Another hectic day

Went to pick up Wei from the airport then bought some bedding for the dorm. Will move in on Tuesday and still have more shopping to before then. Tired… so I am going zzzz…. When the dust settles I should be able to do a better job at updating this blog.

Anna Banana in Ann Arbor

I am struggling to keep up with the blogging… It’s a hectic time: just returned from a vacation, Ping and Anna’s arrival (and soon-to-come departure), school starting, moving into the dorm, etc, so I will keep this short.

Today Anna finally got to tour Ann Arbor, one of the two cities she was named after (the other is Annapolis). Ping and I took Anna for a walk around the campus and downtown Ann Arbor. Anna wasn’t very much impressed, as far as I can tell, but Ping seemed to like the town.

Poor (and sweet) Jeni volunteered to be squeezed into the backseat of her own car between two babies in carseats while I drove and Ping sat in the front passenger seat, until I rented a car to relieve her from being a baby sandwich.

The Soo

Went to a town of 15,000 people on the US-Canadian border. I would never have thought about visiting Sault Ste Marie had it not been for Jeni. She went to college here for four years and swears by the natural beauty of the town and the neighboring St. Mary river that connects the great lakes Superior and Huron.

This is more or less a trip back into the yesteryears for her: She almost burst into tears when we went into the editor’s office of the campus newspaper. She was Editor-in-Chief for this newspaper in college and was a highly controversial figure on campus due to her criticism for the preferential treatment that the hockey players get from the school.

For lunch we went to a restaurant called “the Antlers,” apparently playing off of the deer hunting theme that’s popular in this region. Jeni worked in this restaurant as a waitress when she was a student, so coming back to this same restaurant for lunch meant something special to her. During lunch she recounted her like for the hunters, who always tipped the most, and dislike for the Canadians, who almost never tipped.

For the rest of the day we took a “train ride.” The “stupid tour ride that went around town and through campus when I was a student here,” as Jeni calls it, is just a slow-moving car disguised as a locomotive pulling three or four carts. As silly as it seemed, we hopped in and toured the whole town in it.

In the evening we went on a dinner cruise on the river. The first half of the cruise was on the Canadian side of the water, sometimes within 30 feet of the shore. The funny thing was that the town on the Canadian side is also called “Sault Ste. Marie,” or, as the locals would call it, simply “the Soo”. To distinguish between the two towns on different sides of the border, locals call them “Soo Michigan” and “Soo Ontario.”


The real vacation began yesterday and this is where I am today. It’s a fun (and expensive) little island where automobiles are prohibited so we got around on bikes and horse carriages. More than once I stopped in awe of the majestic view of Lake Huron. So far it’s been well worth the 6 hour drive up here.


Jeni’s cousin, Andrew, joined us for the trip up north. Andrew is a 15-year-old kid with a life story of his own. Andrew’s mother died when he was young, and shortly after that, he was diagnosed of Attention Deficiency Disorder and bipolar personality, and was put on medication ever since.

I couldn’t tell if Andrew was really sick or just a hyperactive teenager. In addition to the occasional “are we there yet” questions, Andrew would constantly interrupt the conversation between Jeni and I as we drove to our first stop, Tawas City, where Jeni’s aunt has a summer cottage that we could use for a few days.

As sweet as Jeni is, she reached her breaking point when Andrew started to pretend that he knew Kung Fu (seeing that I was Chinese) and babbling with a supposedly Chinese accent: “Hey-yah aim za drunken masta.” She took Andrew aside and told him how insulting it is to mimic other people’s accent whether they are black, hispanic or Asian, and that he has been an embarrassment to her.

The kid got much better after that. He started asking worthwhile questions about China: how large is it? Did the Chinese culture originate from Japan? Do the Chinese have Samurai… I couldn’t refuse to answer: China is roughly the same size as the U.S. The Chinese culture originated in China, and it is the Japanese culture that has been heavily influenced by China. No China does not have, and has never had Samurais…

It wasn’t long before Andrew started driving people crazy again. “I want to buy a Super Nintendo!” he proclaimed, and repeated it a thousand times as we finally pulled into the cottage that Jeni’s aunt owns. In this quiet little town next to Lake Huron, it would be a miracle to find
a Nintendo Game Cube, let alone a console several generations old.

I wish he wasn’t Jeni’s cousin so I can punch him, but Jeni told me Andrew’s father had done this plenty of times.

The American Dream

Today we went to help Garrett, Jeni’s brother, clean up the house that he had just moved out of. The entire family was there to help. It was a big deal for everyone in the family that Garrett finally bought a house for himself and his two boys, ages 10 and 5.

When we were almost done cleaning the house, Garrett stood at the door and said, “Damn, I am leaving here one last time. I have my own house now.”

We then all went to his new home. Before I even saw his new house, Jeni made sure that I understood how important it was to him that he finally bought a house (although not without significant financial help from family members). The minute I saw the house I understood why Jeni had given me the early warning. The house was small and in pretty bad shape.

I tried to be complimentary without sounding insincere:

“Hey Garrett, nice house you got here. Now only if I could buy a house someday…”

Garrett lit up a cigarette, inhaled deeply and smiled. In a way that I wasn’t sure if he was talking to me or himself, or both, he said,

“Damn… I am so proud of myself. Nine years ago I had absolutely nothing and knew absolutely nothing. I was living out of my ’87 Buick Regal and had to sleep on the backseat with my 1-year-old son. Now look at me. I am an electrician and I have skills. And I fucking own a house now. I am like the American dream coming true.”

A moment later, he added,

“now if I could win the lottery, I’d be the real American dream.”

We both laughed, and now it seemed to me that the house didn’t look that bad at all.