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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Today in The AA [#4] Departure: T-minus 9 Days

I've received some more info in regards to what is going to be happening this summer on the NSERC trip, which is good because up until now I had this elaborate mapping of the trip:

    -    FLY TO ASIA LAND 
       -    DO ROBOT STUFF 
           -    ???    
               -   PROFIT

That was old me though. New me has new info, and thus a plan has been formed.

The Mission
May 4, 2016, 17:00: I board a WestJet and head West (you don't say?), arriving in Vancouver by 17:59. The flight was 3 hours yet I arrived in 59 minutes. The government probably had some time travelling business going on to make sure I wasn't detected.

May 5  02:00 2016:Onboard China Airlines 12-hour flight...

May 6  05:30  2016:5am I arrive in Taipei, Taiwan... on the next day. This is going to throw off my brain a bit I can imagine.  Upon arrival I will be meeting with Jacky, hopping on a high speed train to Kaohsiung. I'll be staying in the Taisuco residence (just outside the gate from National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology (NKFUST) 

May 7, 2016: I will be working in Prof. Kuo-Yang Tu's lab.

May 14/15 2016: Must have prepared a Darwin robot for the Taiwan Humanoid competition held in Kaohsiung while I'm working in this lab. Met with Kiral in regards to what I should do to prepare. I should do a LOT... I will do so.

May 28/29 2016: Mountain hiking with Jacky. No idea where, but likely mountains of some sort.  

June 6, 2016: I leave Prof. Kuo-Yang Tu's lab. Jacky doesn't know where I'll be positioned at this time, it's fair game for anything. 

July 4, 2016: Return from Leipzig Germany to work on HuroCup/Robot Magic Show. I will now be staying at the National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) in Taipei.

May 4, 2016, 1:00: I am escorted to the airport by my secretary. She's well trained in this business since she had been making my lunches and signing my permission slips for 18 years.

June 26, 2016: Leave to Leipzig, Germany to participate in RoboCup! This is the world soccer event, the big final boss of the summer. 

August 4th 15:00 2016: Depart from NTNU in Taipei and head to Flight China Airlines 

August 4th 23:15 2016: Departure from Taipei, Taiwan

August 4th 19:00 2016: Arrive in Vancouver, Canada. Travelled back in time by roughly 4 hours. I'll be stranded somewhere until the next morning. 

August 5 07:30 2016: Departure from Vancouver on WestJet.

August 5 09:58 2016: Arrival in Edmonton Alberta

August 5 12:15 2016: Depart from Edmonton

August 5 15:04 2016: Arrive back in Winnipeg Canada

And that's it! Sounds simple enough eh? Not quite. There is a lot to take care of before I leave, and an endless number of things to do once I arrive.

Over the next couple of days, I'm focusing on making my workspace bullet proof to harddrive failures, and other catastrophes I've faced in the past. Hopefully, the time spent now will save me a lot of grief in the upcoming months.

A Chance to Improve

Over the last couple of years, I've honed in on myself by establishing some habits/routines in which have greatly benefited me. This includes waking up at 5am, running often, and allocating specific hours in the day to study arbitrary topics in mathematics & science. I've still noticed there are many things in which I'm sloppy with, however, and especially with the last University semester passing I've picked up some unwanted habits, I want to eradicate during this trip away. 


      I originally dieted to cut weight, and I did, quite a lot in fact; however now I'm wanting to focus more on eating healthier, not worrying as much about weight. I've heard Taiwan is fantastic for their food, so I'm wishing to take advantage of the lower priced cuisine (because I can't afford more...) to set some dietary habits. My rational will be as follows: I will allocate myself 3 cheat days per month, this entails eating food that is in other words not healthy (pop/fast food/huge meals/etc). Outside of those days, I will log my calories on MyFitnessPal as I've been doing these last 2 years, and ensure I'm intaking only healthy alternatives such as fish, vegetables, and meats that aren't heavily processed. I've chosen diet as the main focus because I've realized it plays a crucial role in my mental health. Despite the short-term satisfaction of bindging on ice cream sandwiches, the longer term effect is that I feel lethargic, and disappointed in myself. Over the next 3 months of eating strictly because I have to, I plan on returning and maintaining that routine, by purchasing local foods regularly (extra walking), and only having the 3 cheat days per month.


 Oh geez, this one is important... I've never been into drugs, so I don't know the feeling of substance addiction, but I could imagine it may feel something like missing the gym for 3 weeks after following a steady workout regime. Missing workouts amplify all that is stressful in my life, I feel like I'm becoming obese (even though I'm not), and my ability to think critically takes a major hit as well. While I'm gone I'll be away from Kendo , which despite kicking the crap out of me on a regular occasion, is one of my core outlets of stress relief. While I'm away I will have to find training alternatives that hone those skills for when I return. At the moment, my activity involves calisthenics, kendo, and running; in which I've had immense difficulty holding to all 3 at the same time due to my schedule. As of now I'm going to reform that schedule to prioritise Kendo, and the kendo community, while allocating extra time for Calisthenics while I travel. 
    The routine will be as follows: 
      Given a standard 7 day week, I will do a full calisthenics workout on 2 of those days (roughly 2-hour workout x 2 days)
      On 3 other days of those 7, I will do a 5km run and kendo warmup exercises probably around lunch to rest my brain from heavy thinking all day. 
    Upon returning I'll drop 2 of the running days and focus on ensuring I attend every Kendo practice I'm possibly able to (outside of exams). So a general week then will contain 2 kendo practices, 2 calisthenics workouts, and a 5km running day. 

 Why am I rambling about my routine plans? 

   Refer to my post Design by Contract: Building Healthy Habits. The post I'm making here today  isn't with the intention of boasting about achievements, as I have very few; nor is it about making ambitious promises. I'm establishing a contract with myself to hold to these plans as I embark on a crucial turning point in my life. This is a better time than ever to do self-reflection on myself and identify what I can do to keep putting out the best I can as a researcher, community member, and human in general. 

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