Life lately: a weird European summer

August is usually the biggest holiday month in Europe: the office becomes a ghost town, and every email is met by a barrage of out-of-office replies. This year is different. Many are not traveling, and for those of us who are, we’re sticking close to home. I just spent the last three weeks covering for four coworkers who were off at the same time, so I’m very much looking forward to taking my own holiday soon.

I saw another shiba inu in Geneva this month. It was thrilling.


I had to go to the Apple store earlier this month for an issue with my phone. This was the process: first, schedule an appointment with the genius bar online. Then show up at the store and wait in line to get my temperature taken. Wait to be called into the store. Disinfect hands upon entering. And of course we’re all wearing masks the entire time. Side note that my French was good enough to last me all the way up until the genius started explaining why my phone was acting the way it did, and that’s where I finally got lost. PROGRESS!


I also got back into cooking with these homemade steamed buns. I made the whole thing from scratch, dough and filling! 20 minutes in the steamer and another 5 to set, and they’re golden. To prevent the buns from sticking to the dividers, I pad them with bok choy or lettuce leaves (a trick I learned from Cantonese restaurants) and compost them afterwards.


Taking a walk around Old Town Geneva, where I stayed in an Airbnb when I first moved here last summer. The neighborhood is a lot quieter without the tourists.



The first time middle school algebra has actually come in handy in real life. This is me calculating how many more people we need to invite to a certain event in order for it to achieve at minimum 50-50 gender and geographic parity. I’m sure there’s a fancier/easier way to do this in excel, but I’m too old to learn new technology at this point. I don’t even know how to post an Instagram story.


First time making dan geng, or Chinese egg custard. When I lived with my cousin in Beijing for one summer in 2011, she made this for breakfast every day and it grew on me over time. It’s SUPER simple: mix two eggs with water and salt and stir until smooth. Pop into the steamer for 20 minutes. Pour a thin layer of soy sauce (I just used sushi sauce) over the whole thing and dig in.


Stayed late after work today to watch a livestream Q&A with Dr. Fauci. I don’t know how he does it. MAD respect.


My massage cushion arrived in the mail! I feel like this is one of the hallmarks of getting old — I feel zero embarrassment and 100% excitement about taking a nap on this, since I suffer from periodic back pain.


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