In brief...

I'm a Nature-lover, aspiring conservationist, and wannabe traveller in search of outdoor adventure.
My interests vary from conservation to education to heritage to Nature (biodiversity & wildlife) to outdoor activities to life in general.
They occupy most of my waking moment.
Do read my blogs, follow me on Twitter (@jocelynesze) and friend me on Facebook (subject to my discretion). Visit my Nature blog, Nature Rambles, at http://natureramble.wordpress.com.

UPDATE 2 Apr 2017 - This site is no longer maintained, please visit jocelynesze.wordpress.com if you're interested in more recent writing.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Grocery shopping Silwood style.

I haven't done a proper grocery shop since coming back from Christmas break, subsisting on essential buys at Sainsburys Local or Tesco Express. And so I decided that it's about time to do a big shop - I needed detergent and coffee (only Caf├ęDirect will do for me now, none of the other brands I've tried made me feel quite as happy drinking coffee in the morning, and somehow the smaller stores don't stock them).

Going grocery shopping is a big deal in Silwood. The campus minibus does once/twice weekly trips to Tesco, and it takes about 20-30 mins (depending on the traffic; about 7.5km away). Lives are planned around Tesco trips ("sorry I can't make it for dinner, I'm going to Tesco"), and occasionally, desperate pleas are made for Tesco trips lest one starves to death (I'm exaggerating). Unless of course, you do your grocery shopping online.


I'm not keen on online grocery shopping, mainly cos I like to see what I'm buying, I sometimes get ideas for what to cook when browsing, and I don't think I need that much food for free delivery (it's mostly fresh produce I want and they don't keep). So anyway, I decided to cycle to Tesco when I woke up this morning.

GMaps said it would take about 20 mins (it showed a different route to the one seen above, kinda detours to Cheapside first before joining the main road again, for some reason). Took me 27 mins to get there, which wasn't too bad. Some of those hills though.

Had a nice long leisurely shop (1+ hours), unlike previous occasions when I was always rushing cos I didn't want to be the last and hold up the minibus. The cycle back took 37 mins, with my load. I reckon it was at least 12kg, my backpack, and I had an extra bag slung on the side.

All I wanted to say was, grocery shopping here is a bit of an effort, and it also says something about my life now that I spent half my day grocery shopping and felt it was worth a blog post.

Coming after cycling in London yesterday (from UCL at Euston to Westway Sports Centre near Portobello, then Westway to Earl's Court then to Clapham Junction) and some fairly hard climbing, I'm quite physically exhausted.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Update on life now.

Genuinely what I'm feeling. When I graduated from RJ six years ago, never thought I would be doing lots of computing stuff. Gradually became a nerd I guess, going for coding courses and choosing to do modelling projects. Honestly though, when I decided I wanted to go down the ecology/natural history route, I thought I'd be doing lots of fieldwork, looking at plants and animals, and spending time outdoors. Not lots of coding, head-bashing and help-Googling, looking at a screen, and spending time on GIS StackExchange and StackOverflow. 

I've just about got the hang of R, and thought I should pick up Python last Summer. Tried to teach myself a bit, but I'm terrible at learning on my own, and now I'm dropped in the deep end cos I have to use it for my project. My emotions are tied to the output on the console now. 

I remember being very awed when I visited the computer tech guy in the Earth Sciences department in my second year at Cambridge, cos he was using command-line interface to execute everything on his computer. Now, terminal is almost always open on my MacBook Pro cos there are times when it's just easier to use command lines. 

What am I doing with my life even. Not saying that everything's gone wrong in my life, cos I definitely consciously chose this (looking forward to being able to finally say, I am fairly proficient in R and Python and GIS), but I definitely didn't expect this six years ago.

Photo credits: Original meme, coder in distress photo from Flickr user Peter Alfred Hess.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Chinese New Year

It's my fourth year missing CNY back home, so I've gotten used to not collecting ang baos, or eating CNY goodies, or visiting relatives etc. This year though, being at Silwood with a properly equipped kitchen instead of the crappy gyps I've had for the past three years, I thought it would be quite nice to cook dinner for friends. And so a bunch of people and I cooked for about 40 on CNY eve.

I was making yu sheng, ngoh hiang and cheng tng, the first two of which are quite exclusively Singaporean/Malaysian (can I just stick to using Malayan when referring to the two countries...) and it was my first time making those dishes too. Turned out surprisingly well, though gathering the ingredients (took a couple of London chinatown trips, cos there wasn't often much space in my backpack to get everything at once) took effort and I had to substitute some stuff. I'm thinking maybe those cooking genes have just been lying dormant till needed. My parents seemed genuinely surprised at the photos of the outcome, as though they didn't think I was capable of producing edible material for 40 people.

I even roasted and crushed the peanuts by hand.
I hadn't properly Skyped them though (only briefly to ask some questions about cooking, in which they raised their doubts over my cooking abilities), and despite my asking for a time to call, they were 'too busy visiting'. I was starting to wonder if they just couldn't be bothered about me (Middle Child Syndrome kicking in), but it turns out they pulled a fast one on me.

My mum told me previously that her friend was visiting her daughter and will be able to pass some CNY goodies to me. And that since I didn't have lectures today, I could pick her 'friend' up from Heathrow. I grumbled a bit cos of the distance, but went anyway, and hey presto, it was my mum at the airport waiting for me xD

This is turning out to be the best CNY in a long time (she brought a LOT of food from home). Though today is Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. I guess I'll just have to make up for it later.