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2018 - Pictures, events, memories

Updated: Jan 4, 2019

family photo at Berkeley
Pernilla, Isa, Shumin, Lina in 2018


Hainan Island

We started 2018 in Hainan China. My brother Haimin and his wife Liu Rui who have a vacation home in Hainan invited my parents and four of us to spend our 2017-2018 Christmas - new year holidays with them in "Hawaii of China"

Enjoying local food and drinks. Lina and Isa enjoyed the English translations of shop signs and restaurant menus even more.

My father decided to live an active life after discovering gastric cancer in mid 2017. He continued his bicycle rides regularly. One morning in Hainan he and I climbed up high in the Wuzhi Mountain (五指山). Another tourist was so inspired by my father's vigor at age 83 he requested a photo.



Grandpa gifted Lina a "Forever" bicycle while we were in China. We brought it back to California. Isa, Lina and did many weekend rides, often to my Google office


Work, colleagues, interns

Work at Google with great colleagues is fun and productive. We work on advanced features of Google's flagship products. We also do and publish quite a bit of exploratory research, often together with smart and hard working interns. Perks like healthy food and gyms at work are still appreciated after 8 years at Google.


Work trips, thesis examination & university visits, conferences

CHI 2018 Conference in Montreal ~ Doctoral thesis examination in Helsinki ~ University seminars in Waterloo (Canada), Helsinki, and Pisa ~ Eurohaptics 2018 and Smart Haptics 2018 conference keynotes in Pisa and San Diego ~ Lab visits at Tsinghua U and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing ~ Google Waterloo, Google Shanghai and Google Beijing offices. Also got to see the amazing John Senders in Toronto and Don Norman in San Diego during my trips.



Synchro, a.k.a. artistic swimming, is a big part of Lina and Isa's lives, and ours. Both Lina and Isa are members of the Santa Clara Aquamaids, a leading synchronized swimming club in the US. Pernilla spent a huge amount of time helping Lina, Isa and their teammates (being a "team mom" on trips), designing and developing the club's complex website, and serving on SCA's Board of Directors.

Lina and Isa train six days a week, many hours each day after school and often late into the evening. Swim meets and competition trips to Buffalo, Portland, Oxford Ohio and more during the year. Lina's Junior Olympic Championship was particularly tense. They beat their sister rival team from Walnut Creek Aquanuts in the Regional but lost the national gold metal to WCA's surprise new routine in the final round.


Home and Garden

New in 2018 - building a fish pond, changing part of the lawn into more eco-friendly plants, Tesla Model 3 (we are now all electric as Lina first suggested after the Paris Agreement).




Lina and Isa's school events, birthdays, music practice and recitals, friends and parties

Isa is a 5th grader in Meyerholz Elementary School, Lina 7th in Miller Middle. Both are in bilingual CLIP (Chinese Language Immersion Program).


Family and friend visits

Grandama Siv came to visit from Sweden in April. We went to Berkeley to celebrate Isabel's graduation. Youyou and Jiang Tao came to visit from China as part of their honeymoon.


Isa, Lina, and Pernilla's summer trip to Sweden

Isa, Lina and Pernila went to Sweden for their summer vacation - fishing, berry picking, seeing grandparents.


My July trip to China

While Pernilla, Lina and Isa were in Sweden, I went to Tianshui, China to see my parents. My father's cancer began to show more symptom. He could no longer ride his bicycle vigorously.

Tianshui is an ancient city but very underdeveloped when I grew up there from age 8 to 16. The landscape changed dramatically since then. Even the hills had turned green due to successful environmental programs. The city now even has a "Red Bridge" that looks like a copy of the Golden Gate bridge!

While in Tianshui, my high school classmates invited me to a 40-year reunion since their graduation in 1978. I went to university a half year before graduating from high school when Deng Xiaoping reopened universities to everyone who could pass the national entrance examination after ten years of closure during Mao's Cultural Revolution. I had not seen many of classmates since 1977.

Trip to Beijing

While in Tianshui, my father's condition got more critical. He vomited badly. His stomach tumor had grown to block food passage. The local doctors could not think of any further treatment (he had been taking some of the most advanced targeted cancer drugs). I called Prof. Yang Aiming, a friend and a leading doctor of micro-endoscopic surgery at the famed Peking Union Medical College Hospital. He suggested a stent placement operation to open the blockage. My father agreed. This meant we need to get to Beijing as soon as possible.

In the morning of July 16, my brother Haimin drove my father and I for two hours to the newly opened Longnan airport which had a direct flight to Beijing at noon. The weather forecast in Beijing was not good, part of the city had already been flooded, but we were able to take off after two hours of delay. The worsening storm in the afternoon forced our destination airport in Beijing to close. The plane landed in Taiyuan and waited till Beijing Nanyuan re-opened. Only half hour after our second take-off, Beijing Nanyuan was closed once again so we had to land in Shijiazhuang this time. We could either wait in the plane to hope the airport to open in the next few hours, or switch to the railway to take a 10 PM train, neither a pleasant choice. We did the latter as a more sure bet. Eventually, we arrived in Beijing and checked in a hotel by midnight.

The pouring rain in Beijing was on again and off again the next morning around the Union Hospital but I managed to wheelchair my father into the busy and crowded hospital main lobby. We learned we did not bring enough cash for the 50,000 RMB in-patient admission deposit required. All my US credit cards declined the charge. Prof. Yang had been checking on us out of his very busy schedule since the early morning. Once learned we were stuck at the admission he miraculously brought a bag of cash to us waiting at the admission lobby. At the same time my cousin Xiaowan drove through Beijing's busy traffic with another bag of cash.

Pouring rain at the entrance of the Union Hospital

Many extended family members (an aunt, three cousins, a sister-in-law, two nieces) came to Beijing to help and to visit. A few days later the operation went successfully. Prof. Yang did it himself in his lunch time. My father was able to eat soft food again. Prof. Yang and his wife invited me and my cousin to a wonderful dinner on my way back to California via Beijing.