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MIT student blogger Chris S. '11

Just a Yellow Lemon Tree… by Chris S. '11

I wrote a rap song for you.

just kidding about the rap. More like a 118-line poem. (below)

So when I signed on to be a blogger, I made a small promise to myself that I will never go one month without blogging. It has come pretty close a couple of times, but alas, I’ve broken that promise by two days. :(

OK I know you guys are all sick of the whole “I’m hosed!” talk, so I’ll skip that. (please refer to back entries of any of the bloggers if you are curious on a more in-depth treatment of the topic)

Since I’ve been gone, I’ve…

-Helped run MIT’s first Model United Nations (MUN) conference for high schoolers.
-Ordered my Brass Rat!
-Went to a college MUN conference (at Hah-vahd). (I was Fiji, by the way – oh and Ahmed went too!)
-Started ESP’s SAT Preparation Program’s by administering a Diagnostic Exam. This is my third semester directing the program! o___o
-Graded 450 SAT answer sheets MANUALLY (no Scantron :( ), read 450 essays, entered them into the computer, and generated class schedule. (with the help of our SAT Prep teachers!)
-Conducted SAT Prep sessions (they run on Sundays and this Sunday will be the 4th class (out of 7) in the program!) – directing the program for so long had made me start to use the program as a yardstick to measure how far into the semester I am…wow, this semester passed so fast it’s like crazy.
-Got tired of working in a biology lab, so went completely in the other direction and is taking on an Anthropology UROP. We are drafting submissions to the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review program, which measures the progress of human rights in indigenous populations in countries around the world.
-Applied to some exciting summer opportunities!
-Went on a retreat with iHouse. (and welcomed our newest (22nd) member to the House! :D)
Met Yo-Yo Ma. (via the Burchard Scholar’s Program. Paul did too! so maybe we’ll blog about it sometime :) ). Oh, and this was at the Silk Road Ensemble Concert this last Sunday at Boston Symphony Hall.
-Taught and volunteered for Spark! (Spark is another program that ESP runs – it’s a mini-version of Splash that I parenthetically mentioned here – although in the entry it was the Stanford Splash, not MIT Splash – but you get the idea).
-Suffered through one round of midterms (and pulled one all-nighter for 7.05 (that’s biochem) – promptly collapsed afterwards)
-Is trying to decide whether 66 units or 54 units sounds more reasonable.
-Watched Diarios de Motocicleta for Spanish class and wow…such a good movie. (btw, I spend at least one hour every night preparing for 21F.704! (Spanish IV). Who says Spanish is easy? -____-)

What’s coming up?
-Going to The Hague, Netherlands next Saturday for World MUN!
-I need to film the iHouse i3 video tonight, being Housing Chair.
Need to dominate the classes that I’m in now…(spent too much time on extracurriculars so far…haha)

Many of the things I mentioned I’ll go into more detail in future blogs (like for MUN I’m going to do a big post that combines the conference we ran, the Harvard conference, and the conference in Holland together). Stay tuned and I’m trying to be less busy! =p

Okay, these are the things I actually wanted to blog about:

1. Amino Acid Tag!

Seen this going around on Facebook? :) (or versions with Pokemon, Korean characters, Hong Kong characters, Taiwan internet comic characters, Mr. Happy…etc. etc. (my favorite is the Sanrio one that’s going around, haha))

Because I’m sad and have no one to tag, I decided to tag my best friends, the amino acids that I’m learning about in 7.05 (Biochemistry – Keri and Jess are also in that class). I pulled an all-nighter studying for the first test that we had, and started writing things down at the delirium of 6:12 in the morning, when Michaelis-Menton, isoelectric point, chymotrypsin, Lineweaver-Burk plot (all words that spell check doesn’t recognize) are all jumbled in my mind.

After coming home from the exam and taking a long nap, I produced…

(click on the image!)

2. Random Daily Life

3. Since EA 2012, RA 2012, EA 2013, here’s something to listen to while you wait. :)

ps. The Korean version and the Chinese version of the same song.

Haha okay before you bash me on this…there’s a story to this song. So even though I was born in the United States, I’ve never actually lived here (my parents took me to Taiwan when I was still a toddler). I transferred to an international school in the middle of elementary school, and my parents were really worried that my English was not up to par during that time. Thus, they took me to America in the summer of 1997 and I spent most of the summer in Las Vegas (where my mom’s relatives are). That was also the summer when I went to Disneyland for my first (and only) time.

So…on the drive to Anaheim, I was in the backseat with my Black Cassette Walkman (probably as thick as of 5 or 6 iPhones put together now – but my most prized possession at the time – I actually used it all the way till middle school, when it flat out wouldn’t function anymore and cassettes were getting hard to find), a cassette of ’60s-’70s Oldies songs (they were – and still are – my parents’ favorites), a Carpenters cassette, and some random mix tape of the top pop hits in ’96. Now thinking back, one of my clearest memories was that there were at least two songs I couldn’t stop rewinding and replaying. One was Carpenter’s Top of the World (optimism starts young, you see =p), and the other was, of course, Lemon Tree.

What’s most remarkable is that after that one summer, I literally never heard this song again till 2009, when a few weeks ago I heard this playing on the background of an advertisement that I happened to come across on Youtube. I immediately recognized the melody but had completely forgotten the name or even the lyrics! (then, of course, I turned to my trustworthy =p) And alas, I couldn’t stop playing this song for like the next three days >”<.

It’s funny how these blasts from the past find you sometimes.

I know it is stressful and many of you have been waiting months on end for this closure, but I wish you all the best. Stay happy! :)

“I wonder how, I wonder why, yesterday you told me about the blue blue sky…” :D

44 responses to “Just a Yellow Lemon Tree…”

  1. jimmy '13 says:

    Hey…the origami’s really nice…did you do it?

    do you have a link to the instrucutions?


  2. Amino Acid tags? AWESOME! And that origami is pretty epic.

  3. Banerjee says:

    Hey, that’s so cool. I have an MUN Conference pretty soon to. What country are you representing/delegate of, Chris? (I’m doing Yemen, by the way.)

  4. Banerjee says:

    Hey, that’s so cool. I have an MUN Conference pretty soon too. What country are you representing/delegate of, Chris? (I’m doing Yemen, by the way.) Maybe its MUN season.

  5. Roman says:

    Oh my god .. „Öã„Öã„Öã„Öã„Öã„Öã„Öã„Öã„Öã„Öã„Öã„Öã„Öã„Öã
    Giru noona !!

  6. Sachi ('16?) says:

    Oh gosh! I guess 4 years back I heard this song ‘lemon tree’ on the radio and loved it. I didn’t have a darn clue what the name of the song was or who sang it but I still tried my best to find it, in vain. Looks like now I’ve finally got it;D

    Also, your amino acids poem is truly hilarious!

  7. June says:

    YAY! Thanks Chris. I’ve actually been waiting for your post. I really enjoyed the last Japanese song (when the EA decisions were coming out).

    I’m just plainly excited. The law of chaos makes it so that I’ll end up at a happy place. But it’s still nerveracking to have decisions come out so fast.

    Anyways, how do you know that the cat looking things are amino acids? They look like…dogs.. smile

  8. Oasis '11 says:

    @ June –

    So you know the “cat-like things” which I tagged as amino acids is actually this internet comic character in Taiwan called, literally, “Onion Head” in Chinese. It spread like wildfire after the artist started drawing them, though. Now you see it everywhere from MSN icons to display pictures…etc. This is the artist’s blog.

    @ Karen –

    Um, I just connected the fact that Karen on the blogs is Karen the SAT Prep teacher. Wow. HAHAHA (I actually read many of your entries last year =p)

    @ Deng –

    I just got it back. I got an A- (surprisingly – I rarely get As on MIT exams HAHA if they’re not in the humanities lol). I probably need to go thank Glycine wink

    @ Steph –

    Next time I’m going to write about another J-drama that I’m watching (which actually has to do with MIT! (well, marginally), but what we put here has to connect with MIT right? =p)

    And wow – you’re in my Spark class?…that’s interesting…because my Money classes were generally middle schoolers and I don’t think you’ll go to my College Admission one since you got in already…hmm, I’m gonna look you up on my rosters. =p

    @ Narce –

    Hey I finally saw what you looked like haha via Shannon’s Vday Card blog (sorry that comment that sounded way stalkerish) but I feel vindicated that it’s only been 30 days =p

    @ Jimmy –

    Sadly, I did not make the origami (although I’ve made a mental note to learn that particular one for awhile now). HOWEVER, if you come to Spark they’ll show you how! wink

    @ Banerjee –

    MIT’s representing Belize at WorldMUN. I’m on DISEC.

    @ Roman –

    What’s giru noona?

  9. KSL says:

    Love the poem.

    On a side note, our school is hosting a MUN practice tournament this Saturday.

  10. Karen says:

    We’re almost halfway done with SAT prep already?!!! Wow…

  11. deng says:

    lol, chris, the amino acid thing is hilarious xD
    ha. the mushroom lover?? lol
    how did you do on that test anyways?

    and like the “to do” list xD

    oooo.. the lemon tree song!! my aunt sings it in chinese ^_^ it’s so catchy

  12. christina says:

    LOVE your amino acid poem and tags!!!!!! this entry puts a smile on my face. =]

  13. Narce says:

    Hahahah, it’s not stalkerish; I’ve visited your blog pseudo-often, especially the Japan entries, so it’s natural to wonder what I looked like (whereas we get to see your pic every time you make a new entry). Was it a surprising appearance? raspberry

  14. Karen says:

    So do I get extra Dubai props now? smile

  15. Anonymous says:

    After your EA post I watched every single Dragon Zakura episode. XP

  16. anonymous says:

    You met Yo-Yo Ma?!

    Also, did you do MUN in high school? Is it easy for first-timers to join MIT’s MUN?

  17. Steph '13 says:

    Aww, the song doesn’t come from a show this time. Getting hooked on Dragon Zakura got me through December 15th.

    Side note: I was in one of your classes for Spark. You were definitely the most enthusiastic teacher I had all day.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Aw, Chris, I didn’t see you at Spark

  19. Anonymous says:

    thx, love that song! not love waiting though.

    to do: smile. xD

  20. :D says:

    lol, I actually listened to this song the first time in Chinese on TV. Then I was at camp over the summer, and my friend (from Argentina!) started singing it in English and I was like, “… wait… that sounds SO familiar.”

  21. Narce says:

    In your defense, Chris, it’s only been 30 days, which would be keeping your promise if it was crossing the barrier of ANY MONTH other than the end of February!

    Anyway, lol, awesome entry~

  22. erik says:

    I listened to this song when i was a kid too! :D YAAAAAAAAYYY!!!
    decisions stink..

  23. Shayon Saleh says:

    Nice post.

    Wow, I totally did not connect the fact that MIT might have a college MUN team, even though I knew about their high school competition. tongue laugh

    So is MUN big at MIT? I can imagine some other MUN team saying, “Yeah, we didn’t get first? Who beat us? MIT. Yeah, the school from 21.”

    Only adds to my list of awesome things about MIT.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Do you only have to learn the 20 common amino acids or all of them?

  25. ET says:

    @Jimmy –
    You can find the origami design for the five intersecting tetrahedra here:

  26. Tree says:


    You just pulled a Matt-McGann in the comments! lol.

    I like the last picture. Only, I’m armed with a lot of chocolate and caffeine, for all the resulting possibilities from decisions.

  27. Oasis '11 says:

    @ Narce –

    Nah – it’s just I still get the “OH so that’s what you look like in real life” thing everytime I see the pic of someone that I know by their screenname =p

    @ Karen –

    Maybe? smile I’ll let you guys know more info soon.

    @ Anonymous –

    I did MUN all 4 years of high school. And yes! MIT MUN takes people who have never done MUN before, so don’t worry.

    @ Shayon –

    Haha, maybe sorry to disappoint, but MIT’s MUN team is rather small and we are often overshadowed by large schools that send huge delegations. But hey, it makes it all the better when they see that we can do science AND debate at the same time, right?

    @ Anonymous –

    20 is quite enough, thank you very much.

    @ Tree –

    What’s a “Matt-McGann”? hahaha

  28. deng says:

    nice job on your test ^_^

    and I think tree’s talking about the number of comments you’re getting

  29. Kai says:

    Do most people have as many ECs as you do? That was quite a list…

    and just out of curiosity, how many midterms did you have to pull all-nighters for? just doing that for one seems bad enough already. >Do most people have as many ECs as you do? That was quite a list…

    and just out of curiosity, how many midterms did you have to pull all-nighters for? just doing that for one seems bad enough already. ><

  30. Vivian '12 says:

    That amino acid poem gets my award for best literature of the year.

  31. Sheila ('13) says:

    OMG! Awesome poem and blog!! That picture with “decisions..bring it on!” looks cute! ^.^

    And it seems amazing that you can do so much ECs and still do pretty well in classes in semester.

  32. Ashwath says:

    You just pulled another one. It’s Matt’s way of answering questions on the comments all in one big post.

    I loved the poem on amino acids … you should probably write one on the actual synthesis process – You won’t need it as a mnemonic, but I’m sure it’ll be fun to write.

    Something like ..”With AUG, we translate, Beginning on a clean slate …’

    Okay .. that wasn’t great, but whatever. You get the general idea.

  33. Jen says:

    Haha loved your amino acid poem – it was hilarious!

  34. A parent says:

    Hey Chris, great post!
    On you amino acids tag I think you need to change
    “All have COOH- and +NH3” to:
    “All have COO- and NH3+”, or “All have COOH and NH2”, or “All have carboxylic and amino groups (or some other word in place of groups)”.

  35. Michael says:

    I myself am hosed… with literary analysis papers :(.

    Actually, thinking critically about the ideas is rather fun. It’s just that I actually have to write a paper, which is due tomorrow (today actually) at 9:49AM. Of course, I have a psych test before that… oohhhh.. the sliding..

  36. Michael says:

    Oh no. I am actually tired enough to use the word actually far more often than I actually do. Quick! What could my emphasis on the word actually tell about my character? Is it a motif? a symbol? a something?! oh no…

  37. Oasis '11 says:

    @ Kai –

    Many people here do a crazy amount of activities as well, so I’m not an anomaly. Although I would say that a lot of people study more, and I think this is what I should do too, haha. The reason why I do so many extracurriculars though is because I think they’re more fun than studying >__>” hahaha I’m not a very good student. =p

    Also, I rarely pull all-nighters for studying. For one thing, my brain often shuts down around 5-6 AM, and if I can’t think properly then I might as well go to sleep anyway, right? Also, I tend to feel the effects of an all-nighter around 1 to 2 PM (I rarely use caffeine to supplement all-nighters since I’m really sensitive to caffeine and drinking it tends to make me shake a lot). Thus, I only pulled an all-nighter for 7.05 because the exam was at 9.30, so I would come back and crash when the exam finishes at 11.

    @ Ashwath –

    Haha maybe I’ll write something about like protein translation starting from template DNA or w/e =p

    @ Vivi –

    Haha, I’m flattered! =p

    @ Sheila –

    Well, I’m not doing as well in my classes as I would like wink (dang premed, haha) Need to step up on the academics, haha.

    @ Anonymous –

    Yeah that “rigor” picture is Yo-Yo Ma!! Haha I’m really surprised how no one mentioned it at all in the comments yet. =p

    @ Michael –

    Literary analyses are awesome. I once wrote 24 pages for Heart of Darkness in AP Lit. “the horror! the horror!”

    @ Narce –

    Haha the only reason I use Oasis is that Chris is such a common name in real life. Nobody ever calls me Oasis in real life though XP~

    Oh haha I’ve never noticed it about Matt. =p I see now.

    @ A parent –

    Yeah, it really should be COO- and +NH3. NH3+ is out because I wanted to preserve the rhyme so I put the plus in the front. I think I typed NH2 before with COOH but then “two” didn’t rhyme with “see,” and “carboxylic and amino groups” had too many syllables to stay in line with the general rhythm (actually, the hardest part about that poem is making long amino acid names and even the phrase “amino acid” fit within the structure. 3-syllable words are hard to squeeze in within the rhythm of a poem).

    And anyways, whether it has charge depends on what pH it is in right? haha I didn’t specify it so w/e. wink

    @ Whoever –

    It’s actually possible to do the poem in rap, haha. I just tried it. Use: Just use four beats per line.

    You might have to tweak how fast you say some words (especially more lengthy lines with more syllables, but it should work if you cram words with many syllables like “isoleucine” into fewer syllables). Also, I’ve noticed that some of the up-beat down-beat of the lines were a bit inverted, so if you use the “–“‘s as an one syllable pause you should still stay on rhythm. =p Enjoy, haha.

  38. Narce says:


    tree was referring to Chris’s (would you rather we call you Oasis?) post in which he does

    @XX texttexttext

    @YY moretexthere


    etc. Even though Chris has done it before, matt does that every time he makes a post in his own comment sections ever.

  39. Anonymous says:


  40. June says:

    awwww! the onion things are so adorable!!

    I didn’t know that you were supposed to click on the picture T_T so I didn’t exactly realize what you meant by amino acid tag. But now I do. :D

    I’m saving the poem for future references. I have this strange feeling that it’ll come of great use one day.

  41. Steve says:

    Chris, can I call you Oasis in real life from now on?

    I enjoyed the Physics > Chemistry too.

  42. Aditi says:

    Awww you took a picture of Physics eating Chemistry :D

    props to you