We started the year in Biology class with learning about the circulatory system. We started by watching a video by Bozeman Science and learning new vocabularies. Your heart has four chambers. There is no start to the circulatory system because it is circular, meaning it repeats the procedures over and over again until you eventually die. How the circulatory works are the deoxygenated blood that comes from your body through the veins enter the Right Atrium(RA) of your heart. Then it goes through a valve and enters the Right Ventricle(RV). The RV pumps the deoxygenated blood to the lungs to get rid out of carbon dioxide and get oxygen. The oxygenated blood comes back to the Left Atrium(LA) and it filters through a valve to the Left Ventricle(LV). The LV pumps the oxygenated blood to your whole body.
This is the time I’ve been waiting for, to finally join a robotics team to compete on the world stage but this time it’s not the First Lego League robotics, it’s my first time joining a robotics competition and I’m joining the VEX robotics competition. The competition was hosted in Taipei, Taiwan at the Taipei American School(TAS). To make this trip happen for us, we need to fundraise because we need way more money than what our school is able to provide to us. I was on the “Fundraising team” which is about contacting people, working on the website, talking on the phone, meetings with companies and other complicated stuff. The other students are working on, 1) designing the robot and 2) coding it. It might sound like little work but it is not easy to code, nor designing. My fundraising teammates and I reached our goal! The robot is not quite ready but we still went to the competition. We took off on the 1st of December. It was a long flight and we also got delayed for half an hour. That day is also the day that I experience my first ever McDonald’s bite. The next day is the competition day which is really nerve-racking for me because we are representing Cambodia and everyone is watching us LIVE on ustream.com. The first day didn’t go that well. We had 7 disqualify rounds and we won only 2 rounds. That means we ended up getting number 31 out of 36 teams which are pretty bad. The disqualify matches are just for the other teams to see how good we are so we can go to the finals if they chose us as their alliance. We got a load of emails from our friends back in Cambodia telling us to keep going, don’t give up and encouraging us to be optimistic. The people at TAS was kind enough to tour us around their labs. It was a great experience seeing everything and seeing all the project their students are working on. After that, we left TAS, got some noodles with dumplings and went back to our hostel. We got back to our hostel and we got straight to fixing the robot and the code. We worked until near midnight to fix everything. The next day, we went back to TAS and we were waiting to find out if one of the top 8 teams chose us to be their alliance. Here’s the unfortunate thing. We didn’t get chosen which means all the work we did the night before had gone to trash. Since then until 12 pm, we were watching the matches and they were phenomenal. At around 12:45 pm, it was the award announcing ceremony and guess what, we got an award. We got the “Judges award” from all the judges. They voted for us because they appreciated our work and they love our passion for robotics. We were done at around 2 pm and we went back to our hostel to prepare for a trip to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. We saw the guard changing, an amazing art gallery, and other fun stuff. The highlight of the trip to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall was seeing the guard changes. After that amazing visit, we went to the Guang-Hua electronic plaza. I was surprised at how big technology is in Taiwan. After that busy and fun day, we need some dinner so we went to a night market and tried out a lot of new foods. The next day, we went to a national park and hiked to a waterfall. I decided to continue the hike to the top of the mountain. We reached about 780 m up in altitude. We were INSIDE the clouds! We came back down on a bus that we need to wait in a line that is about 25 meters long. By the way, we haven’t had lunch yet. Later on that day, we went to Shilin Night Market to shop before we leave to go back. That basically was our trip to Taiwan. It was a lovely time there and I will love to go back.