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Gulp. I am a big worried mess. Had a couple glasses of wine and about a million deep breaths. Holy Moly, how did it come to this?  Where did my little boy go?  15 years old and off to Hong Kong by himself, well actually with the team, but still Ug. I am just not feeling the excitement yet. 

 

Ruth in NZ

 

update in Post #9 with many others

Edited by lewelma
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I went on a month-long exchange program to the then USSR when I was 15. This was in the dark ages, so no phone, no internet. It's a miracle that my parents let me go, but it changed my entire life. Ruth, this will be life-changing for your DS as well. I am so excited for him! Hugs to you, though. I can't imagine how nerve wracking it would be. 

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Thanks guys for all the well wishes.  I'm feeling better today now that he is gone. We were half way to the airport when he realize that he had forgotten his pjs and his retainer, so I did an U-turn and rushed back.  We left the house again with 1 hour and 7 minutes until lift off.   :scared: I just about had a heart attack, but he made it with plenty of time to spare.  This is NZ so security only takes like 1 minute waiting in line. I got to meet the other parents, and one of them is from Hong Kong, and she said that the university hosting it is a bit out of the way and up in the mountains.  She said it was very picturesque. I will say that my ds's suitcase was only half the size of the other 2 boys.  Given that my ds brought basically everything he owns for a week in winter in Auckland and a week in summer in Hong Kong, I'm not sure what the other kids brought?  It definitely gave me pause when one mum said, 'wow, that is a small suitcase for 2 weeks.'  So um, not sure what he should have brought.  But I'm guessing we will find out when he doesn't have it.   :tongue_smilie:

 

As for communication, we don't have the phone number of the Hong Kong hotel yet, and are not sure that there is free wifi.  If there is, the plan is to use Viber, otherwise it is $3 a minute to call his cell.  Gulp.  So I guess we keep it short!  DS did raise all the money he needed, thanks in part to this board :001_wub: , and now he has to keep a journal with photos to give to the sponsors of the team here in NZ.  DH was able to grab his frequent flier miles even though the flight was through a government purchasing agent.  :thumbup1:  I was pleased to hear that the team leaders will be holding all the passports and acting as the bank for the kids if they don't want to hold onto their spending money, so ds doesn't have to worry about keeping track of the important stuff.

 

As for the math, well, ds has been doing team training for the past 2 months and called it 'epic.'  He has learned so much.  The guy running it is setting the problems, marking all the proofs, and running a weekly goggle hangouts class.  All as a volunteer.  He was on the IMO team for NZ about 5 years ago, and has just returned from getting his BS in Math from Harvard, and is now doing a PhD in philosophy.  He sounds fascinating, and will be travelling with the team.  Apparently, the team coordinator goes ahead and helps pick the problems from the short list, and then is not allow to see the team at all as he knows what is on the exam. Then he is the one that fights for the kids to be given a higher mark by highlighting where in the scratch paper a kid had a good idea as to how to solve the problem.  The other two adults travelling with them are the guy who has been training the team and a high school teacher who does all the organizing and administrative stuff.  

 

So about a month ago, ds started being able to solve some IMO problems, not the ones from the 1970s which were way easier, but ones from the 2000s.  And he started to be able to solve them in about 2 hours. Kind of late in the game to be able to actually be able to solve the problems on the exam you are travelling to take, but better than not being able to at all!  He told me that in 2003, he would have gotten a bronze.  :001_smile:   But it really depends on which type of problem is the easy one on each day.  If it is something he is good at, he can do it; but it the area he is good at is a medium or difficult problem on either day, then he can't. So a bit of luck here. My sister asked me if he was excited.  My response was that he was travelling to a foreign country to take a 9 hour exam competing against 600 *really* smart kids, and then his score was going to be published to the world.  So excited may not be the right emotion. :tongue_smilie:  But I think he is handling it well.  He is ok with not getting any metal, as he knows he has two more chances. In fact even then, he will only be 17, so he is up against kids that are just plain older as you have to be under 20.  But in his heart of hearts he would kind of like an honorable mention this year. So we will see. Luckily for him, the time shift is in his favor, and he gets to take the exam around noon NZ time, rather than 3am or something.  :tongue_smilie:

 

He called me last night and was in good spirits. I'm pretty calm now, and going to spend some time playing and snuggling with my younger.  :001_wub:

 

 

 

Edited by lewelma
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Gulp. I am a big worried mess. Had a couple glasses of wine and about a million deep breaths. Holy Moly, how did it come to this?  Where did my little boy go?  15 years old and off to Hong Kong by himself, well actually with the team, but still Ug. I am just not feeling the excitement yet. 

 

Ruth in NZ

I feel your pain!!! 

 

Last month I dropped dd off at a university in another country where she stayed in the dorms (with other kids near her age) for two weeks!  First time sleeping away from home. I cried in the parking lot as I was leaving. She had a great time, BTW. Nothing bad happened.  Lots of good!  Lots. 

 

In a couple of weeks I will put her on a plane for her first cross-country trip (again -- without me). This time she'll be away for THREE WEEKS.  But she is independent, confident, and looking forward to this.  I'm sure I'll cry again... Sigh.

 

The good thing is that I have lots to distract me while she's gone.  If she was my only I'd be climbing the walls. Heh.

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In a couple of weeks I will put her on a plane for her first cross-country trip (again -- without me). This time she'll be away for THREE WEEKS.  But she is independent, confident, and looking forward to this.  I'm sure I'll cry again... Sigh.

 

The good thing is that I have lots to distract me while she's gone.  If she was my only I'd be climbing the walls. Heh.

 

My only just left for six weeks alone cross-country. I am very tempted to climb walls. :lol:

 

Open to chatting offline with anyone who needs one more distraction! :laugh:

 

 

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I decided to investigate my own question by browsing around the IMO website.   And I was not disappointed.  

 

In reading the rules (yes, I'm procrastinating.  You gotta problem with that?), I've learned that in addition to the usual (pencils, erasers, compass, no cellphones), students are allowed "if necessary, a small talisman (small enough so as to fit into one hand)."  

 

If necessary?  A talisman?  Like a rabbit's foot?  

 

Perhaps your son would have packed a larger suitcase if he had remembered to pack his talisman?  

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Ooh!  And color-coded cards, presumably to wave discretely when in need of the appropriate item:

 

Five colored cards:
Purple: to request more paper;
Orange: to submit a question to the jury (during the first 30 minutes only);
Blue: to request water;
Green: if you need to go to the toilet;
Red: if you need help or want to stop working early (not during the last 30 minutes)

 

(I love this.  Don't mix up the red and green cards!)

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I also love this rule, in the form of a pdf that graphically describes what is and is not allowed.

 

In a spectacularly meta fashion, this rule pdf is itself not allowed. And the pdf contains an image of itself with a big red X. Perfect.

Hilarious. I assume the rule sheet is verboten because you could use the picture of a protractor as a makeshift protractor? I love it.

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Good luck to your boy, Ruth! I hope he has a fantastic experience at the IMO!

 

I decided to investigate my own question by browsing around the IMO website.   And I was not disappointed.  

 

In reading the rules (yes, I'm procrastinating.  You gotta problem with that?), I've learned that in addition to the usual (pencils, erasers, compass, no cellphones), students are allowed "if necessary, a small talisman (small enough so as to fit into one hand)."  

 

If necessary?  A talisman?  Like a rabbit's foot?  

 

Perhaps your son would have packed a larger suitcase if he had remembered to pack his talisman?  

Oh my, that's funny! I have to admit that I never thought to encourage my math team kids to pack their favorite talismans for competitions. :001_smile:

 

On this page, I'm curious to know what the abbreviations mean:  C, L, DL, OA, OB, OC?  

 That one I can answer! C stands for competitor, L for team leader, DL for deputy leader, and OA, OB, OC for observers. 

 

 

 

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I love the 5 different color flags.  How funny.  And you can't bring the sheet, so you better remember which is for what!

 

We are a bit concerned about ds's compass on an international airplane carry-on bag.  Kind of pointy and sharp and metal.  But ds does not want to be separated from it for fear of his checked bag being lost. I told him to ask one of the coordinators what to do.  His pencil pack is the little bag my sister gave him 10 years ago when she went to Paris.  So it has a french flag on it and the zipper is about to break.   :tongue_smilie: My main concern is that all the IMO photos I have seen have all the kids in hats and parkas.   :huh:  We thought, must be Kazakhstan or something, but then the mother who was from Hong Kong said that they keep the AC kind of like America -- really cold.  So not sure that ds has the right gear for frigid AC as Hong Kong is supposed to be like 35-40C (which is seriously hot for you Fahenheit people).  Apparently, he will get a team uniform, both for the formal nights and a t-shirt for the competition. 

 

As for Talisman, ds did have to leave space for a 1kg bag of souvenirs to give out to the other contestants.  So there must be some sort of IMO culture that exchanges little trinkets.  I guess we will know soon enough.  Perhaps he could pick one of those.   :thumbup1:   

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I decided to investigate my own question by browsing around the IMO website.   And I was not disappointed.  

 

In reading the rules (yes, I'm procrastinating.  You gotta problem with that?), I've learned that in addition to the usual (pencils, erasers, compass, no cellphones), students are allowed "if necessary, a small talisman (small enough so as to fit into one hand)."  

 

If necessary?  A talisman?  Like a rabbit's foot?  

 

Perhaps your son would have packed a larger suitcase if he had remembered to pack his talisman?  

 

 

FWIW, my daughter has a Cross that fits into the palm of her hand.  When she is nervous, she finds it to be of comfort.

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I decided to investigate my own question by browsing around the IMO website.   And I was not disappointed.  

 

In reading the rules (yes, I'm procrastinating.  You gotta problem with that?), I've learned that in addition to the usual (pencils, erasers, compass, no cellphones), students are allowed "if necessary, a small talisman (small enough so as to fit into one hand)."  

 

If necessary?  A talisman?  Like a rabbit's foot?  

 

Perhaps your son would have packed a larger suitcase if he had remembered to pack his talisman?  

 

All through highschool I had a tiny figurine of Pooky from Garfield. Remember Pooky? He was Garfield's teddybear. So cute.

Anyway, Pooky would sit in my school blazer pocket or sometimes on the edge of my exam desk.

 

I still give Pooky full credit for my successful highschool years :001_smile:.

He was particularly good at maths, so maybe there will be a few Pookies along for the adventure in Hong Kong.

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Well, after taking a 4.5 hour exam 4 days in a row, ds is ready for a break!  They took 2 full 9-hour practice exams with questions from the short list from 2015.  And as always, it was a roller coaster ride.  On the first exam taken over 2 days he scored a 15!   :hurray: Wow was he excited as a bronze is usually between a 14 and 16.  But then on the third day he got a 1.  :crying:  He was not happy that night.  Apparently, he should have gone after then second and third problem, and didn't even try them.  So we talked strategy and I gave him a pep talk.  So on the 4th day, they had a bit of a special situation.  Apparently, last year the IMO organizers accidentially gave out day 2's exam to the coordinators on day 1 . :eek:  So there was a massive panic, and all the leaders from all the countries had to quickly put together a new day 2 exam, AND get it translated, AND get it printed in under 24 hours!! Point is, yesterday ds took the original 2015 day 2 IMO exam.  And he got the first problem in 35 minutes and got a good start on the second!! :thumbup:  He was just so excited! It was the perfect way to end the week's work. 

 

 

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He  should try to introduce himself to Po-Shen Loh, http://www.math.cmu.edu/~ploh/olympiad.shtml. I know it doesn't fit your current trajectory but it never hurts to see where it goes... Ultra honors at CMU or Princeton or Tripos at Cambridge might not fit but if a bursary is there it might be worth considering.  

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Wow, there's so much practice and training for math competitions these days. When I was a kid, being prepared was mostly just knowing the time and place, so you could show up and take it.

 

Sounds like me and the SAT.  Just just showed up and took it. No prep.  

 

But as more prep is happening, the exams are getting harder.  DS said he could get a gold on the 1970s exams, but not the 2000s.  More competition means more preparation.  An arms race, for sure.

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He  should try to introduce himself to Po-Shen Loh, http://www.math.cmu.edu/~ploh/olympiad.shtml. I know it doesn't fit your current trajectory but it never hurts to see where it goes... Ultra honors at CMU or Princeton or Tripos at Cambridge might not fit but if a bursary is there it might be worth considering.  

 

Wow, what a great opportunity.  However, there is no way in hell that I could convince my ds to introduce himself to anyone this year.  It is just too new, and honestly, my ds does not see himself as super special.  He only sees all the people better than he is, and there are a LOT, especially at the IMO.  :001_smile:

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Wow, what a great opportunity.  However, there is no way in hell that I could convince my ds to introduce himself to anyone this year.  It is just too new, and honestly, my ds does not see himself as super special.  He only sees all the people better than he is, and there are a LOT, especially at the IMO.  :001_smile:

Just have him mention his uncertainty to that NZ fellow at Harvard and let it percolate  thru for the next year.... and have him do the AoPS Polymath project stuff... timing is tight for undergrad but REU opportunities are just as good...

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Just have him mention his uncertainty to that NZ fellow at Harvard and let it percolate  thru for the next year.... and have him do the AoPS Polymath project stuff... timing is tight for undergrad but REU opportunities are just as good...

 

What do you mean "timing is tight for undergrad but REU opportunities are just as good" ?  

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Congratulations to you. And good luck to your son. I am sure that he will have the time of his life. He (and you) have worked very hard to get there. I am rooting for him.

 

PS: does REU mean Research Experiences for Undergrad?

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Congratulations to you. 

 

Thanks !  :001_smile:

 

I tutor math, and had a Chinese (1st generation) friend tell me that I should be charging *way* more because I got my ds into the IMO.  All I could think, was haha if you think that I got him to that point.  Seriously, I like math and all, but I use it as a tool.  No theoretical math for me.  None.  I basically destroyed myself getting him up to the competition level when he was 12. Ever since it has been up to him.   :001_smile:  Imagine if he had had a parent who could actually help him develop his skill.   :001_unsure:  The main thing I have worked hard at is trying to look interested when he explains math problems to me that he is super excited about and that I don't understand at all.  :tongue_smilie:

Edited by lewelma
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Firstly congratulations! I hope whatever the outcome he has a great adventure!

 

And I left home to live at the other end of my state when I was a year older than he is, and I survived, so my bet is he makes it through this trip unscathed!! (but I know how you feel - I used to be a mess when my son was at boarding school!)

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What do you mean "timing is tight for undergrad but REU opportunities are just as good" ?  

 

I mean if he decided he wanted to go to Cambridge or CMU or UCLA or other elite math schools like say Duke ;), which has a number of very generous scholarships and Lenny Ng, and was looking for scholarships then he really needs to get that party started. I know that isn't the path that he is likely to follow, but that window is closing.

 

On the other hand undergrad REUs are available to do research at these same top schools. For US residents they are NSF funded. I have no idea what the issues are for expats. Regardless, the top schools usually have private funding they can tap into for international candidates. Especially candidates w/o visa issues. If he gets on the radar of these schools he could get funded to do summer research at elite schools a couple of years down the road when it might be more developmentally appropriate. 

 

I think your domestic undergrad/international grad school plan is sound... just saying that even the most low key possible networking at the IMO might uncover some other opportunities.

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Well he is there.  In his pack, he got frig magnets!  :lol:   Yes, he has a frig.  We asked him what was in it, and he said "my water bottle."   :001_rolleyes:

 

So they are staying in a dorm at a university overlooking a gorgeous HUGE lake, with sail boats and mountains, and cliffs.  I could just look out the window all day long (yes, don't you love free viber).  It is hot, but ds said in the rooms it is the perfect temperature for shorts and a t-shirt.  However, in the hall he starts to sweat standing still, and outside he is soaked in about 10 seconds.   He has food vouchers which is good as the US dollars we gave him won't work ( we were told they would, oops), and they are far out of town so no Forex. 

 

He has a big IMO sticker on his shirt that has an icon that looks like an ironing board or fry pan with legs.  I was like.  :confused1:  :huh:  and he said it is supposed to be pi connected to the tallest building in Hong Kong. But I will have to admit that I did not see it.   :tongue_smilie:

 

He is in good spirits, and looking forward to the opening ceremony tomorrow night.

 

ETA:  found the logo http://www.imo2016.org/Home.php  Top left.  Just as I remembered it.   :tongue_smilie:

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He has a big IMO sticker on his shirt that has an icon that looks like an ironing board or fry pan with legs. I was like. :confused1: :huh: and he said it is supposed to be pi connected to the tallest building in Hong Kong. But I will have to admit that I did not see it. :tongue_smilie:

 

He is in good spirits, and looking forward to the opening ceremony tomorrow night.

 

ETA: found the logo http://www.imo2016.org/Home.php Top left. Just as I remembered it. :tongue_smilie:

Peak Tower:

http://www.thepeak.com.hk/en/1_2_1.asp

 

Best of luck to your son! It sounds like an amazing experience. I hope he is pleased with his performance on the exam. When will he write it? Is it over two days?

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The exam is today!  DS is so up and so excited.  There was just not even a hint of worry.  :hurray:

 

They have been out all day.  Had an excursion into Hong Kong.  Ran back to the dorms to put on their dress outfits for the opening ceremony. And are now off to dinner.  Too bad it is midnight for me because he wants to talk after dinner.  :tongue_smilie:

 

So kids being kids apparently the best part about the ceremony was the Photo Bombing.  I was like  :confused1: .  He said that everyone ran around and put up their country's sign in front of the other team right when a photo was being snapped.  So a NZ flag with the Irish team.  One of the NZ kids jumped into the Chinese team's photo.  I can only imagine how hilarious this would be if all the teams were doing it. My guess was that it was all the little teams doing it to the big teams.  Can't quite see a Chinese team member joining the NZ team photo. :001_rolleyes:   Unfortunately, ds forgot to bring his camera to the ceremony, so hopefully we can grab some photos from the other kids. Apparently, the Hong Kong youth orchestra played 3 composed-just-for-the-IMO pieces.  DS *loved* that. 

 

So now off to dinner, and then rush back to his room for a quick chat (at 1am for me), and then sleep.  The exam starts in 12 hours.

 

  

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So kids being kids apparently the best part about the ceremony was the Photo Bombing.  I was like  :confused1: .  He said that everyone ran around and put up their country's sign in front of the other team right when a photo was being snapped.  So a NZ flag with the Irish team.  One of the NZ kids jumped into the Chinese team's photo.  I can only imagine how hilarious this would be if all the teams were doing it. My guess was that it was all the little teams doing it to the big teams.  Can't quite see a Chinese team member joining the NZ team photo. :001_rolleyes:   Unfortunately, ds forgot to bring his camera to the ceremony, so hopefully we can grab some photos from the other kids. Apparently, the Hong Kong youth orchestra played 3 composed-just-for-the-IMO pieces.  DS *loved* that. 

 

Kids will be kids! :)

 

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