- my first ever dance performance
This winter, I joined Street Soul, an open dance group at Dartmouth. This was partly motivated by a desire to try something new and learn some cool dance moves, but also partly because I needed PE credit to graduate. As a complete beginner with no background in dance, the first few times I practiced with SS were honestly pretty challenging and embarrassing (even though no-one was judging). Things eventually became more comfortable as I got to know the wonderful group of people that make the group what it is, and at the beginning of March I performed for the first (and unfortunately also last) time ever! Coming into college, I really never thought I would do anything like urban dance and I’m so proud and happy I had the chance to perform to some epic songs (namely S&M and Die a Little Bit) with these awesome, talented and hard-working humans. I honestly had so much fun and the performance was definitely one of the highlights of my last term in Hanover!
2. hopping on a flight and seeing two of my best friends in the world!
The end of winter term was a frenzy of putting together final projects, figuring out what to do about spring break, and dealing with work authorization applications for post-grad. I was disheartened that we had to cancel our plans to head to Mexico for the break and felt really stuck in Hanover so I did something I’d never done before and booked flights to London a day and a half in advance. I figured if I had a chance to travel it would have to be, well, right away, so I just went for it and the next thing I knew I was in London!
It was so unbelievably lovely to see two of my oldest friends and have a fun sleepover just like we did years ago. Even though I was exhausted from a full day of travel I wouldn’t trade that day of cute coffee, Indian food for dinner, and my first “spoons” experience for the world. In hindsight, it all seems so crazy that at the time I was not only able but also very willing to travel right before national borders everywhere started slamming shut and social distancing became the norm, but above anything I am beyond grateful I had the chance to see my people and that everyone is safe.
3. exploring london alone
You probably already know this, but I absolutely adore London. I haven’t had much of a chance to just soak up the city in a while, as the last few times I visited I was either passing through or working most of the time, so I felt super lucky to have time all to myself that I could spend taking long walks to nowhere in particular, stopping by Pret for a snack, and grabbing adorable crafted coffees at standalone stores. Over time, I’ve stopped enjoying visiting traditionally “touristy” spots when I travel and just prefer pretending like I just live wherever I am instead, which I find to be so much more fun.
Although I love exploring alone sometimes, I am also so grateful to have had the chance to grab a great KBBQ dinner with my old colleagues, have a big round-table Chinese dinner with friends from high school, and go out for fun food and drinks with friends from college. Again, it seems like so long ago since life has changed so drastically so quickly, but I feel so lucky and grateful to have seen these lovely humans in my life pre-social distancing.
4. runs in the middle of nowhere
Since returning from London, I have been in New Hampshire. Initially, I was staying in my off-campus house in Hanover, but I’ve since moved in with a good friend in her uncle’s summer house in Grantham. We are in a very rural area next to a big lake, which has been a blessing in light of social distancing, as we are already very distant from other humans just by nature of being in this house where I am writing right now! I have also found that our location has been truly excellent for long runs in nature—the air is clean, the roads are clear, and the lake is beautiful. I have been loving the hilly inclines in the area and feel like I’m riding this gorgeous rollercoaster every time I’m on a run around here! I often stop mid-run to take pictures like the one below because it’s just so pretty.
5. learning to make healthy food for myself
The first week after I returned from traveling was really cool as I was more or less forced to make food for myself, since I was self-quarantining and wanted to reduce contact with, well, anyone. Within my close friends, I am notorious for being both bad at and not enthusiastic about making food for myself, so I was oddly impressed at how easy I found it to make myself healthy and quick meals. Although I have not graduated to anything super fancy or unique, I am definitely happy and a little relieved to find that I can, in fact, feed myself in the “real world”. It’s definitely about time I figured this whole cooking thing out, but this gives me hope and a little bit of excitement to start my new life in Seattle next year where I will have the time and space to make myself lunches and dinners that make me feel good!
6. being able to continue doing my extracurriculars from home
I am extra extra grateful for my communities and friends at the moment. In this period of shelter-in-place, I have definitely taken the route of staying busy and trying to keep as normal a routine as possible, which has meant I have fully invested myself in my roles in the DALI Lab, as a CS52 TA, and my other extracurriculars like societies and councils. In summary, I’m feeling good and thankful about the fact that I’ve been able to continue my involvement in these groups more or less as usual.
7. learning how to play mahjong
I’ve always seen mahjong in movies and heard about it from my parents but never played the game myself. Before classes started, the group of friends I’m staying with decided to order a set on Amazon and I played my first ever game at the end of March! We’ve been playing almost every evening since and if I may say so myself, I’m getting pretty good at the game. It’s been surprisingly fun and a good off-screen activity for evenings in. I’m happy I finally learned how to play the game and that my friends and I have a routine in place which we all enjoy!
8. my family
My parents have been absolutely awesome throughout this strange time in life. They have been extremely supportive of my decisions to travel or not travel, understanding of my financial and academic needs, and communicative despite the relative stress we are all feeling at the moment. I’m feeling extra thankful for them and their love, and I miss them a lot! Definitely looking forward to the next time I can fly home and see them in-person.
9. finishing my culminating cs project
I’ve been working with a team of four other Computer Science majors at Dartmouth on a React and React Native project since the Fall for our culminating senior class. We created both a web and mobile platform that allows users to connect with local CSAs through a seamless and modern process. As cheesy as this may sound, it was a lot of hard work and it all payed off in our final product! We were all proud to demo our project at the end of Winter term and received positive feedback from classmates and our professor. I’m so happy I was placed in a team with the wonderful people pictured below at our end-of-term celebratory dinner! I am sometimes surprised at how much I’ve learned and grown as a coder throughout college and am proud to have a robust and impactful project to show for it, as well as a great group of smart friends to have gone through it with.
10. reflecting a lot
Wow, I’ve had so much time to think lately and it somehow still feels like I haven’t thought enough. I have a lot to ponder about—graduation, the end of a chapter, the global pandemic, future plans, moving to a new city, seeing my family, fitting a trip home, getting selected in the visa lottery, living in a new and rural town, catching up with friends, remote school, last run with extracurriculars, the changing of the seasons… the list truly goes on. Although it can get consuming at times, I’ve been thankful for the time, space, and environment that has allowed me to reflect on all that has happened both recently and over the last few years of life. It hasn’t always been glamorous, but it certainly has been spectacular. It’s late now and I think I’m rambling, but all in all I am feeling really lucky in spite of all that has changed.
Written to the sound of: