Friendly Skies

Hours after my last final exam, I stepped onto an airplane set for Amsterdam.  I boarded the plane with a single suitcase and a lingering ache from the emotional end of my freshman year.  

Excluding an infant wailing from the back, I knew that I was the youngest person on the plane — it was predictably full of retired senior citizens ready for a vacation.

Except for the guy in the seat next to me.  I remember pausing and blinking upon seeing Mateo, a strikingly handsome twenty-something from Colombia.  I wondered how I was going to survive a six-hour flight next to someone with such a symmetrical face.  I settled in my seat, ready to retreat into some movies and games on my phone, but Mateo insisted that we talk to each other during the flight. Continue reading


Monthly Me (August ’17)

In early August I wrapped up my lab job and headed back home before the start of school.  I made a stop at New York City along the way to see my sister.  Though I was in a rush to go back home, I was also in sort of agony in leaving Philadelphia and remember feeling sad and nostalgic even on the Megabus.  I was in a very strange and oppressive anxious mindset: I didn’t like the liminal feeling between summer and school starting I guess, and I felt, I don’t know.  Inadequate in several ways. Continue reading


After the first time I had kissed a stranger — in the blushing light of a music festival — I was reeling by how easily it had happened.  He had seen me, chatted a little, put his arm around me…the only reason why we didn’t kiss sooner was because I was too naive to realize what he wanted.

In high school, finding someone to kiss would have been much more difficult, to say the least.  Not because I wasn’t interested in anyone — but my shy and awkward demeanor didn’t attract boys at my school.  The option of hooking up — being physically intimate with someone without the emotional aspect — was never really on the table, mostly because I was idealistic and unpopular, partly because high schoolers are actually more romantic than society portrays them as. Continue reading


I did not expect, in the heart of a city, to foster some greenery of my own, yet I visit the rooftop deck of my house nearly daily to tend to six lil plants.

I have basil, lavender, chives, oregano, and a mini sunflower.  More practical than flora I used to take care of back in suburbia.  Purchased as teenage seedlings from the farmers market.  I’m not much of a chef myself, but my housemates have used my basil for dishes like lasagna.  It delights me to be useful. Continue reading


The close conversation had reached that point where we had run out of superficial, cheery things to say.  I wrung my hands as a thought forced itself into speech: I had been afraid that saying it aloud would make a tentative idea more real than it actually was, but I couldn’t help it, it had been haunting me for too long:

“Um, I don’t know,” I began slowly.  “I think, more than anything, I want to be in a relationship.  I know that’s a lame thing to say…I believe in feminism and independence and all that, but…it’s true.”

I lowered my head and blushed as my friend reassured me, but I couldn’t help but taste the aftertaste of a remark that was not articulated finely enough.  Because, in truth, I enjoy being single.  I like going to concerts and kissing strangers without worrying about someone back home.  I like quiet moments by myself.  And I see people constantly holding hands, constantly spending the night in each others’ dorms and I think: I don’t want that.  I don’t want all of that, at least not all the time.  

But I definitely want something.   Continue reading

In the Company of Myself

Recently I’ve been smiling sadly my high school self; I’ve been re-reading some journal entries from her senior year English notebook.  Essentially, she was lonely and confused, searching for a sense of identity and starving for companionship.  She wrote down dreams of long hugs and soft hand touches. Continue reading

Goodbye, 2016

“New Years” never really meant that much to me.  “My life is determined by school years, not by successions of January Firsts,” I used to say, and New Years Eve always fell awkwardly in the middle of a school year.

With college sliced into two distinct semesters, this may be the first time New Years actually indicates a transition for me.  Not only a transition to new classes, but a transition from a naive and exploratory first semester of college to a more focused and directional second.

At the same time, I’ve never experienced a year so sharply dichotomized.  I mean, the first half was the triumphant, pressure-free closure of my high school career.  In the second half, the doors of my little town burst open to Penn, to Philadelphia, to the world.  Continue reading


If you’re friends with me on Snapchat, more often than not you’ll see this next to my name:


Yes, I’m the girl who’s a bit trigger-happy with screenshots.  When friends confront me about my this, I swear that I’m not collecting blackmail: I just find disproportionate delight in seemingly mundane photos and text.  Especially for Snapchat — there’s something earthy and guileless in my friends’ selfies that I treasure.

Do you ever scroll through your camera roll and see absolutely useless snapshots?  Yet, even though my phone’s storage protests, I can’t bring myself to delete some of these pictures.   Continue reading

Small Stories

Last night I chastised a boy (Kevin) in the dorm lounge for telling this story: “I was walking Emily (his female friend) back to her dorm across campus.  We passed the old frat house, where there were a bunch of drunk people in costumes.  But Emily was just walking by with her bicycle helmet on her head.  It was funny.”

I gave him shit because his story wasn’t really a story.  “Where’s the beginning, middle, and end?  You only had setting.”  I teased him about it before going upstairs to sleep.  Then my hallmates, just arrived from a party, sidetracked me.  They were loudly playing League while struggling not to throw up.

“How was it?” Continue reading

College Observations

Hey.  I haven’t been posting very frequently on here, and technically I can blame it on schoolwork and such.  But it’s also because I feel pressure to write up some poignant musings about college, which is the true culprit here.  I’m learning a ton, obviously, but my revelations are so small and numerous that they’re hard to articulate impressively.  So I’m settling with rambles.

In a nutshell, I’m happy and learning about myself.  A lot of things that worried me during high school — the opinions of strangers, boys who didn’t care about me — seem so small and far away.  For instance, I had anticipated getting crushed by nostalgia and missing others.  I do miss things, especially people — but there is so much richness in the present that, for once, I don’t want to go back. Continue reading