musings from the end of first year
I ordered bibimbap for lunch after one of my finals. Shortly later the waitress hauled a cart over and put the hot stone dish on my table, as well as a small platter of cold noodles and kimchi. A scrambled egg spilling its golden yolk over the sizzling vegetables. I liked that she used a cart instead of a tray. I’d be a clumsy waitress, carrying trays of food to customers — bowls of steaming ramen, plates of toast dessert towers — and dropping them.
I wondered if there was anything to read or watch on my phone. To turn my meal into something useful. The night before, one app became unresponsive. That morning, all of them were, like a wound that had festered. Have you ever felt wrangled dry of stimulation?
My tongue burnt on the rice. I showed up to the lecture maybe 3 times this semester. I collected anecdotes here and there. Like how the protein gustin replaces worn-out taste buds with stem cells that differentiate into new taste buds, and you need zinc in your diet for this to work.
The whole moment felt vacant and unbound from time. It was past noon, long after everyone had already eaten lunch and taken the leftovers home in a biodegradable takeout box. The only other parties were a girl two tables down my row and a family of three sitting across the room whose child was playing on an iPad. Children should learn boredom, I thought.
I studied sleep & waking for my neuroscience class two nights before the final. It made fixing my sleep schedule feel urgent and I’ve been waking up diligently ever since.
I think about bedtime and morning routines all the time. I recently realized I prefer to have routines fall into place, instead of trying to install them like new settings in a piece of hardware.
I ran out of matcha powder last month and plan on buying a new tin soon. In place of my usual morning lattes, I’ve started making toast, or eating an avocado once it’s ripened. All the trees are foaming with white blossoms. During exam season, the days kinda spill into each other. I rely on routines, which too are in flux.
Several months ago my mom said I’m so grateful you’re smooth-sailing now. In 2020 I became resentful and combative, always trying to correct the beliefs that lived at home like a miasma. But that became exhausting after a few years. At home I need harmony and a quiet mind.
I don’t think I’ve gotten into arguments with my friends, I realized that recently. I’m talking about arguments that happen after one person hurt the other, the kind that simmers and boils. The last time I’ve argued with a friend was probably when I was 12. I don’t remember what about. But she and I were best friends, close in this entangled way. She was the first to teach me what it’s like to have the kind of deep friendship where you include them in your future.
The jarring thing about conflict is that it’s life-affirming: my being is not impersonal.
For years I’ve assumed by default that there was one specific way to hang out with friends outside of school: walking around downtown, chatting over noodles, ending the day at a boba shop. I enjoy all of that of course, but it took me a long time to learn that I could do things for my friends too, and that friendship could be domestic. Choosing a bottle of oyster sauce at the supermarket, cooking meals for each other, driving around town. I’m finding out how joyful life is made in reciprocity with others.
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Hihi I appreciate you being here ! I’ve been so busy with exams (as you can tell) but now that it’s summer I hope to post maybe 3-5x a month.
I recently read Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin and it left me breathless. I was literally replaying a scene in my head during one of my exams lmao. I know it’s a classic so probably everyone knows it already but I highly recommend.