The Bachelor

The Monday night before coming back to campus consisted of me sitting, wrapped up in layers of blankets, drinking tea, and attempting to correctly answer Jeopardy questions. It was the 9th of January and 574 miles away, in her hotel room, Emily happened to be watching the same episode. We both knew the final Jeopardy question answer (“Calling him a red-headed madman, in 1889 a group of his neighbors signed a petition to ban him from his home in Arles, France.”) and my attention faded away from the TV as advertisements began to play.

Somehow I didn’t change the channel before the next show began to play. Somehow Emily didn’t either. My previous knowledge of The Bachelor extends only to the excerpts on the cover of the drama-centric magazines that are on display in the queue at the grocery store. But that night Emily and I got caught in the show, both of us amused by the antics of the participants. I sent her a text in all caps asking, “WHO EVEN IS CORINNE” and I laughed so hard my stomach hurt.

On the first day back of classes, we sat side by side in the back row of our Economics of Online Dating class. We were put in small groups and read articles about different forms of online dating — I read up on the Japanese speed dating trend of wearing surgical masks and Emily discussed match.com’s pop-up store. She turned to me near the end of class, “We need to watch the next episode of The Bachelor.”

The professor heard her and said, “Yes. We should talk about that in class on Thursday.”

Under the guise of watching it for class, we gathered with Nathan and Thomas to watch the episode. We refrained from having high expectations and were all impressed. Nathan fell off the couch from laughing and we were all jealous of the amount of time Corinne spent napping.

corinne napping

In class on Thursday I explained the premise of the show and used my knowledge of the show to create my own model of Nick’s choices.

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 1.57.09 PM

I then computed the expected utility of each activity to determine who Nick should spend more time with. The math is as follows:

The expected utility of spending time with Corinne:

EU = (.01)(3000) + (.25)(-25) + (.74)[(.30)(60) + (.40)(40) + (.30)(30)]
EU = 55.57

The expected utility of spending time alone:
EU = -10

The expected utility of spending time with another girl in the house:
EU = (.45)[(.13)(-150) + (.79)(70) + (.08)(3000)] + (.30)[(.95)(-10) + (.05)(-5)] + (.15)[(.55)(-30)     + (.45)(20)]
EU = 120.06

The model makes a specific set of assumptions, specifically that Nick’s personal motives within the show are to find a spouse and not someone who he will have a short romantic relationship with. Each possible outcome has been determined by previous occasions on the show (i.e., during one episode, Corinne presented Nick with a bouncy castle, so they could spend time in it together). Actions were given a positive utility if Nick appeared to enjoy them and a negative utility if Nick seemed uncomfortable in the situation. Corinne’s nature makes her a less probable future spouse; however, Nick will gain the same amount of utility from falling in love with her as he would from falling in love with anyone else in the house. To optimize his individual choice and increase his chance of falling in love, Nick should spend time with girls other than Corinne.

Given that the expected utility of spending time with Corinne is 55.57, the expected utility of spending time alone is -10, and the expected utility of spending time with another girl in the house is 120.06, Nick will gain the most utility from spending time with girls other than Corinne.

In my research for the show I found that the bachelor makes upward of $100,000 per season; however, none of the contestants are paid. In fact, some women spend upwards of $40,000 on their wardrobe for the show, which makes the entire ordeal that much more fascinating. Theoretically, for some women, spending thousands of dollars and finding a spouse within the span of a few months is a positive balance of cost and benefit. 

Emily and I have managed to work in Bachelor references in every unit our Economics of Online Dating class has covered so far. In our last discussion, which was on cheap talk, Emily brought up the fact that contestants on the show have been telling Nick exactly what he wants to hear, for fear of being eliminated. The video below is reenactment of an example of a drunk contestant attempting to connect with Nick. Her attempts, as you will see, were rather peculiar (adding to the “,, ???” factor of the show) and immediately following this conversation she was sent home.


Although a good portion of The Bachelor is centered around cheap talk and putting your best self-forward, there are specific opportunity costs which validate some of the cheap talk.

  • From the perspective of the females on the show: almost every one of them has stated during the show, “Do you think I would go through this if I wasn’t here for the right reasons?” Combined with their lack of funding for participating in the show, contestants literally pause their life in an attempt to find “the one.”
  • From the perspective of the bachelor: approximately once an episode, the rose ceremony occurs. Every girl Nick hands a rose to stays on the show and the few he doesn’t hand a rose to are eliminated. There is an opportunity cost to giving a girl a rose and it reinforces the idea that she might be “the one.” At least she is more likely to be “the one” than the girl who was just sent home.

However, the continued presence of “the villain” (i.e., Corinne in this season) calls into question the motive of the bachelor. Is he taking the show seriously if he continues to give a rose to the girl who continually disrespects everyone else? If he’s not taking the show seriously, then what’s the point? Moreover, if he’s spending a majority of his free time with Corinne and not the other girls, is it merely cheap talk when he tells other girls that he feels as if they have created a bond? But, even if he is being serious, out of 19 seasons of The Bachelor there is only a 16% success rate and a a 5% marriage rate. (For a full list of outcomes from The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, see here.)

We’ve watched the show every week and have mostly dropped the pretense of watching it for class. There’s something therapeutic about watching a stupid television show with friends and getting caught up in the drama — you don’t need to think while watching the episode and everyone groans at the same moments and you’re all there watching it together.

Small, Good Things

When I was a junior in high school I read “A Small, Good Thing” by Raymond Carver. I won’t spoil the ending, as it is a story that I definitely recommend you read; however, I will tell you this: no matter what the tragedy, there are always small, good things.

Here are some of my favorites —

  1. Tossing stones into the Sound.
    During the first week of school I went on an impromptu Target run that turned into an impromptu stop at Black Bear and subsequent trip down to the water. It was the first time I’d been there since the fourth of July, when it was populated by half of Tacoma, dressed in red, white, and blue. It was calmer this time, more peaceful. My housemate and I sat on the rocks, pushed up by the water. He judged me for my pistachio frozen yogurt and we both threw rocks into the water and then sat and stared at the sky until the stars came out.

    I’ve been back to the water a few times since then: once, late at night, after I finished my homework, but still had residual stress; during the Chinese Moon Festival, where I sat by the water with my friend, Andy, and ate noodles; on my birthday, wherein I happened to run into my friend, Gabe, who had walked down to the water on his own accord; and this past week, when Andy and I ate chicken noodle soup and pointed out seals in the water.

    The beautiful thing about the water is that even though it’s always changing, it still stays the same.water
  2. Fresh flowers.
    Throughout my childhood, my mom would buy me flowers on my birthday. (She would occasionally admit that they were half for her, “I did do all of the work, you know.”) Since I’ve been in college, receiving flowers on my birthday has been limited to her buying herself flowers and telling me that I should also buy flowers. (Despite liking flowers, I’m awful at actually going about purchasing them.)

    This year, on the Friday before my birthday, I received a package notification. Assuming it was some scarves that I asked my mom to send me, I picked up the package right before a group project meeting with a professor. No, instead, the package was a bouquet of roses. They were beautiful and I was amusingly stuck carrying them around for the next five hours.

  3. Cloudy days and sunshine.
    Autumn skies have a tendency to cast a gray glow on everything, which is beautiful in its own right, but can occasionally appear vaguely dreary. In the Pacific Northwest, where rainy days outnumber blue skies, getting a rare bit of sunshine within a cloudy day is comforting. It’s a small and necessary reminder that the sun is there, even when you can’t see it.

  4. Warm chocolate chip cookies.
    I made Banji eat a warm cookie from one of the first chocolate chip cookie batches I made this semester. He ate it and sounded a bit in awe, “I don’t think I’ve ever had a homemade chocolate chip cookie before.”

    Each time the cookies are made, they’re gone within 24 hours. They disappear as a joint effort between my friends and housemates. There is a comfort in baking, it’s a way to be productive without thinking. Instead of worrying about something, I can focus on measuring and stirring and singing along to the music that is playing in the background. (My current favorite baking playlist is this one.)
  5. Fuzzy socks.
    As someone who is almost constantly cold, I’m constantly wearing warm fuzzy socks. Each year, around Christmas, I buy a few pairs and wear them instead of slippers whenever I’m relaxing. I have a few variations from the Christmas themed socks, including a pair of giraffe toe socks.

    I’ve discovered that it’s hard to feel upset when you’re wearing fun socks.

  6. Movies you watched on repeat when you were younger.
    When I was about five years old my grandma gave me a VHS tape of the movie Meet Me In St. Louis. I fell in love with 1940’s Judy Garland and watched the movie more times than I can count. I’d embarrassingly sing along to the title track and then listen in silence as Judy Garland’s character sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” to six year old Tootie.

    Rewatching the movie brings me back to how I felt when I was seven years old and dancing around my living room and singing along. When I was fourteen and my friends and I watched it and laughed about how Warren Sheffield barged into the house, pointed at Rose, and said, “I love you.”

    st-louis

    I connect with Tootie on so many levels.

  7. Receiving a handwritten letter.
    I am notoriously terrible at replying to letters. But I love receiving them. My two best friends, Emily and Maddy, are both currently studying abroad, in Dublin and Edinburgh, respectively. I talk to them both on a regular basis, via snapchat, email, and text, but there’s something heart-warming about receiving a letter from them.

    They met up a few weeks ago and wrote a post-card together. I got it on my birthday and seeing their handwriting made it feel like they were here again. Made me miss them less.

  8. Homemade dinner.
    Wednesday night, Andy decided to make spaghetti. Instead of going the typical route and making the dish with spaghetti noodles (which he had), he instead used elbow noodles, penne, and jumbo shell pasta. The dish was delicious and looked like a hilarious. After discovering macaroni noodles inside the jumbo shells, we both decided that next time, it’d be a good idea to just stick to one noodle type.

  9. A steaming hot cup of tea.
    Every morning, without fail, I have a cup of English breakfast tea. It’s a routine I’ve fallen into, a routine I appreciate. The familiarity of it is calming, the taste refreshing. And I love it.

  10. Long hugs.

    fullsizerender-1

    Emily and I at the Spring 2016 Beta Formal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long Distance

Sitting on the stones outside the newly crowned Thomas Hall, Banji looked confused as I held up my phone, opened up the camera app, pressed record video, and began prattling off bits and pieces of the day. He glanced between me and the screen and added on details to my recollections. We informed the camera that Maya had wanted to buy four boxes of hot pockets (Banji took them out of her cart because, “She’ll die in a month of hot pocket consumption.”); about the death of Gabe’s phone and his Uber trip to Safeway for a last-minute temporary-replacement burner phone; and our failures in super gluing a car phone mount via a confusing messed up jar lid and Pringles can connection. Immediately after finishing the video, I sent it to Emily.   

Long distance seems increasingly relevant in college. The beginning of each semester is met with hugs and how are you??? and I missed you and catching up on the peaks of the summer and the mundane everyday. The beginning of my sophomore year was met with friends moving into our Trimble suite all at once and immediate inside jokes and snapchats of hands up in the air captioned “REUNITED.” Junior year, in a way, has begun with a rockier start. Everyone is everywhere, busy around campus, and the best friends I’ve made at college are packing their suitcases to begin their respective semesters abroad.

There are gaps that need to be filled and the distance during those months can seem expansive. I’ve gotten in the habit of texting Emily every morning, sending her videos throughout the day, recapping everything that has happened, asking stupid questions, and letting the conversation ramble (a text a sent her last week: “tell me all of the hip 1996 baby names”).

While there’s still how are you and I miss you. It’s an I miss you and I wish you were here but it’s okay that you’re not and I want you to have a good time and tell me everything. It’s a tell me everything right as it’s happening and on a daily basis and then you not being here isn’t as sad. Conversations aren’t focused on I miss you but on stories of, “We’re in a restaurant right now and I see this guy I went to middle school with and I’m showing my mom photos of him on Instagram. She wanted to zoom in, so she double tapped it, and she just liked the photo.”

The videos fill the gaps of the mundane every day and insert the humor of bad sunburn lines and listening to the Shrek soundtrack; they are I miss you but it’s going to be okay.

Sophomore Year Playlist

When I was growing up, music came to me in two different forms: albums my mother bought and whatever was playing on the radio. Coming into college this presented a problem. I was no longer around the CD my mom was loving at the moment (i.e., no more listening to FUN.’s album for two months straight) and I didn’t have a car so no more radio. Now, music has come to me from a variety of sources: my friends, Spotify, Pandora, old music from my iTunes that resurfaces every once and awhile. It would be impossible for me to name every song I’ve listened to this past semester, but these are the ones that have stuck with me the most. I’ve written descriptions of why each song is listed and included a Spotify playlist with all of them on it at the end. Hope you enjoy!

  • Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel
    I cannot tell you how many snapchats I have sent or received that just have the phrase, “Hello, darkness my old friend.”
  • Let’s Get Drunk and Get it On by Old 97’s
    The main reason I love this song is for the line, “You’ve got a gorgeous face, thought it’s a little odd.” Which I find to be so endearing and I’m not quite sure why. I’ve known the song “Question” by this band for years, thanks to my cousin, Aron. Earlier this semester I decided to find more songs by the band and came across this beauty.
  • Ultralight Beam by Kanye West
    Basically all of TLOP. Probably my most productive day of spring break was the day that I individually downloaded every song off of the album and put them all on my phone. I found myself mainly listening to: Ultralight Beam; Father Stretch My Hands Pt.1; Pt.1; Famous; and I Love Kanye. Out of those, Ultralight Beam was played and sang the most. There was a solid few weeks wherein someone would ask what song to play and at least one person ask for Ultralight Beam.
  • Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots
    I am all of the stressed. All of the time.
  • Build Me Up Buttercup by the Foundations
    This is one of those songs I’ve always known, but found myself playing a lot this year. It’s made itself into my text messages and I have this distant memory of it coming up on shuffle as I was driving to the library over Christmas break. When I think of myself listening to this song, there is an image of driving over the Samoa bridge and seeing all of Eureka home and remembering listening to it back in Tacoma.
  • Copacabana by Barry Manilow 
    This is the go-to song whenever we need a study break dance party. I cannot tell you how many times we listened to it. There was one specific time, when Maddy, Emily, and I were in Portland and all of the windows were rolled down and the wind was blowing my hair in my face and we were all singing along as loud as we possibly could.
  • This Is Gospel (Piano Version) by Panic! At the Disco
    I still think this song is sad, but it was stuck in my head for the majority of October. I’d recommend the piano version over the original, as the voice strikes harder without an abundance of background music. I played it for Maddy last week, as we were studying for finals, and she was over the moon, because she loves finals. The piano version can only be found on YouTube, with a link for it here.
  • Two of Us on the Run by Lucius
  • Winners by Trampled By Turtles
  • Don’t Ask Me Why by the Great Caesar
    All three of these songs showed up on my Spotify Discovery Weekly and they stuck with me. There’s something about the way the voices, I don’t know. I actually went out of my way to purchase them both on iTunes (a rare feat for me).
  • I Took a Pill in Ibiza by Mike Posner
    This song is me awkwardly dancing alone in my room. Also, I’m a huge fan of the line, “My name’s a reminder of a pop song people forgot,” because I haven’t listened to “Cooler Than Me” (or thought about it) in years.
  • You Got Lucky by Tom Petty
    All of freshman year, every time Claire heard me listen to music she asked me if it was Tom Petty. Most of the time it wasn’t. My point is: Tom Petty is one of those artist that I grew up listening to and still love. This song came up on shuffle quite a bit and one night Thomas sang it in this funny voice and it stuck with me.
  • Django by Luis Bacalov
    I can’t read the title without dramatically internally singing DJANGO. I also imagine Maddy throwing her head back and rocking back and forth as the song plays. Another song along the same line as this, which was played a fair amount is “(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance” by Gene Pitney
  • Taj Mahal by Jorge Ben Jor
    This is a bit of a throwback, I read Rod Stewart’s autobiography a few years ago and last year I was talking about it with Emily. There is this ridiculously arrogant song called, “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” and all proceeds of the song are donated to the United Nation’s Children’s Fund after Jorge Ben Jor argued (very rightfully) that Stewart’s song was strikingly similar to his “Taj Mahal.”
  • A Long Time Ago by Jim Croce
    There was a specific night when I stayed up in the sub until 4AM and this song was stuck in my head and I couldn’t get it out. I think it had something to do with the lines, “We spend the whole night talking / you said you’d like to see the sun rise / but in the gold of morning / was nothing that I had not seen in your eyes.”
  • Mother We Share by CHVRCHES
    I listened to this song on repeat first semester. Thanks, Spotify.
  • The Weight by The Band
    I had this whole drawn out conversation with Nick one morning over breakfast, wherein I was trying to convince him that this entire song was about sex. We both knew it wasn’t, but I managed to thoroughly convince our mutual friend that it was.
  • Magnets by Disclosure feat. Lorde
    The last few times I’ve been with Emily late at night, as we’re driving around Tacoma, this song as played. It reminds me of that feeling of being both restless and content.
  • Rich Girl by Hall & Oates
    There’s a video of me and Maddy singing this song into candy canes as we walked over to GPhi one night right before Christmas Break. I just remember the way the streetlight shone as we spun through the parking lot.
  • Head Over Heels by Tears for Fears
    Claire: “Do you mind if I play a song?” 9/10 times it was this.
  • Hotline Bling by Drake
    As soon as it came out, Nick and I began singing it back and forth to each other. I know it was probably overplayed, but every time I hear it I think of him standing in the suite and reaching out to me while singing it. Most of the time I think of him doing it while wearing Emily’s red heels (that I never actually saw him in, but have seen the Polaroids of him in them on Casino Night).
  • Feels Like Home by Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris
    During the second semester I fell back into love with the album Trio II. When I was younger, my mom would play it on the way to school and I never paid that much attention to it. I had the song “High Sierra” stuck in my head one day, though, and found myself only listening to this album. Particularly because I found it was good music to study to.
  • Playing With Fire by Redinho
    Sometime in mid-November Emily and I went to Seattle for the day. It was overcast and cold and we both needed a break from campus. We took a picture in front of the Ferris Wheel and ate cupcakes even though Emily likes neither cake nor frosting. This song played at least five times that day.
  • Jolene by Dolly Parton
    At the end of Freshman year, Maddy revealed her love of this song. Every time it plays she gets super excited, and it’s adorable. 
  • Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley
    Rick Astley turned 50 this year!
  • Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne
  • Birthday by Selena Gomez
    Both of these songs were played multiple times in the hours leading up to midnight on May 6th. We celebrated Maddy’s birthday in style, with her continuously repeating: “It’s my birthday.” Her main birthday wish? Become a dictator.
  • Go Back by Cookies
    This was another one that is courtesy of both Emily and Spotify. She played it a few times and it got stuck in all of our heads and then Claire started playing it all night.
  • Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye
    This song has its time and its place. One of those times being immediately after someone jokes about playing it really loudly.
  • Cool Cat by Queen
    Emily showed Nick this song and they fangirled over it.
  • Booty Bounce Pop by Mr. Collipart feat. Yin-Yang Twins
    The last night that Emily, Thomas, and I were all here, we went to Five Guys so Thomas could get dinner. Even though it was a little after 9PM, it was still in the mid-70’s and while cutting across the grass (which was dry for the first time in forever), Emily played this song very loudly while dancing along.
  • End of the Line by the Traveling Wilburys
    I first heard this song in 2007, when the complete collection of the Traveling Wilburys was released and my mom bought the album. It stayed in our CD player for months. It resurfaced Freshman year, with the Rock After the Beatles playlist for my SSI. Then it played during the last scene of Parks & Rec. I played the song with Emily and whenever I hear it I think of our friendship. (Unfortunately this song isn’t on Spotify, but the music video for it can be found here.)

 

Memory Box 2016

I’ve kept journals on and off for most of my life, but somewhere around the beginning of college I wanted a way to physically save memories. Words were helpful in preserving the way I felt at a particular moment, but I wanted something palpable. In the pre-college flurry, in the middle of hunting for different organizational supplies (because this year was going to be different, everything would have a place at last), I developed an idea. I purchased a few small plastic boxes and labeled them with the year. Throughout the course of the year, I would fill a box with scraps of paper, pieces of memories.

It worked. Better than I thought it would, if we’re being completely honest. The box from  is tucked away at home, the 2015 box is a mess of memories, and the 2016 box from this semester is nearly overflowing. Here are some of the things inside:

PostSecret was founded by Frank Warren in 2005, wherein people mail their secrets to him anonymously via a homemade post card. I went to the show with two of my best friends and we all literally laughed and cried as actors read off some of the secrets and online community responses to the secrets. After intermission, the actors read off secrets written by audience members. My favorite was: “My husband and I had sex on my boss’s desk, while she was away on vacation. I just made eye contact with her in the audience.” All of the secrets can be found online at: http://postsecret.com/.

Every year around Valentine’s Day, flowers can be purchased in the sub as a fundraiser for one of the sororities. This year, Nathan sent me one. The card reads: “You’re a good friend… I guess…” TRUE FRIENDSHIP GOALS.

IMG_2689

Every semester Ubiquitous They puts on a comedy show. I rushed from one event to the show this semester and wasn’t the least bit disappointed. There was one specific sketch that has stuck with me: A TV host announces to an excited girl that they’ve found her mother who has been lost at sea. She begins jumping up and down as a crew of people carry out her dead mother’s body. On my left, tears were leaking out of Thomas’s eyes as he laughed. On my right, Banji had one hand covering his mouth in a frozen state of shock.

Here is a list of everything else in the box:

  • My ticket and program from RENT, which was the student theater production this semester.
  • A sticker for Crosscurrents. It is watercolored blue and apparently Crosscurrents was founded in 1958?
  • A Valentine’s day card from my grandparents.
  • A list of “Things I Know” that was originally made as a reference point to spring off of for poetry. The list claims such things as: “the Ferris Wheel was designed for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair” and “my first word was ‘hi.’”
  • A tie-dye postcard advertising WORD STOCK 2016, which put on by the English department on the 25th of April.
  • Sketches from a workshop put on by Krista Franklin, a visual poet. She had everyone dig through magazines and lead us to create our own visual poetry. It was interesting and a lot of fun, particularly because I haven’t made a collage since I was in elementary school.
  • A piece from one of those magazines, that I thought was interesting. Underlined is a quote from one of the people being interviewed: “Gift. For not drowning.” Not sure why it sprung out at me, but it did.
  • My notes from the Jonestown Survivor speaker. It was an amazing presentation and I have so much sympathy for the amount of long-term trauma being in Jonestown caused.
  • A letter from Maddy, that claims: “You are a wonderful person, and I think everything becomes better when you are around. Even at 9:30 in the morning.” Apparently, Emily compared the letter I got from Maddy to the letter she got — which began: “Dear fartface.”
  • My wristband from the dance put on by Beta, with my name spelled Telena.
  • Bits of curly ribbon that were tied onto the fruit basket Emily got for her birthday. We sat out on Todd Field, soaking up the sun and eating strawberries.
  • Adam Lewis’s name tag from Career Fair. Not sure why I have it, tbh.
  • An exercise from the Suicide Prevention and Awareness workshop that was put on this semester. We were tasked with originally writing down twenty-four words that described our life. That was slowly broken down, so we were left with one word. Mine? Laughter.
  • The bag tag that I got over spring break, when I went down to Vancouver to visit Maddy and meet up with Emily.
  • My wristband from the first time I went to the Museum of Glass.
  • A poster advertising Crosscurrents.
  • Notes made by Banji, from back when we were coming up with theoretical short film plot lines.
  • My receipt from January, when I bought some of my textbooks at the bookstore. Grand total from this one trip? $469.97.
  • Notes someone from my poetry class took on one of my poems. A sestina, titled “Generalized,” that I wasn’t sure how I felt about, but everyone else seemed to love.
  • A card from the Office of Finance given to me for Student Appreciation Week.
  • A letter from my best friend that took me way to long to respond to.
  • The program from Underground Sound’s 2016 Spring Concert, which was amazing.

Recap: Spring Break 2016

As Spring Break 2016 comes to a close, I realized that it went by way faster that I thought it would. I stayed on campus for most of break and partly assumed that it would drag on. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As a way to preserve break and catalogued it, I decided to list most of what I did below.

FRIDAY.

  • Around 4PM my eleven year old cousin, Ting, FaceTimed me in the sub. She and I played M.A.S.H. and much to the disappointment of my roommate, her future career wasn’t “garbage man.”
  • Friends forgot the sub closed early and we all went to Memos. Surprised someone with carne asada fries and haven’t seen anyone that happy in a while.
  • Then got in a crowd of people and went to Safeway, where Ting called me again, to claim my friends were: seven, twenty-nine, and forty. (They are all twenty.)

SATURDAY.

  • Downloaded The Life of Pablo and have zero regrets.
  • Made brownies and had to substitute flaxseed eggs for actual eggs, but it was definitely worth it.
  • Dinner was pizza at Farrelli’s. And was delicious.

SUNDAY.

  • Toured the Museum of Glass and watched the visiting artist create an octopus. Advice: Go. Do it. It’s free on Sunday’s with a student ID. Also, if you don’t have a car, be sure to get an ORCA card from ASUPS.
  • Watched Groundhog Day for the first time, 10/10 recommend.

MONDAY.

  • Oh, hey. Homework is still a thing over break. Did some of that.
  • Watched Fuller House and was disappointed.
  • Went to Krispy Kreme for the second time ever and had a donut. Immediately ate said donut.

TUESDAY.

  • Slept in for too many hours, but it was much needed and much enjoyed.
  • Video chatted with a friend who goes to school in Pennsylvania. (Nick, I miss you!)
  • Discovered a new sandwich: turkey, bacon, and havarti on whole wheat.

WEDNESDAY.

  • Convinced some friends to go on a walk down to the waterfront. We took our time and wandered around the Chinese Reconciliation Park. Then we walked up Puget Park, hung out at the playground, and spun around too much, before walking back to school.
  • Discovered that Wednesdays are bowling leagues and so you can’t go bowling in the evening.

THURSDAY.

  • Was very set on not doing anything. Met up with Nathan for breakfast, then we headed to the library for a new setting. Around three we headed back to the sub for food and ran into some friends. It was sunny and beautiful out and Gabe wanted to go take photos and so we went on a walk.
  • Down past the pedestrian bridge, if you follow the cobblestone driveway, there is a beautiful look-out point onto the water and the city.
  • I’d recommend wearing layers, because the wind can make you so so so cold after a while, but Gabe got some pretty good pictures out of the day. They can all be found here

FRIDAY.

  • Took the AmTrak down to Vancouver, where I met up with my friend Maddy. From there, we went to Portland, where we met up with Emily, who was driving up from Bend, OR.
  • Finished reading How to Fly a Horse by Kevin Ashton, which was much better than expected. Definitely a book I would read again and recommend to other people.
  • We spent the day exploring the Pearl District and eating all of the good food.
  • Raided the men’s t-shirt section at Target. Purchased the same NASA shirt that Emily has. No regrets.
  • Breakfast for dinner with Not Sub eggs was fantastic.

SATURDAY.

  • Explored the Saturday Market and waited in a long, but fast-paced line for Voodoo donuts. Whose donuts were far superior to Krispy Kreme.
  • Met up with Emily’s friend who goes to Reed at Reed, where we were given a tour of the research reactor.
  • On the quest for dinner, we ended up going to the Met, then to Memos, then to Safeway. Food was found!

SUNDAY.

  • Spent most of the afternoon in the sub talking to friends who had been gone over break. Discovered Chili only took wavy panoramic pictures in Paris.
  • Did that homework that I didn’t bother finishing on Monday.

4AM in the sub

I had a self-imposed bedtime as a child. More often than not, as the night progressed, I would inform my mother that I was going to sleep, before brushing my teeth and crawling in bed.

Despite this, one of my most distinct memories from childhood was the first time I stayed up all night. I was seven and spending the night at my grandma’s house with two of my cousins, Eli and Ethan, who were seven and five, respectively. We played out the normal night-time routine, an attempt to convince Grandma that nothing was up. Both of them dozed off as Annie lit up the dark room, but they both woke up as the yellow credits flash across the black screen. We crept downstairs, pushing together coffee tables and chairs to make a fort in the low-light of the living room. Huddled under blankets, propped up on pillows, we spent the rest of the evening watching Spongebob Squarepants and applauding ourselves for staying awake. When picking me up the next day, Mom mentioned that I was rather crabby and in a tired haze I refused to tell her we hadn’t gone to sleep.

Other than that singularity, my sleep schedule has been routine. It has adjusted itself slightly for pre-teen yes I’m going to sleep in on the weekends for a little too long and occasional late-night homework sessions; yet, even in college, I purposefully make an effort to be asleep before midnight. In a parallel structure to that childhood memory, some of my most distinct memories at Puget Sound have been when I’ve broken that quota.

Standing under an overhang, dreading the late-night rain, and talking with Nick, a group of girls wandering to the Cellar looked at us and said, “You guys are such a cute couple. Just kidding, you’re probably brother and sister.” Sitting in the piano lounge, listening to Carley play, a group walking past began dancing and gave her a round of applause. Curling up on a couch and helping Emily sketch out a poem on a crumpled napkin. Priorities seem to shift as night progresses and personalities reflect that.

I’m more open, more honest, late at night. Willing to talk for hours, because at first we were in the Cellar and then it closed and it’s four a.m. and we’re still awake, sitting in an upstairs booth at the sub. Bright lights reflect off the white-washed wooden ceiling and the only other people present were downstairs cleaning. In the faint background noise of vacuums, I could see the reflection of my face in the dark of the window. I slumped down further in my seat while the clock ticked, but I didn’t leave, didn’t want to. And I don’t even remember what we talked about. It could have been nothing, but I’m inclined to think it was everything.

An Argument for Poetry

I have a clear memory of six years old, sitting cross-legged on the floor in my classroom, cutting out the pieces to the acrostic poem I had written a few days before. There was a precision to my gluing, a desire to get the lines exactly right. I forgot about it for years, let the memory drift to the back corners of my brain. This poem, I suppose, is the first evidence I have of poetry in my life.


Here the the actual text from the poem I wrote to my mom in second grade:

Imagining is great!

Ladies are good.
Observe
Violence
Easy

Yarn is fun!
Object are great!
Unbelievable

have a Marry day!
Outlook
Mind

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX
LOVE,
TALENA


From there, my love of poetry progressed: cataloged in a Mother’s Day poem I wrote in fifth grade, typed up in Comic Sans, used the wrong your/you’re and seventh grade, walking through the concrete hallways reciting “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe from memory. I continued to dabble in poetry throughout high school, writing about this and that. In the margins of my calculus notes there are dashes of phrases, half-written poems that someday I’d get back to.

It’s important to study literature, because it gives a deeper insight to meanings. Analyzing English gives perspective of the surrounding world, a way to perceive emotions in a different way. In turn, poetry is an extension of this. It falls into the gap, between the universal and the personal. Meaning shifts from person to person, experience to experience, but there’s nearly always something someone can connect to.

For me, poetry is a way to express emotions. I let it center around the words I never say, the memories that come back, from time to time. Poetry is a creative way to capture an experience and I cannot stress how important I think that is.

So write. Write bad poetry, good poetry. Things that (don’t) rhyme, things with rhythm. Make up a story, make up an experience. Practice enjambment, practice and fail and succeed and know that it’s okay. Let yourself relive that memory when it comes back. Write it down so it’s raw and real and important, because it matters.


Here is an example of a poem I wrote more recently, as a way to show that my poetry has at least slightly improved since second grade:

School Picture Day, 2002

Six-year-old me didn’t yet have the world on her shoulders,
but she had an atlas brain. Curly red hair forming ringlets
around an unfreckled face. Back when tears were easy to spring
to the surface and I still had an underbite smile. Career option:
astronaut princess and Grandma taught me cross-stitch.
The Magic Tree House series, scraped knees, Girl Scout
uniform, and I didn’t know what headache meant. Tracing
the alphabet over and over on sunny days and I could see the purple
slide through the chain-link fence and windows.

I ate kiwis until my mouth puckered shut and I’d stretch my lips
into a grin, stand in line waiting to go into class with a heavy
metal song stuck in my head because Dad played his
music loud and would sing with the windows rolled down,
elbow resting against the door, hand hitting roof
edge with every guitar strum. Stand in line in a dark green
velvet dress tucking pistachio shells into its lace trim

because the future was undefined, for six-year-old me.

Connection to Place

Traveling back to school, navigating airports and delayed flights, always seems to kick-start the inevitable rush of being back. Running to gates and staring out the window of the plane as the sun starts to fade below the clouds are the first steps to finally putting off studying and bumping into friends around campus. There’s something relaxing in the familiarity of it all, something that keeps me up a little bit later the night before the flight.

It’s always a hassle though. I fly out of one small airport that has one gate and one rickety plane that sounds so loud that it must not be good. are you sure this is safe??? to San Francisco, with foggy skies and a multitude of delays. I came prepared this time, though. A half-knitted scarf; a book I had barely started*; podcasts I had yet to listen to**; and a lunchbox filled with an assortment of snacks.

I found myself talking to the guy sitting next to me. We had both been staring down the aisle, watching the flight attendant fiddle with bags. She opened up an overhead bin to tuck a strap into it. By the time she managed to close it, the fabric had fallen out again. I glanced at him: “Did you see…”

He grinned and nodded, “I’m glad someone else caught that.”

The plane started moving along the runway and we settled into an amicable silence. The plane stopped. The lights went off. A static voice came on the speaker and said that there was some sort of technically difficulty. They were working on it. We would just have to wait a bit. The lights would come on in a minute.

“How long do you think it’ll take us to get to Seattle?” he asked.

“I feel like we’ll be there within five hours.”

He informed me that I jinxed us and if we didn’t make it there it’d definitely be my fault. We fell into a steady rhythm of asking each other questions. His name was Lenny, a nurse living in southern California. He traveled to Thailand, worked in fly fishing for years, and was visiting his brother’s eight-month-old son. In turn, I told him about my inability to walk on flat surfaces, that I like my tea with no milk or sugar, and when I was little I wanted to be both a princess and an astronaut.

We had fallen back into silence when he asked me what my favorite place in the world is. Numerous places fell into my mind, places that give me the feeling I get when I’m sitting up late at night talking to friends and when I stand overlooking the Sound and I feel connected to everything.

“There’s this place, about forty-five minutes from my house. Off of an old highway, a few miles down from the campground I’ve been going to since I was five. The campground where I read Harry Potter; sat cross-legged in the entry kiosk talking to the camp ranger; swung from a rope swing and cannon-balled into the river. A few miles down there’s this small-loop trail, carved between a forest-floor of redwood sorrel and ferns that stretch up to my chin.

“Part of Star Wars Return of the Jedi was filmed there and there’s this tree trunk with its root structure spanning fifteen feet high. Off of the main path there is a smaller grove within the grove. There’s a sole big leaf maple tree with moss growing up the side of the trunk. A green glow is cast on everything and I can’t define exactly what it is but it’s something.”

I haven’t been to Cheetham Grove in months, but I still feel a connection to the place. I think that’s how I’ll feel about Puget Sound after I graduate. Even when I’m not on campus, I’ll still feel a part of something greater.

cheetham grove

The big leaf maple tree in Cheetham Grove, December 2014.

*The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

**Dear Hank & John, Filler Podcast, and the Mortified Podcast.