Signs (Pt. 5)

She steps out of the car and pulls her jacket close. She feels something fall on her cheek. He gets out on the other side. They walk toward the water together.

“It’s cold.”

The waves watch them as they approach. They spread a towel.

“It’s going to rain,” she says.

“We have a couple of minutes.”

“We don’t have to leave.”

She yawns. She hasn’t slept much in the past few days. But she doesn’t close her eyes because she’s afraid that if she does she’ll fall asleep. And if she falls asleep she’ll miss it. Even without the sun, there’s still the sea and the strands of grass sticking out of the sand.

She sits with her hands in her pockets. A strand of her hair catches in her mouth. Her hood comes loose.

She walks toward the sea and stops just short of the water. It washes over the sand and over her shoes and recedes, leaving strips of foam, like tongues of seaweed, on the sand.

She pulls the watch out of her pocket. There’s rust between the links. She thinks that maybe it counts the fifty-ninth second twice.

The sea washes over her shoes again. She feels the water seeping in, suffusing her toes like a cloud of tea in a mug. It crawls up the sand and falls away.

A wind drifts in from the ocean.

Signs (Pt. 4)

The alarm goes off at 5:40. He turns over on the couch and turns it off. He pulls his feet under the blanket and closes his eyes.

She comes down at 6:00 and boils water. The kettle whines.

“Want some tea?”

“Please,” he says, putting on his glasses.

“What kind?”

“What are you having?”


“I’ll have that too.”

The blanket slides off. He leans back into the couch.

She brings a cup filled with darkening water. He loops the string of the tea bag around his finger and winds it around the handle. The warmth of the cup steeps his fingers. The tea dimples under his breath.

He offers to make eggs—the only thing he can make.

“We can pick up something on the way, if you don’t mind.”

“I don’t mind.”

“Grab some books.”

He sets his cup on the table and walks to the bookcase. He begins at the top, reading the titles, pulling one out here then slipping it back. Most are paperbacks, and almost all of them are creased deep along their spines. He collects a few and tosses them on the couch. Then he moves to the bookshelf on the other side.

“Borges or Calvino?” he asks.

“Hm. Borges.”

She pulls the blinds. It’s still dark, but he can hear the rain on the road.

She stuffs the books into her backpack. He pulls his sweater over his shirt and grabs his jacket and puts that on too.

They hurry to the car and dump their things in the backseat before sitting up front. He rubs his hands. She starts the engine and turns the heater on. The frost dies on the window. After a minute, she pulls onto the street, and he opens the book as the wipers smear rain back and forth across the glass.

Signs (Pt. 3)

“I have a gift for you,” he says and places an unwrapped cardboard box on the table. The box is small and cube-like. On the top in sharpie he’s written her name. She puts her book down and leans forward, looking but not touching.

“What for?”

“It’s an early graduation present.”

“Want me to open it now or after graduation?”

“It’s up to you.”

She leans back and smiled. “I’ll wait. Want some tea?”

“Sure. I’ll make some hot water.”

He fills the kettle and puts it on the stove.

“Do you want any?”

“Yeah, I’ll have some.”

He pulls two mugs out of the cabinet. One of them is yellow and green, and its rim is chipped. He runs his finger over the chip. It flakes.

The other mug is dark blue. The ceramic is uneven and glazed over. It’s cracked in three places, as if it had been dropped and broken, but the cracks have been filled with gold. He runs his fingers over the gold.

“What’s this?”

She walks over and cups the mug with her hands.

“My friend broke this mug a couple years ago. So he took the mug and repaired it. I don’t know where he got it done, but he brought it back like this.”

She puts it down, picks up the kettle, and pours water into the mug. He watches the water rise against the sides of the cup, above the gilded cracks. The mug doesn’t leak.

She drops a tea bag into the mug, loops the string around the handle, and hands it to him.

“Three minutes steep.”

He nods and lets the warmth steep his fingers.

Now that Thanksgiving is Over…

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to dust off those ornaments and candy cane striped stockings for the most commercialized holiday in the world. Christmas! Non-stop Christmas music, Christmas lights covering every inch of space, and all things adorned in the red-green colour theme.

So to get into the holiday spirit, my friends and I decorated our living room. Similar to what we did last year, we made a paper Christmas tree that we taped onto the wall, which we adorned with our own ornament drawings (given that it’s not really practical to buy a real Christmas tree).

Upgrading from last year, we made our tree with green construction paper. And learning from our mistakes last year we cut out our ornaments and taped them onto the tree, instead of directly drawing up against the wall (sparing ourselves from cramped wrists). Now the only thing we’re missing now, are the wrapped presents under the Christmas tree.



Our Christmas tree for this year

An up close look of one of the ornaments I made.

An up close look of one of the ornaments I made.

We may have went a little overboard for last years Christmas.

We may have went a little overboard for last years Christmas.

Growing Up

A few months ago, back in the summer, I had a mid-life crisis. I was at a relative’s house for a barbecue and my aunt asked me how old I was turning this year.

“I’m turning nine- oh.” My eyes widened with the sudden realization that I wasn’t turning 19. I was turning 20. I had a dumbfounded look on my face, so my aunt starting laughing and left me to deal with my internal crisis on my own.

I wasn’t going to be a teenager anymore. I was going to be an adult. I was going to be old. Panic started to set in as I started reaching out to different people, explaining what happened and what I was feeling. I didn’t want to grow up.

Growing up means more responsibilities. It means more stress. It means swallowing my pride acting like an adult. It means less free time. It means the fun is over. It means a dark and bleak future of eternal suffering.

Which brings me to today. My birthday. My 20th birthday. And… it’s not as bad as I thought.

Sure, I have a bunch more responsibilities. But I’m actually having a lot of fun. I love planning, so planning out all the Programming events for next semester for Beta and IFC is a ton of fun. I have a dozen other non-academic things I need to attend to before I leave. But I’m enjoying myself.

And I’m definitely not acting my age. If you ask anyone that knows me, I’m one of the most obnoxious and immature people around. You can always count on me to say something inappropriate at the worst possible time.

The fun never really ended. Things changed, but I never stopped having fun. I’ve made so many new friends and even more memories. The future is now and it’s not that dark and bleak.

Maybe growing up isn’t as bad as I thought.


So I recently moved into a new room because we have some new guys moving into Beta so we had to shift some people around in order to make accommodations. I love my room. It’s the perfect size. Small enough to be cozy, but big enough to fit a couple people that want to hang out. It’s also right near the bathroom and almost equidistant from our front and back doors. But there’s one thing.

The heater doesn’t work.

Well technically it does work, just not very well. It’s really finicky, only turning on if the knob is turned to a very precise location. And when it does turn on, it shuts off after about 5 minutes (which isn’t nearly enough time to heat up a room!).

I already talked to my GHC (Greek House Coordinator, the RA for Greek Houses) and he filed a work order a few days ago. Facilities did come and check it and another room’s heater out and fixed both. But whenever I want to operate it, it takes 6 or 7 tries to get it on.

Given the recent cold weather and a California body that isn’t used to much below 50 degrees, I kind of need a heater. Or else I might turn into a Kevin-sicle during finals. Actually, that sounds like a better alternative to finals.

The This or That Challenge

Often times in college we feel like we’re being pulled in two or more different directions. We came to college for one thing but once we’re here there’s something else we want to do. And many times college is the growing years, to figure out what choices will we make and what that means for us down the road. It’s as real as trying to figure out the things we won’t remember to the things we know we’re supposed to do. It’s as simple as this, or that.

Going to the library on a friday to work on things or Going home and taking a nap

A Memo’s study break run at 2AM or A catnap turning into normal sleeping

Thai food or Vietnamese food (pho)

6th Ave or Proctor

Sleep in on Saturday morning or get sweet breakfast at the sub (Waffles!)

Sub food or cafe drinks & muffins all day

Oppenheimer or Diversion or Lillis

Cellar or Domino’s delivery

Trappers ALL YOU CAN EAT sushi or Gateway to India ALL YOU CAN EAT Indian

Netflix or Youtube

studying in a cafe surrounded by people or studying in a classroom by yourself

Polar Plunge or snuggling in bed

vest & scarf or patagonia & scarf

(notice a pattern of food this or that, that’s totally a critical part of being a college student!)

The Final Stretch

I hurt my arm the other day.

Nothing serious or CHWS-worthy, but it was rather embarrassing. Ungraceful as my reaction was, I hold no ill will toward whoever lubricated the stairs. Instead, I have decided to respond in the most reasonable way possible: immortalizing the incident on the internet.

Anyway, it got me thinking about how tattered people around here are starting to look. It’s like when a long-distance racer is dashing the last hundred meters to the finish line. As impressive as the feat of getting there was, they certainly don’t look dignified doing it. In this case, people are doing less sweating and flailing and more shoving their faces into books and chugging coffee, but the principle is the same. Finals week looms closer and closer each day, and many grades will be made or broken before the semester is over.

“I wish I were a freshman again,” a friend of mine said to me in the Cellar, my arrival signaling a short break in his studying. I helpfully reminded him that that would just mean he’d have to do everything over again, but that somehow didn’t improve his morale.

My best wishes go out to the tutors at the Center For Writing, Learning, and Teaching, who are stepping up to work overtime in a number of studying and writing events within the next week even as they have their own final tests and assignments. However much help we need, give or receive, we shall all soon stumble out of this semester, panting, but smarter than we were before.

Even now, we can see that the holidays are coming. At work today we took some time out of our day to decorate the office; tiered lights and suspended snowflakes signaling the festive month that is nearly upon us.