Please and Thank You

In which payment is due, because all things have a cost.


To my dear reader,

I will be the first to admit that, across the past seven eight months, most of my blog posts have been either explicitly or implicitly negative. I am not apologizing for this. Time is so short; we must say the things that matter. But I will also be the first to admit that I want to be a greater source of positive energy in the world, and that if gratitude is (as I’ve been told so often) pivotal to happiness, I am not doing all I can to ensure my own happiness. It is for these reasons that I will take a moment to list a few things for which, across my four years at Puget Sound, I have been thankful.

  1. My Freshman Year Roommate – During the fall, he went home every weekend to see his family. During the spring, he dropped out of school, allowing me to have the room to myself entirely. I’m not glad he had to drop out of school, but I am glad that I’ve only ever had a roommate for one semester of college. He also was nice.
  2. The Green Tea Fraps at Diversions Café – Amid a freshman year spring semester filled with boredom and disappointment, these drinks were a glorious Friday afternoon treat, and the Diversions baristas that complained about making them can literally shove those fraps up their butt holes.
  3. My Dog – I have a tradition of taking a picture of my dog during the break between each semester and making it the background photo of my phone for the subsequent semester. When I’m falling asleep, I like to pretend my pillow is her tummy. I use her as a pillow at home all the time.
  4. Other People’s Dogs – There are so many people that have dogs in Tacoma that let students pet them, and the dogs are so cute amid a college experience that can be distinctively not cute.
  5. The Spring 2015 Science Fiction and Classics Convention – It was at this convention that I met fiction author/classics whiz/literary genius/all around nice person Cathrynne Valenete, which was undoubtedly the greatest moment of my life thus far. No joke.
  6. Christopher Krull – He’s the guy that runs this blog and hires the student bloggers, and for Lord-knows-what-reason, he decided to rehire me every semester since the beginning of my sophomore year. Thanks for this incredible opportunity, Chris. I bet you regret that now, don’t you?

With all due respect,

Daniel Wolfert

Don’t Forget to Explore

Every walk I took last year had a purpose: going to Bartells, the Met, Safeway. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, I suppose, but it limited my impressions of Tacoma. I never bothered to wander around, to explore. To walk down to the water front, to step on the Fall leaves with a purposeful crunch. I was more caught up in the action of Doing Something, to just be.

When I was younger, I would go on walks with my mother, our neighbors, my aunt — we would walk to the beach and I would jump in the waves. We would walk to the park and I would stand on the edge of the bay, amongst the European beach grass, while my shoes became coated in muddy sand, and look out at the juxtaposition of the two nearby towns. I’d watch the cars drive past on the highway, while I walked on the railing of the railroad tracks, my arms outstretched to keep myself from falling.

Somewhere in the years I lost that and somehow this year I gained it back.

I stood on the front steps of the Cushman Substation building and pulled my shoulders up, while scrunching my nose because this is creepy, guys. I stopped at the Little Lending Library on Union Street and looked through it, pulling out a few of the books and reading passages, before continuing on my way. I threw my hands up in the air while walking up a hill, because we were only halfway there. Petted a cat that was weaving through the bars of a house that was up for sale. Wandered through the playground of an abandoned elementary school and read off the graffiti scribbled in Sharpie on the yellow and green plastic structure. I went to the pedestrian bridge and looked down at the trees below, the way the sunlight hit the green and made it more vibrant than usual. All the way to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and back, my hands and nose and head cold, but smiling because look at the sunset. Down to the waterfront, where, standing there in the late Fall wind, you feel like you’re somehow connected to everything.

It’s nearly the end of the semester and I know it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of homework, the stress of college, but don’t forget the big picture and don’t forget to explore.

The view from the Tacoma Narrow's Bridge.

The view from the Tacoma Narrow’s Bridge.

21 in Tacoma

Making the post a bit late, but I turned 21 in January! I spent the night celebrating with some friends around Seattle and Tacoma. First, dinner in Seattle at Pacific Cafe – Hong Kong Kitchen (my favorite hole-in-the-wall noodle place)!

(google search for my order from the cafe because it was so delicious I forgot to take a picture)

(google search for my order from the cafe because it was so delicious I forgot to take a picture)

Continue reading

From Home to Home

Spring semester 2015 has started! Winter break was a blast. The coolest part? Road trip!!

My buddy Nick Lyon’16 needed to drive his car home to San Diego, CA, so he requested some company on his journey. Thus, my other friend Zeman Nathoo’16 and I decided to join him on the 20 hour drive…Despite the length of the drive, we had a pretty great time!

We stopped at some interesting places… Like the Denny’s in the probable cousin of Silent Hill, Rice Hill. It was a gas station parking lot with a Denny’s, and bunch of trucks…. and a 24-hour adult shop. The essentials, obviously.


Hooray for breakfast for every meal!

Continue reading

I’ll Be Mother

In which there is tea.

            Camelia Sinensis: (n.), the white-flowered evergreen shrub that is the origin of all teas.  Family Theaceae, Genus Camelia, from the Latinized name of the Reverend Georg Kamel (1661-1706), a Jesuit missionary to the Philippines who made substantial contributions to seventeenth century botany. Sinensis, Latin for “from China”.

To my dear reader,

I sit in Ubiquitous Journey – a sandwich and tea shop that is my favorite off-campus location in Tacoma – and after having stumbled upon Keith Souter’s The Tea Cyclopedia: A Celebration of the World’s Favorite Drink, I have begun to wonder about the drink.  I have Nickelodeon to thank for the beginning of my love of tea, due to my love of the character Iroh in the TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender and his love for the beverage, but tea has since extended beyond my relationship with that TV show.  The complexities of tea fascinate me; the intricacies of its creation are baffling, the delicacy needed to blend it enormous.


There are six families of true tea – white, yellow, oolong, green, black and pu-erh – of which all are made from the Camelia Sinensis, while floral, herbal and fruit teas are delicious falsities, not containing the tea bush’s leaves and therefore not being true teas.  Each family of tea has its own creation process and therefore its own distinctive flavor, and all have great health benefit, such as the tumor and apoptosis inhibiting ability of tea’s polyphenols or the antioxidant abilities of tea’s catechins.  Tea has been used in all manner of literary adventures, from the Hatter’s tea party in Lewis Carol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to the teashop setting of Baroness Orzy’s Old Man in the Corner, and tea’s beauty has inspired the lineage of tea literature from Lu Yu’s Ch’a Ching (The Classic of Tea), c.770, to Kakuzo Okakura’s 1911 volume The Book of Tea, to Keith Souter’s The Tea Cyclopedia: A Celebration of the World’s Favorite Drink itself.

But what interests me most is the use of tea in social interaction.  The Taiwanese tea tradition uses the Perennial Tea Ceremony as an opportunity for participants to celebrate the seasons, elements and philosophy together, while the Moroccan tea tradition calls polite conversation over three servings of maghrebi mint tea after dinner.  As eighteenth century dining customs changed to suit the increasingly industrial society, and the midday and evening meals grew ever farther apart, afternoon tea was invented to tide the upper classes over and allow for diversionary social interaction in the intervening time.

I, however, used tea in an enjoyable and completely accidental social interaction between me (as I sat in Ubiquitous Journey) and a fellow Puget Sound student that happened to have stumbled upon the shop.  We ordered sandwiches and soup together, and feeling inspired by reading The Tea Cyclopedia, I decided that I would offer her a cup of my Hairy Crab Oolong tea.

“What you tried this one before?” she asked.

“Oh no,” I replied, “But that’s part of the adventure.”


There is a saying in the United Kingdom, Keith Souter writes, that goes “I’ll be Mother” if one desires to be the one to pour tea for others.  There is speculation that this originates from old fertility practices, wherein a woman hoping to conceive would serve drinks unto others as part of a ritual.  Whatever the origin of the saying, however, I immediately took a liking to it and, when this friend from Puget Sound reached to pour her own cup, I waved her hand away and said “I’ll be Mother!”

Something that no one tells you about college is that not only do you must learn to speed to catch up with all the things you must learn, but also must learn to slow down to a rate of life that is healthy and reasonable.  Drinking tea, to me, is a purposeful act of slowing down, no matter how rapidly the world is shifting.  Drinking tea with another, to me, is an invitation for another to enjoy a moment with just you in just that very moment – a difficult thing to do.

As I later learned, “being mother” also entails pouring milk into the cups of those that want it, offering sugar cubes rather than a bowl of granulated sugar, and using tongs to lift the cubes.  But never mind this, and never mind my inadequate knowledge of tea practices and traditions!  For it is a learning process, and one day, I shall be mother indeed.

With all due respect,

Daniel Wolfert

P.S. I highly recommend the Hairy Crab Oolong.  It was delicious.