FLING WEEKEND

OH MY GOD. I am NOT at my best today. Let’s just say, in a fight between me and my laziness, today I was badly defeated and it’s a good thing that no one has seen my room. I’m sitting at my desk next to a dirty plate and a couple of used cups. There is a t-shirt and some pants on my unmade bed. My shoes are not arranged and my socks are not in the shoes. And I don’t know. It all just feels gross, but today was my rest-and-don’t-talk-to-anyone day because this past weekend has been a lot.

It has been fling weekend!

It started off on Friday, for me. I don’t usually do fling—but it’s my last year and Zedd was our performer this year (!) so I decided to go. I’m so glad I did because it was so much fun. I absolutely loved his set. Michael Jackson’s Thriller, MAGIC!’s Rude, Chainsmokers’ Closer, Queen’s We Will Rock You and of course, all of his own hits. Man, listening to StayBreak Free or Clarity will never be the same again.

Of course, part of the fun was also just having fun with my friends, Hui Jie, Ken and Selina (plus a couple of Selina’s roommates, Tanya and Mounika). I am probably such a dorky dancer but my friends were also dancing however they hell they wanted, so when we weren’t jumping with the crowd, I was so glad I could easily have fun dorky dancing without feeling alone. I think it’s fun to enjoy music at a concert the same way you enjoy the same songs when you’re alone in your room.

It rained on us that night and literally all my makeup was washed away in the rain. And I don’t mean it like drizzled on us. No. It poured. We were absolutely soaked. To the point where we could squeeze our clothes and like a tonne of water would drip from it. But it was one of those things where you just laugh about it and keep dancing, and I don’t think I’ve felt that way since I was 7? 8? playing in the rain with my sisters.

Saturday was much more chill, though I got up early because I wanted to bake a cake! Karlie Kloss posted a video of her baking St Louis Gooey Butter Cake and it looked so, so, so easy that I just had to try it. And it really was super easy! Probably one of the best recipes in terms of effort-to-payoff ratio. It was so delicious, especially when it had just come out of the oven and it made my room smell absolutely amazing for the whole day. Such a nice change from the typical stubborn smell of onion which is literally the bane of my existence. (My “room” is set up in a cordoned off space in the living room with just some screens and curtains so like, you can imagine.)

I brought that cake to our “picnic” later. My friends and I usually picnic on Sunday after fling, but Hui Jie had plans so we bumped it up to Saturday and as our luck would have it, it rained!!!! I was pretty miffed that we didn’t get a senior picnic picture because I’ve instagrammed one every year and was planning to compile them but oh well. We still had fun. We ordered take out and played card games and later all took a nap, haha.

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Here’s a story: we played “heart attack” which is this game where like, once one person in your group has collected all the cards of the same number, they put their hands down in the center of the table and everyone else has to pile all their hands on. Then, the person who “won” gets to try to “slap” everyone’s hands—so you have to try to pull your hands away before they do it. When Hui Jie won a round yesterday, she slapped my hand and for some reason, like a little 5 year-old kid who ruins the big kids’ games, I just started crying from the sting. Like really crying. But also while hysterically laughing at the same time. You could tell even I was very confused by what was happening, lol. But we’re all good and I think it’s something we’re going to laugh about for a long time.

Then, later that evening, May May and I went to watch a show by a student theatre group. They put on The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee which has won a Tony Award for Best Book. It was a fun show! As always, I was blown away by the talent in the cast. They were all such amazing actors and singers. I wish there were more ensemble pieces, songs where the whole cast is singing, because I love those. Last year, I saw the same… group? company? club? (what do you call them?) put on All Shook Up and I ended up listening to the original cast’s recording of the soundtrack for the rest of the semester. This one didn’t have quite as many catchy tunes but I still loved the charming storyline and the fact that the show involved audience participation.

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I was quite sad that that was probably the last Penn student performance I’ll get to watch! And I was fully aware that it was the last performance for some of the seniors in the show/board so watching them all sing The Last Goodbye as they exited the stage was so emotional because it was also a goodbye to their Penn acting careers, to Iron Gate Theatre and all of that. Ahhh. After that, May May and I stopped by Sitar on our way home to get a cup of chai and that was a sweet way to end the night, too. No pun intended because there was definitely no sugar in my drink.

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Drinking chai from my Radiolab mug which I got this week!!

So yeah, today was mostly me chilling in my room (with the exception of a quick trip to the library to return stuff and probably a short walk to get some food later). I also watched Netflix’s Girlboss today, which is based on Sophia Amoruso’s book of the same title and her building of Nasty Gal. You might know that I thoroughly enjoyed her book last summer so I was quite interested in the show—I found that it was somewhat annoying but enjoyable enough to watch in one sitting. I liked the book better but to be fair, I actually shouldn’t make this comparison. The Netflix version does come clean about the fact that it is only a very loose adaptation. However, there are also things in the Netflix version that I liked which weren’t in the book: visuals obviously, but I also appreciated the fact that the show more than passes the Bechdel test (do two women speak to each other about something other than a man?) and that the protagonist is flawed and multi-dimensional.

I also watched The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks!!! Please, please, please watch it when you get the chance! It’s based on a non-fiction book in the same name by Rebecca Skloot. Henrietta Lacks died of cervical cancer in 1951, but her cancer cells were taken and ended up becoming the first cell to “stay alive” and be “grown” outside of a human body. But her identity was secret for a long time; her cells were called HeLa cells and had even been thought to come from a woman named Helen Lane (a white-sounding name, though Henrietta was black). HeLa cells ended up being crucial to the discovery of the Polio vaccine and the development of in vitro fertilisation. It was also important for cancer research. It was even sent to space to study what would happen to humans out there. Patient consent wasn’t required at the time so her family never even knew of Henrietta’s contribution to science, much less were compensated for it or even educated about any of it at all, although a lot of people obviously gained fame and recognition from it. Henrietta’s youngest daughter suffered from anxiety and schizophrenia and a stroke because of all of her worries and confusion and longing for/about her mother.

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Oh, but don’t worry—you learn all of that in like the first 2 minutes or so of the movie so I definitely didn’t give anything away. (Though, if you are interested in the science of this story, I strongly recommend this Radiolab episode about Henrietta Lacks; it’s amazing and includes real life audio from the family and the author, which you don’t get from the movie). The movie was less about the science of her cells, but was more about the humanity of the story. It was a moving story about this family and how they endured this legacy of suffering, and you learn it all along with Rebecca Skloot who’s trying to write a book about Henrietta Lacks. It’s a heartbreaking film about race, ethics in medicine/research and journalism. Plus, Oprah Winfrey’s performance of Deborah Lacks was just amazing. You forget that she’s, you know, Oprah. I really want to read the book now but yeah I’ve definitely said enough about it—just go watch it somehow. If you’re in the US, get a HBO Now free trial! Yes, I want you to watch it that badly! If you’re not convinced, watch Katie Couric interview Rebecca Skloot and Rose Byrne (who plays Skloot in the film). Don’t you just love how I went to an amazing concert this weekend but end up writing the most about a movie?! Haha. Well, I do.

Anyway. I’m gonna go figure out my dinner because I’m getting pretty hungry. I hope you had a wonderful weekend and thanks for reading!

P.S. Hui Jie wanted me to add to last week’s post: she chose the tudung/headscarf that I wore for Sunday’s reading on Penn Monologues. Or rather, more accurately, she (lovingly?) forced me to wear that one because she “missed” it.

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My (very short) Penn bucket list

I’m finally drinking a latte again!

In an interview shortly after La La Land was released, Emma Stone said that she refrained from dairy while filming because it was bad for her voice/throat or something like that. So, as the Penn Monologues show weekend drew closer, I thought about that and decided I do the same, hahaha. As if I’m belting out some solos or something… Anyway, I love lattes and I missed it so much this past week. So, I had to get one on my way back from the last show, lol.

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Langston, Savannah, me, Frances, Emily, Dionysia, Jackie, Dalton, Claire and James

Penn Monologues is basically a show where about 10 students write a personal essay, submit it to the group and get chosen to perform it (or, in the case of 2 people this year, write an essay and have someone else perform it for them). I thought it was a cool idea because I love memoir, personal essays and stories… like I love going to open mic nights and speakeasies. At Penn specifically, it’s a cool way to learn a tiny little bit more about the experiences of people I probably bump into on Locust Walk on a regular basis.

I wrote about moving away from home and “growing up” kind of, other people wrote about being an immigrant, going to music festivals, their relationship with their grandparents, having a family member with autism, dealing with eating disorders and etc. I liked that the essays were diverse in subject matter and tone. Some were sad, some were happier, others were funny or a bit of both.

Honestly, I was so humbled to be among these people, and I know that sounds dramatic… it sounds like the kind of thing Oscar winners say about their fellow nominees, but honestly, I was in awe of everyone’s writing from the start. Emily’s essay was called The Space Between Us and there a couple of lines in her piece that I just absolutely loved. When describing her relationship with a friend she grew up with, she said “she invited me to her birthday party, even though I didn’t invite her to mine” and then at a later point in the piece, described how they had grown apart to the point where they walked past each other like strangers, she said “she was wearing a sweater that once sat in my closet”. OH MY GOD. SO GOOD. That’s the kind of writing I like. Simple, clever ways to aptly characterise feelings and dynamics. (And it wasn’t just Emily’s—everyone’s pieces had great lines like that, this was just one I can remember at the top of my head.)

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I literally just got this picture 2 minutes ago from my creative writing professor (in whose class I wrote the piece I performed) and she told me she was proud of me and I had all the ~feelz~

All the readings were recorded but I think it’ll take a while for it to come into my hands (or, I guess, more accurately—my inbox). So, in the meantime, if you want to see what some of the performances were like, watch some from last year’s show, like Langston’s Yogurt or Aubrey’s American Insulation.

My motivation to do this was to check off one of my very few Penn bucket list things (ok, to be honest, it might have been my one bucket list thing): to perform on a stage. I used to kind of like performing. I mean, I did very amateur cheer and some traditional dance/aerobics stuff (lol) in Form 1 & 2. I think in sekolah rendah I used to try out for storytelling and perform here and there for things like teachers’ day or whatever. But that was ages ago now. Whatever spark of inspiration I had ever gotten from all the people who have told me that I should dance or act has long since dissipated. But I knew I still had that impulse and I wanted to do just one because it seemed more daunting here at Penn than anywhere else I had ever been before. Penn Monologues seemed pretty low key (i.e. no long hours of rehearsals and no singing or choreography whatsoever) so I decided to submit a piece.

And I’m really glad I did. A few other people in that cast also had no real prior experience performing so I didn’t feel alone. Plus, I just genuinely liked everyone in the group. My favourite thing about it—and I totally didn’t expect to feel this way—was that it has been the experience most comparable to the feeling you get around hari sukan parades and stuff back in school… like, everyone working together to put on this thing and getting nervous about it right before going on. I’ve organised quite a few events at Penn, but I think none of those other events made me (and everyone else in the group) nervous enough, nor was the event fun and entertaining enough (that is, they were always more serious stuff) that it brought the whole group together quite rapidly. And it might just be me, but I appreciated the subtle moments of camaraderie I had with the other cast members backstage and how quickly we can form inside jokes when we’re putting on a show, etc. So yeah, I’m glad I did it.

Shoutouts also to my friends who came to the show: Hui Jie, Shahirah, Ken, Oliver, Kim, Eliza, Busra, Irtiqa, Iman, Dania. Two of my professors from last semester also came to see the show, which was so nice! Admittedly, they didn’t come for me specifically but I still loved seeing Dr. Paxton and Jamie-Lee in the crowd. Special shoutout to my friend Clare (!!!) who helped me edit this essay and practice performing it. I know paying money to give up a couple of hours on a weekend is not easy. I have declined many invites to shows over the last 4 years, so I know this to be a fact and I genuinely appreciate all of these people so very much.

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My friends being super supportive. Hui Jie is pointing to my name in the program! They screamed my name when I walked on stage and I was a little startled, haha.

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My friends who could relate most to my piece ❤

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Good friend + show director 🙂

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Iman, Busra & Irtiqa ❤

Okay, so moving on from the show…

This weekend was also just generally an insanely pleasant one. The weather has been wonderful and I’ve just been having such a good time. On Friday night, after my show, Irtiqa, Iman and I headed over to West Philly for our friends Sanaa and Zahraa’s birthday dinner at Aksum. Food was really good and I just had such a good time catching up with the MSA girls. It’s one of those nights you laugh a lot and don’t remember what was so funny 2 hours later.

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I made the birthday girls pause in that position so that I could take this picture lol

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Our waitress (Casey, I think) was THE BEST. She ran after us because someone left their takeaway box on the table and she took this for us.

I also hung out with some of the other cast members from Penn Monologues that same night. We went to Dalton’s place—and he has a cat by the way!!! Thank goodness it was the most well-behaved cat ever and stayed firmly on one side of the room. Needless to say, it was the side of the room I did not venture to. Anyway, we had pizza at his place and watched Parks and Rec. I got to know Dalton, Savannah, James, Claire and Frances a little bit. Clare was also there (yes, there are two “Claires” except it’s Clare with no i and Claire with an i) and I loved getting to hang out with her more. I realised I hadn’t hung out with her in a group since probably our freshman year when our RA would have office hours for our hall to come over and eat snacks, so yeah, that was nice.

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Spot Dalton’s siamese cat behind him.

On Saturday evening, I went to Simply Chaos’ show. They’re a stand-up comedy group and I literally just found out about them this semester which makes me so sad because I would’ve loved to see all of their other shows. In fact, I only found out about them at all because this one guy who’s in the Monologue show was also doing the Simply Chaos show on the same weekend so a bunch of people were talking about that. But yeah, the show was hilarious. I went alone, and usually, when I go anywhere alone, I laugh a little less because I’m a little more self-conscious but I just couldn’t even think about that at all during their show. It was just hilarious and I had such a good time.

I also got to hang out with Hui Jie this past weekend. She came over on Friday and was whining about how hungry she was so we decided to go get some egg tarts! That quite quickly turned into an afternoon tea session where she tried to teach me how to say “my name is Dayana”, “I am from Malaysia”, “I study in the USA” and “I am hungry” in Danish over egg tarts and custard buns, hahaha. And of course, we haven’t had enough time with each other this weekend so we’re going out for dinner tonight, too!

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Anyway, that’s all for this week, I think! I might come back and edit this when I have the video from the show but until then, have a good week!! 🙂

You Just Had To Be There

I usually write about my whole week but I’ve just ended it on a particularly high note so let me just tell you about today.

It was a Sunday like any other Sunday. I had proposed to Hui Jie, Ken, Shahirah and May May earlier in the week that we all get dinner at Vientiane this weekend and it just worked out that Sunday dinner fit best in everyone’s schedule. Thankfully, I happened to realize earlier today that Vientiane is closed on Sundays! It’s like on 47th and Baltimore which is quite a walk so I’m glad we didn’t go all the way only to find out it was closed the whole time.

Shahirah and Hui Jie then suggested we stick to somewhere on campus because they have meetings before dinner, but because May May wasn’t feeling well we all just got take out and ate at their house. We had a really nice time! I mean, I talk about these people so often—by now you should know I just love spending time with them so very much. Dinner ended with them fruitlessly trying to suggest boys for me to ~consider~ hahaha. That is, until we all decided we wanted bubble tea. And friends, here is where the night gets interesting.

First, Ken decided to go to Winterfell (which is like right next to their house) to get bubble tea/shaved ice but it was 10.15 and Winterfell had just closed. So he decided to join Hui Jie and me to go to Ochatto, several blocks down. It’s not that much of a walk but I usually have to be particularly motivated to go. As we turned out of their street, I asked Hui Jie, “Are you going to get hot or cold?” “Hot!” “Me too!” “Large?” “Of course!” and it was so funny, it was so quick/rhythmic, like we were so in sync. It was just very… cute.

Anyway, so we get to Ochatto and, you probably guessed it but… it was closed! I saw that the “Open” sign wasn’t lit and my heart just sank. We were so sad, we just stood in front of the store for a while laughing. Hui Jie was like “I can almost taste it!!!” and I understood. I could too. I was already imagining us sipping our identical orders of hot jasmine milk tea :/ we were so in denial.

Laughing in denial

We felt like we had to get something. We considered Kiwi, which is this froyo place next to Ochatto but honestly, it’s just not good and I have made a conscious decision to not go back there since the fall semester of my Sophomore year. We thought about Capogiro for gelato but we just weren’t feeling it (and in fact, I just googled their hours and it was closed by 10 anyway). Insistent that we get bubble tea, I half-jokingly suggested we go to Tea Do in Chinatown.

Tea Do is on 10th St. We were on 36th.

I think Ken didn’t realize how serious I was so he was like “yeah, sure!” even though he has a midterm tomorrow he isn’t totally ready for. Hui Jie, the most reasonable person I know (with the exception of the occasional wild online shopping spree), took the longest to be convinced but eventually she got on board too. It turns out that for some reason, Lyfts were really expensive? It would’ve cost us $15 to get to Chinatown! That would’ve been more expensive than the bubble tea! (I joked that the rational thing to do would be to get 2 bubble teas so it’s “worth it” lol) So yeah, we start rummaging our purses and wallets for cash to take the bus, half a block away from where we were.

I get out $6.75 for the three of us and I just walk over to the bus stop holding it in my hands. Oh (!!!) and at this point I should mention… I was holding this (opened) box of sesame biscuits lovingly the whole time. I bought them on the way to their house and because I thought I was just going to get bubble tea and go back, I was fine with carrying it. Little did I know, I was going to be clutching this yellow box of biscuits with me to Chinatown and back.

Me, clutching my biscuits and the change for the bus fare and Ken… closing his eyes.

So we wait a while for the bus, still laughing from the fact that we’ve just decided to go to Chinatown when we realize that it’s like 10.45 and the bus wouldn’t arrive until 11:06 and Tea Do closes at midnight! We laughed for a good minute about going all the way to Tea Do only to have it be closed, but then we hurriedly made our way to the 34th St train station because it’s always quicker.

This, I should say, also caused a lot of laughter to ensue because Ken and Hui Jie’s house is literally one very short block away from the 40th St station but here we were,  6 blocks away, taking the train from 34th St!!!

So anyway, we make our way to the train station and I was still clutching my biscuit box and (don’t forget!) my $6.75 innocently in hand. Basically, I just looked downright silly. We got to the station and wow, look at that, they now have ticket machines that take cards…… so I stuffed my cash back in, bought tickets and went to the platform.

We get to the platform and for whatever reason, there were just 3 boxes of cereal waiting on the bench at the bottom of the staircase??? I got a good laugh out of this thinking about how funny it’d be if Ken and Hui Jie took one box each in solidarity with me carrying my box of sesame biscuits (which, by the way, we were all sporadically laughing about the entire night—especially those two, and occasionally me, when I caught my own reflection).

Mysterious cereal boxes?!

While we were waiting for the train, Hui Jie thought for a second to check if we were waiting on the right platform. Ken just bursted into laughter at the thought of taking the train to the wrong direction because we’d end up at 40th St, which is where they live….. and we just couldn’t stop laughing at the thought of coming all the way to 34th St, paying $6.75, not getting bubble tea or any sort of dessert, and ending up back where we started!!!! Hahaha. Thank god we were on the right platform.

*crying*

I don’t really remember what happened next but for whatever reason we all just could not stop laughing about what we were doing. How were we at a train station on a Sunday night? Were we really going all the way to Chinatown just because we were 15 minutes late for bubble tea at Ochatto? It just all felt so crazy… we couldn’t believe what we were doing. But then we laughed about how funny it is that this feels crazy. Like, we’re just such boring people that going to Chinatown on an unplanned excursion for bubble tea feels “crazy”! I’m sure some people at Penn have taken unplanned trips to New York or even Paris but there we were laughing our heads off about an impromptu ride to Chinatown. It was just a little bit, just a very little bit crazy, that it was hilarious.

Me laughing at myself after catching my reflection in the train windows

On the ride there, I see that Ken has crumpled his ticket in his hand and my jaw drops and I look at him and I point to the ticket and I go, “Ken, oh my god… what are you—you’re gonna need that to get out!” Because I guess I thought it’s like Oyster cards in London or Metro cards in New York or Touch n Gos in KL, right. Hui Jie and Ken look at me with the straightest faces ever and they’re like “No…” and I just very quietly said “oh….” and they laughed about that so much. In fact, later, when we were waiting on the platform of the train to go home, Ken calls my name and as I turn around, he looks at me and slowly bends his ticket in front of my face and throws it in the trash. And as I’m laughing he’s like, “now I can’t go out!” HAHA.

So anyway… we get to the 11th St station and as we walk the one block over to Chinatown, there’s a banana on the ground and for what. ever. reason. I say “hey guys! It’s a banana! You can eat it! It’s still intact!” ……. until I realize it’s a just a banana peel that happened to look like it was still whole. Again, we laugh.

We’re almost there. It’s dark and almost everything is closed and the streets smell like fish. But we are so, so, very close to Tea Do.

Then, we pass by Penang, the Malaysian restaurant across the street on our right and Ken says “oh is it open? Oh yeah it is.” and as he turns around to look at me, I’m already crossing the road to go look at the menu because I think: Ochatto will open tomorrow, but we’re only here today and we can get cendol. Ken goes in to ask if they were still open and they were. Before we knew it, we were seated.

I promise you he only looks sad in this picture because we’re so tired from laughing

That’s right, everyone. I didn’t make it to Tea Do. I was so close and I just chose not to go. I was looking forward to getting a hot cup of bubble tea and I got what is essentially shaved ice. Hui Jie, again, the reasonable one, stays focused and she gets the large hot jasmine bubble tea as planned and comes to join us at Penang while we eat our ABC and cendol. We sit there and Ken talks about how easily distracted I am and how insane it is that we’re at Penang eating ABC and cendol when we initially wanted to go to Tea Do, which happened because we initially wanted bubble tea from Ochatto.

It’s true. I guess I can be pretty easily distracted. To be honest, the fact that I even had that box of biscuits today was because when we were buying food for dinner earlier, Ken and I were talking near the cashier and I caught a glimpse of the sesame biscuits at the corner of my eye, paused mid-sentence, gasped and said “oh my god! those biscuits!” and just proceeded to pay for them. But whatever.

The rest of the night was relatively uneventful. We all calmed down from our highs. We talked about Penn, whether we reflect a lot about our lives, whether we were boring people and whether we are relatable etc and as we were talking I couldn’t help saying, “oh my god, phew, thank god our conversation has resumed to normal again.” Hahaha.

So yeah, after we finished our cold desserts, we walked back to the station (I saw that the banana peel I saw earlier on the way to the restaurant had been squashed, RIP) and took the train back to 40th St… box of sesame biscuits still clutched in my arms, stomach and cheeks sore from all the laughing.

I will remember this day for years to come. I haven’t laughed like this—especially not with anyone other than my sisters—in ages. If it wasn’t funny to you, then, well, I guess you just had to be there.

I finally ran out of ideas for titles.

Good morning! I’ve just done something really silly. I was making a cheese quiche for lunch later while I was drinking some tea. I grabbed some pepper to put in the quiche batter and I think you know where this is going… I put it in my tea instead, haha. It’s actually not bad. I ended up drinking it in the end. I’m now coughing a little but it’s okay!

Haha, anyway… I had such a good week. The first few days of it were rough. Two words: astronomy midterm. Let me put this into perspective for you. The first astronomy midterm (which I tanked) covered only chapters 1-5. This exam covered up to chapter 14 so there was a lot more material and it was less calculation and more facts/memorisation which is good because I’m better at memorizing than calculation, honestly, but it was also not good because it just takes so much more time to study for. So yeah, I spent a huge majority of my waking hours studying for this exam. It went ok I think! And that was my last midterm ever—I have no exams left until my final finals!

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Studying for astronomy with my bowl of quinoa goreng (i.e. nasi goreng but with quinoa because I had no beras lol)

(By the way, last week I got a comment about how I only ever talk about Astronomy with regards to my classes and I laughed so hard at that because I realised that too and didn’t think anyone would pick up on it. It’s true though! I do talk about Astronomy more than anything else because I’m only taking 3 classes this semester and the other two are so so so chill that Astronomy is just proportionally huge lol.)

I also got to go to some cool events!! I love that I’ve been having more time to go to events this semester because I’m not taking so many classes. I think at Penn, everyone is so busy organising their own events that they don’t really get to attend any other events which is such a shame; it’s like everyone’s talking and no one’s listening.

There was an event last Thursday, it was “an engaging conversation” between our university president, Amy Gutmann and former Vice President Joe Biden. Biden is spending his post-political career at Penn at the brand new Penn Biden Center of Diplomacy and Global Engagement. He talked about reaching across the aisle, his faith in the American people, etc. It was kinda cool to see him live in person! Tickets were free but you had to register really quickly in order to get one and I was the only person I knew who had tickets so I went alone. The funny thing is (!) I ended up sitting next to someone else who also went alone and was also about to take the same Astronomy midterm later that day! Haha. While we waited for Biden, we were both talking about Mercury’s lack of atmosphere. Very nerdy, I know.

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He couldn’t talk for long while sitting down haha

On Friday, Hui Jie and I went to the Fels Institute of Government’s event, a conversation on media and politics with NPR reporters, Scott Detrow and Sam Sanders. They were so cool, I loved the stories they told. Scott talked about how one of his favourite stories he did was about these Northern Pennsylvanian rattlesnake wranglers. Sam talked about how he got pretty close to Bernie Sanders after covering him through the campaign trail and how he learned that Bernie really loves crowds. They were at one point both hosts of the NPR Politics podcast (Sam has now left), so they also talked about how people tend to expect them to always talk about politics and to have an opinion about everything in politics. They said that they always get flak on Twitter if they tweet about something non-political. Sam said “people want us to be more than we can be for them because they like us and they feel like they know us.” It was really interesting. I mostly love how clear it was that they loved their jobs. Ahhh. It was so, so, so cool.

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The mic stand kinda ruins the picture but whatever.

I also went out for brunch with my friend Cristina in the city Friday morning. It has been a while I think since I last went out for a good sweet brunch. We went to Green Eggs, which is this really popular spot in the city. It was raining and a weekday morning so we thought it would’ve been fine but I still had to wait in line outside in the rain for over 20 minutes before getting a table! But wow, was it worth it. I hadn’t been there since early on in junior year and I forgot how good the food is there. I had pecan french toast and Cristi got raspberry french toast. I could hardly eat for the rest of the day because I was so full but so satisfied.

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Later that night, my friend May May and I went to see the Onda Latina show. It’s a salsa fusion dance group and Cristina is in it!! I also know a couple of other people in it and it’s always just so much fun to see how talented my fellow Penn students are. I’ve said this before I think, but I just love putting aside all feelings of competitiveness and just supporting and admiring how amazing everyone here is.

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ok I know it’s crappy quality but there’s my friend!

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With Cristina after the show!

So yeah, it was a great week! It ended with me spending a nice long day in my apartment. I binge-watched 13 Reasons Why on Netflix which just came out this week and for the first time ever, I felt really old watching a high school movie haha. The premise of the show is this girl kills herself (uh, yeah, it’s a little dark…) and she leaves this elaborate “list” of 13 reasons why and each one is a person, detailing how someone at school abused, took advantage of or just hurt her. It has a very very strong “moral of the story” vibe which at times seems a bit overdone. I’m not saying I don’t think the message should be weaker because I love, love, love the way this movie sheds light on the ways in which bullying is not so much a matter of direct action, and more a product of culture (guys not wanting to seem “weak” in front of other guys, people being worried about what other people might think etc) but at times it seemed too forced. With that said though, it was still a good show. I loved the subtle ways in which it highlighted how as a culture, we idolise people for their athletic/academic achievements even though they may be… mean, narcissistic, manipulative people. I also loved the diversity of the cast. For most actors, this was their first “real” job. The popular girl was black. There was a queer Asian girl. There were multi-racial couples and friend groups. The show passed the Bechdel test (do two women talk to each other about something other than a boy?—very few films pass this test). Characters were multi-dimensional. Dialogue sounded true to life. I was very happy with all of that and I’m so glad platforms like Netflix are creating opportunities for shows like these which have been ignored and written off by media conglomerates for so long.

So yeah, I guess that’s all for this week. I hope you’ve had a really good week as well. My quiche is done and I’m going to go dig in now 🙂 until next week, thanks for reading!