Whilst writing up my junior year in review blog post, which I’ll be publishing next week, I browsed the archives of my blog and realised that I don’t give very many real-time updates. For example, my ten days in Europe in July were stretched out on the blog throughout August, and all other content got held off; I even posted more than two times a week in hopes of getting the Europe posts out in a timely manner. So starting September, I want to bring back weekly updates. I’m not sure if I’ll be taking you day by day or if I’m only going to share the highlights or if I’m only going to share about the one thing that’s been on my mind that week; we’ll see what I log naturally. I’m not sure how this will affect my month-in-review blog posts, but these month-in-review posts tend to get a little lengthy anyway, so it might be a good thing to splice things up. Also, this gives me an excuse to relax with live updates on Snapchat stories and Instagram stories and live in the moment.
I’m trying to take more pictures of books because I’ve been inspired by bookstagrammers. Their feeds are sooo beautiful. I haven’t gotten in the habit of taking photos of my current reads before because I read a lot of e-galleys on my iPad and it’s kind of boring taking a picture of an iPad all the time. But now that I’m back in Philly, I’m planning to get in the habit of checking out physical books from the public library!
The Emoji Code by Vyvyan Evans | DNF
Sociable by Rebecca Harrington | ★★☆☆☆
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami | ★★★☆☆
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan | ★★★★☆
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson | ★★★☆☆
Sourdough by Robin Sloan | ★★★★☆
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | ★★★★★
A Guide for Murdered Children by Sarah Sparrow | DNF
Movies & TV shows
This Beautiful Fantastic | Reminded me of Amelie.
Snow Dogs | Rewatched this childhood favourite!
Broken: The Incredible Story of Brangelina | Watched it on the plane.
Star Trek | Watched it for the first time! On the plane.
The Devil Wears Prada | Meryl.
Game of Thrones | OH MY GOOOOOD.
Gilmore Girls | Binging it all over again.
Criminal Minds | Still going strong.
Lost | I’m not suuuper into it, but it’s not bad.
Famous in Love | Watched the whole season in one sitting a few nights ago. It’s kinda addicting…
Beijing | Tous Les Jours – Totoro/cat bread · Moka Bros – cinnamon latte, roasted apple waffle · Maan Coffee – hazelnut caramel latte, honey toast · Costa Coffee – iced mocha, iced latte, pink grapefruit lemonade · 鲜芋仙 – 招牌
Philly | Bruegger’s Bagels – rosemary olive oil bagel with honey walnut cream cheese · Saxby’s Coffee – chicken avocado croissant sandwich · Sweetgreen – harvest bowl · Spot Gourmet Burger – Billy burger (fresh goat cheese, sauteed spinach, fire-roasted red peppers and truffle-balsamic) · Walnut Street Cafe – khachapuri, pistachio cherry croissant · Yamitsuki – miso tonkotsu pork ramen · A La Mousse – sizzling matcha brownie · La Colombe – draft latte
Ban.do ringer tee, multi + black flock iron-on letters
Birkenstock Arizona oiled leather, tobacco
Making pretty pancakes. My only requirement for “pretty” pancakes are that they’re circular and not burnt to crisps. I think part of the excitement of making pancakes is seeing how pretty we can make them. The suspense from making one pancake to the next is intense! And also, who doesn’t love eating piping hot pancakes for breakfast? I’ll take them in any shape or size! The pancakes go straight from the griddle into our mouths. I have no idea how people make stacks of pancakes; my brothers and I eat them faster than we can make and stack them.
Trips to Jenny Lou’s (a popular grocery store chain in Beijing; it’s actually called Jenny Wang’s now, but it will always be Jenny Lou’s to me!) with my brothers. It’s one of the few ways you can get them out of the house, and walking outside no less. My favourite snack to buy is Lorenz Paprika Pomsticks. Other ways to bribe my brothers out are with Costa Coffee and Starbucks, though our Starbucks is further than our Costa Coffee, so they’ll only go out for Starbucks if we have the car. To give you an idea of how unfamiliar we are with leaving the house on our own accord, you might find it amusing to know that we locked ourselves out of the house on one of these excursions and weren’t able to get back in until we called our mom (who was in Hong Kong for a conference) and she told us that there were spare keys in the shoe cupboard. Sidenote: the photos above are of my brothers walking to Jenny Lou’s, and on this trip Danny decided to use a stuffed monkey as a backpack. My brothers’ shenanigans keep me young. Though at other times they age me.
Frequent Flier miles! I had two layovers on my way from Beijing back to Philly, and for all three flights I was upgraded to first class. I totally lucked out this summer with all my first class flights, like back in June when my brother and I flew first class from Philly to Beijing. I could get used to this lifestyle, but I probably shouldn’t haha.
Saved my first Uber ride discount for good purpose. I used it for the first time to get from the Philly airport to my apartment! It was originally $36, but I paid $16. Usually I just take the SEPTA train back, but it wasn’t running the weekend I got back, which meant I needed to take a bus. Late in the evening. Whilst carrying a large suitcase, a large backpack, and a small bag. And I wasn’t about that.
Back in July, I caught up with Kelsey whilst in Beijing. She’s currently working with high school students who are looking to apply to American colleges. One of her kids is interested in Haverford, particularly in Linguistics and American Sign Language. As I am a Linguistics major who took American Sign Language last semester as an elective, Kelsey thought to connect the two of us so that I could answer any questions he had. The two of us had a good chat over text, and his enthusiasm was so invigorating. For me, a tired senior, it was refreshing and it made me excited about what I was learning all over again. I know that sometimes seniors can look down on first-years or be a little condescending towards them, but I think there’s a lot we can learn from each other.
Before leaving Beijing, I made a trip to the dentist and got a tooth pulled. It was pretty traumatic tbh. I ate porridge for two days, took naps so I wouldn’t have to think about the hole in my mouth, watched a lot of baking videos on Youtube, and was pretty sure I’d never be able to eat solid food ever again (sometimes I can be a drama queen). I’ll be continuing some procedures over winter break, which means I’m going to be staying in Beijing all winter break.
I wasn’t so excited about staying in Beijing for another whole break at first because the internet situation there drives me crazy, but I definitely want to get my mouth fixed and have time to heal. Maybe I’ll enjoy Beijing better in the winter than the summer because at least it won’t be super hot out, which means that the idea of leaving the house won’t be so abhorrent; hopefully the pollution won’t get too much worse in the winter though. The more I think about it, the more excited I am for winter break in Beijing. I hope to go out and about, create a lot of content, and show you the beautiful parts of Beijing. I feel like we don’t see enough of Asia in the blogosphere; Europe isn’t the only place with Instagrammable cities you know!
And now, back to Philly. I’ve been hanging out with my Bryn Mawr friends as much as I could before school starts, because I’m hardly ever at Bryn Mawr once school starts!
I borrowed a bike from my apartment for the first time. My apartment lends bikes to its residents for the day, of which they have three. It’s free; you just have to sign them in and out. Even though I’ve already lived here for one year, I’ve never borrowed a bike. Until this month! It’s taken me this long to get around to it because the area in which I live is not very bike-friendly; there are tons of hills, there aren’t any bike lanes, the sidewalks aren’t in the best condition, and it’s all big roads with mean cars. But the summer heat was getting the best of me, so I wanted to try it out. And I almost died!!!!! Also it was super tiring going one way (it was probably easier to walk), but going back was better. Not sure if I’ll be biking again haha.
I’ll be up to less shenanigans once school starts. UPenn actually already started their classes, so I’ve been to that, but the rest of my classes don’t start until this coming week. At UPenn, I’m taking Art, Design, and Digital Culture (that’s the name of one class, not three haha), and at Haverford I’m taking Speech Synthesis. I’m also taking two senior seminars at Haverford for my double major theses, but I don’t really count them as classes, although I do get credit for them. So yeah, I’m only really taking two classes, and they’re both Tuesday/Thursday classes. I’m excited and it doesn’t seem like too much work, as long as I keep on top of my senior thesis (theses??), which I still have no idea what I’m doing with!
Other than academics, I’ve been super busy with relaunching Her Campus at my school! It has been a club at my school for two years, but they kinda phased out during their second year due to inactivity, so the Community Development Associate of Her Campus reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in heading the relaunch as a Campus Correspondent. Over the summer, my partner Mimi and I did two rounds of applications, a phone interview, and put together the first week of content. So once school starts, our chapter will be ready to roll. All we need to worry about now is getting more people to join and write for us, and to make sure that they keep writing and meeting deadlines! I’m worried about both parts haha.
I hope I haven’t thrown myself into too much! My class schedule is deceivingly light. We’ll see how I fare this coming month.
How was your August, and what are you planning for September?