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September 4, 2022 2:12 AM

James River

In 2011, I went to the James River with my sister, two of my cousins, and my uncle. I don't think I would have really remembered this trip if my uncle hadn't taken a lot of photos. This was back when I was a chubbier college student, and my sister and cousins were just little kids.

But I'm glad he took all of those photos, because it reminds me of a good memory in a good place.

March 20, 2022 1:51 PM

First day of spring

There are two things that make me proud to be part of something. One of them is success. The other is the times you spend with people, having truly quirky moments. The moments that make me forget that stupid things like American Idol exist.

- me, 12 years ago

I was a senior in high school and I was in the indoor drumline. We had a competition that morning, and we were really happy with our performance.

It was also the first day of spring, so a few of us celebrated by going to Rita's. That was fun, so we decided to go to another Rita's. And another. And another. We finished our round of Rita's at the local mall. Since it was spring, the Easter bunny was around and we all took a picture together.

My next door neighbor was also in the drumline, so we drove to his house, but we weren't ready for the day to end yet. We all stood in a circle in the driveway and asked ourselves, "What should we do now?" Standing there, it felt like we contemplated forever.

One of my friends really wanted to go bike riding, but there were 7 of us. Where were we going to get enough bikes? We ended up driving all around town to some of our houses and our friends' houses to pick up bikes from different places until we had one for each of us to use.

Right when we started riding, we had to cross the street to get to the park, and I nearly got hit by a car. But I was fine. We got to the park and we rode around and I was incredibly slow and lagging behind everyone. Once we got tired of riding, we all went swimming in the creek. I've never really been a huge fan of bike riding or swimming, and I'm not really good at either, but man, it was so much fun.

Somehow, only 5 hours had elapsed throughout our adventures that day. It truly felt like the best day ever.

March 3, 2022 9:49 PM

My Trip to Cambodia

These are notes that I took while I was on a trip to Cambodia in August 2017

Squatty Potties
Lots of trees
Lots of wooden furniture
Poopy things

Day 1: Arrive in Phnom Penh. Culture shock. Driving is crazy. Walking around the vehicles is crazy. Stay at the guest house. There is no barrier between the showers and the rest of the bathroom. There is no toilet paper. We tried to find some toilet paper at the central market in Phnom Penh. It was a challenge. Finally found some along with paper towels, but we bought the paper towels by accident. Ate at some relative's (to sopboy) restaurant. Avoided the ice, except for Dana. We are stinky. Went to the Aeon Mall. It has five floors and "ice park". Took bets on what it actually was, but it's an ice rink. Ate at some super expensive restaurant in the mall. We were all confused because they made the kids sit in a separate table and we didn't know how to order in Cambodian. Xiaoming felt sick. Had some bubble tea. There was a cool arcade.

September 7, 2021 10:56 PM

Scrabble Life

This is the Common App essay I wrote when I was applying to colleges. I don't know how this could possibly have made me look desirable to colleges, but it's a glimpse into my life in 2010.

It's four in the morning. I'm wide awake, and I'm picking out tiles from a bag: OENSHYT. I look at my letters and my eyes light up. I can make a bingo on my first turn. Oh, darn. I wish I had the first move so I could utilize the TRIPLE WORD spot. Nevertheless, I still might be able to play this. I sit in anticipation, watching everyone else make their moves. My older cousin plays the word BIN. I see an opening. I place the tile S at the end of BIN to make BINS. Then I place the rest of my letters around it, making the word HONESTY. I get 71 points on my first bingo ever. My cousins can never catch up to me, and soon I win the game by 61 points.

Even though I don't quite enjoy writing that much, I absolutely love word games and crossword puzzles. I especially excel at Boggle. I love playing it because it's fast and easy, and it requires no strategy, just speed and concentration. But if there's more time, I usually play a game of Scrabble with my cousins. I have no idea why we're all so drawn to this game. It requires much more thinking than any of us would want to exert on a lazy summer night, but it's what we do together.

No, I'm not a competitive Scrabble player. The only times I've ever played Scrabble were with my cousins. I'm not a very strategic player either. I always make the move that gives me the most points, even if it leaves me with horrible tiles. I don't think about whether I might open up the TRIPLE WORD spot or not. I always try to win, though. Sometimes I'll take five minutes in my turn scanning the whole board, constantly rearranging my letters, and adding up possible points. It's an activity that I love to play for fun, but I would surely crack under pressure if I were in a serious competition.

At times, my cousins and I have gone all day and night playing Scrabble. We wake up at around noon, and immediately we take out the limited edition Scrabble board. Later we decide to watch a movie, so we use my cousin's iPod and play Scrabble with each other in the car. Even in the movie theater, we're still passing around the iPod.

We're a bunch of teenagers to young adults, and yet sometimes we're such dorks. One of my younger, twelve year-old, cousins always sits by herself texting and checking her Facebook. "What a bunch of losers," she must be thinking, "They'd rather play scrabble than go out." One time last summer I had a birthday party to go to. I left to go to my friend's house when I was in the middle of a cousin bonding Scrabble game. Of course I had fun at the party, but I honestly had even more fun playing Scrabble.

I don't see my cousins very often: only once or twice a year. So when we're not around each other, we have normal lives and sleep cycles. We always make the most out of each bonding experience, even if that means playing board games all day.

May 17, 2021 6:19 PM

The food blog before the food blog

This is a set of 9 10 blog posts that I wrote in 2018, detailing the food the I made and ate over the course of 9 10 weeks. I had a very specific goal of having a $30 a week food budget, and I basically failed that because I always do :P I had considered just inserting these entries at the time that they were written, but I decided I wanted one long-ass blog post instead. With commentary!

Weekly Food Review 1: 8/10 - 8/17

Welp, one week in, and I've already failed to stay within my food budget. It really wasn't too bad considering I did stay under $30 in groceries, but I gave myself a special birthday treat and I was also obligated to get coffee at a programming meeting. (Girl Develop It! I miss those meetups)

Groceries: $29.08
Coffee: $2.94
Eating Out: $11.28
Total: $43.30

90% of the meals I make are from Budget Bytes (If you've never checked out this blog, you need to. It's amazing. I think it actually changed my life.) So this week I made three different dishes:

If you actually read through those recipes carefully, you'll notice that I stretched out the chicken skillet to 5 meals--one of the meals just didn't have much chicken, and I supplemented it with an egg. I actually still have one more meal of this left. I also really stretched out the salmon meal, but that's because I bought over a pound of salmon and a pound of green beans.

I don't know if it was because I ate way too much in the two weeks prior to this, but I was feeling really hungry a lot of the time. For next week, I'm going to plan four dishes and make the portions a little larger. I know, I still need to stay within my budget. Salmon was about a third of the grocery bill, so I think I can replace that with something cheaper and more filling. For this first week, I didn't actually think about how much each meal would cost, nor did I utilize much that was already in my kitchen or think about what foods were on sale.

My eating out meal was at a fancy restaurant because I had a $30 off birthday coupon! (Man I also miss birthday coupons) Of course I still ended up spending a lot on it because of tips. I've already committed to a meal out next week, but I'll actually try and see if I can keep my grocery bill under $20 for this next week.

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