10 things you do after getting accepted to an international traveling school…

…when you’re an American. I mean, United State-n. From the United States? You know what I mean. 

  1. Try to stalk your future classmates from the facebook groups, only to be cut short by your inability to read their posts, which are all in a language not English.
  2. Tell your parents they should have taught you several foreign languages as a kid. Promptly ignore your parents reminding you that you were the one who hated language classes and wouldn’t attend any more.
  3. Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 10.17.48 AM
  4. Look up the costs of getting visas in the 7 countries you’re going to, and realize you’ll reap the rewards and bear the burden of effective/ineffective foreign diplomacy soon enough.
  5. “[I] looked up timezones of the people I started chatting with so I didn’t text them at 3 am for some weird reason… Which, still didn’t stop me when I found something funny.” -Mayzie 
  6. “On Pinterest I found this really cool series of posters… which had customs, common phrases, hand signs, culturally relevant stuff etc. so I got all the ones to where we’re going.” -Vesi
  7. I recall googling drinking ages in the countries we were going to pretty early on…” -Kristin
  8. Cringe cringe cringe at every word that comes out of the Republican primary, election, and presidency of Donald Trump, because you have to look your future classmates in the eyes, 75% of whom are international and don’t understand what’s gotten into the U.S.
  9. “[I remember] trying to pry open the closed minds of my parents (especially in terms of international travel– why its worthwhile, why I’m not going to die, the benefit of moving outside of the US, etc.etc.etc.).” -Natalie 
  10. Google the locations of the seven cities you’re going to be living in. And maybe the countries too. 😅

Trying to book a flight to Seoul like…

Next semester, I’ll be living in Seoul, South Korea from September to late December, 2017. Hence, the search for an airplane ticket, which I mentioned to my mother and father, who promptly expressed no small amount of concern for my wellbeing. Soon it felt like my parents weren’t the only ones who were trying to warn me about going to live so close to North Korea. As the search for a good-priced ticket began, so did the prevalence of warning signs….

In the waiting office…
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In travel insurance… 
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In Twitter… 
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As the first result on Youtube… 
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The search results for North Korea. Unsurprising, perhaps, but not what you want to see when moving in next door.

I still bought my ticket. While I’m sure I’ll keep one eye on the news, watching for escalation in threats against South Korea. After all, South Korea and North Korea are technically still at war. However, if I wanted to avoid every possibility of danger, I wouldn’t be driving in a car as an American.

First day of June: recommendations for your time.

Here’s some of the better stuff I’ve come across in the last few days!


Just found this on my desktop but not sure where it came from…. it’s probably from some argument in the All Minervans facebook page, which contains students from my class (m2020) and the class who’ll graduate before us (m2019). This is cross-class love at it’s finest… ❤

“Walking With a Ghost”, Tegan and Sara

Quality listen.

Tower of God

This anime was built to be online – no scanned pages. It’s a beautiful and easy read, along with being straight up one of the more engaging anime series I’ve read. Intriguing world, fun characters, and never dull. (hehehe Khun’s a total cutie too.)

Born Sexy Yesterday

I highly recommend this video on the ‘Born Sexy Yesterday’ trope in a lot of sci-fi stories. Unfortunately, all too familiar; good to be able to put a name to it at last.


Elon Musk: Automation Will Force Universal Basic Income

The real gem is the embedded CGP Grey video, “Humans Need Not Apply,” a haunting prediction of our future. Remind me to develop some skills that won’t be mastered by robots and deep AI––at least, not for the next 70 years or so.

After 54 Years, We Fell in Love. After Five Months, I Got Leukemia.

A love story. An enjoyable read. What more could you want from 5 minutes of your time?

9 May 2017

The last week has been a happy blur of stories. I read Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows, books 3 and 4 of the Throne of Glass Series, and watched both seasons of Seven Deadly Sins on Netflix. I’ve begun rewatching Dear White People, this time with my mom. Today saw me through 53% of The Handmaid’s Tale, a figure thoughtfully provided by my Kindle.

I’ve also spent quite a bit of time with friends and family. Just Monday, I was woken up by my next door neighbor, who happens to be one of my best friends. (The other bestie is the girl across the sidewalk from us both.) We spent the next two hours together before heading to a cafe downtown (EXO) to meet my bestie, her boyfriend, and their friends. We’d spend the rest of the day together.

I needn’t have approached the menu with dread; despite my recollection that the place was one of the most expensive in Tucson, all menu items were priced $1 – $1.50 lower than the prices I’d grown accustom to in San Francisco. I ordered a black tea from a local company from whom I’d often purchased tea at a farmer’s market by the river (non-desert-folk: read, “wash”) near my house. It came with a free refill of prickly pear tea, and cost me $2.75. O.O

We made our way past the exposed brick walls I’d found so revolutionary just a year previously, to a large coworking space that had newly opened in the time I’d been away at Minerva. I don’t believe I gave its existence a second thought, until the juxtaposition of past me and present me struck me.

The sudden realization that a year ago I’d have reacted to or thought about something very differently than I do in the present moment has hit at a several moments since my return. It’s a sense similar to deja vu, a discord in how I’d have processed the situation literally the last time I was present it in, surrounded by the same town, family, friends, people, context, I had been wrapped in the last time I was presented with said situation.

It came when I took no notice of the coworking space in the back of EXO, the first of it’s kind in Tucson, which would once have caused me to blink in wonder and anticipation of the future.

It came when I blinked in wonder and realization of the present when I attempted to connect to the wifi, but was told by the barista that it was not unusual for the connection to be spotty when more than 25 connections had been made, as there was now. Just keep trying it, he said, and you should connect eventually.

It came when my friend causally mentioned that his classmate he was telling me about was Italian––like, she was actually born in a small town in Italy. Where I would have once sighed in longing for such a foreign connection, I simply shrugged and thought of the Italians I knew.

It came this afternoon when I met with my old boss to go over the agenda and proposed activities for a design thinking workshop I’m helping to run in June. Instead of simply giving the thumbs up, I found myself debating the strengths and weakness of empathy maps and rapid prototyping, saying things like “something we could incorporate from a sprint I did at Stanford’s d.school is” and “there was a really good run down of prototyping strategies the San Francisco’s Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation’s Fix-It Labs design bootcamp I went through provided us, I’ll see if I can find it” and “we spent a week or two on design thinking in class, we can use this thing I learned to solve that problem”.

I’m happy with my summer so far.

On a side note, Mayzie has helped me understand Arkansas’ existence, and rewritten its name. I leave you with…


4 May 2017

Why is it so difficult to not preserve?

When I bought my new computer last year when I began my second semester of university, I sold my old MacBook, a little slow but still functional, to my mom.

Today, I’ve been tasked with clearing it out, especially the 19,904 photos we suspect are in part responsible for the lag.

I spent a good hour, exploring my computer, looking for overlooked impressions I’d made on the machine in the 4.5 years I’d used it. Text files, word processors, desktop folders within desktop folders, I overturned them all. I didn’t want to loose a single .jpg.

Why so difficult to potentially lose some little moment, some text file, some photograph? Why do the losses weigh on me whereas I get no lift from every item that I upload to the cloud? Yes, it would be irreplaceable… but if I’m not likely to look through it all again anyways, why is it such a hit?

Thoughts appreciated.

2 May 2017

You know it’s been a long semester when your first full day back home, you sleep in till 2pm and go to bed about 11pm.

Finished Heir of Fire, of the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, a few hours ago.

Young Adult novels have always been one of my greatest pleasures in life. Physical books are stacked around my room as I type this; my kindle, which lies beneath my improvised standing desk, is full of tales of knights in shining armor (all of them women), of witches on wyverns, of bravery and heroics and love triangles.

I’d call them dirty pleasures, but one of the great things about the new YA that’s coming out is that it’s empowering. Almost all of the novels feature brave women who love their fancy clothing or don’t and are strong either way. They’re filled with gay couples, men in kitchens, of adventures to bring down xenophobic and oppressive regimes. I love nothing more than a female character whose virginity is not valued above all else by the fictional society or the author, and is instead written to have slept with any she wants to by the time our story begins. Sexual liberation is quality content.

Hmm, the more I think about it… I’ve got some good books beside me right now… hmm, I think the world of Pern is calling to me. (Unless Carrie Fisher’s memoir gets me first.)

Maybe I won’t be getting to bed by 11 after all…

1 May 2017


Switching over to this blog from my other one for Minervans only. That one has 144 posts from the last 6 months, so if you want to read it, apply to be a Minervan here thanks. 🙂

Arrived in Tucson at 7:30am this morning, after getting on a train exactly 24 hours earlier. Took the Coast Starlight to LA from Oakland, then the Texas Eagle/Sunset Limited to Tucson.

I created a wicked snapstory of the journey, which unfortunately did not save properly. I’ve been really getting into snapchat recently. Do you have any thoughts on

Leaving San Francisco on the Bay Bridge…


^Crossing a bridge, overlooking the ocean, on/near Vandenberg Air Force Base.


^We were often right over the water, crossing bridges or just on the side of the cliff.


^A video I sent to my mom from the Lounge Car, used for sightseeing. We passed through cities, through towns, through the country… this train went through it all.

Today, I took my little brother and sister out for Eegees and Raging Sage and we talked about what surprises we wanted to plan for our dad’s birthday and mother’s day, which are this week.

One of the things I tell people about when I explain why I love Tucson is that nearly every time I go downtown, I see people I know. What do you know––when we were leaving the cafe, we ran into my friend James, who I’ve known since elementary school, who was on his way to pizza. It’s good to be home.

I also met with my professional advisor from Minerva about following up with a CEO of a startup who invited me for lunch to discuss potential summer opportunities last week. I feel like I’m stepping into an entirely new world, one I never envisioned for myself just a year ago, where I can tell my mom I’m following up on potential projects for assorted startups and VCs in San Francisco. It’s a good feeling, if a little scary. It’s the good scary. I’m growing.

Finally – this just came up on autoplay and I’ll leave it here. I am So. Excited. for Seoul…