February 14

All my Valentine’s Days till date have been forgettable. On most days I don’t believe in love, unless it is directed towards the sun or ramen noodles. Last year was a little out of the ordinary. I didn’t have class that day so came out of my dorm room in the afternoon to participate in a Narrative Comprehension study (great way to earn cash when living a student life). Usually the kids in the college were an uncommunicative, anti-social lot but this time I sort of got talking to the guy conducting the study. He told me about an open secret of the Uni; a wooden bench located over an air vent in the quad. And how he could spend days on that bench, even in the snow. Minutes later I was sitting on the warm bench, enjoying the oasis of warmth in the midst of a desert of cold, and that fleeting connection between two human beings. I didn’t sit on that bench again. In the following months, I didn’t see him sitting on that bench either.

Many weeks ago, I came across a Twitter challenge asking the Uni alums/students to write an ultra-short story about the Uni. Up till then, I was blissfully unaware of Hemingway’s six word story- “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” I wrote one about that afternoon– Rosenwald’s warm bench brought them closer. I hope you have had far more rewarding February 14ths.

More six word stories can be found here and here.

23 things in 2013

A list of the “first time” things I did in 2013—

1. Hiked in the Grand Canyon (first day of the year).
2. Biked on the Chicago Lakefront trail.
3. Couchsurfed.
4. Hosted a couchsurfer.
5. Saw a celebrity on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Helen Mirren).
6. Saw/heard an opera—Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde.
7. Met the new love of my life—shiitake mushrooms.
8. Took a week-long solo trip.
9. Taught myself (with the help of two friends) how to ice skate.
10. Saw a play—Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party.
11. Went for a music concert—Mika.
12. Worked part-time as a tutor and proctor.
13. Paid income tax.
14. Attended a live music performance (BB Kings Blues Club, and House of Blues).
15. Saw from the outside both of Obama’s houses (White House and the one in Hyde Park).
16. Went to Disneyworld.
17. Went to beaches on the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean.
18. Ate at a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown on the Chinese New Year.
19. Participated in a pride demonstration outside the US Supreme Court.
20. Saw the moon, Saturn, Uranus and some random stars through a telescope.
21. Experienced really cold temperatures (-20ºC = 4ºF).
22. Sent postcards to people I don’t know (via Postcrossing).
23. Started a blog!