Natalie Cruz

"Our house used to be, you know, we all came back from classes this was our place to relax." My roommates and I have been going on walks and going to the park to see the sunset which is really fun. It gets us out of the house, gets us out of this setting cuz you know it sucks cuz our house used to be, you know, we all came back from class this was our place to relax, do a little bit of homework, but we mainly did the majority of our homework outside of our house cuz when we came here, this was like our place to finally unwind. But now it has turned into a, my office, my homework place, my — you know it’s just everything now, so it just sucks that I used to, you know, only relate home to being relaxed and being a little stressed. Yeah, but you know, you are always a little stressed.

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Anna Vredevelt

"I'd walk in every day, say hello to my favorite fish." When I was in kindergarten, I got sent home from kindergarten because every day I used to walk into the doors and there was a little fish tank in the lobby and I was really really young. I don’t even know how old kindergarteners are, like five or six. But I remember distinctly, I’d walk in every day, say hello to my favorite fish. It was an angel fish, it was silver. And one day I walked in and I looked into the fish tank, and my favorite fish was not there, and I was peering in, I was looking in, looking super, duper hard. And then I walked into the office. I was like “where’s my favorite fish?” And they were like “what fish?” And I was like “my– my angel fish. It was my favorite fish.” And just trying to explain what this fish looked like to them, and they said it died. And so, I started crying really, really hard, and so they walked me to class, and I sat there in class, and I wouldn’t stop crying. And at my school in kindergarten they had this point system where you had a green card, meaning you were behaving well and then you had a yellow card if you were being warned, and then you had a red card if you misbehaved and then you didn’t get a sticker, and then if you didn’t get a sticker you didn’t get a prize at the end of the month, or week, or something like that, something like that. Anyway, they kept shifting my warning, they were like “okay, I’m going to give you a yellow card”, but I honestly didn’t even care. I just remember being so sad about this fish. I was literally crying maybe I think it was an hour or two later, and I was just still crying about this little fish. And so then finally, I remember this moment, the teacher looked at me, they were like “Anna, do you need to go home?” And I just remember nodding, I couldn’t even speak. I was so sad about this fish. Wow, I must have had a flair for the dramatics.

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Yongqing Ye
Yongqing Ye

Yongqing Ye

"What is your favorite tree?" There are these six large palm trees right in front of the house my partner and I live in. We moved to this small Victorian house in Florida during the pandemic. And after about two month — about two month after we moved in, we noticed there was this squirrel family living up the palm trees. About one to two hours before the sunset every day they would come out and play. And one day we heard this “pa” sound right next to our garage, and something fell off the tree. When we approached, we saw it was a baby squirrel. It was tiny. We thought it was a hurt, but, no. It actually approached us and was sniffing our shoes and jumping around cheerfully, then it raced up the tree. And now we’ve been watching this family of squirrels for months and we want to make a YouTube channel named, “Life of a squirrel family.” And I love these palm trees because they’re huge and they’re providing the shelter for this lovely squirrel family, and I can’t remember how many afternoons during the lockdown I just sit around the back porch watching them play. That was my story about my favorite tree.

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Caroline Zackerman

"I'm feeling really grateful for my cat." It's the Friday after Thanksgiving, and thinking about the classic Thanksgiving question -- what I'm grateful for? And this week, I'm feeling really very grateful for my cat. I do not live at home right now, but I am home for Thanksgiving break, home from college, and I got to see my cat again after being away from her for three months. Her name is Lucy, and this cat is my best friend. Last year, when I was a freshman in college, I was not able to go to college. I had to stay at home for the fall semester, so I spent a lot of time alone in my room. Most of my friends were at college. I didn't really have a lot going on around here. I worked sometimes, but I mainly just sat in my room, did my online classes, did my homework, and my cat absolutely loves my room and spends all of her time in here. So, during that fall semester, me and my cat got very close. She was kind of my classmate. I would sit in my Zooms and she would sit on my lap the entire time, and I moved from my bed to my chair to my desk and she just, she'd follow me back and forth. And being at school now and being away from my cat is kind of the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I miss her all the time and so being back home and getting to have -- you know, it's only about four days, but getting to have those four days with her is super exciting. She is sitting on my lap, and I'm petting her now as I record this and I think just being away from all of my pets in general, I forget how nice it is to have a pet. I think they really improve my mood and she really makes me -- just brightens my day as she's fighting me right now. She's a little cranky, but when she's not fighting me like this. It's just so awesome to have a cat around like this. She's the best thing in the world.

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Anuya Shetty

"Did you prank anyone for April fools this year or have you done so in the past?" Yesterday was one of my friends birthday and coincidentally her birthday is on April fools day, didn’t get to prank her but it reminded me of this time where I pranked my cousin. So my friend from Canada came over to my cousin’s house and we were also there and for April fools we took some green toothpaste and we put it inside like a plastic bag and like smushed it up. So it looked kind of like, I don’t know like cream, like a sweet cream that you eat and we went to him and we were like, “hey, look we made this like frosting kind of thing. And we dyed it green you should try it, it’s really good.” I don’t understand how he believed that but he did. And he was so mad after he ate it cuz it was like the spicy kind of toothpaste. And he chased us around the whole house. Yeah, that wasn’t pretty but his dad got me back. He was like — he boiled like eggs and one of them was raw and it was supposed to be for my mom, the prank, but he did it on me instead. And I like you know, how when you break an egg, you have to like crack the shell, so I did that and the egg got all over my hands and everything. And so now whenever my uncle tells me to peel an egg when he’s cooking I get like suspicious of him cuz I don’t trust the eggs anymore.

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Ava Miller

"Is there a sound that makes you cringe?" There’s a lot of sounds that make me cringe, like nails on chalkboard, like one of the people said styrofoam rubbing together. What else? Oh, my bedroom is– there’s a gutter right by my window –and my bed is right by my window, so when it rains, after it’s done raining and the gutters just dripping. Also the gutters broken right there but nobody’s got to fixing it. So when it drips, it’s so annoying, and it’s just endlessly dripping. Also, when — during the summer time, there’s always a bird’s nest right there, which might sound nice to wake up to birds chirping. But when it’s, when they’re waking me up at like 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning, when you want to be sleeping in because you don’t have school, you kind of get on gets on your nerves. Another sound that makes me cringe is when you’re cutting with a sharp knife, I don’t even know if it has to be a sharp knife, just a regular ceramic plate, not like a plastic plate –well, it could be on a plastic plate — but not a cutting board, and it like slips, and it makes that screeching noise. I hate that. Or when you rub a fork on a plate bulb, it just makes my ears burn. Also, sometimes really really loud static makes me cringe.

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Avneet Pandher

"I'm a big Marvel fan" I’m a big Marvel fan and I found a quote the other day from a Tom Hiddleston interview where he said “everyone has two lives. The second one only begins when you realize you have just one.” I’ve been thinking about that quote ever since because I realized how good of a quote that is. Makes so much sense and it makes us more thankful for what we do have in life and life itself. “Some people say that life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond.” I agree. You can’t change what people are gonna say to you but you can change how you respond page to them. Again, big Marvel fan here. Wanda. Wanda in, I’m pretty sure Civil War, she said “I cannot control their fear only my own” and I agree with her. I think that is one of the best things that she said in Marvel Universe.

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