“I like listening to the sounds of nature and the sounds of the world.”

“Do you remember your first time riding a bike? Where were you? Who were you with?” Yeah, so the first time I rode a bike was with my dad in my neighborhood cul-de-sac. He was holding the back of my bike as I rode around. And my mom and my sister were watching me from the driveway. And I remember this so clearly because I felt so free. My hair wasn’t tied and so it was like flying behind me and the wind was at my face, and I just felt so connected with nature. And till today riding my bike is one of my favorite hobbies. In fact, in the pandemic I’ve ridden my bike way more than I ever have because we couldn’t go anywhere and it was just nice to go outside for a while because, you know, in online schooling, we were like sitting at a computer for eight hours a day. And so it was nice to go outside and I don’t know. Whenever I ride my bike, I feel very connected to the Earth, to nature, and I don’t listen to music while I’m riding my bike. So I like listening to the sounds of nature and the sounds of the world.

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“With technology and social media there are new ways to encounter magic.”

Also like recently now with social media and technology there are a lot of magicians in a sense who post videos. So there’s this really popular influencer called Zach King, and he has these mind-blowing magic tricks that he posts about. Like I saw him on TikTok the other day. He used to be very popular on Vine a few years back and he has YouTube and everything and he puts — it’s incredible what he does and I’m still amazed by it, like it does not seem possible. Like he can be standing in front of a train and then suddenly he pulls a train out of thin air and it’s like a toy train. And it’s like, how did you even do that? Like, how does the editing come into play? But yeah, so it was cool to see physical magic shows, but it’s also interesting that now with technology and social media there are new ways to encounter magic and, you know, be fascinated by it. And it is for all ages. Even though the shows, I haven’t been to any since I was very young. But magic is, of course, for all ages. And I know some people are not that interested in it. They don’t, you know, enjoy the concept of like deceiving in a sense, but I think magic is super cool. I wish I could do it. I might pursue it but I think that with the technology and social media, it’s gotten way cooler. Like I love watching those videos. They’re just so fascinating.

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“It’d be fun to be able to go so fast that the wind is catching you.”

“If you could turn into any animal at will, what would you turn into? One of our team members said ‘a cat,’ so they could choose when to pet and when to be left alone.” I actually like that logic, that’s really, really cute. I don’t know that I’d wanna be a cat, ‘cause, don’t they lick their own butts and so do dogs and everybody sniffs butts, and… I think I’d want to be something that could run fast, really fast, like a cheetah. Or like one of these animals, like, that can climb to big heights. Maybe not, because of the — they stink — but the monkeys, you know, I don’t want to be a monkey, ‘cause they stink but it could be kind of cool, if you could like scale these trees or, you know, or swing from branch to branch and know, just have this, like, mentality in your head that, you know, you’re going to swing from this branch to the next, and you’re going to hit it. You don’t have to worry about falling twenty feet. I think that would be super cool. Like a squirrel, like a flying squirrel, would do that and stuff. That would be kind of cool. But I think it’d be fun to be able to go fast, and run so fast that, you know, like, the wind is catching you. Like you’re super fast. I think that’d be kind of cool.

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“Why isn’t this purple?”

“What do you associate with the color purple?” That’s so funny that the Godmother does. My grandmother, is what I associate with purple. She absolutely loved purple. And everybody knows that she loves purple. And usually, if you give her something that isn’t purple, that could be, she kind of gives you a look like “what’s your problem here?” Like, even the envelope on a card she kind of looks at you like “why isn’t this purple?” Or the writing in the card, “why isn’t this purple?” Like she kind of gives you that look like “This could have been purple and it isn’t, so maybe make that happen next time.” I’ve recently bought her a book that’s called — I’m not going to remember the exact title of it, but something like, something about having more purple people in the world. And I thought that was so totally appropriate for her. And the book is really interesting too, about being your unique self.

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“I ran my second half marathon ever today”

I ran my second half marathon ever today with my brother and I’m really proud of myself. It was really cool. Because this race was very different from my first half-marathon I did. The first one I ran just by myself last year because of quarantine and Covid. There weren’t any races going on, but I really wanted something for me to do, since I had more free time was to learn, how to train to run a half marathon. And I did it. And then this year my brother was inspired. So he wanted to run one with me as well. And so we signed up for the Chicago half marathon, which was today and it was so much fun. And so different from the first one. We ran with six thousand people. It was wonderful. The entire time there were people cheering us on. The whole race just went by in a flash. I know it sounds crazy because it’s such a long run. Like, I did the whole thing in two hours and six minutes, but I feel like I blinked, and I was at 9 miles. And I just — every second was so fun. The halfway point was inside of a concert venue, and we — like the back of the venue where someone would drive a car to drop off equipment in the venue, we ran through there, and then turned around in the venue, and then came back out. We ran along Lake Michigan. It was just so beautiful.

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“I don’t think that helped my general grace level”

Uh, do I consider myself graceful or clumsy? I’m going to tie this in with another question. I consider myself really clumsy, and ever since I was little, I’ve just always had random bruises on my legs, just all black and blue from bumping into things and forgetting. Sometimes I would just accidentally cut myself. I’d not notice, ‘cause I felt a momentary, like, momentary pain, and then – ‘cause it happened so much of me bumping into things. I would just ignore it until someone else pointed it out. I also did climbing for quite a long time. So, you know, you got hurt a lot during climbing ‘cause you just bump against the wall, you fall, you scrape your arms and legs on the wall, and I don’t think that helped my general grace level, ‘cause you just get used to it. I’m also pretty tall for my age. So, you know. I’m very clumsy.

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“This one has gotten quite a reaction from my friends…”

“Are there any foods that you eat in a weird way?” Oh, yes, um, one — I do a weird thing and I don’t know why, where every time I take a drink out of a glass, I like, press the tip of my tongue up against the rim of the glass first. And once I realized I was doing it, I was like, “I don’t – I don’t know if other people do this, but I totally do.” Maybe it’s just so I don’t clink my teeth on it. I don’t know. Think about it next time you have a drink. Um, I used to do this thing. This is super gross, actually. I used to do this thing, I don’t really anymore. But I would lick all the salt off of tortilla chips, and then, like, make a little pile on a plate with them and then go back later and eat the chips, like, after I was done licking all the salt off them, so sick. Um, oh, this one has gotten quite a reaction from my friends and I don’t really see why it’s such a big deal. But apparently, I’m a psychopath for this. Um, I eat cereal with ice cubes in it. I mean, I don’t want the milk to be not cold. Like, I want it to be very cold. So, usually, like three to four ice cubes per bowl of cereal is what I want. And, um, yeah, I don’t think it’s weird. It’s so good. It’s like, if you’re holding the bowl with your hand, you’re warming it up and like, yeah, you want to — just try it. I promise you. It’s like, so much better.

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“It seems to become more and more of either an unknown…”

I spoke a lot about 9/11 last week. That’s still on my mind, even though we’re a, a week out from that. It’s always difficult to talk to my class about it, for me personally. And with every passing year, it seems to become more and more of either an unknown to my fourth and fifth graders or a mere curiosity. And it’s always a delicate balance to figure out how to cover 9/11 with my kids. And you know, I had a conversation with my uncle this week. And we spoke about how to discuss 9/11 with my class. And I mentioned how, you know, it’s a little delicate. I have to make sure that the way I present it is not in a fashion that might scar them. And pleasantly or politely, he was a little surprised. And he seemed to have the stance of, you know, teachers shouldn’t have to shy away from true history and, and what happened. And I get where he’s coming from on one hand, but on the other I do think there’s a time and a place for certain grades to learn certain things, at least in terms of the breadth or details of the events. You know, there’s, there’s even, well there’s countless moments from 9/11 that are brutal to hear about even as a adult. And so I do believe in some form of censoring that information, just as I would when discussing World War II or really any moment throughout history, you know. But then again, that’s the struggle. Sometimes I do wonder if the buck gets passed.

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“Bravery isn’t like being afraid, but it’s doing it anyway”

What is one piece of wisdom that you’ve found helpful for you? So when I was in Scouts, there was this one campout called the Canadian American Jamboree and I believe it was in Canada, and it was really fun. But one of the things — this was back in like sixth grade or something. Um, there was one activity, which was rappelling wall, you climbed up the stairs on this platform and then they had this big flat wooden wall and you, you’re in a climbing harness and you get your rappelling device and you run the rope through it and then you sort of walk back down and then you let yourself down the, um, the mountain or the structure rappelling and at the time, I was scared of heights and I really didn’t wanna go and I was kind of crying and I did it anyways and one of the adult leaders was telling me, you know “Bravery isn’t like being afraid, but it’s doing it anyway,” sort of thing. And that always kinda stuck with me, and he’s passed away now, a few years back or over ten, I think. But that’s something that’s always stuck with me.

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