“Let’s just say it was ten times better.”

So, before I talk about how I celebrate these things and how it compared to last year. Let's just say it was ten times better because everything last year was virtual and it's just not the same, you know, no one has their camera on over zoom and if they do, you just see their fans. So, it was really nice to celebrate these things in person. So, I celebrated Diwali and it was really fun because in my high school we could dress up for it, and so me and my friends we wore traditional Indian attire. We also had a Diwali dinner at our school, with Indian food and a dance party with Indian music. For Day of the Dead in my Spanish class, we made an ofrenda and everyone brought in pictures of their dead relatives and things they liked. And it was nice to bond with our classmates over their families and their cultures and whatnot. So, celebrating these holidays were amazing this year because we could celebrate them in person and just bond with the people around us.

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“It was a surreal experience seeing all of those things.”

One of the prompts is "what's the coolest animal you've seen in person?" And like one of the team members, I have also went whale watching and I think that was one of the coolest experiences ever. We saw probably like hundreds of dolphins swimming right next to our boat. It was such a big -- I'm not sure what the term for a group of dolphins is called. But like, it was a very, very large group of dolphins. And there were some baby dolphins swimming right next to their moms. And there were hundreds of them. They were like hop -- sorry, jumping out of the water and they were doing, some of them were making these noises. It was, it was such a cool experience, like being at the head of the ship and so many -- or like the head of boat and so many dolphins just around us. And we did also get to see blue, a blue whale which is crazy thinking that one of -- like I got to see one of the largest mammals, or I believe the largest mammal ever. So, that was such a cool experience. And the thing with whales is that like, when we saw the whale, like the blowhole, and like its sprouting water out and it was huge, like you see it in pictures and videos like how -- in pictures and videos, it doesn't capture like how high the water goes and how much water that is. And when the whale dives back in and the tail like flaps into the water, it leaves this like glossy spot-on top, like on the surface of the water. I don't know, it was a surreal experience seeing all of those things.

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“I don’t like people who are nice-nasty.”

Something I've always said, I like people who – I can't say I like them, but I prefer people who are just rude and mean, and are just really flat out about it, rather than people who try to hide behind it or hide behind the pretense of being nice or being honest or anything like that. Of course, I don't like rude or mean people, but I’d rather you just outwardly be, like, a rude person rather than – I like to call it nice-nasty. I didn't make up that term, but people – I don't like people who are nice-nasty. Like, if you've ever seen Mean Girls – I love how I'm saying “you” as if, you know, this is just a random person who's just talking, but like if you've ever seen Mean Girls, the way Regina George goes, Regina George is pretty nice-nasty a lot of the times. Like, when Regina George is like, “I like your skirt,” and then ((the girl's)) like, “Oh my God, thanks,” and she walks away. And then she goes, “That's the ugliest effing skirt I’ve ever seen.” I hate that. Like, what, like? Or like in middle school, the mean girl who isn't ever, like, outwardly mean or rude, but just like does little off-the-wall little mean stuff and like, goes, “Wow, like, I love your pants. Where'd you get those? Oh, wow, they’re sure, like, unique I guess, hahaha.” And then they go and, like, giggle with their friends and like, “Hahaha, oh my God, Gretchen, look at her pants. Those are so cute, hahaha.” And it's, like, just hearing the words you say, “Oh, that's not – that's not rude.” But, like, you know, you know you're being mean. Like, you know, you're trying to, like, make fun of them. I hate that.

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“And so what I took away from that is just be extremely patient.”

I did learn once that -- I was on a team that was working with a team in India. Programmers. And I didn't experience this personally, but I had like a training module for business communication internationally, that it's more customary in India for them to like, have a short personal conversation before getting down to business. Like, "Hey, how's it going? How's your day going?" Or even getting to know you, like, "What is your hobby?" or something before starting work. Which in my experience in the United States, that is not as common. It's just like, "let's get on this call. Let's go through the agenda. Let's do what we're here to do." And the message was that if you do that, some people in India might perceive that as rude. Just goes to show that it's a subjective thing. Tough, tough thing to navigate. And so, what I took away from that is just be extremely patient. It'd be valuable to be generally aware of what's considered rude or not. Cuz you know, the goal is to not be rude. It's not constructive to a relationship usually. So yeah, you sometimes gotta -- sometimes instead of saying, "We got a problem," sometimes you gotta frame it as a challenge or an opportunity and that's just part of collaborating with people, I think.

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“They had to close down the museum.”

So when I was in second grade, we went on this field trip to this weird museum and I wish I knew what it was called, but I have a feeling that if I describe it enough, somebody who's lived in Michigan their whole life will know what I'm talking about. But it's this museum where the basement is a whole town and it's a very mid-western town, you walk through and it's all these little storefronts and it's very quaint and cute and it's fairly big for being a town-based basement in a museum, like it's a very strange experience. So we were there in second grade and the upstairs had this rock-climbing wall. And there was also a bunch of -- there was a Warheads, like, dispenser, little candy dispensers up there too. And so, you know, my classmates were all surrounded by the -- we were all surrounding this Warheads candy machine and we're getting just an outrageous amount of them. And all of a sudden, I hear this bang and I turn around a kid in my class was climbing up the rock-climbing wall and had absolutely ate it, like slipped and hit his head on the rock-climbing wall and fell all the way down to the ground and he wasn't that far up, but it was still a fairly big fall. And I just remembered looking over and seeing he had hit his head and so he was bleeding, like he had a huge nosebleed. And I remember looking over the rock-climbing wall and it's covered in blood from where he landed. I shouldn't be laughing but it's like it's so traumatic for me. Like I literally thought, I think everybody in my class screamed. And my mom was supervising the field trip, so I ran back to her, and I was like, "Oh my God," and then everyone got to leave class early and they had to close down the museum. Or at least that part of them museum for the rest of the time that we were there at least, to clean it. But yeah, it was definitely a museum experience that left an impression on me.

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