Student. Journalist. Explorer.

Category: Blog

Day 263: Reunited

by Sonia Su

Thanks to getting only two hours of sleep, I passed out on the flight from Boston to Baltimore. It’s rare that I sleep so soundly from take-off to landing, but I suppose a 7:45 a.m. flight always helps. Some background: I went home this weekend to attend a funeral for my great grandmother who passed away a few weeks ago.

After picking me up from BWI, my mom went to the warehouse quickly to do some work while I spent the brief time we were there to catch up on copy editing for the Buzz.

Before the ceremony at 1 p.m., my parents and I joined her uncle and brother at a pho restaurant, where I finally tried the dish she always orders whenever we go to a pho restaurant—not pho but a spicy beef noodle soup that I don’t actually know the English name for. It tasted great (though it may have had MSG considering how my mouth felt afterward, but didn’t need to drink a lot of water during the meal). I’m not sure I would order this every time I eat at a pho restaurant, but I would order it again.

Beef noodle soup at Pho Van in Catonsville

My mom’s favorite Vietnamese dish.

The weather today was particularly hot—about 75 degrees and sunny. I wasn’t that close with my great grandmother near the end of her years, but I remember visiting her often when we were younger and before she moved to California.

Literally every one of my family members (“cousins”) that we saw again after years of not seeing each other said I looked exactly like my mom. Every single one.

2014-09-20 14.52.47 Meadow Ridge Cemetery in Elkridge, MD 2014-09-20 14.52.07

We went to one of the only decent Chinese restaurants in Maryland at 4 p.m. for dinner. We didn’t start eating till around 5 but I’m so grateful for the early dinner because by 6 p.m., exhaustion from getting essentially no sleep hit me. My dad must have noticed when I could hardly keep my head up and thankfully suggested that my sister and I leave first. Plus, as many ABCs have experienced, dinners like these always last for hours after everyone has finished eating because people continue talking and talking, while the ABC children look bored to death, waiting for it to end. It felt like we were children again, because although I gave my best efforts to at least keep up, if not participate given my lack of fluency, in the conversations, my energy had diminished to nothing by the time we finished eating. I couldn’t keep up anymore.

But it was still nice to just be with my family again, even if only for a day.

2014-09-20 22.06.18

During dinner, we also got a chance to take a closer look at the envelope of pictures that my grandmother’s sister had collected and gave us during the ceremony. Most were of me, because she had apparently taken care of me for most of my toddler years, when my parents were in their beginning years of their business. The photos were hilarious. I thought I was a pretty ugly baby, but my sister was even uglier. LOL.2014-09-20 16.07.07

After our early escape, my sister suggested going to get froyo. I agreed, even though I was so tired, until I asked if she has ever tried bingsoo (shaved ice). Surprisingly, she asked if there was a place to get that now, and of course, being on a road full of Korean restaurants and stores, I said there were two.

We ended up getting some delicious red bean bingsoo before heading home.

Red bean bingsoo at Shilla Bakery in MD


I intended to only nap for an hour at 8 p.m. and then wake up to desperately catch up on work—that is, until I woke up at 11 p.m., realizing I had overslept by two hours and then thought, “Screw it. I’m sleeping.”

Sleep never felt so rewarding. But now I am even more desperate to catch up on work.

Day 262: Fat Fridays

by Sonia Su

My Singaporean friend has been intent on using up her coupons from her—not one but—TWO coupon books that she (I kid you not) literally found on the street floor and picked up.

When she happened to text me immediately after my meeting with my Chinese class peers for our first group presentation on Monday, we both hadn’t eaten lunch yet. #busywomen

Since she still had to make a return at Bed Bath & Beyond, I agreed to meet her at BurgerFi for a very late lunch at 3 p.m. Unfortunately, the coupon was only valid from Sunday to Wednesday, and although we did consider other options where we could use her other coupons (lol), we eventually decided to just eat at BurgerFi.

She had hyped it up so much from the first time she went there and said it was the best burger she has ever had. Since I hate to use superlatives, I will say that this was one of the best burgers I have ever had. Try it, folks—even though it is such an obvious Shake Shack copycat.

BurgerFi burger and fries

Beginning of #fatassfridays.

She got 16 ounces worth of froyo. #FATASSFRIDAYS

She got 16 ounces worth of froyo. #FATASSFRIDAYS



Later, I went to Blanchard’s with my roommate for the first time. Yay for 21+ adventures.


First alcohol run!

Day 261: Harvard Hype

by Sonia Su

Silicon Valley venture capitalist and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel visited Harvard Business School today for a fireside chat with Professor Bill Sahlman. I didn’t plan on going with anyone until my roommate offered to join. Given that I still had some free Lyft rides left, we took Lyft both to and from the event, unsurprisingly encountering some interesting drivers.

The driver who took us to HBS happened to be an Harvard alum. Yeah, something didn’t click. How was it that he went to one of the most prestigious schools in the world and is now working as a Lyft driver? He said he works as a consultant but studied psychology. His car was also a beat-up Toyota Camry that looked exactly like the one my grandpa used to drive.

Once we arrived, he mentioned how he might consider going.

“Is it free?” was what he immediately asked. We’ll never know if he did end up going. Burden Auditorium was huge. Full of “intellectuals.” We clearly felt out of our element.

Peter Thiel at Harvard

Selfies everywhere.

Selfies everywhere.

All in all, the actual conversation frankly wasn’t nearly as exciting as the idea of just being at Harvard or just seeing Peter Thiel in person. Other than the one line about how failure in the startup industry is greatly overrated, nothing about the way he said things or even the things he said captivated me. I mean, if you’re going to speak in front of an audience of hundreds, you should at least make it somewhat interesting by engaging the audience at least once. I wanted to like him. I still do. But as far as this chat went, I’m a little disappointed.

Peter Thiel at Harvard

Anyway, my friend suggested that we should explore the campus a bit. We had seen a “Harvard Business School” sign on the way there, so we were determined to find it again just so we could take pictures. Of all my friends, only she would be as determined and unashamed of taking selfies and posing in front of a sign while dozens of cars passed by. #noregrets

Harvard Business School Batten Way

Oh, hay.



Harvard University

We totally go here.

We totally go here.

Day 260: Last Lobster Night

by Sonia Su

Tonight was the last lobster night for us seniors.

Thank you to BU Dining Services for spoiling us every year with this yummy tradition.

We first went to the dining hall on East Campus until we saw—at only 5 p.m.—the line was already out the door and wrapped around the corner. (“SHOULD HAVE TAKEN A PICTURE,” I told myself repeatedly as we walked away. This happens too often.)

Quickly, we rushed to the next nearest dining hall—Warren Towers in Central. Thankfully, the line was not nearly as long.

I didn’t take the classic photo of me holding my plate of my lobster, partly because we were all ravenous and partly because it’s just too cliché. But let’s be real. I say that now but if I am being honest with myself, that would have been a great photo. #nottoocoolforclichés

Lobster Night at Warren Towers, thanks to BU Dining Services

We devoured our lobsters.

Lobster Night at Warren Towers, thanks to BU Dining Services

Last Lobster Night :(

Day 259: Not-So-Hidden Menu

by Sonia Su

Getting less than five hours of sleep unpleasantly reminded me of what it feels like to want to fall asleep in class. I don’t miss the feeling. But I also don’t regret why it happened. Writing that reminded me of my time in Shanghai and earlier this year when I first started this project. I’m certain that I wrote a similar phrase—I don’t regret the adventurous experiences I have had despite the sacrifices that are made for these experiences.

This time, I suffered through trying to stay awake because I didn’t sleep till 1 a.m. and woke up at 6 to catch up on work before my 8 a.m. class across campus. Sam Smith was still worth it all. I have a feeling I’ll be sleeping early and soundly tonight.

I went to Panera for dinner and to get some non-class-related work done. Funny how Panera’s menu items had “HIDDEN” in front of its name on the menu, when it clearly was not. I don’t think Panera understands the concept of hidden or secret. Nevertheless, this hummus chicken bowl was very satisfying.

The Power Hummus Chicken salad bowl from Panera's Hidden Menu

If I can see it on the menu, it isn’t hidden.

I camped out here for nearly three hours stalking researching South Morning China Post interns and the program. I NEED to work there after graduation.


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