today is extraordinary.

Category: Stanford

Last column

My final Op-Ed for The Stanford Daily was published today. I’d love for you to read it, if you have a spare moment. (If you have two spare moments, feel free to respond!)

Here: “Peace be with you”


A Brief Anthropological Comparison of Meyer Library and Ricker Dining Patrons

“It’s a different crowd than the 5 a.m. Meyer crowd.” (Eric, speaking of Ricker Dining)

Observations in Meyer Library, open 24 hours

and Ricker Dining Hall, 8 – 9 a.m.


Ricker: [people eating]

Meyer: “I once saw a group of people just asleep, at the same table.”


Ricker: The sight of students grabbing three eggs and several waffles because they’ve come back hungry from the gym, or a 10-mile run.

Meyer: [not applicable]


Ricker: [demography unknown]

Meyer: “Okay, first of all, 90 percent of the people are Asian. Like, not your kind of Asian, but like, straight-up from-Asia Asian.”

*Nina’s note: 24-hour libraries are a college cultural staple, at least in Seoul.


Ricker: “There’s a hopeful, upbeat feeling” due to the fact that people are eating to start their day.

Meyer: [not applicable]


*Eric’s note: “[There are] people in Ricker who look like they should actually be in Meyer.”


… Eric and I are at Ricker Dining this morning out of an effort [instated by Eric, supported by Nina] to “shock” him out of his 5 a.m. – 1 p.m. sleeping schedule. It must be noted that I picked him up at his dorm for our walk to Ricker, and found him sleeping on a public sofa by the door – presumably waiting for me.

“Eric?” I said through the glass. He jolted awake.

Currently, as we look around us in Ricker, Eric is in awe at the idea that students have “normal” schedules, and I thought we might record this. It is, to be sure, fascinating that students might be living in different time zones within the same campus.

“Sometimes, I come to breakfast after staying up all night, and feel like a sham. Because I’m going back to bed.”

(LOL – and the boy who definitely just ran 10 miles, if not more, is still getting more food.)

The love affair called my ego

I’m afraid of my ego:

By the time someone takes a shot at it, it’s usually already taken over and done damage along the way.

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Grand and unexpected connnections

It’s easier to remember the craziness in other peoples’ lives. It’s harder to see the craziness in our own. Perhaps it’s because we are naturally given to thinking our own experiences are somewhat normal; after all, we did live them already. It feels like “old news.”

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It’s the day before we leave the country that my mom and I meet Rachele, my babysitter from when we lived in Italy 20 years ago. Several weeks ago I sent a letter to her 1996 Napolitano address, but it never received a response. And our visit to Naples revealed buildings and communities that had seen bad history over the last two decades. We asked after her family at our old complex there, but nothing more than the memory of their name remained.

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La musica [che gia’ conosci]

A talented celloist friend told me something intriguing: the joy of music [as discovered by legitimate, scientific researchers] is often found in the act of recognition.

That is, the more familiar it becomes, the fonder you get.

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La chiesa, via della Vigna Vecchia

Sixty-two thousand miles away from my California home, there is a group of people who share the same foundation as I do. It’s a community that sees this world and knows God’s truth like I do. The magnitude of this hit an eye-popping me once we began singing, in Italian, a song deeply familiar to me in English. I love languages and the significance of their differences. More beautiful, though, is how faith is independent of them all.

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Involvement is tempting

Several friends of mine have been in discussions about something, and I somewhat took on the role of third-party observer. At least, that’s what I said in my last note, if you remember. Apparently, though, I wasn’t as successfully “on the sidelines” as I thought. I quickly realized how much I was interfering.

It’s just so tempting, isn’t it? Read the rest of this entry »

The view from inside/outside

The window is unclear – that is, the one between our view of ourselves and the view others have of us. It’s probably a good thing we remain so blissfully unaware of it, too. Read the rest of this entry »

Lessons you can learn at school dances

Perhaps we too quickly assume that change comes with age. We take for granted that childhood behaviors differ from adulthood ones. We presume that wisdom accumulates naturally. We feel an age-based superiority over our minors. And we think that becoming “grown up” happens inevitably over time.

The first time I consciously questioned this was probably in middle school: I was realizing the danger of gossip, and some middle-aged women on my mom’s tennis team clearly weren’t. I heard their various conversations, thought they were super catty, and then found myself surprised that that was possible. Their grown-up talk wasn’t much different from that of my peers’ chatter.

I recently recalled that idea again, yesterday evening at Junior Formal. It was like a high school dance rerun! Read the rest of this entry »