Globe, Health

Being Allergic to Animals

One of the most vivid memories I have from my adventures in preschool is how I found out I was allergic to all kinds of animals.

I had one goal in preschool and that was becoming the Bunny Keeper. Every single time my class would go to the library, that is where Lucy’s cage is held, I would never get a turn to pet her. I thought to myself if I become the Bunny Keeper I would finally be able to stick my hands into her silky grey fur. So when Mrs. Harkey called my name I felt like I just won a game show. I walked with cockness for the rest of the day. My little four year old body was filled with excitement so I skipped lunch and went straight to the library. I looked over at Mrs. Harkey’s desk, she wasn’t there. I continued with my duty. I grabbed the jar of small brown cylinders to feed Lucy and a bottle of water. My paint stained fingers fumble with the lock of the black cage. The excitement that is growing uncontrollable inside of me can’t be contained anymore and I stuck my tiny hands into that cubby bunny’s fur. It felt so silky soft. I wanted more so then I grab her and lift her up to my face, I rubbed that bunny all over my face. Oooh god I thought I was going to die of happiness. I woke up in the nurse’s office with the paramedics at my side. Apparently I went into anaphylaxis shock. I was very confused and anxiety started to spread through my body. I wanted my mommy. It felt like months went by until I heard that familiar voice. It was my mommy and herer face immediately told me that something bad happened to me.

Then next day I was taken to the my pediatrician and she explained that I couldn’t touch certain animals with certain kinds of fur. Here is the list that she gave my mommy: rabbits, bunnies, rats, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, wessels, chinchillas, pretty much any kind of rodent, cats, or any kind of Felidae. I’m also allergic to marsupials. I also can’t go to petting zoos because I am allergic to most of those animals too.

Growing up was hard because if I made a friend with a pet that I was allergic too I couldn’t play or sleepover over at their house. If they slept over my house my mom would make them wash their clothes and blankets before coming over. I didn’t have a lot of friends for this reason. I was the weird petless kid with weird animal allergies. Also my relationship with my sister was kinda compromised. All my sister wanted for her birthday and christmas was a hamster. Everytime we would drive by a pet store or she came home from a friend’s house and they had a hamster she would give me this glare that gave me goosebumps. My sister wasn’t too fond of my allergies. I wasn’t either so we had that incommon. She would sometimes whisper under her breath “why couldn’t you be allergic to peanut butter, I don’t like peanut butter.”

Summers were rough for me because my grandmother had this cat and the cat loved rubbing against my legs. My legs instantly would get a rash and swollen. I hated visiting my grandmother because of that cat. He would also get in my bed when I was sleep and I would wake up with swollen eyes and not able to breath. Vacationing at grandmama’s was hell. My grandmother use to live with my aunt down in Mamai, Florida before she passed away. First of all I hate Florida. I hate the whole entire state. I don’t know if it’s because I was forced to go there every single summer of my life. The cat didn’t make things easier for me either. For some reason it choose me instead of my sister who can actually pet him. The cat name is felix. This cat is still alive today and it still ruins my summer. Felix loves me I don’t know why because I don’t give up a cat person vibes. Yes I think cats are adorable and I would definitely love to cuddle one but I just physically can’t. Felix is like a frat boy after one to many beers he doesn’t take no for an answer. My sister loved Felix but felix didn’t love my sister. He would claw at her and stretch her legs up. My sister would chase the cat around the house but he would just come towards me. This made my sister really mad. Felix just loved what he can’t have.

It’s sad to think I will die without knowing how it feels to cuddle with any of those animal that are on my NO list. But I will always have those brief seconds with Lucy and her fat chubby bunny body before I passed out. She was my first and last forbidden animal that I touched. But even if I can’t cuddle with all of these adorable creatures I fill in the avoid with dogs. I just surround myself with the four legged animals and all of my sadness of not being able to love small fuzzy creature goes away. I love my two dogs and they might not be small or furry but I wouldn’t change them for any other pet. Well…maybe for Lucy.

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At Last, the Break From College

At last, finally, you can catch a break from college. Finals week is over and all you have to is pack up and escape the college reality. This time, you have a whole month! What? Yes, I said the whole month. You finally have the time to sleep in from all those 8 a.m. classes and endless group projects. The only thing you have to type into Google is what you would like to buy online and all the weird question that wonder in your mind. Here’s the tough thing, while you’re on break everyone else around you may not, so here’s just a few things to keep you busy during this break from college.

Get a Job

Photo by HendersonStateU on Flickr

If you want some money in your pocket, I think it’s time for a job! Yes I know, I know. Now even though you just got off from doing work and you finally have a break. Think about the extra money you could earn before you go to campus. You can save up the few weeks before Christmas and have money to buy some presents. You can do jobs like babysitting, dog walking, your old high school job, or even a seasonal job at a department store or local supermarket. It may not be the most exciting idea at the time, but maybe try to work the hours everyone else is so that when you get off you’re available to hang out with the rest of your friends and family when they’re not busy. Probably, it may even pay off part of your tuition. Getting a job is a productive way to keep busy and earn some cash.       

Get Active                                                                                                          

Photo by Dizzy Reyes on Flickr

Today’s the day to get active. Being cooped up in your dorm and eating late night snacks, you may have found yourself lacking some fitness or just some motivation after a tough semester. Probably you find that you have more time to go outside, get some fresh air, and take a walk through your neighborhood. Finals week may have driven you off the path of your daily routine and since you have this long winter break, now is the time you can get back to it. This break may just be a way to incorporate some new skills of training and you can finally try out some of the workouts on YouTube or Pinterest that you have been saving.

Start a New Hobby

Photo by T G on Flickr

Now you may have a lot of time on your hands around this season and you may not know what to do. You can start doing arts and crafts or even start a YouTube channel. Try starting up a business for your future career or make lists about what you want to achieve in the future. So much time on your hands and without any assignments, projects, essays, or extracurriculars, you don’t want to feel stuck or lost because sooner or later you will have to go back on campus. Try to keep yourself occupied so that when you go back to your old school routine, you are not in the downward slump of not being productive. Small simple tasks are just ways to keep you on an effective cycle once you come from a long restful break.

Quality Time

Photo by brantly on Flickr

Don’t forget to hang out with your friends and family. Being away for a couple months, may have not allowed you to keep in contact with them as much as you would’ve before. It’s time that you catch up and just talk about what’s been going on while you were away and what they have been to. Many of your friends are probably back home or in town and now you are able to schedule a time in person to catch up. You can grab a bite to eat with your folks and even endure on various activities for this holiday season. There are also a few holiday activities out there that you and your group can enjoy such as ice skating. This time you won’t have to rush and miss out on plans, but have time to live in the moment.

 

Take this time to enjoy your long winter break from college. As finals week comes to an end, you have plenty of time to now think about what you will being doing with all this free time on your hands.

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Keeping Up with Faraway People

I hate beginning friendships, but I love maintaining them. There are few things as great in this world as talking to someone you may not have spoken to in a while, but whom you know you could pick up with like no time had passed at all. In fact, probably only two things are better: warm cookies, and that occurrence when you get inside and just as you get in the sky opens up and boom torrential rain, but it couldn’t get you, because you are more powerful than nature itself.

Anyway. It’s not always easy to keep up with people who aren’t physically near you, but it is worth it, both because it’s nice and it makes going home for the holidays a hell of a lot less awkward. You try meeting up with your old group of friends if you’ve ghosted them for a semester.

Not cute. Here are five tips to avoid that direness.

Continue reading “Keeping Up with Faraway People”

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Black Panther and the Marvel Cinematic Universe

The Marvel cinematic universe has turned into an ever-growing conglomerate of superhero movies. The most recent addition to the universe is the new and popular film, Black Panther. If you haven’t seen Black Panther yet, you’re missing out. I would argue that if even if you are not a Marvel fan, Black Panther is an incredible cinematic production. Plus Chadwick Boseman is just incredible to look at in his role as the black panther (especially in all black ;)).  

I was personally really excited to see this film. I was curious to see how Marvel was going to incorporate a new superhero into the mix, especially one with such a unique background as to how he actually became the Black Panther. Being the Marvel nerd that I am, I could barely contain my excitement once it came out in theaters. I knew there was no shot I was going to be able to see it opening night, so I waited a couple of weeks. When I finally got around to seeing it, I spent the extra money and saw it in IMAX 3D. In the end, the film went beyond my expectations, providing me with a thrilling experience in the theater.

Continue reading “Black Panther and the Marvel Cinematic Universe”

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Easy Ways to Keep Up with the News

There was probably a time when keeping up with the news was easy. Back in the good ol’ days, when people read the Sunday paper and there was about as much space devoted to the Big Game as to politics as a concept.

Now, there are many reasons it is not easy at all. Such as: it constantly seems like the most insane event in the history of the world just took place, and then three minutes later something even crazier happens. Also, everything has been happening for so long and it’s so hard to catch up and does anyone know what Israel and Palestine comes down to or are we all just too scared to ask. Also also, the economy is so boring.

But there is one thing that makes it unbelievably easy, and that thing is in your hand or pocket or the space between your bed and the wall right now. It is called a smartphone, and it makes it impossible to believe that people ever managed to get their news exclusively from comically large stacks of paper with stories printed in size 8 Times New Roman once a week.

Here’s how I manage to keep up with the news and have bare minimum 18% comprehension on what it means, while also being the laziest individual on the planet Earth.

Continue reading “Easy Ways to Keep Up with the News”

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The Bullet Journal for the Lazy

I have long obsessed over the idea of a bullet journal.

I’ve Googled the lined versus dotted versus graph versus blank notebook conundrum. (Google says dotted is the bullet journal way to go.) I’ve gazed at #bujo on Instagram. I’ve filled online shopping carts with ridiculously expensive pens and washi tape and how-to calligraphy books, only to somehow exercise the self-control I’ve been searching for my whole life.

Because I know myself. I lack the creativity, consistency, and straight-line-drawing ability necessitated by the bullet journal. So while I contemplated the idea of making my New Year’s resolution bullet journal-related, I also was extremely sick of giving up on my resolutions a month into the year. (Okay, fine, two weeks.)

Enter: the habit tracker.

Continue reading “The Bullet Journal for the Lazy”

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National Holidays: The Definitive Ranking

It’s November, and you know what that means. The yearly smackdown has arrived. Once more, the weirdly passionate section of the American people has been screaming on the Internet about the respective merits of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

When the clock strikes midnight on October 31, some instantly hit play for the first time out of hundreds on Mariah Carey’s seminal hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Others, meanwhile, plead for some well-deserved attention to be directed to Thanksgiving, apparently completely ignorant to the fact that there are exactly zero Thanksgiving-themed Mariah Carey songs. Some people are still talking about Halloween, because people who love Halloween never stop talking about Halloween, but that’s not even a national holiday so it’s completely out of the picture anyway.

There’s only way to solve this issue. And that’s a definitive ranking of every national holiday on the American roster, from worst to best. (It’s a surprising lineup.)

 

Columbus Day – Second Monday in October

Nope x infinity. Nooooooo thank you. Goodbye Christopher. Indigenous People’s Day or bust.

 

Labor Day – First Monday in September

Labor Day will never escape its well-deserved bad rep. It was drilled into every child in (most parts of) America for twelve years: Labor Day is the last day of summer break. Labor Day is for moping, waiting in long lines in Office Depot, and the return of that good ol’ it’s-Sunday-night-at-seven-pm-I-wasted-the-weekend-I-have-a-whole-week-ahead-of-me anxiety.

 

Inauguration Day – January 20 (every 4 years)

Every four years is BS for a holiday, and also nobody gets off from school or work for this, except perhaps some people who work in certain sectors of Washington, D.C. Also an inauguration can be reaaaaaaal hit or miss. To say the least.

 

George Washington’s Birthday – Third Monday in February

There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to old GW’s b-day. First, this is the only guy with a birthday marked with a NATIONAL DAY, which is a baller move. But what is really hilarious is that this isn’t actually on his birthday, but the third Monday in February?? Whose idea was that? What purpose does this serve? I have no answers, but this made me giggle and that means it’s getting a boost in the rankings even though it offers absolutely no festivities.

 

New Year’s Day – January 1

Who cares about New Year’s Day? Do people even do anything? New Year’s Eve is where it’s at and we all know it. I guess it’s nice to have the day off for recovery from the night preceding, but that’s not enough to rescue this day from its total boring-ness.

 

Memorial Day – Last Monday in May

Memorial Day is cool because it’s summery. Barbecues and stuff. Also, I guess you can start wearing white again? If you follow societal rules like that and stopped? Not really too sure if that’s an actual thing that people do.

 

Veterans Day – November 11

Always good to pay respect to our veterans and also get a day off from school in mid-November.

 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Third Monday in January

MLK Day was always really awesome in elementary and middle school. In elementary school the second grade always put on a play (it was two-for-one for MLK Day and the approach of Black History Month) so we got out of class for an assembly. In middle school we watched My Friend Martin a bunch of times. Anyway this day is very important and it’s pretty rad and extremely deserved that it’s a national holiday.

 

Independence Day – July 4

Summertime! Fireworks! Barbecues! Those popsicles where the top bit is cherry and the middle is lemon and the bottom is blue raspberry! Fourth of July is great and involves a lot of red and blue food dyes which is always extremely fun.

 

Thanksgiving Day – Fourth Thursday in November

Yes, this is the moment you have been waiting for. Thanksgiving only lands second place. It’s made it even to second place only for the following reasons: everyone celebrates it; the arts and crafts potential is magnificent; we usually get several days off for it; some of the food is good. (Yes, only some. Turkey is nobody’s favorite poultry and many of the combinations placed on the feasting table are full on embarrassing. Sweet potatoes and marshmallows?? Green beans and cream-based soups??? Maybe I just hate casseroles.)

 

Christmas Day – December 25

I am a huge fan of festivities. That is why this list is essentially ranked based on amount of festivities granted to each day. Christmas is, bare minimum, a month-long holiday. There are entire genres of songs and movies dedicated to it. Every self-respecting season of television has a holiday episode. There are one million recipes that are Christmas-exclusive. Also I love cookies and there is no more cookie-centric holiday in the world.

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Or, “National Day of ____” things that I believe should be actual holidays

International Ninja Day (December 5)

National Lumpy Rug Day (May 3)

National Just Because Day (August 27)

National Everything You Do Is Right Day (March 16)

 

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Holiday Gifts on a College Budget

The holidays are the time of the year where you want to give presents to your friends, family, pets, teachers, co-workers, and whoever else is special to you. But there may be one thing that’s  stopping you . . . money. Buying gifts for multiple people definitely adds up, so I created a list of presents for your college budget that is perfect for all of your loved ones.

Photo Book

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 Photo books are a great personal gift for someone special in your life. You can purchase an empty photobook and fill the book with pictures or you can create a photo book online (on websites such as Walgreens and Shutterfly). If you choose to purchase an empty photo book, here are some ideas. For a more personal touch, you can fill the majority of the photo slots and then leave some empty to save space for the memories to come. You can also add personal notes and/or captions along with the photos.You can print the photos at your local drugstore, online (such as a Shutterfly), or from your computer.

Cookie in a Jar

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For those who love baking, give the present of a cookie in a jar. Instead of baking cookies, layer all of the ingredients in a mason jar. After you put all of the ingredients of your desired cookie in the jar, add a recipe around the lid with a ribbon for the final touch.

Vintage Shop

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If you want to give clothing as a gift but you can’t afford retail prices, go to a vintage store. The great thing about vintage shopping is how unique all of the pieces are. Vintage shops are also a great place to look for funny gift exchanges such as a white elephant. The garment district is a great place to go vintage shopping.

Make a Card

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A simple and fun way to get into the holiday spirit is to create a card. Whether you hand make, purchase, or create the cards online, this gift is a fairly inexpensive way to give presents to many people. This year my suitemates and I have decided to give our friends a card and add candy. Depending on how much you want to spend per gift you can even add a gift card or anything else that will fit in the envelope.

Coupon Book

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This presentation is one of my personal favorites. One reason I love this gift is it doesn’t cost anything. Ok, I’ll admit, I have used this as a present because I didn’t want to pay for an actual gift for my mom. But in my defense, I did add coupons for a movie date and a spa day, so I knew I was going to have to pay for something eventually. Coupon books are especially great for parents and grandparents, but they are also great for friends too. I still have a full coupon book from a friend that I can’t wait to use.

“Open when..” Letters

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Open when letters are usually known to be for your significant other, but they can be written for anyone. This is especially a great gift if you live far away from a loved one. Some of the envelopes may be titled “Open when you miss me”, “Open when you need to laugh”, or  “Open when you’re sad.” Of course, those are just a few ideas and there are so many more. Ultimately it is completely up to you to determine what you would like to write the letters.

Planner with Fill-in-the-Blank Quotes

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I recently was just about this gift and I am obsessed with it. There is a planner with spots on each of the pages to personalize with your own quotes. If someone ever gave me this present I would automatically start tearing up because of how personal the present is. This is also a great gift to give right before the start of 2018. If you want a personalized gift and don’t mind spending a lot of time writing in the planner, then this is an amazing gift. My personal favorite planners for this gift are Day Designer planners.

Another tip to save money is to do a gift exchange. Instead of your buying gifts for everyone in your friend group, workplace, family, etc., do a gift exchange instead. Now everyone only needs to purchase one gift instead of multiple gifts. There are many different fun ways to do gift exchanges: secret Santa, white elephant, drawing names, and more. I hope that these gift ideas gave you some ways to buy presents this holiday season on your college budget.

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Black Friday Shopping Guidelines

Since 1952, Black Friday has become a holiday of its own for the consumers of America. The term was originally used to describe the crash of the U.S gold market in 1869. The term “Black Friday” was later used as a way to refer to the day after Thanksgiving when retailers went “into the black” or made a profit. Today, Black Friday is a day that has turned into a full-out, strategic shopping adventure. Whether you go to Target or Walmart, some sort of calculated strategy needs to be put in place. Here are a few tactics to tackle your Black Friday Shopping:

  1. Make a game plan- A game plan is vital to Black Friday shopping. A game plan includes a shopping list, list of stores you want to visit, and you may even want to include in itinerary. The more organized you are before during this chaotic day, the easier your shopping experience will be.
  2. Figure out your needs and wants- We all have things we need, but we also have things that are more of a want. Now the tricky part is distinguishing the difference between a need and want . . . My personal advice to you is to put the people you are shopping for first, and then put yourself second. Although there will be many tempting items that you will just need try to find the self-control you have deep down and remember the others you are shopping for. By shopping for others on Black Friday, not only will you save money but you will get your Christmas shopping done early! Now you will save money and stress. Of course this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t splurge on something for yourself, but always keep in mind your needs and wants.
  3. Research, research, and research some more- I cannot stress this tip more . . . do your research! Prices fluctuate from every store. One store may have a packaged deal or an exclusive product that you wouldn’t have known about without looking up prices. Also, search for the store policies at the stores you plan on shopping at. Some stores may have limitations for certain items, or some may match the lowest prices of other stores. Doing your research is always advantageous, so research, research, and research some more!
  4. Set a budget- Setting a budget can be a daunting task. Personally, I set a budget with a little bit of “wiggle room” and set it at a the price that I can comfortably spend the most. I do this so I am not tempted to spend too much money, but also so I don’t feel too confined. Make sure you stick to your budget, and make sure it is realistic for your shopping plan. It is definitely okay to underspend, but you may regret overspending.
  5. Decide how dedicated you want to be- There are many levels of Black Friday shoppers. You have the “oh I just want to check out a few stores” shoppers. You have the “I have a list and I know what I want, but it’s okay if I don’t.” Then you have the “I’m camping out all night for this 50 inch, $100 TV” shoppers. Whether you are a spectator or a camper, figure out how dedicated you want to be and then plan accordingly.
  6. Find Apps- Surprisingly enough, there are apps for Black Friday shopping! Disregard my sarcasm, but there are actually three specific apps that I would recommended: ShopSavvy, Black Friday App, and Nifti. These three apps are great tools for your shopping trips. ShopSavvy allows you to scan the barcode of a product to find the best price. Black Friday App shows all the Black Friday deals and also includes store times and information. The app Nifti tracks prices based on historical data to see if it really is a good deal. I would highly recommend downloading at least one of these apps to make your life easier.
  7. Maybe online shopping is a better alternative for you- If none of these tips seem appealing to you, then maybe you should opt for online shopping. There are many Black Friday online deals, but if you simply don’t want to shop the day after Thanksgiving then there’s always Cyber Monday.

I hope these tips will help you with your Black Friday shopping. Best of luck to you and whoever else dares to face the craziness that Black Friday brings.

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Reasons to Survive a Boston Winter

I hate winter with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. (This is symbolic of the complete lack of the sun we all know and love, and its replacement with a pale, watery impostor.) Winter is dry. It is cold. All the good stuff dies or hibernates, the latter being a skill I’m attempting to attain through the consumption of approximately one million Reese’s Peanut Butter Trees and a long nap. Now, moving to Boston means not only will the winter itself probably be worse, but so many of the things I love about living here will be brutally taken out by bare minimum four months of bitter, bitter cold.

In an attempt to curb my intense dread, I’ve compiled here a list of the summer-to-winter transformations of some of my favorite Boston places. Maybe this winter won’t be bad. I guess. Especially if this whole hibernation thing goes to plan.

 

  1.  Boston Common Frog Pond

I walk past this shallow, manmade, frog-less body of water every day of my life. Children may or may not be allowed to play in it; it’s difficult to tell because I have seen both a) don’t go in the water signs and b) children in the water. But good news! Instead of just being a sad, empty cement pool, IT WILL TURN INTO AN ICE SKATING RINK.

This is very exciting news, not because I enjoy ice skating, because I do not enjoy anything that makes me fall painfully and publicly only to land on a cold, hard surface, but I do appreciate watching people ice skate significantly more than I appreciate gazing at a cement landscape. Can’t wait until they start freezing water come mid-November.

The Boston Common Frog Pond Ice Skating Rink (rolls off the tongue) also has College Nights! Bring your college ID any Tuesday night (while school is in session) for a reduced ticket price.

 

  1. Boston Common

This isn’t an all-winter-long transformation, but at some point in February 2018, the Boston Common will become a winter wonderland. Albeit one teeming with screaming kids. It’s called the Children’s Winter Festival, and there are slides and refreshments and general wintery glory. Yes, it does say “children’s” in the name, and yes, that does mean it is intended entirely for children, but in past years there have been concurrent events for ALL people, like free skating camps (for all ages!).

Also, if you tell them you’re a child at heart, are they really going to prevent you from entering?

 

  1. The Esplanade

The Esplanade is a beautiful park that runs along the Charles River, and I quite frankly failed to see what its appeal could be in the winter months. Thankfully, the Esplanade website has a list of wintery suggestions, and one of them is snowshoeing. Apparently, snowshoeing is something I have wanted to do for my entire life without being aware of it, because I am VERY EXCITED about this idea. Granted, this, along with other activity suggestions like cross-country skiing, rides on the concept of a lot of snow. That’s already a plus side of winter. But it’s still cool!

Plus, the Esplanade is beautiful and snow is only going to make that fact truer.

 

  1. Sledding

The best transformation of all, I believe, is the transformation of the hellish hills I have to ascend every day into perfect sledding terrain. (This falls apart if I think about what it will be like to still ascend those small mountains when they are covered in snow and ice, but I’m trying to block that out.)

Sledding is one of my favorite parts of winter and the biggest positive I’ve seen thus far of living at the apex of a hilly nightmare is that I can sled with incredible convenience and ease.

 

  1. HOT CHOCOLATE

You may be thinking, “How is this a transformation?” I’ll tell you. It’s a transformation from me ingesting a variety of beverages, such as water, into me just drinking hot chocolate all the time because it is the best liquid in the world. According to the Internet, there are many, many, many prestigious and delicious hot chocolates in the municipality of Boston, like Taza Chocolate Bar’s create your own (they also sell churros!!) and Tatte’s white Belgian hot cocoa.

I would like all of them, please and thank you.

To update: I still hate winter. However, the intensity with which I am dreading it has decreased to some extent. Because now I have snowshoeing and hot chocolate and sledding and watching people fall while skating on my way to class on the brain.