Alysha and Jaymielee are friends and roommates attending Seattle University. Alysha is Indian American, double majoring in marketing and management. Jaymielee is Filipina American, studying psychology with a minor in Spanish.
Where are you from?
My comfort food comes from years and years of eating it. It brings the feeling of warmth. I feel like I am sitting around the dinner table with my family. My grandma is in the kitchen with my mom and my aunt. My uncle, dad, and grandpa are sitting in the living room helping my grandpa with some sort of technology issue. My three cousins, my brother, and I are sitting in the family room playing cards or wall-ball. Cheese and green onion homemade pizza, garlic powder and ba [grandma’s] juice.
Something that makes me excited is my family. Hanging with my cousins and brother. It is what brings me the most joy. Getting to talk about football, life, girls (they are all boys). They are my brothers, my best friends, my rocks, everything.
Warmth is the feeling of my grandma’s arms around me in a nice big hug.
Why did you choose your major?
Home is hearing my uncle’s laugh and my aunt telling him to settle down. It is the sound of my cousins yelling at each other over video games. The smell of my grandma’s homemade cooking. My definition of home is anytime we had family dinner at grandma’s house.
Someone I look up to, but probably won’t admit, is my older brother. He is literally my best friend. He continues to inspire me and, quite honestly, his opinion/approval is the most important to me.
I would want to remind my future self the memories and feelings I have towards my childhood/family. Things in the future will be busy, we will live apart, but it is all worth it. The way I feel for my family is worth any drive or plane ride. You can never change family/you can only get one, so do the most you can to keep that relationship alive.
Where are you from?
My comfort food is called sinigang. It’s a traditional Filipino soup dish. My favorite thing about this food is how flavorful and colorful it is when making it. There are so many different spices, vegetables that make it so good. It’s the best thing to have it when it’s cold outside. Favorite memory is cooking this with my grandma and mom.
Something that makes me excited is to surround myself with people who I love and care about. I believe that everyone comes into your life for a reason, to either teach you a lesson or fulfill something in return. It’s just so amazing to look at pictures.
Why did you choose your major?
Warmth is a feeling of comfort and safety. This can either be spending quality time with my family watching movies or hanging out with my friends.
Home is definitely the people in my life. This year has taught me that social interaction is so important in keeping sane.
Why did you go to college?
A memory I have of someone is my cousin, who passed away at a very young age. His passing destroyed any motivation I had left in me. But because of the experience I have grown into who I am.
I would like to tell my future self to be patient and that everything has its timing. Not everything is going to turn out the way that you like, and you can only make the most of the situation. Don’t let anyone or anything overwhelm or frustrate you when it’s completely out of your control.
Veronica Anne: How did it feel to go through this exercise?
Alysha: Honestly for me, writing my answers, it just made me happy because a lot of my answers are family related. Actually, I think all of them are family related, so it just made me happy and just made me appreciate—especially for the comfort food one. I don’t think I ever truly realized how much went into it, other than just the food, like, the memories and the experiences. I think it’s just really special.
Jaymielee: I completely agree. I was just going through all my answers, and I was like, “Dang, oh my gosh.” A lot more goes into a simple question and, like, whatever flows out of you—just comes out. And you’re just like, “Oh, my gosh, I’m a lot more grateful and appreciative of who I have in my life.” And I really liked this prompt because it just, like, just all came out all at once. It was just so cool to see that family’s definitely a recurring theme in my life.
Veronica Anne: If you feel comfortable, would you mind sharing about what you wrote?
Jaymielee: So, the question that is at my top is, “Where are you from?” and it’s funny because it’s my comfort food one. [. . .] And my favorite memory is, like, cooking sinigang with my grandma or my mom.
For, “What [is] something that makes you excited,” I related it to my picture wall, because I feel like memories . . . live throughout pictures and it’s just, like, really amazing to look back on.
Then for, “Why did you choose your major?” I had the warmth prompt. It’s just, like, I’m so into learning more about people in general and how they, like, work and whether that’s from a psychological, like, aspect, or just in general how we interact as human beings is so interesting to me. And I thought that related really well because I also went into, “What is home?” And I definitely said the people in my life. This year has definitely taught me that, like, social interaction is such an important part of keeping me sane throughout this whole pandemic.
The beginning of, like, this quarantine was definitely, like, the darkest time of my life, because being moved back home, like, you kind of get a reverse culture shock of being at home versus being, like, on your own, which is really difficult, but I was able to grow from that experience of, like, learning how to live again with my sister or my parents. It was just such a good learning curve for me.
And for, “Why did you go to college?” I related this to my memory of my cousin who passed away three years ago. And his death anniversary was yesterday [December 7th], so it’s all very fresh. I realized that . . . I do a lot for myself and for him because he will never be able to. And Alysha and I have talked about this because it’s just . . . it’s just so difficult to wrap your head around, like, not being able to experience all these things without that person by your side. And he was, like, my kuya, he was like my older brother, and he was my best friend. And if he can’t do it, I will do it for the both of us. And it’s really motivating because three years ago I was not as, like, accepting of his death, obviously. Just the motivation in terms of, like, wanting to do anything was none to zero. But because of that experience, of grieving that loss, it’s strengthened me as a person, and not a lot of people can relate or just, like, kind of go through that at such a young age. I’m not even in my twenties yet and I’ve, like, experienced such a great . . . amount of, I don’t know, maturity within these last few years. So, I really—I really related that to, “Why did you go to college?”
And my last thing of, “What I would tell my, like, future self.” I said, “I would tell my future self to be more patient and everything has its timing. Not everything is going to turn out the way that you like it to be, and you can only make the most of it. Don’t let anyone or anything overwhelm you or frustrate you when it’s completely out of your control.” Alysha and I have this journal, roomie journal, where we have these phrases to live by and everything I’ve said in my life—the last few things [I wrote for the prompt] have been that. It’s truly been one of the most important things for me to recognize in my own life because personal growth is such a big factor in terms of where you want to be.
Alysha: Going to start, my first one—the question I used was, “Where are you from?” So, the comfort food one, I said [reads her answer], which is funny because I kind of put all of that and then the actual food is just, like, one sentence. I literally wrote, “Cheese and green onion”—super random—“homemade pizza, garlic powder on top and juice”—that we used to call ba juice, which—ba is “grandma” in our language, so we always just call the juice that for some reason.
Something that makes me excited is my family—hanging out with my cousins and brothers, specifically. “Getting to talk about football, life, girls (they are all boys)”—I put “girls” because they’re all boys, so I kind of, like, throw in—I like hearing about that.
And then for the metaphor, I put, “Warmth is the feeling of my grandma’s arms around me and a nice big hug.” It’s interesting because I put family for every single one of those answers.
Then for the second set of questions, I use the question, “Why did you choose your major?” And, again, all of them are family related, so I kind of picked that question because my major is so closely, like—it’s just building a network and a network is kind of like a family, so I kind of use that one.
So, for the first question, I said, “Home is hearing my uncle’s laugh and my—my uncle’s loud laugh and my aunt telling him to settle down. It’s the sound of my cousins yelling at each other over video games. The smell of my grandma’s homemade cooking. My definition of home is anytime we had a family dinner at her house.” Because we did that very, very often.
And then I put someone I look up to, but probably won’t admit, is my older brother. And honestly, his is the only opinion that I really—I, like, consider super, super deeply.