I usually wake up before my alarm goes off since my body has become accustomed to waking up around this time every day. I honestly find it hard to sleep in on the weekends now, which I am slightly disappointed about.
After I wake up, I pull up the blinds and fold my blanket. Immediately after, I wash my face, brush my teeth, and take out my night contacts. Then, I return to sit in my bed for a few minutes to read the NY Times Morning Briefing and (if I have time/if I feel like it) Morning Brew on my phone.
I start packing my backpack with my laptop, breakfast, and lunch I made the previous night. I used to wake up earlier to make and eat breakfast in my room, but I’ve recently found that I wasn’t hungry enough to eat that early in the morning anymore because I’ve been eating dinner later than usual (mostly because of group meals). So, I’ve taken to packing up either Ezekiel bread and peanut butter or some quick oats, cinnamon, almond milk, and peanut butter to eat at work. Then, I change into my work clothes and get ready to head downstairs.
I go downstairs to meet Saagar in the lobby. One of us is usually late by a few minutes, but more often than not, it’s both of us. We walk down to the MoGo station across the street and bike to work, which takes around 5 minutes.
Saagar and I get to our desks at the NextEnergy office. I automatically unpack everything from my backpack and change from my sneakers (for biking) into flats or espadrilles.
This is the time I get a little hungry, so I get out my breakfast and go into the community kitchen space to toast bread/microwave oatmeal. I bring it back to my desk to eat as I work. #multitasking?
We go to TechTown to eat lunch with Becca, Xin, Andy, and Arjun. We discuss the work we have been doing and other stuff happening later on in the week. I look forward to eating lunch together each day. Whether it be laughing about hilarious senior pranks or arguing about the true winner from the salmon cook-off, it’s always a fun time full of laughter and (friendly) roasting. From these joint lunch sessions, I feel like we have all gotten closer and more comfortable with each other, which I am super glad about.
Saagar and I return to the NextEnergy office. Most days, we meet with our supervisor, Tim, right after lunch to discuss any questions we may have as well as next steps in our project.
We pack up for the day and MoGo back to the dorms. Once I get back to my room, I do not touch my work. I’ve learned that it’s helpful and even more productive to separate work from personal time.
I start cooking around this time. Today, I made a noodle salad dish with a peanut sauce. The process is simple but extremely tedious. It takes a little more than an hour to complete the dish. Here’s the recipe for anyone who wants to try:
- Julienne 2 medium stalks of celery (can adjust based on how big the stalks are) and a third of carrot (or you can use 3-5 stalks of broccoli cut into quarters along the stems instead).
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the julienned celery and carrots together and cook for around 3ish minutes. Alternatively, if you are using broccoli, boil the broccoli first since it takes longer to cook (or you can just steam it). After a few minutes, add the celery. **I honestly don’t know the timing because I always multitask and estimate. But, the point is to get the celery (and carrots) semi-cooked so it’s not completely raw but not too cooked so that it’s mushy.**
- While this is happening, julienne a whole or part of a cucumber depending on the size. Place the julienned cucumbers in a bowl. These will be added in raw.
- Drain the vegetables and put it in the fridge (or freezer) to cool for a few minutes.
- Simultaneously, in a separate pot bring water to a boil to cook your noodles. I use buckwheat soba noodles that I got from H-mart at the beginning of the program. The key is to cook the noodles a minute or two less than what the package says so that it’s slightly undercooked and has a bit of a bite to it. Drain the noodles and rinse it with cold water. I usually cover the noodles with cold water in the pot while I finish up the cucumbers or prepare the sauce.
- For the sauce, you will need: 1.5 tbsp of peanut butter, 1.5 tbsp of soy sauce, 1.5 tbsp of water, 1/3-1/2 tbsp of black vinegar, and 1 minced garlic clove. I honestly just eyeball everything though, so it doesn’t have to be precise at all. Mix all of the ingredients together.
- In the pot with the drained noodles, add in all your vegetables and mix. Then, add in your peanut sauce, and mix well. I add some chopped scallions in too.
- Finally, serve and enjoy :)
I enjoy my dinner while watching some YouTube videos, a movie, or Rick and Morty or reading a book online. I was reading Beloved by Toni Morrison and now am reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. Highly recommend both. Also, yes, I take an hour to eat dinner and am aware that I eat extremely slowly (I like to chew my food thoroughly).
If I need to prepare lunch for the next day, I usually do it around this time. I try to make extra of my dinner, but I often underestimate the amount I cook and eat it all for dinner. I make something easy and quick: either fried vegetable couscous, brown rice/couscous/noodles with some vegetable dish like tomato and egg, garlic mustard greens, etc, or a vegetable hummus sandwich with Ezekiel bread. Note: if you haven’t had Ezekiel bread, you have not lived.
After preparing my lunch for tomorrow, I exercise. Since I have a studio and, thus, the privacy and space to work out, I decided not to get the $30 gym membership. I usually do a full body HIIT workout followed by an ab or another bodyweight workout after if I feel like it. I pretty much exercise every day, even if it is only some light stretching or a strength training. Afterwards, I brush my teeth, put in my night contacts, and shower.
This is my free time. I either watch a movie, some more YouTube, research various recipes I can make, read, work on my blog posts, or do some self-studying just for fun. I don’t like doing things last minute, so I finish up all the blog posts at least a week in advance. In between these video/studying sessions, I also play this strangely addicting mental math game as a mini break. I have also been trying to review a little bit of my Russian every day, but that unfortunately hasn’t been going too well.
I turn off the lights, lie in bed thinking about what I need to do the next day, and fall asleep.