#175: The Grocery Store

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Today, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite grocery stores in the world, and perhaps one of the best and most consistently good spots in Stamford in general.

When Alex and I first started exploring the Boston-Quincy area a few years ago, one of the first places we went to was a Trader Joe’s, about 20 minutes away from her apartment. You had to cross a long bridge to get there, and the parking lot was vast and open, unlike the lot for Stamford’s Trader Joe’s store. There also wasn’t usually a line to get in. On the other hand, though, there wasn’t a Robek’s next door to this one. We would pick up turkey bacon and ghost pepper chips and dried mango slices to take home with us, and we started to expect those things like they were normal, everyday items. Even now, when we go to Trader Joe’s in Stamford, we still pick up the same items that we did when we were in Boston, except for the mango slices. We don’t eat those any more, at least not as much. Nowadays, we make occasional trips to Trader Joe’s to pick up whatever items we missed from Fairway. Trader Joe’s has the best name-brand items around, so it’s worth shopping there just to pick up the stuff you wish they had elsewhere.

Sometimes, small things like that stick with you, and the small things begin to resemble larger ideas. I remember when my grandma, sister, and I spent a week in California with our extended family, and during a grocery trip to Trader Joe’s, they bought me a buffalo chicken wrap. I ate it cold. Their house didn’t have much in terms of good food, so I was desperately hungry for something to sink my teeth into.

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#107: The Mall

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Alex and I love going to the mall. It’s one of our favorite places to hit up in Stamford, knowing fully well that we’ll be spending a lot of money there when we visit. It’s a nice reminder of how to budget money, when we’re especially down and out.

A few stores we love to go to:

Sephora, of course. Alex’s favorite, which I’ve grown to appreciate myself. It’s a very expensive store, usually leading to an unnecessarily high amount of spending, but that’s not my prerogative!

Uniqlo. Thanks Bella for introducing us here! Without you, we would still be fruitlessly trying to fit into clothes at H&M, which is by no means a bad store, but they no longer really carry sizes that fit me. It’s a bit disappointing, to be honest, but Uniqlo fills the gap beautifully. We almost always explore this store when we get the chance and enter the mall. The fleeces, sweaters, pants, and shirts are awesome and fit well.

Halo, a smoothie place that we only just recently discovered. I’ve tried their strawberry-mango and mango-pineapple mixture smoothies, and Alex has tried their matcha chai bubble tea twice now. I love both options quite a lot, and I love the taste of the bubbles from the bubble tea slurping up into my throat. Alex loves watching me drink them through the straw, because I always end up making a funny face when it happens. Definitely a good recommendation.

And last but not least, Barnes & Noble, which has slightly restored my interest in reading. I have a goal to read at least one book a month, and so far I’ve reached that with “The Last Wish” in January, which I bought from B&N last month. Thanks to them!

#85: The Millennial

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I am a millennial. A word often heard in the media, used as a scapegoat for the country’s problems: “Millennials aren’t investing in the stock market as much as previous generations,” “Millennials don’t care about the housing market or lottery tickets or old mall favorites like Macy’s,” “Millennials don’t want kids any more!”

I read an article in the New York Times the other day about millennials, and it said that they have adapted to a “rise and grind” lifestyle. That millennials, who grew up expecting extracurricular achievement and good grades to amount to a lifetime of happiness and fulfilling their creative passions, feel left out by the world that gave them that idea in the first place. Crippling student loan debt and rising gentrification in big cities, significantly higher than previous generations, has set a standard for what we have come to expect from the outside world. When a person went to college before the 90s, were they expected to pay seven figures over 20 years to ever make up for the cost of their education? Since when has an education been so expensive?

Either way, the article in the Times talks about how the “rise and grind” lifestyle adopted by so many millennials stifles creativity and ensures a lifetime of boredom and depression. I’m not the least bit surprised. Waking up at 5am to go to Milford every day, for example, was not the ideal lifestyle for me. And yet it represents a kind of necessity, a need demanded by outside forces. Is there any wonder why millennials have some of the highest rates of mental illness of all generations? Is there any surprise that people suffering under false promises given to them as children feel betrayed as adults?

Just some food for thought today. Not sure what to think about it, but the article got me going a bit.

#26: The Pharmacy

Appreciate the simple things, including regular trips to the pharmacy, and you will find more joy in your life. Aspiring for grand heights is admirable, but sometimes it’s nice to relax without performative evaluations on your career. Relaxation, for me, can come from meditating a bit on a small but meaningful weekly adventure.

This brings me to Alex and I’s general store round-up. Our apartment now resembles the CVS holiday section as equally as it resembles Ikea. The weekly round-up starts the same way every time: a forgotten item on the grocery list, a running list on the fridge that grows and grows until it’s so much more than imagined. The pressure to cross them off the list lingers overhead like a constant reminder. Suddenly the time arrives; it’s tonight or never.

Maybe it’s just the thrill of taking something new and fresh off the to do list, or maybe I like shopping for random items at CVS and adding them to our apartment aesthetic (I roasted myself before, but I do appreciate how affordable CVS holiday items are.) Or the snacks and mentos. The cheap but long-lasting holiday candles, peppermint and pine grove and sandlewood. The fresh Powerade bottle, a waterfall in my mouth. The Dunkin coffee drinks, a midnight energy boost. The new facemasks and treatments and spreads. The inevitable ice cream or jerky or Sun Chips added to the cart at the last minute. There’s a lot to love about these spontaneous trips to the pharmacy. It’s a small but wonderful thing, like a small wonder for this week overall.