Spring Pause Pt2


I went grocery shopping at MOM’s organic market. I went there once when I moved off campus about a year ago and regarded it as an overly priced organic shop. But within the last year, I’ve been transitioning into being a vegan and have become more aware of environmental impact that human activities made, so I decided to give it another chance. This time, I find it to be a heaven for vegans and people who live a zero-waste lifestyle. Here are several spotlights that I fell in love with.

  • Shop in Bulk

This is actually my first time shopping in bulk. I ask a staff person and he’s super friendly and happy to help. Before you shop, you kindly ask the cashier to weigh the containers for you, so that you don’t pay for the weight of the container. They will put a label on the container that says how much it weighs and then you shop as usual. Then you pick out a label and write down the four-digit number of that item and attach the label on the container. Thus, when the cashier checks you out, they know which items you bought.

There is an entire wall dedicated to bulk shopping, with a variety of rice, beans, and nuts. I bought some walnuts and sunflower seeds and made my own granola.

You can also buy freshly made nut butter, like peanut butter, almond butter, and cashew butter. I tried to make peanut butter myself at home. It definitely takes some time if the food processor is not that high quality and it’s just too much work to wash off the food processor. I really appreciate that I can buy freshly made nut butter at MOM’s.

You can bring your own container to buy spices. If you want to try out new spices that you’ve never have before, you can bring your own container to buy a small amount to try it out and buy more if you like it.

There are coffee beans and loose tea. I don’t drink coffee, so I didn’t buy any. Tea bags actually have plastic in them, so please buy loose tea, if they are available to you. I’m just an occasional tea drinker, so I only bought small amounts. The advantage of bulk shopping is that you can buy as little or as big you want.

  • Plant-Based Food

Another thing that I feel glad about is the variety of plant-based food it provides, from diary-free yogurt and ice cream to plant-based sausage, patties, and eggs. There are even vegan cheesecake!

  • Compost

MOM’s offers a compost drop-off place. Food that ended up in the landfill produces methane, which contributes to the climate change. Composting helps with that by converting food waste into nutrient-rich soil. I have a compost bin at home but it’s too small to compost all my food waste, so I will drop off the rest at MOM’s.

Summer Internship Funding

There are many opportunities for summer internships and fundings. I applied to one college partnership summer internship in March but unfortunately it won’t be able to take interns this year. So I found an unpaid summer internship myself. Since it’s unpaid, I will apply for the Bryn Mawr summer internship funding. I spent some time polishing the internship proposal and personal statement. I will come back to say more if I get the funding.

Spring Pause

Hello and welcome to my Bryn Mawr Blog. This is Jaclyn. I will share with you what I’ve been doing in the four-day Spring Pause. Before COVID-19, Bryn Mawr had Spring Break (or Fall Break in the fall semester) which is a full week off in the middle of the semester during which people rest and travel. But after COVID, it’s unsafe to travel so the Fall break was cancelled when the school was reopened last semester. But it was quite exhausting for both students and professors to last a non-stop 14-week semester. Thus, there will be a short break in the spring semester but instead of a full week off, we will only have four days off as a way to rest and recover from the demanding academic life. I will divide the post into two parts. This post covers the academic side while the next one will cover the extracurricular aspect.

Fundamentals of Acting

This is an introduction to acting class. We will analyze a play every week and do basic exercises of acting and performance. The assignment for the Spring Pause is to work on a scene in which we tell a true story of another student. Other than that, the professor also suggests some resources that we can watch and learn from.

The first one is called Pandemic, a radio play written by a high school Asian girl. The story is around the conversation between a young Asian teenager and her dying Asian grandfather. It provides perspective to racism from two generations in how they view the same racist event in the same or different ways. When her grandpa was young, his parents were deported and now the situations for Asian like his granddaughter is much better but it seems that so much is changed and yet so little has changed.

Another resource is The Manic Monologues, a play that focuses on mental health. The scripts are true stories from people who suffer from mental illness in real life but they were told and performed by actors. The one that is performed by my professor is a person who suffers from hallucinations: she was able to see ghosts or spirits. Her family has a history of mental illness and several of her relatives suffer from mental illness. The protagonist chooses to believe that it’s hallucination because the other theory is scarier for her. It actually reveals a big criticism to the Western-oriented psychology and its attitude toward mental illness. A documentary called Crazywise explores this topic and documents several indigenous cultures and how they view symptoms of mental illness.

Lab in Social Psychology

It’s a writing-intensive lab course in social psychology and it’s a half semester course, which means that I will turn in the final report during the Spring Pause. Every psychology major student is required to take at least two labs and this is my second one. I was quite frightened to take lab, because academic writing can seem very intimidating but also at the same time overly redundant. But after taking these two lab courses, I feel more confident with academic writing and it even helps with me reading research paper. Because I used to be intimidated by how long a research paper could be and don’t want to even start. But after learning rules of writing one, I recognize which part that I need read word by word and which parts that only require skimming. It’s also quite a demanding and fast-pacing course, since it only lasts for the first half semester, which is seven weeks. There are two options to turn in the final report, either due on the Friday before the Spring Pause or on Tuesday at the end of the Spring Pause. I have the tendency to procrastinate and when I do, my mind becomes anxious about how ineffective I am. To avoid such situations from happening, I choose the earlier deadline. I will finish working on the final report early and enjoy the break.

Caring for Aging America

I’m taking a class called Caring for Aging America from the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research at Bryn Mawr. It’s a class that focuses on older adults in America. We talk about ageism, social isolation, dementia, mental health issues, etc. Two interesting movies are mentioned both by the professor and classmates because they address some topics that we covered in class. Since it was during the Spring Pause, I thought it’d be a good idea to watch these movies.

I Care A Lot tells the story of a guardian who takes advantage of the guardianship system to take advantage of older adults with money but no families or relatives. She collaborates with doctors who lie about symptoms for dementia and take guardianship for these older adults, which means that they are forced to live in a senior facility and they are cut off from any connection to the outside world. It provides an interesting look into the guardianship system and in class we discuss the now new system of supported decision-making for older adults with aging-related cognitive decline. As for the movie itself, I like seeing female con-artist on screen and I’d love to see more representations of similar female characters.


Nomadland is a movie that I wanted to see for a long time, not only because it was directed by a Chinese female director, but also it touches on a population of older adults living in their vans whose stories are not often heard. I’ve listed things in bullet points that draw my attention.

  • van life

The van life isn’t a stranger to me but how I view van life is more like young people who care about the environment purposefully choose this lifestyle. But I didn’t know that such a big population of older adults are almost forced to live in their vans. But I also recognize that even this van lifestyle is a privilege for white people, given that the U.S. highway system is inherently racist.

  • Older Adults Representation

I’m glad to see real representations of older adults on screen, especially older women. I saw the saggy neck skin of older women, which is almost never seen on screen. Except from Frances McDormand who plays Fern, almost all the other characters are real older people who live the van life.

  • Grief and Loss

I see that this is a movie about how people deal with trauma and grief. Fern just lost her husband and the town she lived in and worked at for decades. She is in grief and we see that the way she deals with that is by moving on the road and serving other people.

  • Buddhist Ideas

I also see some seeds of Buddhist ideas like there is no permanent goodbye, we will see each other again in some ways.

558 Managing the Work

This is a class about management in the field of social work so I interview two managers. One of them is a friend of my mom and she is middle management in a bank and the other one is an Asian female social worker who’s working on her Ph.D. at Bryn Mawr. I won’t go into details for the interview but they are both amazing and inspiring women and I feel so honored to have the opportunity to talk to and learn from them.

Stay tuned for the next post about summer internship application and what I do for fun in Bryn Mawr Town.

Week in Review

Welcome to my Bryn Mawr Blog. This is Jaclyn. I will walk you through a typical week of my life at Bryn Mawr College.


I have two classes on Monday. In between the two classes, I went to mail my tax return.

  • Tax

This is the week before the tax return is due, so I went to Pensby Center to get two envelops and mailed them in the Mailroom at Campus Center.


Haverfarm has open volunteer hours every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. We finished weeding and started planting lettuces.

I also see the pepper that I started a few weeks ago start growing.

  • Watson Info Session

I attend an info session on Watson Fellowship, a grant for one-year purposeful and independent exploration outside the US. Immediately after the info session, I made an appointment next week to meet with the fellowship adviser Eleanor (Ellie) Stanford to talk in detail.

  • practice midterm presentation

I have a presentation tomorrow for midterm so I practice it a few times before I go to bed.


  • Career-Ready Intensive

I attended a Career-Ready Intensive hosted by Career and Civic Engagement Center. Today is an introduction session for the following five weeks. Through the next five weeks, we will cover some skills or competencies that employers look for in recent college graduates.


A.B./M.S.S. program is the five-year program with Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research at Bryn Mawr. A psychology or sociology major can work toward their Master of Social Services (M.S.S.) from senior year. I find this program to be a perfect fit for me: I want to become a therapist and naturally fit almost all the requirements. I’ve been taking two courses at the GSSWSR this semester and the class experience are so amazing that they confirm my pursuit to become a therapist and to continue my social work education here at Bryn Mawr.

I attended a personal statement workshop since I’ve been working on personal statements for several projects. I learnt that it’s important to have a short but memorable story at the beginning of the personal statement that acts as a hook, but I’ve never come up with one that I’m satisfied with. As I walk through the steps in the workshop, I remember a moment that is consistent with my general message but is interesting enough to catch some attention. After attending this workshop, I feel less intimidated to start working on my personal statement and feel more confident because I have some ideas to explore.

Pensby Center hosts guided meditation every Thursday. I have been practicing meditation since high school but it’s been a long time to follow a guided meditation. I feel more at peace afterwards.


I applied to be a THRIVE mentor for the next semester. THRIVE is a program that aims to help with the transition for first-year students. It helped me a lot when I was a frosh and I want to pass that on.

  • New Job at Political Science

I had the first meetup with a political science professor. I’ve never taken any classes in polisci, but I’ve been to a guest lecture hosted by this professor and loved it.


  • Vermicompost

Haverfarm hosts a vermicompost workshop. Composting is the process of decomposing food into nutrient-rich soil and various worms help and speed up that process.

Tri-CASC is a conference created by and for Asian and Pacific Islander, Asian American, and Pacific Islander American (API/A) identifying students in Tri-Co.


I went to the Writing Center for some help with my application for the summer internship funding.

A Day in My Life: Friday

Hello and welcome to my Bryn Mawr Blog. I’m Jacqueline, a psychology major from China. I will walk you through a typical Friday for me at Bryn Mawr College.

  • Morning Routine

I start the day with my morning routines: meditation and reading. Being able to start my day in a certain way, instead of responding to what’s happening in the news, allows me to start the day in a stable mood and gives me some sense of control over my life.

Then I will have breakfast while talking to my mom. She is back home in China so there’s a 12 hours time difference. The options to talk are either early in the morning or late at night. Since my mom goes to the gym in the morning before she goes to work, her morning would be too busy to talk. So, we talk when it’s morning for me and night for her.

  • Work Weekly Meeting

I work as a member of the Mawrter Made Media Team and we have weekly meetings to update on the program we now have and come up with new engaging content ideas.

  • Study at Library

If it was pre-COVID, I’d go to my carrel at Carpenter to study. Students can request a carrel at the beginning of each semester year and they are typically reserved for graduate students and undergraduate seniors. There’s some left so I got one. But in response to COVID-19, carrel space now is unavailable.

I’d usually stay in to study but today I decided to go study in the Lutnick library at Haverford. It’s been under construction for the last two years. The first and the only time I went in was when I visited in high school. Thus, today is the first time I stepped foot into this library since it reopened after construction.

I get a ride on the Blue Bus to Haverford. Blue bus is the most common way for Bi-Co students to transport between two campuses. On weekdays, the blue-bus runs every ten minutes on average. Check out the schedule here. Don’t forget to say “Thank you” to the bus drivers to express your gratitude for their hard work.

  • Reading

The assignment is to read a play for the class Fundamentals of Acting. As I mentioned before, I’m a psychology major and I have absolutely no experience in theater or anything related to acting before. But I chose to take it for two reasons: first, in a psychology writing class I took last semester, I read in the book If I Understood you, Would I Have This Look on My Face about how Alan Alda uses his acting experience, especially improv, to help scientists communicate effectively with their colleagues and also educate the science to the public. Another reason is that having an entire semester on zoom, I really need some interaction with people in real life.

  • Career and Civic Engagement Center Drop-In

I attend a drop-in session with a career peer at the Career and Civic Engagement Center. I need some help on the cover letter for the summer internship that I want to apply. Career Peers provide help about resume, cover letter, internship searching and etc. It used to be held in the Career and Civic Engagement Center on the second floor of Campus Center and now it’s available on Zoom.

  • Chill Outside

After some intense studying, I take a break by sitting outside. Today is one of these days in the spring that the sun reminds you that the spring is coming while the wind brings the winter back. Since COVID-19, I begin to appreciate small things that happen to me. For example, I feel grateful that I can sit on a bench and let the sun warms my soul.

I have some chocolate chips cookie I packed. I find dividing the dough evenly and shaping them to be too much work, so I just flatten the entire dough onto the baking sheet and break them into small pieces after they are done. They might not be aesthetically pleasing but they taste perfect.

  • Bi-Co Farmstand

I learnt about the Bi-Co Farmstand on a blog post about how stickers are designed and made at the Markerspace and I wanted to get some fresh produce from the Haverfarm. But by the time I got there, they were all sold out. I will probably try to get there earlier next week.

  • Evening Routine

I get back to Bryn Mawr campus on the Blue Bus and walked back to my apartment. I had dinner and chilled on the couch for a bit. I finished my day with an evening routine of reading and journal.

Thank you for reading. I will continue to share my life at Bryn Mawr with you.

How do I Reset in the Middle of the Semester?

Welcome back to my Bryn Mawr Blog. This is Jacqueline. I will share how I reset in the middle of the semester.

It’s now the fourth week of the semester (a semester has 14 weeks) and I begin to feel that it becomes harder to maintain the 12-8 schedule. I sometimes need to stay up late to finish reading or turn in an assignment on time, but staying up late disrupts the routines I’ve been doing. For example, after I work late in the evening, I might be too tired to do evening routine and just go straight to bed and what follows is that I might get up late, so I don’t have sufficient time to do the morning routine. From my experience, it is much harder to maintain a habit than to disrupt one. Thus, I need to take some self-care acts to reset my life to the point where I feel that I have some control over it.

The easiest and the most attractive choice is binge watching. I could lay in the couch and watch an entire season in one day. I often use it to distract me from overwhelming emotions or to take my mind off what I really need to do. But I realize that it’s not an effective way to reset: I feel more anxious afterwards. Despite how appealing it sounds, I try my best to avoid it.

Here are some self-care that actually work for me.

  • Walking on Campus

I have been walking on campus everyday in the final week last semester to take my mind off the work, but this habit didn’t last because it became too cold outside. As the spring comes, it has become warmer and I intend to resume my walking on campus. I usually start from Goodhart and go down and up the stairs to get to Park. I walk past the campus center and sit on the Carpenter Greens or Rhoads Beach for some sunset.

  • Talking to Friends

My friendship is quit unique. I don’t need or enjoy the company of friends to hang out or do stuff together. I like doing things completely based on my own preference. But I do sometimes need connection with friends. Thus, I could not talk to my friends for a month and pick up where we were when we last talked and then go on for hours.

  • Cooking and Baking

For sweet choices, I’d go with chocolate chips cookies and cinnamon rolls. Another rather uncommon choice is making seitan, a food made from gluten. It is made by first making a flour dough and washing the dough until all the starch is removed. It will end up to be a spongy piece of dough. The process of washing it is quite satisfying.

  • Spiritual Guidance

I believe that there’s something more to the mundane life. But I don’t follow any specific religion nor do I believe that an omnipotent god will save us all. I see the religious practice as a way to stay present and ultimately to better well-being. Some practices that I find useful include meditation, chanting, and affirmation. I mediate the first thing in the morning to begin my morning with a steady mood. I chant when I feel that my mind is going wild and can’t stop. I have my favorite affirmation as my screen saver so that I can see it every time I check my phone. I understand that my way may deviate from how they were intended to work but it works for me.

There are times in life when you are in perfect order but there are also times when things get out of hand. Things happen and it’s okay that you may feel a bit out of control or get off track sometimes. You accept what happened and work upon it. I offer some options that work for me and I hope that it will inspire you to take care of yourself too. Thanks for reading.

How I Organize My School Life

Welcome to my Bryn Mawr Blog. This is Jacqueline. I will share with you how I organize both my academic and extracurricular life at Bryn Mawr College.

I organize everything in one place and then review them on a daily or weekly basis. Having everything in one place allows me to keep track of everything and gives me a big picture. But working with a system with so many to-dos is overwhelming, so I divide them into small pieces and review them on a daily or weekly basis.


  • Table of Assignments and Reading

I manage all my assignments in a table in Notion. I have a master view of all the assignments from all five classes. I arrange them by the date they are due, with the most recent ones on top. After I I finish one task, I click the check box and it goes to the bottom. I also have individual view that I can see assignments from only one class. I also keep an extra column for notes, such as how many pomodoro I spent on this assignment.

  • Board of Application

Kanban board is an effective tool to keep track of a project with different stages and it’s perfect to manage things. It covers all applications I’m working on, including on-campus jobs, volunteer, and internships. I arrange them in the order of “Not Started”, “Applied”, “Denied”, and “Expired”. For those that are accepted, I have another page dedicated to them. Inside each individual page, I record information like “Application link”, “Deadline”, “Applied at”, and “Last Active Day”.

Daily Review

  • Daily Academic To-Do List and Study Log In

It’s a simple list of what readings and assignments I need to do in a day. I write them down in the evening so when I get up the next day, I know roughly what my day looks like and how much time I need to contribute to studying.

I have the habit of recording my study time before I start and after I finish. It has two effects. First, it functions as a reminder that I’m studying now. As I do most of the work on the laptop, I could get easily distracted. It also gives me a visual representation of how much I study in a week and I can adjust if needed.

Weekly Review

  • Reading and assignments due next week

I don’t have class on Friday so after I finish the last class on Thursday, I take about half an hour to go through all the readings and assignments for the next week. I download all the readings from Moodle and add them in the Notion table I mentioned above. Doing this activity gives me a rough idea about how much time I need to spend on reading and adjust my schedule accordingly.

  • Weekly Extracurricular To-Do List

It’s a weekly to-do list extracted from Board of Application and other academic stuff outside reading and assignment, such as sending email to invite an interview for a class project. I manage it on a weekly basis because it’s difficult to attend to them on a daily basis and reviewing also reminds myself of the upcoming deadlines.

In terms of ways to organize, it takes me a long time to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t. When I was a freshmen, I kept everything on a notebook. Yes, I turned in all the assignments on time but I often found myself struggling at the last minute because I didn’t leave enough time for reading. Then I moved everything digital but it didn’t work out either because it takes me too long to get what I’m looking for and when I find it, I often forget what I was doing. I finally settled on this combination of a hand-written notebook and digital table and board.

The purpose of this post is simply to share how I organize my school life at Bryn Mawr and hopefully inspire you somehow. The last thing I want is to make you feel anxious because I find myself in that situation often. But I want to make it clear that this is not a “perfect” system. It’s just a system that works for me now. It might not be good to me somewhere in the future. And I stick to it most of the time but definitely not all the time, and it’s okay. Once I realize I’ve been off for some time, I simply accept it and try to get back on.

Daily Routine on a Typical School Day

Welcome back to my Bryn Mawr Blog. This is Jacqueline. I want to share several routines that I go through on a typical school day at Bryn Mawr College. I began to establish my daily routine in the summer last year. I was spending almost all my time at home and felt that time flew and I was gradually losing control of my life. Having certain things done every single day gives me back some sense of control.

Morning Routine

The purpose of my morning routine is to start the day with a steady mood. Before I establish this morning routine, the first thing I used to do after I got up was that I checked my phone and watched some news, which often let down my mood and also let down my whole day. But I don’t want the news to determine how my day will be. I need to take back that control.

  • Mediate for one minute

Atomic Habits by James Clear is an excellent book on habits and it says that when you are starting a new habit, you need to set the bar low. It has to be so simple that you can’t find a reason not to do it. My new habit is to meditate every day and how I make it simple is to mediate for one minute.

  • Read one page

The principle behind reading one page is the same for mediating for one minute. I originally thought that it has to be something outside school but since the material is interesting and I have too much reading to do, it can be reading from one of the classes.

  • Talk to mom while having breakfast

This is the morning for academic semester. Since I anticipate that I have difficulty getting up, I set it to be extremely simple. The morning routine when I’m on break is a lot more complicated. Then I talk to mom and have breakfast. My mom is at home in China and we have 12 or 13 hours time difference, so we can either talk early in the morning or late at night. Talking at night, which means morning or noon on her side, depends on her work schedule. Since I don’t have early classes during the semester and I need one more motivation to get up early, I’d rather talk in the morning, which means evening for her.

Evening Routine

The purpose of the evening routine is to prepare my body and mind for getting to bed. Through doing certain things, I let my body know that whatever happened in the day happened but it’s now time to go to bed and prepare for the next day.

  • Finish studying at 10:30 or 11:00

My aim is to get to bed between 11:30 to 12:00 so I need some time for the transition.

  • Read one page

The purpose and principle is the same with the one in the morning.

  • Journal

I don’t do free-writing in the journal because it’s difficult for me to persist. I answer a few questions, such as “how effective was I today?”, “what am I grateful for today?”, “what do I need to let go of?”. Some other items that I might not attend to everyday are “the moment I showed resilience today” and “the moment I observed characteristics of a potential manager.”

  • Stickers

The book Atomic Habits also talks about having an immediate reward for completing a habit and the immediate reward I choose is stickers. Every time I finish mediating or reading, I put up a sticker and put it on the calendar and I feel pleased and satisfied. It works for kindergarten children and it works for me too.

Academic life at Bryn Mawr is demanding, which motivated me to choose it to spend four year of college, but it could also get challenging sometimes. Thus, I need these routines to get me in the condition where I’m both physically and mentally prepared for the rigorous study at Bryn Mawr.

Book Review: Intuitive Eating

Welcome back to my Bryn Mawr Blog. This is Jacqueline. I will review a book called Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works. This review was written a while ago but I didn’t publish it because I have been in a peaceful relationship with food lately. But as the semester starts, I have begun to feel some stress and anxiety and I find myself eating more than usual. I sometimes use eating to distract myself from overwhelming emotion or to justify that I’m not doing any productive work. I find this time appropriate to review this book and set a reminder for myself and for someone who faces similar issues with food.

Basic Info

The book was recommended by my favorite vegan youtuber Sadia from Pick Up Lime, whose vegan recipe videos feel like a massage for the eyes and souls. In addition, she was trained as a dietitian before becoming a youtuber.

How the book changed me?

Diet Doesn’t Work Because It Can’t Sustain

I’ve always been conscious about my weight and have been on several diets. Even though they don’t work for me, I still somehow believe that diets can work, at least for a specific group of people. But reading this book changes my mind that no diet would actually work because it can’t last. A diet can probably help you lose some weight but the weight you lose often comes back in the future, because how you eat when you are on a diet can’t last for a long time. A diet often restricts you from eating something and the fact of restraining makes you want to eat that particular food even more. For a diet to be actually effective, it has to last for a long time.

Last Supper Effect

It means that during the last meal before starting a diet, you are allowed to eat whatever you want to eat and thus you often eat more than you usually do because you’re afraid that you will never be able to eat that again. For some chronic dieters, they almost enjoy this part because they are entitled to eat anything.

I have similar experience, but not on eating. A membership of a grocery store is about to expire and I don’t want to renew it. So during the last weeks before it expires, I buy a lot more than I usually do because I worry that I might never be able to buy that again.

Attend to the Signals Your Body Send

We humans are born with an intuitive eating ability, but as we grow up, it’s been suppressed, especially by dieting. Dieting essentially trains you to ignore your body signals and stick to some rules that people other than yourself made. At the early stages, it might be difficult to notice the signals your body sends you so the book suggests that you pause in the middle of a meal or snack for a time-out and feel how your body reacts. I’m an unconscious eater, meaning that I watch some sitcoms while I eat. It’s difficult to pay attention to the signals my body sends me when I’m not mindful.


Exercise should be more about moving your body and feel how it feels, rather than calculating how much you burnt during the workout. I used to often fall into the It’s-Not-Worth-It Trap, meaning that it doesn’t count because time is too short for any real exercise. But over the long time, it all counts.


Nothing will change overnight, so be patient. Be present with your body and be aware of how it feels and responds. After all, it’s the process, not the end, that counts.

How do I Celebrate Chinese New Year in 2021?

Welcome back to my Bryn Mawr Blog. This is Jacqueline. I will share with you how I celebrate Chinese New Year in 2021. As many might know, it’s a tradition to eat dumplings on any major Chinese festivals. Since I’m not a big fan of dumplings, I will do something else: hotpot.


There are pre-made hot pot base, which usually has butter, but I’m vegan, which means that I don’t consume any animal product, so I make my own soup base. You can also use plain water.


Soup Base:

  • [ ] vegetable bouillon
  • [ ] garlic
  • [ ] ginger
  • [ ] dried mushroom
  • [ ] spice
    • [ ] soy sauce
    • [ ] five-spice powder
    • [ ] white pepper
    • [ ] dry chili pods
    • [ ] chili flakes


  • [ ] potato
  • [ ] sweet potato
  • [ ] white radish (白萝卜)
  • [ ] lotus root (藕)
  • [ ] bamboo shoot (笋)
  • [ ] leafy greens of your choice
    • [ ] spinach
    • [ ] napa cabbage (白菜)
    • [ ] crown daisy (茼蒿)


  • [ ] king oyster mushroom(杏鲍菇)
  • [ ] enoki mushroom (金针菇)

Soy Product:

  • [ ] frozen tofu (冻豆腐)
  • [ ] tofu skin (腐皮)


  • [ ] yam noodles(魔芋)
  • [ ] glass noodles (粉丝)
  • [ ] vegan meatball
  • [ ] seitan


  • boil a pot of water and put in every ingredient of soup base
  • boil for a few minutes until the fragrance comes out
  • prepare other ingredients
    • cut vegetables in thin slices (except leafy greens)
    • cut king oyster in thick slices
    • rip enoki mushrooms into pieces
    • cut tofu skin in segments
  • start enjoying the hotpot
    • put the things that need most time to cook first

Thoughts on Traditions

I’m not a big fan of traditions. I don’t stick to something just because it’s a tradition. Not having dumplings might be important for someone else, but it’s not a big deal for me. I believe what is common doesn’t mean that it’s right or natural. For example, it’s a tradition to light firecrackers but now it’s well established that they do serious damage to the environment. It’s also a tradition to have Hong Shao Kao Fu (红烧烤麸), made of seitan, on the New Year’s Eve dinner because it has the same pronunciation of “depending on the husband”, which is obviously an obsolescent idea.

How do Vegans Celebrate?

I believe every vegan faces this problem in their journey. They are excited to celebrate a holiday with families and friends but only to find that almost all dishes are meat or fish. Such problem exist because we eat food more than their nourishment. People attach meanings to food so we also have cultural and emotional attachment to them. As the meaning can be given to food, it can also be withdrawn. If certain dishes are just a tradition that I’m not fond of, I don’t bother to think about it. If I absolutely love certain dishes, I will try veganize them, by replacing the meat with plant-based meat or soy products.



How to Grow Your Own Food

Hello, Mawrters. This is Jacqueline and welcome to my Bryn Mawr Blog. In this blog, I will present you with why it’s important to produce one’s own food and two simple and fun ways to do that.

I’m someone who grow up in the city, so the only place I get food is from the grocery store. I’ve never spend time wondering where the food come from. But a few months into the quarantine, I start wondering if I could grow something on my own.

Thus, here are reasons why you should try grow food for yourself and a step-by-step tutorial in almost any living condition. You can certainly do this in a dorm room.

Why Grow Your Own Food?

Good For the Environment

First of all, I have faith in Earth’s capability to heal herself and I don’t believe that human can “save the plant”, like magically stop the climate change. But what we human can do is to minimize our living impact on Earth, such as reducing carbon footprint, so that Earth has a better environment to restore herself. Growing your own food can help in the process by reducing the cost of transportation and packaging.

Good Your Physical and Mental Health

The freshness of the food is, not to mention, beneficial for your physical health. But surprisingly, it is also beneficial for the mental health. Getting in touch with nature is itself therapeutic. In addition, it builds up a routine, which makes people more resilient. For example, the first thing I get up and the last thing I go to bed is to look after my plants. Establishing such routine creates a safe space in times of uncertainty. It means that I don’t have to convince myself that I live in a safe world, but that my piece of it is safe.

What are Sprouts and Microgreens

If we think of the produce we usually consume are at their full maturity, then sprouts are at their baby stage and microgreens are at their teenage stage.

Start with Sprouts

There are tons of sprouts growing kit that you can purchase online. But you could also assemble your own growing kit from what you probably already have at home.

You Need:

  • [ ] A Jar, such as mason jar: preferably the transparent ones so that you can observe how they are growing.
  • [ ] A piece of cloth that can strain, such as nut milk bag
  • [ ] A container to hold the excess water
  • [ ] seeds: I’d suggest you start with bigger seeds, such as radish seeds, lentils, or popcorn


  • Soak small amount of seeds in the jar overnight. (since the volume will grow enormously, one to two tablespoons of seeds are enough for a regular mason jar)
  • Drain the water using the strainer. (I’d recommend put the strainer on the jar with a hair tie)
  • Then rinse the seeds and put back to somewhere dark. Keep the jar at an angle in order to drain any excess water.
  • repeat the rinsing process twice for three to four days.

*The best environment for the sprouts to grow is moist, but not wet. Thus, it’s important to let any excess water out and not let the seeds drown.

Then Try Microgreens

You Need:

  • [ ] Two containers, such as takeout container.
  • [ ] Soil OR Cloth Towel
  • [ ] Seeds: I recommend start with salad green mix
  • [ ] Spray Bottle (optional)


  • Drain several holes in one container and test whether water can come through.
  • Put two containers together with the one with holes on top.
  • Put soil or cloth towel into the container with holes and then thoroughly water it.
  • Scatter the seeds evenly. When you see seeds cluster together, you can use your hands to spread them out. Then use spray bottle to water the seeds again.
  • Water twice every day. You can water with the spraying bottle. You can also lift up the container with holes and put water in the one without. I find bottom watering, the latter, to be better.
  • Then you can harvest in seven to ten days.

*Keep the container in a dark place for the first few days until seeds sprouts, so that they can have a solid base. Or they could become too leggy.