Boston, Birthdays, & Byes: a Belated Recap of February 2020


“Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something you own.”
- Michelle Obama, Becoming

Hi all! I hope you are home safe and healthy. I am writing this post from my bedroom at home, surrounded by photos and posters I plastered on my wall during my sophomore year of high school. Things are bittersweet: I am enjoying the extra time with my younger sister, but my spring break was extended to curb the spread of COVID-19. Because the college called the decision after I had already left for break, I am equipped with about a week and a half's worth of clothes. Like many of my peers, I am still processing that the next time I step foot on campus, I may very well be a sophomore in college. But, I am grateful that schools across the country are striving to put the health of students and staff first and seek alternative methods of learning.

This post is a *bit* belated, but in line with my goal to continue posting consistently, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my February. Here's recap of what read, listened to, and lived in February, and what I foresee for the rest of March.

What I Read

In February, my reading pace slowed a bit. I read three books, including one for a history class, and started a fourth. 
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond / Diamond's book made for an interesting read, particularly because I had sampled portions of it during my AP human geography class as a sophomore in high school. While I thought the author raised valid points about the impact of geography on a country's development, his argument that the environment allowed Eurasia to become the most influential power left me with some questions. First, what about the United States? Diamond describes North America's natural resources and access to domesticable plants and animals as less advantageous than that of Eurasia, but America still developed power. Second, why Eurasia? Guns, Germs, & Steel generalizes Europe and Asia into one region, failing to explain China's growing influence and Europe's relative decline in the global arena today. Finally, although I would grant that the environment shapes human decisions, what about the impact humans can have on their environment? Geography did not force the hands of slave owners, conquistadors, and colonists. ★★★

  • Miracle Creek by Angie Kim / Miracle Creek was my favorite book I read this month, and now rivals The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo for my favorite fiction book of the year. Kim's mystery is thrilling and addictive. The courtroom drama not only explores the extent to which parents would sacrifice for their children, but also the barriers to assimilation that Korean families face in America. I hope to review this book sometime soon. ★★★★★

  • Anna K: A Love Story by Jenny Lee / This month, I had the opportunity to participate in the Anna K blog tour and receive a galley of this novel from Flatiron Books. While I felt that some of the language meant to appeal to a teenage audience, like the use of texting acronyms, missed its mark, I appreciated how Lee managed to address nuanced layers of social commentary in this modern retelling of Anna Karenina. ★★★

What I Blogged

I also managed to get four posts up last month, keeping with my resolution to upload consistently (hooray!!).

What I Lived

February flew by quickly. After returning from a trip to a Model UN trip to Canada at the beginning of the semester, I spent the early days of the month catching up on schoolwork and learning how to juggle my new jobs at Global Playground and AidData with my other commitments. Before I knew it, the middle of February had arrived, and I was on a plane, Boston-bound, Doja Cat and Janelle Monae in my ears as the excited senior next to me danced while seated to his pre-conference hype music. Some highlights from this month:

  • I completed the #Taji100 challenge! Although MUN conferences and school assignments made making time for running difficult, I managed to squeeze in time on most days for a run. I increased my average weekly mileage from January by five miles and gradually became more comfortable at faster paces. More important to me, though, is how taking on this challenge made me feel. I learned to listen to my body-- when I could push myself, and when I needed to take a day off and be okay with it. I rekindled my love with running, now preferring the quiet of an hour to myself, my thoughts, and my music to the strength workouts I committed to in the summer. I was proud that I made time to do something for myself and my personal health.
  • I participated in my last MUN conferences for the year. At the Harvard MUN conference, I represented a news reporter in a South Korean Women's Presidential Advisory Board crisis committee. Although this was my first time crafting a story line in this unique type of committee, I had fun researching issues I felt more deeply connected with-- my mother is South Korean and I enjoyed learning more about Korea's government and women's rights. 
  • I also directed my first MUN committee, a meeting of UNICEF for William & Mary's middle school Model UN conference. Initially, I was daunted-- two other underclassmen and I were placed with 100 energetic middle schoolers in a lecture hall and tasked with teaching them about parliamentary procedure and education for refugee children. I nearly lost my voice, but I was surprised by the students' desire to collaborate with each other to create resolutions (and how beautiful their singing voices were during impromptu karaoke sessions -- some of those kids had pipes). 
  • My roommate's birthday was this month, and her family drove all the way to campus with a cake and home-cooked food for a celebratory dinner. It was wonderful.
  • I also finally watched Parasite, which left me speechless, and discovered great new songs for my playlist.
I hope you all had a lovely February and start to March! Tell me, what are you currently reading? What are some activities you are doing while social distancing?


  1. Glad you’re safe, Claire! I’m not reading anything at the moment, but I do have a bunch of books on my shelf that I am looking forward to cracking into during social distancing. To start, I want to read the third book in the Three Dark Crowns series! Hope you’re having a good March.

    1. Thanks Emily! I hope you're having a good March too. I didn't even realize there was a third book in the Three Dark Crowns series-- I'll have to check that out. I remember reading the second book maybe a year ago.

  2. Thank you so much for reading Miracle Creek and sharing the love! I'm so happy that it resonated with you!

  3. Glad you are home and safe! I think everyone is feeling a bit surreal about it all right now. It is definitely something we are all trying to adjust to!

  4. I love the idea of a monthly recap, it's always good to look back on what we've done. So glad you got home safely xo

    Makeup Muddle

  5. I'm adding Miracle Creek to my to-read list, it sounds great, and the fact that you say it's equal to Evelyn has me so excited! :) I relate to your uni issues - this is supposed to be my 6th week of the semester (out of 13 weeks) and they cancelled uni the middle of last week. Digital learning is not really used in Hungary, so what most unis did was bring the spring break ahead to this week, and figure out what to do and how in the meantime. I followed news of the corona virus from the first time China released data about it, and yet, everything that's been happening has made my head spin.

    Congrats on all you did and accomplished in February! It sounds like you had a busy month. :) Also, I'm hoping to watch Parasite soon - I do have the time now, lol. Hope your March has been good so far. :)

  6. What a month! Glad you're home safe and sound if a bit limited on your wardrobe. ;)
    Sounds good that you reached your blogging goal even with all you had going on.
    Sounds like I need to give Miracle Creek a look-see.

    Have a good rest of March, Claire!

  7. I'm happy that schools, etc., are postponing or making classes online too. I hope we've done enough to stem the spread. I guess time will tell. Hope you enjoy your extended break, and stay safe! :)

  8. February looks like such a great month for you! i hope you are doing well.
    style frontier

  9. Glad you're safely at home. Such strange times we're in. I've heard amazing things about Miracle Creek. Glad to see it was a hit for you.

  10. There's no place like home. Things will be different but learning to adapt and thrive are great skills to develop.

    Have a safe and healthy week and enjoy your new reads!

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  11. I need to watch Parasite!
    I also need to read that Angie KIm book.

    As for another certain topic, stay safe!

  12. I'm glad you managed to have lots of rewarding experiences before the blasted virus forced all of us to stay home. Here in Italy we can only shop for basic necessities, at least until March 25th (but in my hometown they gave us an April 4th deadline, and I'm sure even the national one will be extended). Of course, all the shops that don't fit the bill are closed now. It's bleak, but it can't be avoided. Stay safe yourself!

  13. I'm glad you're doing okay. I work at a college, so it's going to be so weird once we're all allowed back on campus. I am grateful I can work from home at least, so I'll still be getting paid. I still need to watch Parasite - I'm glad you liked it! I suppose this would be a good time for me to finally watch more of the movies on my list. LOL


    1. I would 100% recommend Parasite! It was such a good movie. I hope you are doing well! :))

  14. My daughter is in her first year of college. She had planned to visit Chile this summer which has been cancelled. She was able to load her car up when she came home for spring break but she has a dorm full of stuff that we will have to retrieve at this point. It sounds like you had a great February. Stay safe and happy reading!

    1. I'm sorry to hear that your daughter's trip was cancelled, but I'm glad that she was able to make it home. I hope you are safe and well! :)