Serene Strokes


 A week in ‘The Big Apple’

I took a relaxing and visually pleasing Amtrak train ride from DC to the city that gets 13 million visitors per year. For all the die-hard Hamilton fans out there: ‘In New York, you can be a new man’. It was a chaotic blur of a week, trying to tick as many items off the bucket list as I possible could, with total neglect for a good night’s sleep beyond three to four hours. I spent my early mornings on fascinating walking tours, my warm afternoons in intriguing museums, my late nights on the iconic Times Square in the city that never sleeps read more..

Upon returning from Orlando, there was less than a month before I wrapped up my entire first year at Minerva. Insane! Feels like only yesterday that I landed in San Francisco and had my eyes pop wide open while seeing the ‘not so Golden’ Golden Gate Bride for the very first time. After the final flurry of assignments was submitted (remember, we don’t do exams here at Minerva), the final academic segment of the semester was to present our final civic project project presentations and deliverables. Let’s rewind for a moment, shall we? read more..

March 2024

An age-old childhood dream of mine came true when I spent a whopping 10 days in Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando during spring break! I was immediately transported back to my 8-year-old self who used to believe in ghosts and monsters and Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy and……in dreams more generally. Day after day in the theme parks, under the bright sun, walking a minimum of 15 km a day, I felt exhausted but exhilarated the entire time! The rush of laughter, bright colours, joy, and love in the air hit me powerfully after having spent months in a city of concrete, grey, black, serious faces, and a lonely isolation which sometimes strikes you as hard as SF’s windy breeze – and I’m not just talking about San Francisco, this applies more broadly to so many of our urban metropolises today read more..

After an intense week of staring at the computer screen, my mind and body needed an entire day of nature, fresh air, and disconnection from work. ‘There is no Wi-fi in the forest but you will probably find a better connection there’. I took my chinese friends out for a packed day of hiking, but first we decided to fuel up on some delicious Indian food. I introduced the to  ‘Chaat’ (street food, and it was fascinating and heartwarming to watch me struggle to explain to them how a certain dish was prepared and what ingredients were inside, as they stared at me cluelessly read more..

Last weekend, I had the delight of viewing the magical ‘Kooza’ performance in San Francisco, hosted by Cirque du Soleil, the longest running and one of the most famous circus production in the world. The event organizers had not taken the easy path of just hosting the performance in ocean’s edge, to truly give viewers the authentic circus experience. It was 100 minutes of pure magic. With intense lighting, blasting music, and the grandness of nature’s entire colour palette for the dresses of the artists and performers, the show did not allow me to peel my eyes away even for a second read more..

Without a doubt, my favourite museum in the city, not least because of its prime location in Golden Gate Park. A stunning science museum, designed to invoke curiosity and awe, answer old questions and pose new ones, and ‘to regenerate the natural world through science, learning and collaboration’. Exhibits include:

Osher  rainforest – a journey through a three-story rainforest, containing billboards full of information, plants and trees of the forest, and even animals and birds like spiders, macaws, butterflies, and snakes readmore..

An enchanting peek behind the scenes at one of the most iconic studios in the world. We went to the famous streets, alleys and buildings which were all used as sets in world-famous movies and shows right from Friends to the Big Bang theory to La La Land and Inception. It was incredible to see how the same building or street was repurposed so craftily for different settings, moods, times and places. We got a peek at sound stages where talk shows and dialogue are re-recorded for the final edits of a film or show. We took a journey back to our childhood adventures when we saw original props, like the real Sorting hat from Harry Potter, the original Wonder women costume and the original Batmobile used in the Dark Knight trilogy. What makes an ordinary hat, sword or car so iconic and mesmerizing that people will wait in line for hours just to get a peek and a photo? read more…

An entire day at Golden Gate Park.

We set out early in the morning and while our eyes and minds were most fresh, began with the de Young museum – one of the finest aet museums in the city, featuring a collection of beautiful American, Arfican, Oceanic and international art and textiles. My favourite part of the entire museumwas a simple bowl of salt placed on a tiny wooden table, with a caption above which read ‘ Salt ceremony’. Viewers were invited to simply lace their hands into the bowl of salt and gently rub the salt all over their palms in an act of cleansing and healing of the self, by letting all negative and unwanted energy to rub into the salt and leave the body and mind. No wonder we feel such a deep connection to the ocean, after all we originated from its salty depths read more..

‘It has been an action-packed first month at Minerva University, halfway across the globe from the place I call ‘home’. A roller coaster of a ride and a whirlwind of emotions, but more than anything, my beautiful classmates, professors, and the Student Life team here in San Francisco have made the mind-numbing 20-hour plane ride worth it. This newsletter will follow a different format than previous ones, so roll up your sleeves, and let’s dive right in! read more…