Heran’s journey to boredom

May 29:

I forgot that there was a pandemic happening. It just kind of feels like everyday is a Sunday. I kind of like this.

May 26:

I got really tired of making the same things everyday, so I took up a new challenge: pho. It’s hard to make a good vegetable broth, but I found a recipe that looked promising. I went to the grocery store to buy the noodles and one of the spices, but I already had everything else at my house. The first step was to make the broth, because it takes the most time. I toasted the spices, broiled the onions and ginger, then combined them together and added vegetable broth that I bought. I let this simmer for 30 minutes, and though at first I was skeptical about the smell, it tasted great in the end. While the broth was cooking, I baked tofu until it was crispy, and cooked the broccoli and noodles to add to the bowl. I also cut up carrots, jalapeños and basil to add. Once everything was finished, I assembled the bowl with the noodles, vegetables and broth, and it tasted even better when it was spicy, so I added sriracha in it. It was definitely a 10/10 meal. Though it took a long time to make, it was definitely worth it!

This is the pho after I added the broth. The noodles are under the vegetables, so they are not visible.

May 17:

I’ve started making juices recently! Last year I started making homemade juices and bringing them to school, but I started it at the end of the school year and I didn’t continue it in the summer. I figured that now is a good opportunity to start that habit again, so I’ve been making juices almost daily. Usually, I’ll make a juice with apples, spinach, lemons and cucumbers, but I’ll occasionally add strawberries or carrots. At first, I was alarmed by the color, since the strawberries and cucumbers formed a brown juice, but it tasted great. Fresh juice tastes much better than juice you buy, and you get to choose what you put in it.

May 16:

I’ve been really occupied with studying for AP exams this week. I finished two exams this week!! But, I still have more. The only good thing about AP exams is that I was able to skip school (though it doesn’t feel like school at this point). It felt weird not having anything to do yesterday and today, especially being able to sleep in. I had to find someway to occupy myself, so I baked another chocolate cake. This time, I decided to make a traditional cake, but I didn’t make frosting because I hate frosting. Instead, I made a vanilla glaze so it would still have the same sweetness but it wasn’t as heavy as frosting. This cake turned out amazing. It was one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. I wish I had a picture, but it tasted even better than it looked (and it looked great).

Quarantine baking has been a trend, but it’s always been a thing for me. Whenever I get bored, I love to bake. Before quarantine, I had stopped baking because my family begged me to since there were so many desserts in the house. I don’t usually eat the stuff I bake, so I would force them to eat all the desserts I make. But now, I’ve started baking even if they tell me not to!

My favorite time to bake is at night, usually sometime past midnight. I don’t know if it’s because no one is in the kitchen at that time, but that’s when I get the most energy to bake. I baked this cake at 2 a.m. for no reason, but it was worth it.

May 10:

Last night, I got really bored around midnight, so I decided to bake a cake! I love baking, but I hate eating any sort of desserts (especially cake) so I don’t normally bake. Instead of making a traditional cake, I opted to try a more unconventional method. I made a chocolate cake using almond flour, flax eggs and soy milk, and then topped that with avocado chocolate frosting. I used a piping bag to frost the cake so it looked pretty.

At first, I was skeptical of the cake, but it actually turned out to be really good. The cake itself resembled a brownie, while the frosting was super creamy from the avocados. I’m definitely going to make this again in the near future.

This is the cake after it’s been frosted.

May 8:

AP exams start next week, so I’ve started studying for my exams. I figured I could be productive by using all of my spare time to review all the content I am unsure about, so I’ve been very busy. As much as I don’t want to take the exams, I’ll be so relieved when I finish! That’s the only thing that’s motivating me to study at this point (also because I don’t want to fail, but that’s a given).

April 24:

First, I actually cleaned my room yesterday! I’m shocked since I usually never end up cleaning my room when I say I will.

Second, I decided to experiment cooking new things today. My ingredient of choice today: almonds. I don’t actually like almonds, but I do like almond milk, so I made almond milk. I soaked the almonds in hot water for a couple hours until they were soft, and then I blended them with water and some sweetener. It was actually a very simple process and I made so much almond milk. Once I strained the almond milk, I was left with the almond pulp. I was about to throw it away, but then I found a recipe that uses the pulp to make almond meal, which I thought was really cool. So I took the almond pulp and baked it for two hours at a low temperature and then ground it into a fine powder. After that, I found a recipe that uses almond meal to make crackers, something that I’ve never tried making. I mixed the almond meal, rosemary powder, garlic powder, salt, oil and water into a dough and rolled out the dough. Then, I cut the dough into rectangles the size of crackers and baked it until it was crispy. They turned out SO good! I forgot to take a picture of them but they looked good too. I’m definitely going to make them more often because they didn’t take that much time. Who knew that almonds could be so versatile?

April 22:

Update: I didn’t clean my room. I didn’t even attempt to. Maybe I’ll try again tonight.

April 21:

Today’s task: cleaning my room. It seems like such a simple task, but somehow it always takes me hours. Usually, I just do my laundry, put everything away and make my bed, but today I’m going to do a deep cleaning of my room. I tried to do this a few weeks ago, but I gave up 20 minutes into it. But today, I’m determined to finish. For some reason, I get really energetic and productive around 2 a.m., so I get the most work done then. This is too much work to start at 2 a.m., though. It’s currently 8:30 p.m., but I’ll probably start cleaning around 10 p.m.

I spent about an hour working on my math homework, but I still need to do my chemistry homework before I start. Since I have nothing but time, I’m trying to be super productive and not procrastinate my homework. With school being canceled multiple times, I’m still trying to keep the routine of doing my schoolwork so I don’t waste these days off.

Hopefully I’ll actually clean my room this time, but with me you can never be sure.

April 18:

As I said earlier, I’ve been occupying my time with online shopping. A few days ago, I ordered clothes, and now I’ve just been waiting for them to come. Time goes by so slowly when you’re at home all day, so these past few days have felt like months. I just want my clothes to come!

My sleep schedule is very messed up. For some reason, no matter how hard I try, I can’t fall asleep before 4 a.m. The later I stay up, the later I wake up. As much as I love to wake up and be productive, it’s impossible to do that without getting less than 3-4 hours of sleep. If I don’t have anything important in the morning, I’ll usually wake up around 1 p.m. I accidentally woke up at 3:30 p.m. today.

April 17:

I got really bored today and decided to dye my hair. This isn’t the first time I’ve done it, so I was just dyeing the parts of my hair that had grown out. Since my hair is a very dark brown, I lightened the color a little bit (I’m not bold enough to try a color like pink, even if it’s temporary). I don’t really know what color I want, only that I want it to be lighter than it used to be, so I’m gradually dyeing it so I don’t make my hair too light.

After it dried, I realized that I wanted my hair to be a little lighter, so I’m going to try again tomorrow to see if the results are better.

Also, I discovered that I am really bad a cutting hair, so no one should ever trust me with that. My sister asked me to cut a little bit of her hair, and let’s just say I cut way more than a little. I mean the haircut looked good, but I realized that I am not good at estimating hair length, so what I thought was a little turned out to be a lot. Whoops! I mean you live and you learn, right?

April 15:

After hearing about it for a while, I decided to watch All American. Though I’ve only watched the first episode, I get the hype. I would have to rate it a 10/10 so far. I’m usually really late when it comes to watching popular shows (for example I still haven’t gotten around to watching season 2 of You) so I’m going to try to watch All American while it’s still relevant. I don’t usually watch that much Netflix, so now is a perfect opportunity to watch these shows so I understand the references I’ve been seeing everywhere.

April 13:

I haven’t written in a while because I haven’t done anything worthy of being posted. I spent most of this time watching Netflix and sleeping in. Since we are supposed to be on spring break, my teachers haven’t assigned any work for me to do, so I’ve been extremely bored. I finished all of the other work that I was given, so suddenly I had much more free time on my hands. Tomorrow is the first day of online school, so I decided to get ahead on my work. Usually people dread doing their homework, but for some reason I felt excited to do it, because it was something different than using my phone or watching Netflix. I spent most of this evening doing my math homework and ended up feeling satisfied knowing that I am being productive.

Also, I’ve taken up a new habit: online shopping. Normally, I like to casually browse through websites, looking for potential clothes, but I never buy them. Since I have nothing better to do, I’ve spent hours scrolling through the websites of my favorite stores and adding items to my cart. Then I always face the same dilemma: do I actually buy these clothes? On one hand, I’m wasting money when I could be saving it for something even better. But on the other hand, these clothes are super cute and would be a great addition to my closet. After school closed, I’ve bought an abnormal amount of clothes, though I have no reason to wear them now. I’ve started wearing them around my house so that my online shopping has some sort of purpose.

March 31:

Today was one of the first days I wasn’t bored because I spent the whole day talking to people. I had three virtual meetings with the Committee on Raising Student Voices, so that kept me occupied through most of the day. After completing my day’s work, I was able to talk to other people and I saw many people that I haven’t seen since school closed! It was great talking to them because I went from seeing them everyday to not seeing them at all. After that, I spent some time with my sister and we had a lot of fun together. I barely used my phone (a big accomplishment for me)! Overall a 10/10 day, though I haven’t had many of those since I’ve been quarantined.

March 30:

With the Virginia ‘stay at home’ order, my parents are forbidding me from going on my daily grocery store trips, unless it is for something we all need. My brief cooking journey has come to an end and now I must find something else to occupy my time. While I could continue cooking with ingredients that I have in my house, I won’t get the satisfaction of trying something new.

After watching hours of Netflix, I decided to take up cleaning my room. It’s a great way to waste time and I will end up with a clean room, something that has become a rarity to me. My first task: doing my laundry. As soon as I started doing my laundry, I got a rush of motivation to clean my entire room, so I began the lengthy process. I didn’t think it was possible for a room to get so messy, but I always surprise myself.

20 minutes later, I got bored. Who knew that cleaning could get so boring so quickly? My room was still a little messy, so I decided to continue tomorrow. Instead of cleaning, I chose an activity that’s more interesting: watching TikTok. Somehow, this app has hooked me, which leaves me scrolling through it for hours at a time. No matter how long I watch it, I never get bored of it. When we were still in school, I wouldn’t use it during the school week so that I can be more productive, but now that I am at home all day, I figured I didn’t have to control myself.

As much as I hate the idea of using my phone all day, I have nothing better to do at this point. TikTok has been one way that I’ve been able to waste time while still being entertained. It has become my favorite app, and I spent 15 hours on it last week! I probably should find something better to do.

March 26:

I spent most of today doing homework, so it was a pretty boring day. After I finished, I went on a family walk with my mom and my sister, which was a lot more fun than it seems. Besides that, I haven’t done much today.

March 25:

I decided to make some delicious vegan Mac and Cheese for me and my sister. A lot of people are quick to dismiss vegan Mac and Cheese, claiming that since it does not contain cheese it must not be good. But none of these people have tried my Mac and Cheese. I don’t know what’s exactly good about it, all I know is that every time I eat it, it tastes amazing. My favorite thing to add is broccoli, one of my favorite foods, which makes it taste healthier and better. I made a last minute decision to make this, so I was forced to use whatever ingredients I found in my fridge, but somehow it still tasted good.

This is the final product of the Mac and Cheese. Topped with crushed red pepper flakes, the Mac and Cheese had a great balance of cheese sauce and spice, making it a great meal overall.

Making this was the highlight of my day. I spent the day working on school assignments that my teachers gave me, which I actually didn’t mind doing. My teaches have given me calendars with assignments each day, so I’ve been following the calendar so I don’t become overwhelmed. It felt great to have some sort of familiarity in this unprecedented time, so I carried out my homework routine as usual. I started my homework at 4, then I worked until I completed all the assignments due that day. Honestly, I’d rather spend my day doing homework than using my phone all day, so I’m glad that some of my teachers have continued assigning work during this break.

March 19:

At this point, school seems like a distant memory. I feel like I’ve been trapped in my house for months, but it’s only been 1 week. I have reached a point of extreme boredom, so I’ve been trying to find unique ways to pass my time. I quickly became bored of scrolling through my phone and watching Netflix and needed something better to do. I figured the best way to waste time is to cook. I’ve always loved cooking and I spend a lot of my time in the kitchen, experimenting with different recipes.

With a house filled with avocados, one of the foods I can’t live without, I originally figured I wouldn’t need any other food. But I was wrong. Everyday, I have avocado toast for breakfast, but that leaves dinner for me to figure out. For the past few days, I’ve been going to my kitchen to see what I can make, but I never had any of the ingredients to make the things I wanted to. I tried to brainstorm things I can make, with little success, and usually ended up making salads. I got bored of that too, so I decided to expand my cooking expertise.

These past few days, I’ve been cooking dinner for my family, which has been quite enjoyable. I am only allowed to leave my house to go to the grocery store, so my daily trips to buy ingredients is what is keeping me sane. This break has allowed me to find new recipes, many of which require ingredients that I do not have, and has pushed me to try foods I’ve always wanted to try.

This is vegan pizza after it finished cooking in the oven. It is topped with tomatoes and vegan cheese and every bite of it was enjoyable.

Today, I made pizza for my family. I didn’t just put some store-bought sauce onto store-bought dough, I made both of them from scratch. Pizza dough is actually very simple to make, and I’ve been doing it for years. All it requires is flour, yeast, water and oil, as well as plenty of time. For the pizza I shared with my sister, I topped it with vegan cheese and tomatoes. I let my mom choose her toppings for her pizza, which had regular cheese of course. After an hour of waiting for the dough to rise and additional time to bake the pizza, I finally got the satisfaction of eating my homemade pizza.