My past is feeling left behind.

I had a moment today when I couldn't believe that around this time last year, I was roaming the streets of southeast DC alone daily, looking for inspiration and education and adventure. I was so unafraid of being alone and became so good at it.

Well, where I am now, one doesn't have to go looking for education and inspiration. Now that it is literally at every corner, I'm already feeling like I won't have enough time to learn "it all." I don't want to concentrate in anything -- if it were possible, my education would consist of an infinite number of lectures on an infinite number of topics. But until I've designed that "Everything" major, I'll continue to vary my course selection salad as much as I possibly can.

This morning, my math and bio professors breezed so quickly through the material that it was literally risible (though perhaps I shouldn't have been the one laughing).

My seminar on climate change makes me think about my place in the world every time. Latin class drops my jaw on a regular basis.

As it started to snow today, I thought to myself: I could fall to my knees and pray to any part of this experience.

A bit too typical grateful Ratna? Maybe not. It's been not even three months and already the thought that I only have four years here is tugging at me. I already have memories here. I have found some of the friends I was searching for, and the thoughts I've always wanted to think are buoyed by the general tone of support of my peers and professors.

I'm really happy to be here...and now.

The best birthday!

I'm running a little low on sleep but I really want to write about my day to "memorialize" what has been the best birthday I can remember.

It started last night with dinner with my wonderful peer advisor Allie Pace and a phone serenade from Nizar's a cappella group, Naturally Sharp. I returned to my dorm around 10 to an explosion of my twin Kirin, accosting me with chai and donuts and Nic and love, which lasted the rest of the night.

The wonder that is Reylon came over shortly before midnight, along with a trickling in of awesome Greenough hallmates, who made too much noise for a good while as we awaited the countdown to midnight.

Javier, my Colombian brother, made an artful entrance with "It's a girl!" balloons and candy imported all the way from South America for me. Ayyy!

Our gang complete, we enjoyed Kirin's delirious spoken word recitations with raucous laughter until a perfectly in-tune serenade at midnight, before Sophie went to sleep and we watched some real spoken word.

I am blown away by many of the words of the night, from Kirin's note that made me cry, Javier's card that made me smile, and Reylon's craaazy documentary of our friendship. When the other friends were gone, Reylon shared with me a video that journals the beginnings of our ESPP alliance, with inside jokes at every turn. I would have watched it over and over again if it hadn't been so late past my bedtime.

I slept around 2:06 (the exact time of my birth!) after a text to my mother and a call from my grandmother. Thanks for life, guys!

I awoke to the delivery of a cake that looks like it should be in an art museum. Papa, the amateur cake design enthusiast, surprised me with this beauty. I spent the rest of the day trying to find a group big enough to help me eat it. (I found one -- the Opportunes.)

After a morning math class came the best birthday present imaginable -- a visit from Dashell Laryea. Inspired by one of his admirable best friends, Dashell is currently taking a year off from Yale. He's interning with The Philanthropy Roundtable in D.C. until December, after which he'll be working for a start-up company. Cool stuff! This conversation, though shorter than I would have like, absolutely made my day, and left me feeling like I could do anything as I walked into Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, my favorite class of the semester.

Biology is art, and after appreciating its aesthetic value for an hour (that's all I got from today's lecture), I picked up my mail and went out for lunch with my roomie! Dr. Chang found a beautiful Indian buffet close to our dorm, where she took me for a delicious GillChang date.

In a food coma after our lunch, I opened cards from Patrick and Priya before taking history's shortest nap and setting out for the train station!

I am now on retreat with the Opportunes in Walpole, Massachusetts, looking forward to a night of celebrations with my lovely family!

Thank you all for my favorite birthday.