As a young girl, nothing fascinated me more than the neighborhood yoghurt land. I was mesmerized by the dozens of frozen yogurt flavor options, the gorgeous array of toppings, and ultimately the endless possibilities.
I remember one day filling my mug with as many flavors as possible, starting with toasted coconut and cookies and cream, then tossing pistachio, blueberry, and chocolate milkshake to a decadent top layer. Even when my mug didn’t seem to fit anymore, I added a squirt of butterscotch and arugula pop sorbet into the crevices, the latter only because it made me nostalgic for summer.
I already had quite a combination of flavors in my cup, but that was just the beginning. At the toppings station, I claimed mango-popping boba was an absolute necessity, followed by graham cracker bits, kiwi—”for the health!” I said—and rainbow sprinkles. When the yogurt was in my hands, I held it with the greatest excitement.
“I have a little all‘ I said, my eyes sparkling and my mouth salivating. “This is the best yogurt ever.”
My parents giggled at me and shook their heads at the myriad of flavors and textures in my cup. “Have a bite,” my mother urged. “How does it taste?”
Dipping my spoon in lightly, I snagged flavor after flavor from the top layer. There was quite an explosion in my mouth with the toppings – literally from the popping boba.
But I was satisfied. Each yogurt flavor — the nutty pistachio, the tart blueberry — shone through strongly enough to bring the otherwise disparate toppings together.
However, as we delved deeper into the cup, things got interesting. I dipped my spoon in and picked up a few flavors at a time, and while they sometimes worked surprisingly well together, like cookies and cream and chocolate milkshake, they mostly didn’t, like coconut and arugula.
Since my taste buds were already shaken by the rather unsettling combination of flavors in these cases, they sent the disjointed toppings into an even greater frenzy. I became acutely aware of the sprinkles colliding with the artificial blue raspberry; I felt mango-popping boba involuntarily seep into the graham cracker chunks in my mouth.
I was blown away, to say the least, and to calm my taste buds back down, I ended up scraping just my favorite flavors from what was left, leaving the rest of the soupy abyss behind. When my father saw what was left of my cup, he smiled.
“Why don’t you just pick a few of your favorites next time?” he suggested. “So you can enjoy everything.”
I nodded understandingly in response, but as an elementary school student, picking just a handful of yogurt flavors and toppings seemed so difficult. However, over time I grew and learned; as I got older, my yoghurt cup became more manageable and therefore tastier.
In high school, I began to realize how relevant this frozen yogurt wisdom was to other areas of my life as well, and I tried not to overload my schedule to the breaking point. It was difficult, especially as someone who has a hard time saying “no” to things. But I can honestly say that pre-pandemic senior year was sweet because of my more balanced schedule — or comfortably full cup.
Now, in college, I think about my father’s words again. Sometimes I feel like college is just another yogurt country. We have so many ways to fill our cups for the semester, and while they may seem appealing individually, how they work together is another story.
I’m not saying that the activities you choose need to be cohesive themselves, or that the flavors in your cup need to be in perfect harmony with each other. For me, writing about food for TSL has pretty much nothing to do with my involvement in a 5C Christian club on campus, but I love both!
Blueberry tart and pistachios don’t necessarily go together, but they’re my two favorite flavors in Yogurtland! You can still enjoy very different activities, just like the strong, separate flavors at the top of the cup – just be careful not to pile up so many that you’re left with yogurt soup.
As the fall semester progresses, I encourage you to think about the interests and hobbies that you truly enjoy. I’m asking you to just pay attention to what’s on your plate – or in this case, what’s in your cup – and that way enjoy it thoroughly.
Emily Kim PO ’25 is a banana bread enthusiast from Irvine, California. You’ll always catch her with a scrunchie on her wrist napping at Lincoln Hall.