As a young girl, nothing captivated me more than the neighborhood Yogurtland. I was mesmerized by the dozens of frozen yogurt flavor options, the glorious array of toppings and, ultimately, the endless possibilities.
I remember one day I filled my cup with as many flavors as possible, starting with toasted coconut and cookies and cream, and then swirling pistachio, blueberry and chocolate milkshake into a decadent top layer. Even when my cup did not seem to fit any more, I added a squirt of butterscotch and rocket pop sorbet in the crevices, including the latter solely because it made me nostalgic for summer.
Already I had quite the combination of flavors in my cup, but this was just the beginning. At the toppings station, I asserted mango popping boba to be an absolute necessity, followed by graham cracker bits, kiwi — “for health!” I said — and rainbow sprinkles. When the yogurt was in my hands, I held it with utmost excitement.
“I have a little bit of everything,” I declared, eyes glistening and mouth salivating. “This is the best yogurt ever.”
My parents chuckled at me, shaking their heads at the myriad of flavors and textures in my cup. “Take a bite,” my mom prodded. “How does it taste?”
I dipped my spoon in lightly, grabbing one flavor at a time out of the top layer. With the toppings, there was already quite the explosion in my mouth — literally, due to 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.
Digging deeper into the cup, however, is where things got interesting. I plunged my spoon in and scooped up a couple flavors at once, and while at times they worked surprisingly well together, like cookies and cream and chocolate milkshake, most of the time they did not, like coconut and rocket pop.
In these cases, because my taste buds were already jolted by the rather unsettling combination of flavors, the incohesive toppings put them in even more of a frenzy. I became hyperaware of how the sprinkles clashed with the artificial blue raspberry; I felt mango popping boba uninvitingly seep into the graham cracker chunks in my mouth.
I was overwhelmed, to say the least, and so to regain composure of my taste buds, I ended up individually scraping out only my favorite flavors from what was left and leaving the rest of the soupy abyss behind. When my dad saw what remained of my cup, he smiled.
“Why don’t you pick just a few of your favorites the next time around?” he suggested. “That way you can enjoy it all.”
I nodded understandingly in response, but as an elementary schooler, picking only a handful of yogurt flavors and toppings seemed so difficult. With time, though, I grew and learned; as I got older, my yogurt cup became more manageable in terms of flavor and, consequently, more delectable.
In high school, I gradually realized the relevance of this frozen yogurt wisdom to other areas of my life, and I tried to not overpack my schedule to the point of it overflowing. It was difficult, especially as someone who has a hard time saying “no” to things. But I can truly say that because of my more balanced schedule — or, my comfortably full cup — pre-pandemic senior year was sweet.
Now, in college, I am reflecting on my dad’s words yet again. Sometimes, I feel like college is another Yogurtland. We are presented with so many options to fill our cups for the semester, and though they may seem individually appealing, how they interact together is another story.
I’m not saying that the activities themselves that you choose have to be cohesive, or that the flavors in your cup have to necessarily blend together perfectly. For me, writing about food for TSL is fairly unrelated to my involvement in a 5C Christian club on campus, yet I love both!
Blueberry tart and pistachio don’t necessarily go together, yet they are my two favorite flavors at Yogurtland! You can still enjoy very different activities, just like the strong, separate flavors at the top of the cup — but just be careful that you don’t pile on so many that you are left with yogurt soup.
As fall semester trudges on, I encourage you to reflect on the interests and hobbies that you truly enjoy. I ask that you simply be mindful of all that is on your plate — or in this case, what’s in your cup — and that way, you can thoroughly savor it all.
Emily Kim PO ’25 is a banana bread enthusiast from Irvine, California. You will always catch her with a scrunchie on her wrist and napping in Lincoln Hall.