Moments to Savor: a Trader Joe’s run, literally

A drawing of a person running forward, pulling a paper shopping bag along with them by one hand. Pretzels, croissants, cheese, and grapes spill out of the bag.
(Nora Wu • The Student Life)

I love a good charcuterie board. There’s something about a seedy cracker topped with brie that makes my taste buds tingle and my heart happy. You can imagine my excitement, then, when my friends and I decided to host a charcuterie and painting night the first Thursday of school. Good food, good company — it seemed like the perfect way to welcome the start of a new school year and celebrate being together again.

My friends and I knew that at some point before Thursday, we’d have to make a Trader Joe’s run, but the busyness that consistently marks the first week of classes made it difficult to find a time to go. On Wednesday, however, I was sipping some cold brew in Malott (I love Malott’s cold brew) when I got an email saying that my P.E. class that morning was canceled.

Bummed, I looked down at the workout clothes I was wearing. “Should I change and get some work done?” I wondered. But then, a random thought came to mind. “What if I … just run to Trader Joe’s instead?”

I started exercising more over the summer, going to the gym and running a few miles around my neighborhood a couple times a week. Part of the reason I signed up for a P.E. class this semester — besides the fact that I need it to graduate — is because I wanted to stay active. So when my class that morning got canceled, I didn’t mind looking for an alternative workout. I checked Google Maps and saw that Trader Joe’s was only about a mile away. “I’ll basically be going on a two-mile run there and back,” I thought to myself. “That’s very doable.”

So sure enough, I scurried back to my room to grab my bright yellow Trader Joe’s waffle bag and began running, at a steady pace, to the store. I focused on my breathing and tried to keep my heart rate low, counting and admiring the trees as I passed them by. When I arrived at Trader Joe’s, I was proud of myself for making it through the first half of my run, and excited to grab as many charcuterie goodies as I could carry.

I filled my basket with two types of crackers, creamy brie and salty Manchego cheese, a box of plump green grapes and chewy candied orange slices. I grabbed some random snacks and sweets too — some chocolate-covered pretzels, fruity gummies and the Trader Joe’s version of Takis.

“I’m well aware that forming these habits may feel difficult at times. The sun was merciless during my literal Trader Joe’s “‘run,’” and the grapes sitting at the bottom of my bag were heavy! But I also know that the fruit of my labor will be sweet.”

When I went to check out and saw the cashier filling my bag to the brim, it suddenly dawned on me that I’d have to carry everything back. I laughed at myself and sheepishly checked the temperature outside: it was now in the 90s. “This will be fun,” I thought to myself, shaking my head. And I set off.

This second half of my run was most definitely not as glamorous as the first. The bag was heavy, my face felt sticky and I was huffing and puffing the whole way back. But when I finally arrived at my room and laid out every item from my Trader Joe’s haul on the floor, I felt that the journey was entirely worth it. I got a good workout in and I knew that my friends and I were going to eat well on Thursday night.

This story is in many ways a reflection of what I want my junior year to look like. I’m not saying that I want to run in 90 degree weather regularly (in retrospect, perhaps that wasn’t the safest move on my part), but I want to preserve good habits while also forming new ones. I want to continue making time to spend with friends, as I did very intentionally last year. I also want to exercise more, whether it be running or going to the gym.

I’m well aware that forming these habits may feel difficult at times. The sun was merciless during my literal Trader Joe’s ‘run,’ and the grapes sitting at the bottom of my bag were heavy! But I also know that the fruit of my labor will be sweet. I had never been happier to have sore legs than I was on Thursday night, when the charcuterie board was assembled and eaten in the company of good friends.

So now, I ask you this: What good habits or practices do you want to preserve this school year? What new habits do you want to form? Maybe they’ll feel a bit inconvenient in the beginning, but I assure you that they will pay off in the long run. If you don’t know where to start, take a hot girl walk (or run) to Trader Joe’s — and make sure to drink water if you do! It’ll literally be hot outside … for a little while longer, anyway.

Emily Kim PO ’25 is from Irvine, California. She is planning her next Trader Joe’s “run” so that she can stock up on all their fall goodies (pumpkin biscotti!).

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