Looking at Sophia’s biography, I figured we’d have a good date. I was more right than I’d expected. Meeting up at Miya’s, we covered the core Yale Questions (Major? Year? Residential college?) and then started into the real conversation. We quickly realized we had as even more in common than our scarily similar biographies suggested. We both loved “Doctor Who,” adored the same fantasy series from high school, and held the same rage over the cancellation of “Firefly.” We swapped recommendations for podcasts and webcomics and gushed over Hayao Miyazaki’s movies. We also share the same passion about social justice in the developing world, with Sophia planning to go to Thailand to work on waterway preservation and me applying for a semester in Mongolia studying economic development and social change. We jokingly wondered if the News contest was rigged.
The conversation flowed easily as we snacked our way through the sushi. Finding myself rambling enthusiastically about Chinese philosophy and my favorite fictional characters, I stopped and mumbled, “Sorry, I’m a little nerdy about this stuff.” She smiled and said it was fine, and I felt myself become a little less self-conscious. We stole each other’s sushi and chatted about the unusual flavors, although we decided to keep my delicate Midwestern palate away from her pepper-laced nine-spice sashimi.
At the end of our date, as we both walked to WLH, I reflected that the restaurant had been an excellent fit for the company. The conversation had been even more fun than the menu (and a menu with items such as “Kiss the Smiling Piggie” is pretty hard to top), and I admired Sophia’s and Miya’s passion for making the world a better place. When we got to the spot where our routes separated, we hugged and planned when we’d next meet. Especially as a recently out bi girl, I was more than a little nervous about the date, but I’m pretty sure I was grinning by the time we went our separate ways.
Contact Kelsey larson at firstname.lastname@example.org .
I’ll be honest: I entered this competition without really thinking about it, on the off chance that I might get a free meal and meet someone cool. But when I read Kelsey’s profile I really hoped that we would win, because I thought she sounded awesome. I thought right. Talking to her was the most fun I’ve had in a while. We talked about everything from Doctor Who to Chinese philosophy to the threat of widespread single-ness to Japanese cultural self-concept (I’m not kidding). On a somewhat unrelated note, I learned that I make a ridiculous face when I try to take selfies.
The food aspect was also great. We went to Miya’s Sushi, a place I’ve always loved on the rare occasions that I had the chance to eat it. It was my first time having a proper meal there, though I did eat a few late-night specials my freshman year, and it was Kelsey’s first time ever, so going over the menu was quite an adventure. They have the most creative role selection I’ve ever seen — the “best crunchy roll ever,” for example, had gormeh sabzi, which is the last thing I would think to put on sushi. (If you don’t know what that is, I highly recommend eating at a Persian restaurant in the near future. Or far future, since there aren’t any Persian restaurants in New Haven. I think.) I was, in fact, so unfamiliar with Miya’s Sushi that I accidentally went to Sushi Mizu first. I made two fundamental first date faux pas by showing up late and leaving much earlier than I would have wanted to, but Kelsey was nice about it. I really enjoyed meeting her and I look forward to getting to know her better in the future, and I’m so glad the News (and its voters!) gave me that chance.
In the end, I got exactly what I wanted, a free meal with someone cool. But I didn’t expect just how cool she would turn out to be.
Sophia requested that WEEKEND not print her last name.