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  1. I don’t have any advice, but The Big Sick is a great movie that deals with this very issue. It’s the semi-autobiographical story of the co-writers who fell in love (and the guy stars in it too).
  2. We do off and on. Usually it’s not specifics, but we talk about things like changes as we age and being creative when kids are around. It’s usually positive and light-hearted - things like, “Kids are spending the night with friends so I think hubby and I will stay in tonight,” with a grin. We celebrated with a friend when she got the okay to brew tea with her husband after a long period of medical issues. I wouldn’t say it’s a frequent topic, but none of us would think twice about talking about it either.
  3. I will add that when we went for admitted student’s day, we spotted an AA student sitting by himself in the cafeteria, so of course I made a beeline for him and sat there figuring I might get a different perspective. He was patient but noncommittal with my questions about his experience, but when my daughter said she heard the students can be kind of stuck up and clique-ish, he grinned and nodded vigorously. He was a football recruit, and it made me wonder why he was sitting by himself. Didn’t want to read too much into it as there could have been many reasons, but it still made me go hmmm. Also, FWIW, it has the nickname J Crew U. In some ways I think the stereotype might be somewhat outdated, but I’ve heard from some really great kids that they struggled to find their people with some transferring.
  4. Dd applied and was accepted there for next year. She also did their summer scholars last summer in genetic engineering and liked that. Ultimately she has decided to go to UC, partly because their engineering school is stronger, and partly because she got a lot of negative feedback from others about Miami being a rich, white, entitled, party school. Whether it’s a fair assessment or not, it turned her off. My impressions are it’s a beautiful campus, and they are trying hard to shake that rich white image with major diversity pushes, but I don’t know how successful they’ve been. Their sciences are very good with a solid number of med school acceptances. Business school is also very good but tends to be where the entitled reputation comes from. You can’t have a car for two years and it is far enough from Cincinnati and Dayton that students tend to stay around campus and party. When you do have a car, you have to park it way far out usually. I know an lgbti person there who liked the academics, but didn’t like the students much. Everyone can find their tribe at a school that size though. They do an awesome Make It Miami admitted students day which almost swayed her with the whole romantic college experience thing, but after a couple of days she shook it off and stuck with UC. Editing to add, OSU has become the most attractive and competitive public university now, while Miami used to be it. OSU is excellent in the sciences, and its psychology department is great, too. Dd got accepted there, too, but liked UC’s engineering program better.
  5. I like decorating, but it doesn’t come easy for me, especially since I don’t like much of what I see (for my house-I am not judgy about what others like for theirs.) It is very important to me to see beauty as I walk in my house, and certain rooms just make me relax and smile every time I go by. However, we have been in this house 19 years, and it is still a work in progress. We have the money, it’s just I have to sit with space and ponder and then I have to find what I want for a reasonable cost. I am much better at knowing what I don’t want. It’s not that I have super rarified sophisticated taste, it’s just very specific, and I often don’t even know it until I see it. I have never considered hiring a decorator because I would drive them insane saying no to everything but not being able to explain what I would say yes to. Oh, and I am so very not crafty or handy. Luckily dh is handy.
  6. I used to be a Christian from an evangelizing denomination, and now I am a nonbeliever. I would appreciate a stranger reaching out to me if I seemed upset and/or in need of support, but I would not appreciate it if it was religious in nature. Asking to pray for me says that the person doesn’t know how to be supportive other than through religion and would rather offend than learn otherwise. When you aren’t religious, bringing religion into things just makes the interaction all complicated and awkward. I know they almost always mean well, but I would still feel worse from the interaction, not better. Also, it’s one thing for someone to ask if they can pray for me meaning at a time and place separate from me. That’s reasonably okay in my book assuming they aren’t asking details etc. They are trying to show their care for me without insisting I participate, too. It still makes me feel less supported than a non-religious interaction, but whatever. However, wanting me to participate isn’t okay and would irritate me with its Christian-normative presumption. Trying to clarify all that just, again, makes it awkward. Pray silently for strangers and those you know don’t share your beliefs, and if you want to reach out, reach out to them in warm, supportive, non-religious ways.
  7. I’m vegetarian, so that’s my excuse 😂. I gave birth both times at a birthing center attached to a hospital, and my midwife asked me beforehand if I wanted to take the placentas home. I can’t remember if she mentioned eating them, but like I said, vegetarian! Anyway, I did take them home both times, kept them in the freezer for a bit, and then buried them where three pines formed a triangle in our backyard. I liked the idea of something that nurtured my babies continuing to nurture my garden.
  8. We told our kids we’d contribute 1k the first year they earned that much (and they didn’t have to contribute anything), and then every year after until they are fully launched we’d match what they put in up to “x” amount. They both opened their Roth IRAs at age 16 and have contributed every year since. Even that little bit starting so early makes a huge difference down the road.
  9. As I recall, the general rule of thumb is 10-12x current income, if you want to live a little below current income and retire at 65, but that’s very general.
  10. I agree with others that the answer is as much as they can as early as they can, not a dollar amount. I have found showing them numbers regarding how compounding works using the online calculators to be very motivating. We started maximum retirement saving at around 27, which is pretty good, but I showed them how much better off we’d be if we had started earlier, even with small amounts. I’d talk with them about automatic withdrawal too, since it makes it less painful. If they just get in the habit of having that amount taken out and living on the rest, they won’t miss it.
  11. I brought in a can of Mexican Campbell’s soup. An unopened can! The last time I flew in from Mexico, I carefully declared my unopened bag of chips and the guy condescendingly told me not to worry about that, so I didn’t declare the soup. My husband, the attorney rule-follower, asked me if we should, and I confidently assured him we didn’t need to. This led to the customs guy holding up the can of soup and loudly asking if this was food, and if so, why didn’t I declare it? My husband eventually forgave me 😄. I declare any food now, gum included, and shrug off the amused customs people, especially when dh is along.
  12. Be prepared to be underwhelmed at things you are supposed to be impressed by, and moved more by the little things. I have been to the Vatican twice in recent years, and both times found it overly crowded and meh. The Sistine Chapel is pretty cool, but it is full of people and every few minutes the guards yell at people to be quiet, which kind of ruins the atmosphere. Some of my favorite Rome memories are just walking around after dark and exploring. I really enjoyed walking up Palantine Hill and sitting there watching the sunset over the beautiful city. If you go to the Pantheon, make sure you duck into Chiesa di Sant’Ignazia di Loyola, a church close by that has stunning illusions in the paintings.
  13. We have a 14 yo corn snake and both kids will be at college in the fall. I figured it would die about the time son left (two years ago), but then I did more research and discovered they can live 20 years. Oh my. I considered rehoming the snake, but I am sort of fond of him and worry he wouldn’t end up in a good home, so we’re stuck with each other!
  14. There were disposable plastic gloves by the produce in the grocery stores we went into in Rome, and if they are there, the expectation is you will use them to handle produce, even if you are only touching the produce you are buying.
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