coffee date #35 with sukti patel
my child, fellow coffee fanatic, future teacher!, part of my list of life consultants, that-person-who-literally-always-looks-so-put-together, also-that-person-who-gives-great-advice, north jerseyian, psych major, a pretty bird coffee fan
me: lavender latte with oat milk | sukti: vanilla latte with almond milk
location: pretty bird coffee, pennsylvania
Sukti Patel is one of those precious souls who entered my life unexpectedly, and has since become such an important part of mi vida.
Allow me to share the evolution of our relationship….
A few months (or weeks? I don’t even remember) into my sophomore year, I get a GroupMe notification in our Indian Student Association chat that Big/Little pairings have been made. I check next to my name and see ‘Sukti Patel – Freshman’ written. I had no idea who this girl was, so naturally I put my amazing Insta stalking skills to use and searched her up. She was (and still is) obviously a cutie, but I had no idea if we’d actually be able to connect with each other because I didn’t know anything about her (except for her insta username of course).
A few days later I go to Saathiya practice and notice that the girl that I had just stalked a few days ago is on the team (wild!). The littles did not know who their bigs were yet, so I never said anything, but I was shook. My little was on the same dance team as me? What a coincidence.
Later that week, the big/little pairings were revealed and I continued to see Sukti at our dance practices. We both refused to make eye contact with each other nor introduce ourselves because how do you even go up to each other in the middle of practice and be like “Hey, I’m your big”?
Finally, during one of those many awkward practices, as we were switching lines (prepare yourself to get second-hand embarrassment because I sure as hell am getting embarrassed typing this right now) I turned to Sukti and said “oh my god, are you my little?” *so embarrassing Esha* Sukti turned around and replied, “oh my gosh. Yeah, I think I am.” That was our first conversation ever (and I thought that would be our last because I’m telling you that was so awkward).
After that we somehow broke the ice and met up for lunch and since then, our relationship naturally evolved into a cute friendship that I cherish so very much. The weirdest thing about our whole relationship, though, is the fact that we’re so incredibly similar. How were we randomly paired with each other and have such insanely similar beliefs and thoughts? Every time we discover a new similarity, we gasp in shock and then laugh about it.
A few silly examples below heheh:
- I am a Carmex addict. Sukti is a (flavored) Carmex addict.
- My Starbucks name is always ‘Sam.’ Sukti’s Starbucks name is also ‘Sam.’
- I’m an April baby. Sukti is an April baby.
There is a little story behind why we decided to have our coffee date at Pretty Bird. Sukti and I were both getting COVID tested one day and after the testing, we wanted some coffee. Since I was the driver, I put the passenger (i.e. Sukti) in charge of finding a nearby Starbucks. Sukti, somehow, manages to find a Starbucks 15 minutes away (when there were definitely ones much closer to us)….in Pennsylvania. Neither one of us thought much about that distance until we were already halfway there and realized that she chose a different state to get coffee in lmfao. We enter the homely, vibrant town and see Pretty Bird Coffee opposite the Starbucks we were supposed to go to. That’s how we ended up getting our first coffee from this super cute place, so it was only fitting that we have our coffee date at the same place.
Diving into the world of Sukti Patel….
- the concept of ‘losing yourself’ in your partner
Whenever I hear someone say love feels like you’re ‘losing yourself’ in the other person because you love them that much, I never understand that statement. Why would you want the type of love where you lose or forget who you are as a person? Then I realized that I also don’t really like the phrase “finding myself in you” either because that’s implying that your identity is entangled with your partner’s identity even though you’re two separate people (this whole concept reminds me of the epic story between Felicity and Oliver in the show Arrow – I was a hardcore fan back in the day 🙈).
I believe that one must be secure in their own identity before hopping into a relationship and bringing a new person into their life. This way, instead of ‘finding’ or ‘losing’ themselves in the other person, the relationship just acts as a supplementary tool for them to further amplify what they already knew about themselves. This is the best kind of love: a healing kind of love.
- boredom in relationships – is it a sign or is it normal?
Boredom can come in two forms when in a relationship:
a) you’re either actually bored, which might mean you’re just incompatible OR
b) it’s the result of bottled up emotions.
If the latter is true, then the key to fixing that, according to Sukti, is communication.
“Boredom comes in relationships.” – Sukti Patel, 2022
She told me that her type of boredom in relationships stems from having built-up anger. When she realized that, she knew she had to communicate it with the other person.
What stuck out to me the most was Sukti describing that one of the most important parts of a relationship is understanding how the other person reacts. Do they lash out? Do they bottle everything up? Do they shut down? Understanding what their way of releasing emotions can aid in improving the relationship because it will also make you more understanding. At the same time, it can help you give them a little nudge to release that emotion to avoid the feeling of ‘boredom’ in the future.
- the relationship between an older and younger sibling
My brother (aka coffee date #13) is the single, most important human being in my life. He is six years younger than me and yet, I find myself constantly wanting to ‘be’ him or at least, handle some things in life the way he does with such ease.
Sukti spoke about her relationship with her older brother (who recently got married – woohoo!). She described him as someone who is “always there.” Sukti also noted that since he was the older sibling, their mother taught him to look after other people along with himself. I feel like many older siblings have that trait innately built in them because that’s the role you naturally step into when your younger siblings enter the world. You want to protect them at all costs, but not to the point where they don’t get to experience all the joys and pains that come with life.
What touched me the most was when Sukti said that the day after his wedding, her brother wrote all the members in their family a letter. In Sukti’s letter he outlined all the things that she taught him about life. When Sukti talked about that letter she beamed with joy and teared up as she recalled the moment. She said that she was shocked that her older brother said that she taught him things because it’s usually the other way around – the younger ones learn from the older ones. But I agree with Sukti’s brother, the younger siblings also teach us oldies a lot about life. It’s soul-opening and enriching to be able to learn from the ones we’ve seen grow up so amazingly.
- power of the notes app
This was adorable! Sukti described to me that she has a never-ending list on her Notes app where she includes all the things that make her happy (similar to this). This basically acts as her digital gratitude list. She stated that she has the littlest things to the biggest things on that list. She’ll occasionally go through that list and recall all those good times.
“Find what makes you happiest.” – Sukti Patel, 2022
I liked the idea of having a gratitude list on our phones because journaling is not for everyone. Journals are also not things that can easily fit in our pockets, preventing us from carrying them around wherever we go. The notes app also helps for when you’re ecstatically happy about something in the moment. It’s easiest to just whip out your phone and jot it down instead of trying to remember that incident all day long before you can write it in your journal.
Practice gratitude in whatever way you like because it has an innumerable amount of benefits for just being happier and who wouldn’t want to be happier? Gratitude helps people:
- feel more positive emotions
- relish good experiences
- improve their health
- deal with adversity
- build strong relationships.
- going against the ‘norm’ to follow your dreams
When I first met Sukti, she was a marketing major. She described how she was kinda interested in business, but didn’t know for sure if that’s what she wanted to do. By the time spring semester rolled around, Sukti had changed her major to elementary education and psychology. The girl wanted to be a teacher for the longest freaking time and she finally mustered up enough courage to switch her career path. I always admire the people who stop doing what they were told or conditioned to do and instead, follow what their heart tells them.
Whenever Sukti spoke to me about her marketing major and the classes associated with it, she spoke very nonchalantly and didn’t seem that passionate. However, when she started speaking about teaching, her eyes welled up with some tears, she couldn’t stop cheesing, and I could just tell that this is what she is meant to be doing.
“Do what you love despite what people think.” – Sukti Patel, 2022
Also, can we just take a minute to acknowledge the power and awesome-ness of having a brown elementary school teacher? I know that having someone who looked like I did teach me through my primary education would have done wonders during my childhood, which was largely surrounded by white students and white teachers. Once she graduates, Sukti will go into classrooms and just her presence itself will make so many children in her classroom feel seen & that is the beauty and power of teachers. Miss Patel, you are going to kill it!
- compare yourself to……yourself.
We are all culprits of comparison. It’s easy for us to compare ourselves to other people, whether it be their online presence or their real-life existence. Sukti gave me the reminder to, instead, shift my mentality to comparing myself to myself.
Tom Bileyu posted a quote once that said something along the lines of “if you notice that you haven’t changed as a person every 5-6 years, then you’re doing something wrong.” In other words, we are meant to evolve and grow with age and experience, so if you must compare yourself to someone, then let that someone be a past version of yourself.
“I love when I realize that I am handling the situation better than my old self.” – Sukti Patel, 2022