One of my good friends loves peppers. He keeps every variety on his deck, from sweet Banana Peppers to spicy Ghost Pepper. He has more on there than any grocery store selection. The other day, he handed me one of his smallest breeds to try– the Thai ornamental pepper. It looks very cute and innocent on the outside. It’s red and about the size of my thumbnail. It has a cute little green stem at the top, making it look almost like an oblong strawberry.
So, I decided to try it. How bad could a cute little pepper be?
The Thai Pepper, thumb for scale.
I put the whole thing in my mouth, and was all right for a few seconds. Then the heat hit. It tasted like spicy grass, and it wouldn't go away! I ran to the fridge, grabbed a gallon of milk, and drank. I read somewhere that the heat would go away better when honey was placed on the tongue, but I couldn't find any of that in the apartment. For such a small pepper, it truly packed a punch!
As weird as it sounds, I feel like the pepper kind of represents Caltech. It's spicy, beautiful, interesting, small, fun, and flavorful all at once, but can sometimes be too hard to handle without milk or honey to balance it out. As we're approaching the end of the summer and the beginning of the school year, regardless of whether you're coming here next year, go to another school, are still in high school, or graduated college already, my advice to you is to find the honey to your Thai pepper. Find one activity that you love to do in your free time to balance out the stresses of school.
There's no better time than summer to start learning a new passion, too! This year, I decided to brush up on my Hebrew and learn another new language, Japanese! I also have been going to the gym nearly every day to keep my fitness up. I'm hoping that during the school year, I can continue to spend my free time doing something I enjoy :).