Guest Post! What it’s like living with Alice Dai. From, her roommate.

Hello! I’m Zoe from Georgia, mentioned in the occasional blog post, sometimes seen in pictures or featured in videos, otherwise known as “the roommate.”duke-1

Alice and I threw our names into the bucket of fate by going random with our roommate search and met on move-in day with no prior knowledge of one another other than Facebook profile pictures.

Strangers with wildly different hometowns and upbringings, we were now constrained to living in a small, cinderblock dorm room for the next eight months with only each other for solace. Who knows what could happen?

Us on the first week of school, pre-friendship

Alice and I are both Chinese American, only children, and our shoe size is six and a half. We wear wire retainers, have the exact same desk lamp, and go to Duke University.

I think that’s about the extent of our similarities.

I couldn’t name a person more different than me than Alice Dai. She makes the conscious decision to wear glaringly colorful clothing on a regular basis, harbors the ambition and prowess of a Silicon Valley-er, and listens to jazzy alien space music. She’s got BLUE HAIR, for heavens sakes, and has a BLOG. I mean, who does these things?

Let’s just say I prefer neutral-colored clothes, am the type of girl to put pictures of her friends on the wall, and I like small talk. I’m not Alice Dai. But I have had the rare pleasure of sneaking a peek inside her mind these past few months. It happens when I hear her latest music obsession play on the speakers, when I come back to her reading intently on her galaxy bed sheets, or when she tries on chaotic combinations of clothing for fun. It happens after lights go off, after the day has ended, and our conversations explore the far reaches of our minds, rambling about college and drinking and kissing.

snapshot: Sunday brunch and Alice’s multicolored nails

I never really expected to be friends with my roommate. In fact, all I really wanted was someone to peacefully coexist with. You know… a roommate who wouldn’t take the food I bought, or keep me up late at night, or make me clean up after her.

Funny thing is, all of those things happened with Alice Dai — except, I don’t really mind any of it. Actually, I prefer it the way it is. Alice can take my Pringles chips because I eat all of her green tea chocolates, and we’ll stay up late talking but only because it’s about boys (the most important subject, of course), and I’ll be more than happy to vacuum the contact lenses she throws onto the carpet every night because she always lets me borrow her red bomber jacket.

Taking pics in a thrift shop bathroom

We don’t just peacefully coexist — we share our lives together, and I never realized how much infinitely better that is.

I got bangs in part because of Alice Dai. I wear chokers and listen to Chance the Rapper because of Alice Dai, and now I’ll forever feel somehow connected to San Francisco despite having never lived there.

I never expected to be friends with my roommate. Or to feel sad when she’s not there, or to wonder about her opinion, or to have that vague feeling of having a sibling. But it happened.

I don’t always agree with Alice, she slaps my butt sometimes when I don’t want her to, and she is frequently frazzled and late. We’re not perfect people, or perfect roommates. But I’m glad to know her and to have her influence my Duke experience.

*notice the color scheme

Here’s to more detoxifying face masks,

        To more goofy dance sessions in the room,

                 To the anti-party party dorm,

                          To future Whole Foods trips & clothing try-ons & roommate shenanigans,

Here’s to being Alice Dai’s roommate. It’s been a good five months.


Until next time,


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