{shortcode-941c03563d6645b0a6748733eeb4a349706054bb}Dear Harvard Rats (the animals, not the snitches),

I’ve been in Cambridge for more than a month now but have not seen much of you in a long time. I guess now that I’m at the Quad you don’t feel like paying me a visit, but surprises are always nice. I remember the days at Mather during my freshman year where you would run against the prison walls in sync like secret agents in the shadows. The fateful day that one of you paid me and my suitemate a visit in our common room was one of the most eventful days I had in the pandemic era at Harvard.

I know this is controversial, but I miss you. I miss the fight or flight that flushed through my body as you searched for food in any Harvard Square trash can. I miss the fear that both you and I felt when we were in proximity to each other, like a playful game of hide-and-seek. I miss the nights where I would catch a glimpse of your long-haired concrete fur, make eye-contact with you, and then we would just give each other a little cheeky smile. Those are the memories I cherished most as a first-year.

Times have changed since then. I heard you don’t really come out too much since there are more people out. I get it. It can be an overwhelming change. Just know that if you ever do find yourself taking one of those long and lonely college-student midnight walks, I would join you in an instant. Who knows, maybe after reading this you’ll finally text me back, and if not, that’s okay too (it’s not). I get you’re, you know, constantly trying to survive and all.

Whether or not you believe it, I really care about you. When I saw you in my common room, I never bought a rat trap or rat poison. I will admit that clogging the hole from which you would enter was a little cruel, but I should have known that rats at Harvard are smart enough to chew through cardboard boxes if it means getting a warm and cozy place to sleep for the night.

Even after the encounter we had where you ran under one of our couches to hide, I never thought about anything less than welcoming you into my Harvard College experience. I know there you will never read this—considering you cannot read or understand the complex linguistics of the English language—but if one day you find a way to fluently read, write, and speak English using some amazing product like Duolingo, or at least understand humans like Remy from Ratatouille, I hope this letter somehow finds its way to you and makes you smile. But until then, just keep on doing your thing and don’t die.

Happy Trails,

Edgar “Teddy” Onate

P.S. This letter is not sponsored by Duolingo