Archive for the ‘Roommates’ Category

Wedding Gift Blunder

In Drama, Roommates on March 4, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Dear Yenta,

About 2 years ago, I attended a college roommate’s wedding (I call her a roommate because we weren’t really FRIENDS per se, just friendly in that we lived together for a bit.).

Okay, the wedding was in Milwaukee, WI, so I had to fly out for it and stay in a hotel. I had decided beforehand that my wedding gift to her and her husband would be a check. Well, as it turned out, I had forgotten to write the check beforehand and had forgotten to bring my checkbook to WI, meaning I attended the wedding gift-less. I felt really bad about it but fully intended to put it in the mail the minute I got home.

A week or so later I get this e-mail from her, saying that she was hurt I didn’t get her anything and that she believed I just mooched my way into a free party to see and hang out with friends. Well, I let my worst get the best of me, because I immediately snapped, responding to her e-mail saying that the check was already in the mail and that if she weren’t such a greedy person, she could’ve stomached waiting a week. I also mentioned that the travels and expenses I’d undergone to attend her wedding proved I cared more about seeing her get married than just attending a party.

Eeek! I wouldn’t be so worried about this whole ordeal (as it WAS 2 years ago) if I didn’t have to see her in a couple months at another friend’s wedding. Avoiding is out of the question. How can I dispel my icky feelings toward her so as to suck it up for the occasion? How shall I behave and/or get along with her? I wanna be the bigger person, but I also know my limits–I’m fully incapable of feigning friendliness or pretending. Help!

-Wedding Drama

Just because you hate her now, does not mean you can't love her later.

Dear WD,

This whole exchange seems a bit bogus to me. First of all, there is the base fact that you don’t actually care too much about each other. Second, there is the oddity of the gift-giving etiquette in the scenario. It is common law that wedding gifts can be given up to a year after the wedding. Did you see the Larry David episode? One year, baby.

So, that this chick called you a week later upset about the gift was not only poor form, but odd and greedy in and of itself. Wedding gifts are not obligatory, they are gifts, like tips, like a choice to extend yourself on behalf of their union. And yes, like tipping, while not obligatory, they are expected. But no bride has the right to call and wonder, a week post-nuptuals, where her wedding prizes are.

Also, a word on weddings. Every wedding varies in price, but the couple makes a choice when planning that giant party. It is a choice to dish out a lot of dough on behalf of a union. Yes, the wedding is a giant party with lots of amenities, but we aren’t all shuffling across the country just for the fun. We arrive at these enormous soirees to celebrate love, to show that we are witness to a vow so that maybe, down the road, should the couple need help they know these witnesses are there to assist in upholding their promises.

It is not all pop-culture money-grubbing crap. A wedding is an event with a purpose and it sounds like your friend forgot. We all go slightly broke in our late twenties, thanks to bachelor and bachelorette parties, weddings with hotel stays and airfare, and those suits and dresses to fit the part. But we do it because we love our friends and have faith in their love for one another.

My honest opinion: you should not have attended the wedding of someone you don’t care about. Weddings are costly and emotional and in order not to resent anyone for the expenditures, your really have to want to be there. It sounds like you both resented the financial investment you made on one-another.

In regards to the post-wedding exchange: you were both out of line, her most of all, and I would say the best remedy is kindness. Be the bigger woman and approach her before the wedding, call or email, and say how glad you were to be there to witness her marriage, and that you hope your gift bought them something beautiful for their new lives. Talk it out by surpassing (not bypassing) the issue, so that hopefully you can smile and hug her when you see her again. Remember, somewhere inside of you you do care about this woman.

It is a powerful drug, wishing well on your enemies. None of our hearts are nearly as hard as they seem in these crude moments. This girl, my guess, was having some after-wedding traumas of her own. Just love her, and hope she can do the same. Worst comes to worst, you remembered your softer side.

Truckboy Was Crooked

In Dating, Drama, Mental Health, Roommates, Sex on February 7, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Ok! For this one, I deliver first the answer, and then the question.

Answer: Education always comes first and is never selfish. No matter how crooked, long, wide, or weeny your boyfriend’s penis, your education STILL comes first. Let go of any man who abandons you repeatedly, causes extreme and regular crying, and shows little to no signs that he loves you. Be wary of using sex with men like drugs, they will not lead you to personal truth.

To you, my confused young friend, I advise a career in fiction writing and a potential year of celibacy.

An Escalade might be huge, but it won't get you a job or intellectual satisfaction.


Dear Yenta,

For funnsies I’ll call everyone I’m speaking of by the car they drive

Explorer, my most recent boyfriend, and I started dating about two and a half years ago. At the time I was living in Santa Fe, and he in Albuquerque. After a few months of dating, we decided that I would transfer to UNM and move to ABQ. In January, after I’d moved down there to be closer to him he told me that he was planning to go away for the summer to Mexico and then he wanted to do an internship in Spain for the Fall semester. This absolutely freaked me out. I became very sick in February and Explorer was too busy to take care of me. I wasn’t able to leave the house for I could not stand or walk for 5 days. So one of my roommates friends, Honda, was there to take care of me. Later on Explorer told me that he was definitely going to Mexico for two months and he wasn’t sure that he was committed to the relationship. I decided that I didn’t have to be either.

Come Spring break, I dreamt that I was interested in exploring things with Honda. I sat with those feelings for Honda for another two months before I did anything about it. In May, towards the end of the semester I went to Honda’s apartment and we made out for a long time. The next day I broke up with Explorer. Honda and I saw each other for a couple weeks, and then we broke up too. A month later I got back together with Explorer for a couple weeks before he went on his Mexico trip. It was then obvious that he wasn’t going to Spain anymore. We agreed that it wasn’t appropriate to wait for each other. So we went on our ways. In three months I slept with four guys. I realized after being kinda slutty that I wanted to be in a relationship where the person treated me fairly and wanted a commitment again.

A month after Explorer returned from Mexico we started dating again. We both decided to let our little other fling things subside and we were back into a pretty serious relationship in a matter of weeks. He said to me that he was planning on going to grad school in about a year, at the time it was October. Nothing else seemed to matter, not even that our relationship was on a clock. He moved in with me after he finished his undergrad degree. He started working at a Diner. He was reading a lot, running, biking, and going on backpacking trips with his friends. Meanwhile, I’m doing lots of busy school work. We had the most incredible year together: massages, cooking, watching movies, doing yoga, hanging with friends, loving each other deeply, and bla bla bla.

So a friend of ours, Toyota, short, gay, latino, pretty silly, moved into the apartment next door. Toyota and I became closer very quickly and it probably had something to do with the fact that we’re both Scorpios and love to talk about sex. One day I was upset with Explorer for not wanting to have sex with me very often because he was jerking off too much. Explorer already had a pretty low libido and I over here am a well oiled machine that likes to get it at least every other day if not every day. So I complained to Toyota about this tragedy at the laundromat. I shared with him my many issues with the relationship: he drinks to much, looks at porn & J’s it almost everyday, expects me to bend over backwards; calls it “making plans together”, makes messes all the time, makes fun of me for things that are inappropriate (old men; food), he doesn’t like to talk about anything deep, unavailable to talk about emotional things, and doesn’t like to kiss during sex. However it wasn’t always this way, that’s the hardest thing. He was getting bored of me and it was driving me crazy.

In a nutshell, after sharing all these things with Toyota he tells me that Explorer shared with him that he was planning to move away. I was furious. First of all I knew nothing about it, and as I started talking to more of our friends about it, I realized that I was the ONLY one that didn’t know. I was so embarrassed. I forced him to tell me what was going on. He was planning to move to Lake Tahoe to be a ski instructor for the winter and then wanted to start grad school at the University of Reno in the Spring. I had told him that I wanted to negotiate a way that I could move with him. I offered setting up a National Student Exchange to a city that we could both go to. He didn’t want to, he just wanted to leave. The whole time before he left I was crying all the time, uncontrollably. Obviously, he left. He moved everything out of my apartment back to his parents house. He told me that he wanted me to come visit him during my winter break. I agreed. We agreed that we would try to work out a long distance relationship. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to wait for him for very much time. I knew that I was also too angry with him to wait.

The morning he left, December 7, I waddled my crying self to Toyota’s apartment. He was living there with three guys, one who’s name is Acura. I thought Acura was pretty hot and had thought so since he moved in. That day I also talked to Explorer’s mother. She said that she thought that Explorer was going to come back to me, however she knew that he needed to find whatever he was looking for. It was my finals week. I cried every day for 6-10 hours. My eyes were swollen and I made myself sick as a beast. I wasn’t able to get anything done, and I didn’t do very well on my exams. I was also extremely jealous. He was giving me the vibes that he was looking for someone else to hook up with during his first week there. He basically told me that he wasn’t looking for anyone but if they showed up he wouldn’t say no.

I went back to my old job in Santa Fe during winter break. I was working full time so it helped with all the pain I was enduring. I stayed with my mother in her bed when I stayed in SF. I love my mom, however it is hard to sleep with her, let alone the fact that I was so lonely and wanted my Explorer back.

After ten days I stopped crying as much. I spent a lot of time with Acura studying and eating. There was hints that he liked me. I kept talking to Toyota about it. It took a while and then Toyota finally admitted that Acura did indeed like me too. On New Year’s Eve, I went out to a party with Toyota and his other hotty for the night. Acura was spending time with his family. So at this party I ran into a guy that I’d had the hots for ever since I met Explorer, name: Truckboy. They were old roommates and running buddies. Bad I know. Truckboy and I danced all night, he kissed my neck, and at the end of the night we pecked each other, no tongue. He asked me to stay the night with him, I said no, he said it would be just cuddling, I still said no. Now Toyota was super angry about it because he felt that Truckboy crossed the friend’s ex-girlfriend rule thing.

The next day was New Year’s day. A bunch of the boys from next door and I went ice skating and then we went for late night tacos, and then we went home to watch a movie. Now, Toyota AND Acura invited me to stay the night. They all live in one bedroom, so privacy is shaky. We watched a movie. Toyota fell asleep. Acura and I went to the third base. He wanted to have sex but I said no. Let me mention that dick size is rather important to me, and Acura’s cock is a few notches bigger in the girth department than Explorers and it’s straighter. The next day Acura asked me where our thing was going. Now I had bought a ticket to visit Lake Tahoe for January 10th. I told Acura that I had to go to Tahoe to figure out what I was doing. I went to work that day and spent time with my mom and we discussed the details of the situation. I decided that I didn’t need to go to Tahoe and that it would be better to break up. It also bothered me that if I went to Tahoe that I would probably miss the opportunity for anything to come of Acura and I… even though I’m not looking for a relationship, I could settle for a casual sexual thingamajig, with communication and whatnot.

The next day, Jan 3, Explorer and I broke up. It was pretty mutual. He didn’t seem like he was completely committed to the relationship either. At the end of the conversation he said that he still wanted me to come to Tahoe. I thought he was crazy. It took me until Jan 6 to finalize that I wasn’t going to visit. When I made that decision I was very clear that we were breaking up. I was ready to let the whole thing go and move on with my life. On Jan 7 I spent the night with Acura and we went to the 3rd base again. I still felt that I wasn’t ready to have sex.

After that Acura got really busy and started ignoring me. Toyota told Explorer about Truckboy hitting on me. It wasn’t like Truckboy was completely responsible, I was very responsive… lol. I was in Santa Fe on Jan 12 and went for beers with Truckboy and his best friend Bobby. During beer drinkage, Explorer randomly called Bobby, and we immediately had to acknowledge the huge gorilla in the room. Bobby told Explorer that I was there not knowing that there had been any confrontation between Toyota and Explorer about Truckboy and I. We agreed on a believable alibi for hanging out and that night I went home with Truckboy. He and I also went to the third base. However, Truckboy’s penis size was a few notches smaller than Explorer’s, so I felt that I didn’t want to go there with Truckboy again.

I found out on Jan 14 that Explorer was pretty upset that Truckboy was hitting on me and thought that I was going to have sex with him. I didn’t want to be jealous about something that wasn’t something to be jealous over. So I had to confront him about it. Now Explorer is trying to get me to wait for him when he comes to visit in March. He hasn’t told me how long he’s going to be here for. He hasn’t decided if he’s going to move back for the summer, and he wants to go on a trip. He may also decide to go to grad school in Reno next Fall. He decided not to go to school this semester. So he has no reason to stay in Tahoe after the season ends. I see that no where in any of this that he’s thinking about me. He just wants me to wait for him until March, and then there’s no other commitment.

On Jan 15 I saw a friend that I’m attracted to. I’ll call him Cadillac. He’s not connected to this whole slew of gossip between friends. None of my friends, not even Toyota knows I’m talking to him. We had lunch. At the end of our conversation we admitted to each other that we would potentially like to start a casual sexual relationship together. He does know my friends. However with discretion and trust it would be easy for us to have some intimate human contact without the drama. We made a pinky swear at the end to our complete secrecy — maybe there will be something and maybe there won’t.

So what I see now is
Explorer wants me to wait for him in March with all of the above mentioned BS
Acura and I may have something
Cadillac and I may have something
Truckboy is out of the question
I want to be selfish, think about myself, and focus on school because my #1 priority is to school and being successful in my educational endeavors.

I do love Explorer. I can see myself being with him for a long time. I’m learning though that I have to not waste time on things that haven’t happened. I can’t be with him the way I want to. I know that if he were here that I wouldn’t be interested in other people. I acknowledge that ALL of this is in reaction to him having left me.

I come from a family that highly values sobriety, independence, and celibacy when needed. My childhood upbringing led me on a path of challenging and sometimes spiritual confrontation. I learnt that relationships could not be had out of codependence, fear, or addiction to substances or sex. Well, and what I found is that I’ve had no relationship that was void of all of those things. I understand that I need to find a place within myself where I can attract people to me that are “right” for me; and that I have to be that for them.

So… How do you know when it’s time to let go?

Loud Party in Her Pants

In Drama, Roommates on January 25, 2010 at 4:25 am

Dear Yenta,

Several months ago I had a new roommate move in. For the most part things are great, we’ve had a few minor arguments but mostly it’s been smooth sailing. However there is one issue. About once a week her boyfriend comes around and they follow a routine that I have come to know and dread. They park in front of the T.V. consume two or more bottles of red wine and mosey upstairs.

Once in the bedroom they begin a series of activities that are unlike anything I have ever heard. The sound is something like a mixture of a cardio-kickboxing class and a ritual sacrifice. There intimate sessions are so exuberant that they shake my bed at the end of the hall.

How do I bring up this issue without creating a huge wedge of awkwardness between us? It is somewhat more difficult to bring up because I am a guy and she is also nearly ten years older then me.

-Fed Up

Party in the bedroom. Hollah.

Dear FU,

I asked two people for help with your problem. The first was a man sitting at the Chabad Shabbat dinner table. He said he once had Danish roommates on a Kibbutz in Israel back in the day who partied loudly every night. He asked them to be quiet on numerous occasions so he could sleep, but they ignored him nightly. Every morning he had to be up at six am to pick bananas and it was torture.

One day he had had enough so he went to the fishpond and picked out all the dead fish. He chopped the fish and put it in trash bags and then threw all the Danish guys’ sheets and clothes and blankets into the bag, mixed it up, and skipped town. That’s right, he never looked back.

This is the worst advice on the planet for a number of reasons. One, he never got them to shut up and two; he wasn’t even around to witness the revenge plot.

The second person I asked, a la Santa Fe, was a woman hanging upside down from some straps doing yoga in my living room. In her heightened enlightened form, she yielded stellar advice.

She said you need to address the topic gently with your roommate. Approach her and just say something simple, like “I am a light sleeper and have been waking up when your man comes over. Could you just keep in mind that I am down the hall in the future?” Each member of a household has a few basic rights: privacy, quiet after midnight, and so on. There is nothing wrong with attempting to preserve this space for yourself.

And then, a few things could happen.

A) Your roommate curbs her enthusiasm.
B) Your roommate ignores you.

Basically, in situations like these you first need to attempt to voice your concern and communicate, and then watch and see how the other party involved addresses your concerns. If they ignore you and disrespect you, then that’s it. Why bother attempting communication when the person is actively shoving cotton in their ears?

If she ignores you and keeps slamming her boy toy, then get out. This is simple. For many years, we the roaming twenty-something population have the ability to sublease our Craigslist apartments and seek new, more ecumenical homes. Try this and see. If all else fails throw some rotting carp in her bedroom while they are going at it.

Challenge Yenta with a sordid plot. Submit a question anonymously to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com via

Do I Tell Him I Cheated?

In Dating, Drama, Roommates, Sex on January 22, 2010 at 1:35 am

Guilt sucks, but sometimes it is our duty to bear it. Photo courtesy of

Dear 27-Year-Old Yenta:

My ex-boyfriend Randy and I did a really good job of “being friends” a year after our breakup. He earned an internship at an engineering company located 3 miles from my house and a long 2 hour drive from his. I agreed to let him stay in the alcove of my studio apartment while I dated someone else. We were cool the first 2 months, but one day it was too much to bear. We ended up having wild fuck-sex for hours while my real boyfriend was out.

My present boyfriend isn’t stupid, he knows something’s not right but there
is nothing he can pinpoint. I know you’ll probably say honesty is
the best policy but I know he’ll leave me if I tell him. And what’s
the point, Randy moved out, so it’s not like it’s going to happen
again. So why ruin a good thing?

-Guilty As Charged

Dear GAC,

I had a cousin who once, sitting at the bar of the restaurant where I worked, whispered to me that women must always have a few secrets. I don’t know if my entire moral compass agrees, but my instinctive response is to tell you to suck it up and guard this secret with all of you.

Honesty may not always be the best policy. In this case, if it was an accident and will never happen again, then why hurt the man you love? Further, there is something to be said for the valiance of shouldering the guilt rather than passing on the pain. This is your business and your problem, so manage it.

There is always the question, though, “What would you want your boyfriend to do in the same position?” Would you want him to tell you? Is honesty everything? Or are there moments and secrets that are yours, and his, and not to be shared? Some people believe that sexual indiscretions are unrelated to commitment. Some people believe that a physical moment in time does not compromise the deep and real love for your partner.

This is not to say that it is ok to make Randy moments like that habit. It is not ok.

Ultimately, I don’t know what you should do. Only you do, because only you know your own heart, your own man, your own relationship, and your own capacity for self-control. Just be sure to remember your heart, AND his, in your decision-making process.

Have a question? Ask anonymously via directed to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com.

Minding the Language Gap

In Roommates on January 20, 2010 at 12:30 am

Watching music videos is one stellar way to bridge the language gap.

Dear Yenta,

I know how hard it is to learn a language and have struggled with it abroad and now have two Arabic-speaking roommates. I never take time to talk to them because I’m busy and I get frustrated with them easily. I don’t know how to balance how I feel responsibility for them and their language learning and my own life.


Tongue Tied

Dear TT,

This question confuses me. Do you feel responsible for their learning English, or your own learning Arabic? And why are you frustrated with them? Is it because of the difficulty in communication, or something else?

Language gaps can be extremely irritating. They can cause separatism and distance where it need not be. When approaching people with another native tongue, there are tons of ways of bridging the gap without learning an entire new language.

First of all, time spent with humans, regardless of choice of words, reduces the fracture. Maybe get over whatever weird burden you feel about tending to this language gap and just HANG OUT with your roommates. Invite them to a show or to mini golf, something that speaks more with body language than with words.

Go to a sporting event, play a sport, play a video game, go on a hike, make a collage: whatever floats your boat, invite these roomies along. The more you know another person’s general demeanor the less actual words are needed for communication.

Then, to aid the space between, get an Arabic-English dictionary. Learn some BASIC words. Use google translator and send them e-mail invitations to hang out. Cook together. Make time, even once a week for simple little acts of normal human kindness and Arabic or no Arabic, you will find yourself bonding with your neighbors. And during that time together, teach each other some new words and phrases. Make some signs on things in English and Arabic. Make your home a learning environment where just by opening the fridge, you are reminded of how to say simple things like, “Shukran,” Thank You.

They will notice your reaching out, and chances are, will do the same in return. Words are only one of a million ways we convey messages to one another, so be patient. Good intentions translate universally.

Have a burning question? Ask anonymously by e-mailing merissag[at]gmail[dot]com via

Sibling Sex… and More

In Roommates, Sex on December 28, 2009 at 4:33 am

The following questions were placed anonymously in an Ask Your 27-Year-Old Yenta question box.

Is it ever right to sexually gratify one’s own sister?

Wow. Well, probably. Let’s say you are a guy and you two were the last people on earth and you HAD to procreate to save the human race, it would be better to enjoy the act. Or, let’s say you are a sister yourself, and she was dying on her death-bed and you were the only one around. Her final wish was “I need an orgasm,” maybe you would be a jerk if you didn’t manually deliver.

But generally, yes, incest is taboo. This means try not to tongue kiss, feel up, or make love to your siblings. For examples of people who might disagree, read Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews, watch Brenda’s incest dream on Six Feet Under, or rent the racy sibling sex movie The Dreamers.

For more see this article on a brother and sister who want to be accepted for their dirty deeds, and this response from In the end, though, you are the only one who knows what your own personal taboos are.

Has giving head made you nauseous?

I would venture to say that many people find giving head sickening. Ie, gag reflex. Many people don’t like things shoved down their throats or putting their mouths in wet areas in close proximity to human waste. Others hate the taste, the smell, the heat of genitals.

If you feel like puking because you got down on your knees for your lover it may be the act, or it may be you need to talk about oral sex, respect, trust, and whatever else floats your boat. Maybe you need assistance, Hershey’s syrup, marshmallow whip, honey: pick your flavor. Communication is always crucial. Don’t silence your tastes and distastes out of fear. This is a sign of poor lovemaking.

Reactions to sexual acts run the gammet. Don’t judge yourself, and never force yourself to do something if it causes you pain, nausea, or distress. Unless, of course, you enjoy those sensations.

Does being a roommate with a female provide the privilege of sex regardless of affection?

Um. No. No. And no. The “privilege of sex” is never automatically granted. Sometimes when people are roommates and attracted to each other, they get it on. Sometimes, when a roommate crawls into his roommate’s bed, who clearly doesn’t like him and doesn’t want him there, it is called “rape.” Careful, my friend. Sex is a consenting act between two willing parties. Love or affection may or may not be involved, but be sure consent ALWAYS is. How did we say it in college? “Yes means yes, no means no, however we dress, wherever we go!” Oh, and “No means no, it doesn’t mean maybe, don’t touch me my name ain’t baby!”

Pacifying the Passive-Aggressive

In Drama, Roommates on December 21, 2009 at 11:09 pm

Cher Yenta,

My roommate bugs the ever-loving SHIT out of me and I can’t quite
explain it. The way she shuffles around the house in her slippers,
the way she leaves notes everywhere, the way she shames the world for
not being as “green” as she claims to be…I’m starting to answer
my own question here, but I wager you have some deep intimate



Killing Me Softly

Dear KMS,

I deeply empathize with you and your housing situation. Once upon a time I lived with 12 writers and artists. Sandwiched between two very poorly soundproofed rooms, I was woken up at multiple intervals in the night by each respective neighbor pleasuring their newly taken lover.

There are a million coping mechanisms when it comes to sound: ear plugs, a white noise machine, a humidifier, earphones, a fan. The list goes on. But coping mechanisms for passive aggressive environmentalists: that is tougher. See to know you are not alone.

One thing that helps when it comes to dealing with living with strangers is cultivating compassion. As cheesy as this sounds, I promise it helps. A lot of activists funnel their personal issues into the intricacies of their cause. So when she says “recycle” with a grimace, she might really be saying, “I had no control in my house growing up and was beaten with a belt so I am asserting my voice in my new Craigslist group home.”

Remember that your neighbor also suffers, and that this suffering is often the source of said irritating behavior. Also, some people never learned how to communicate directly. Showing a passive aggressive housemate that confrontation is acceptable, and does not have to be violent, might change things. After all, these annoying patterns often develop out of a childhood where expressing anger was never a safe option.

With my loud neighbors I worked on going inside myself. I made my room a near menagerie and found all the sound buffers I could. I also meditated in an attempt to really see why these people and their loud nature pissed me off so much. It often, I find, takes one to know one. Why, exactly, does her shuffling annoy you? Her passive aggressive nature, beyond the obvious? What in you is unsettled, and being brought up by living with a weirdo?

In that house of unstable artists I did end up moving rooms. In moving I learned that it is sometimes better to start anew than to learn from an itchy situation. In exiting I also realized how horrible my previous situation was, with the lack of privacy, respect, and personal head space. There is such thing as a roommate threshold, and depending on how sensitive you are, you may have just reached yours.

If you are living in a group house, remember that you always have the option to move, and in doing so, might find not only relief, but new and better horizons.

***For some help finding a place to calm yourself for free click here to find the Shambhala center in your city. They provide free meditation instruction, sitting sessions, and Buddhist study groups.