I feel bad for my blog. It’s been neglected for too long. A lot has happened, but since most of this blog has consisted of my travels, I’ll stick to that for now. Having my car in college has been a game changer. I feel so much more free and I don’t feel as if I’m stuck in the UCLA bubble. These past few months, I finally got to explore more of bits and pieces of LA and SoCal.
San Diego Orange County I really enjoyed my time in these two areas. My impression of both of them is that they are extremely laid back and chill. They are definitely places you would want to settle down in with your future family. I foresee a life filled with brunches, beaches, and hiking in these places. One of my friends lives on a lake, and I will never forget my feelings of complete peace as we coasted on that water under a clear sky full of brightly lit stars.
Lake Arrowhead I had forgotten how much I loved nature. Waking up and being able to walk outside to a beautiful blue sky with birds chirpin’ and trees as far as my eyes could see instantly put me in a state of relaxation. At night, I was able to see hundreds of stars, a rarity when I go to school in this smoggy place we call Los Angeles. Oh, I was also reminded of how much I love driving on windy roads. You have to stay so much more alert and find the perfect balance so that your turns aren’t too slow but aren’t so crazy that your passengers get car sick… I don’t know if I’m a weirdo, but that makes driving so much more entertaining for me.
This was definitely my most notable trip. I don’t even know where to begin because the trip definitely exceeded all expectations. I did not think one week would be so influential and unforgettable, and I am so glad I was blessed with the opportunity to go to such an awesome place. What people say about New Orleans, that it is its own unique place different from the rest of the US is true. It has such a rich and lively culture and just being in that environment really brightens up your mood. I have never been anywhere else where people were more proud of their city. Every single person I met and talked to would always begin by telling me that they were either born and raised in New Orleans or had moved there and could not imagine life anywhere else. I especially love talking to locals about their food because you can actually see their eyes light up with pride. Highlights of the trip: 1) I went into the trip with 9 strangers from UCLA and came out of the trip with 9 new friends. It is actually really crazy how much we bonded and we will always have that bond from this NOLA trip that no one will quite understand. I felt comfortable telling them things about myself that few of my close friends even know. The bond we created is similar to the bond I feel for my Shanghai study abroad friends, but it’s crazy that I was able to develop that in a week. 2) The locals. After this trip, I realized that everyone has a story. If you are willing to put yourself out there and strike up a conversation with a stranger, you never know what you might learn. One of the girls on my trip really bonded with our site leader at one of our nonprofit sites and she ended up not only sharing extremely personal stories about her journey dealing with depression, but also ended up offering to cook a meal for all of us. That was probably one of my favorite nights of the trip. She came over straight from work, brought her son and husband, and cooked 5 hours straight for us, a group of girls that she had only met for less than 2 days. Boy was I grateful and boy, was that homemade Louisiana meal to die for. 3) I guess this is the perfect transition to this topic: food. While I don’t think I would be able to eat the New Orleans diet for a long time because the foods are so heavy, I can’t deny how fucking good it all is. I will never forget the doughy deliciousness we call beignets, the spicy and flavorful crawfish, the buttery fresh oysters, jambalaya, gumbo… the list goes on. Oh, and have you ever had tea spiked with alcohol? I hadn’t either before this trip. I love tea and I love alcohol, so that was some next level shit. This summer, I’ll be going back to Hong Kong. I have also been thinking about possibly going to South Korea as my first trip on my own. I’ve always been curious as to see what traveling alone was like, and I feel that South Korea is a great place to start since it is very metropolitan and safe. Definitely will discuss with the parentals about this, but we shall see.