Category Archives: Noteworthy Days

Spring Quarter 2016 Recap

Life is really good. With this being my last quarter at UCLA and everything, I’ve really committed myself to the “I’m going to do absolutely everything” mindset.

Weekend 1: Basketball tournament in San Diego. Although we lost 2 out of 3 games, I had such a blast. I definitely felt as if I got to know some of the NSU basketball girls a little better and felt much closer to them than I was before.

Weekend 2: China Care Staff Retreat. It was really nice exploring the Sherman Oaks area of SoCal. Ashley and I didn’t feel up for the laser tag portion of retreat, so we walked around and stumbled upon the Urban Outfitter Surplus store. I still remember how her walking speed suddenly sped up to twice what it was before and how her eyes lit up when she saw it. I don’t blame her though. EVERYTHING WAS SO. CHEAP.

Weekend 3: Coachellaaaaaaaa. What a weekend. I had a blast third wheeling with my friends Amy and Inje allllll weekend and am truly grateful that they did not mind one bit. I will never forget when we sneaked out beer from the beer garden and the level of inebriation we experienced because of it.

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There are also two very specific moments of Coachella that I will never forget. During those moments, I felt as if absolutely everything was right in the world. The first one was during Of Monsters And Men. We were near the back where there was ample room for people to move around. I remember looking around to see that everyone around me was dancing, laughing, and smiling without a care in the world. The second moment I won’t forget is when Edward Sharpe closed his set with “Home”. Every single person in the crowd was singing along and as I observed everyone around me, it gave me goosebumps as I realized the hundreds of people who were all enjoying this one, very specific memory with me. We were all brought together to that moment because of our mutual love for music. Ain’t that a beautiful thought?

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Weekend 4: Moar basketball, free swipes, and studying. What can I say, I’ve played a lot more ball these past two quarters and have made some underclassmen friends in the process. Free. Swipes. FTW. Also, these two quarters have reminded me of why I love basketball so much. I regret not playing more in college!

Weekend 5: Joshua Tree. After Spring break, my obsession with hiking and the outdoors has intensified. Some of my favorite moments of this trip:

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1) Taking our sweet ass time and not being able to find a campsite at our location of choice, yet all being chill about it and just going with the flow.

2) Getting to the campsite to realize we had nothing to cut wood with and no lighter fluid to make a fire with.

3) Going on two random hikes which felt as if we were on different movie sets. Enduring changing weather conditions, crazy steep hills that made me regret not ever doing leg day at the gym, and climbing random rocks. The view that just opened up in front of us, showing miles and miles of the natural J-Tree landscape.

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4) Playing car games and laughing about stupid shit (Smashbox 21, bad singing, etc)

5) Failing at making a fire/running out of firewood

6) Bombass homemade burritos. Who woulda thought of making burritos as camping food?! We did.

There is just so much about this trip that made it memorable.

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Weekend 6: Going home for Mother’s Day. This time around, I didn’t drive alone because one of my best friends, Jeff, drove up with me to surprise his mom. I definitely got to know Jeff better as we spent basically 10 hours together during our drives to and from LA. He also treated me to steak in SF for my driving troubles and I met some of his home friends which was pretty awesome (: Besides that, we stopped in Palo Alto to visited Kevin, our smart, Stanford law student friend. I’ve missed him! He was my first friend at UCLA and will always hold a special place in my heart because of it. Anyways, home itself was relaxing and perfect as usual. I had some much needed family time that I need to take advantage of before I leave for my abroad adventures. Did I mention that I will be moving to Beijing after graduation? More about that another time.

Weekend 7: Now here I am at the end of my 7th week at UCLA. This quarter really has gone by much too quickly. This weekend, I had a much needed break from my hectic weekend plans. I have forgotten what it is like to have “Elaine time”. Right now, I am sitting here listening to an awesome playlist a real cool cat made for me while sippin on a Kirin beer that was on sale at Mitsuwa (7 bucks for a 12 pack!!!) Life is real good. I’m glad I decided to take a break from busy weekend plans. Now I am recharged and ready to celebrate my friends 22nd birthday tonight.

Spring Break 2016

What a week. Actually, what a great 2 weeks. I finished my finals the Monday of finals week so I had an extra long Spring break this year. #blessed

The “Unofficial” Week of Spring Break

I took a mini trip down to San Diego. It was pretty damn spontaneous and the only reason I went was that one of my buddies I met in CTY was visiting the area. Malka lives all the way in New York so it is a rarity that we are in the same state at the same time. When I heard she would be around, I rearranged my whole schedule from driving back up to NorCal early, to staying down in SoCal an extra 3 days to see her. I only really spent a few hours with her, but it was completely worth it. I was reminded of how an amazing person she is. We may not talk all the time but when we meet up, it picks up where we left off last.

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Besides that, I even had a time to catch up with Bianca and my study abroad friends Julie and Henry. Love them all and thank them for taking time out of their crazy schedules to grab drinks or food with me. I know I will be seeing them real soon as I seem to be going down to SD a lot lately  (:

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The “Official” Week of Spring Break

Here’s the good stuff. I went on a road trip with two buddies, Jesse and Brian, and it was amazing. I did get sick right in the beginning which developed into a fever by the middle of the week, but this trip was unforgettable. It both tested my limits and showed me beauty in life that really made me appreciate the world I lived in.

The whole trip, I sat in the back of a coupe with half of our shit piled high next to me. It was slightly claustrophobic and extremely uncomfortable when I tried napping, especially one of the nights when we had to sleep in the car (also the same night I caught my fever). I didn’t get to shower for 4 days, I couldn’t do anything the day that my fever hit, and I was coughing up a storm all week. Some parts of the trip when I was feeling extra sick, extra congested, and extra dirty from lack of showers, all I could think about was going home. However, we would get to one of these beautiful scenic nature views and I would be reminded of why it was all worth it.

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My friends were great as well. They took care of me when I was at the worst parts of my sickness and I thank them greatly. From doing all the hard labor in setting up camp, to cooking food for me and taking a million breaks during our hikes because I felt faint… they never complained one bit about it and I appreciate it greatly. I can’t wait to go camping again.

Here’s a video compilation of my trip. It was my first time making a GoPro video, or a video in general actually, so bear with me (:

 

Spring Break 2016 from Elaine Poon on Vimeo.

Throwbacks.

Lately, Facebook has been reminding me of my high school basketball days and damn, do I miss those. Has it really been 4 years since my senior year of high school ball? Sigh, nothing is quite like the feeling of representing your school and being on a team for a sport that you love. Being able to share one of your passions in life to others… to have fans come watch you do something that you both love and are good at… You really can’t duplicate that feeling in much else.

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This photo showed up on my Facebook feed today. I still remember that day so vividly. It was my “Senior Day” game, meaning it was the last home game where all of the seniors are honored and are the starters even when they normally don’t play much. That doesn’t really affect me much because, you know, I’ve been a starter on the varsity team since my sophomore year, but I’m not bragging or anything (;

Anyways, I still consider that day one of the best days of my life. I remember being extremely surprised at all my friends that came, some of whom I am not extremely close to. Some of them even made me these hilarious posters and signs which I still have to this day, all on the walls in my room.

My friends were basically my personal cheer squad and when I came on the court, they single handedly made the bleachers erupt with noise as if we had a stadium filled with people. I remember feeling slightly embarrassed externally, but who am I kidding. Internally, I was beamin’ like the sun.

Here are some more photos from that day.

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My family is awesome. Throughout my 4 years playing ball, they came to essentially every single one of my games, no matter how tired they were after work. My sister, I’m pretty sure, was living in LA at the time and made time to come. Even my cousin came all the way from Oakland just to watch me play that night. A week night to be exact, so he probably had work the next morning if I remember correctly.

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It’s days like that that remind me that I have amazing friends and family that I don’t appreciate enough and tell them how important they are to me enough. So first, here is a shout out to my family. Thanks for always being so supportive with every aspect of my life, whether it be sports, school, my career… You guys really are the opposite of stereotypical Asian parents, and I really appreciate that.

Now, here is to my high school friends. Although we may have drifted some, you guys will always hold an extremely special place in my heart. I love you all and really hope that our friendships stick around well into our adulthood years. I want to go to all of your weddings and have our kids be friends with each other (: That, would be the best thing ever.

#NostalgiaAsCollegeGraduationApproaches 😭😭😭

Reverse Culture Shock

It’s so real. For the past two weeks, I’ve felt a bit… off. As my good friend Amy put it, it’s like driving your own car after someone else has driven it and changed the seat. It is the same car, but it just doesn’t feel quite right. These last two days though, I’ve begun to start feeling like myself again. I am starting to re-adapting into life in LA / California, which is nice but I miss Asia oh, so much.

This past week was incredible. First of all, my birthday was on the 5th. My roommate, Ashley, and my sister, Fiona, threw this awesome surprise party for me that they had apparently been planning for weeks without my knowing. I was blown away and did not see it coming at all. Having a surprise party was something I have always secretly wanted but did not think would happen. It truly made my 21st so memorable. The two of them also bought me a GO PRO! Shit. I feel like I don’t deserve it. They are fucking awesome.

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On my actual birthday, I went out to Father’s Office! Somehow, this has started to become an on going tradition. Last year, a bunch of us went to Father’s Office for my birthday but since none of us were 21, we got it to-go and literally found an empty parking lot and ate our food on the floor. #ghetto but it was memorable for sure. This year, the few of us that were 21 all went there together and actually sat inside. The food was so good, I was actually speechless for awhile. Afterwards, we went to Mom’s Bar. Funny right? Father’s Office and Mom’s Bar. Ashley really wanted us to do that. “Do it for the Instagram caption” as she put it. I didn’t actually post a picture on Instagram though, haha.

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I’m starting to get my life back on track. When I first got back to America, I was filled with uncertainty. Everything felt a little weird, I wasn’t enrolled in all the classes I wanted to be in, I didn’t have a job anymore, and I felt a little out of place in my friend groups. Now, I’m starting to get back into the groove of things. My class schedule is settled, I got a tutoring job, I’m catching up on my friend’s lives, I’m settled into my new apartment, and I got a second interview for an internship! Woohooo.

This goes to a great start to a new year (:

On the Bright Side

Today, I met up with one of my really good friends named Kevin to go on a nice run at Alum Rock Park. A chill 4.5 mile run that should have taken no more than an hr ended up turning into a four hour adventure. You see near the end of the run, after we had already conquered countless hills and steep slopes, I took a slight tumble, well more like a slip, on one of the FLAT parts of the trail. The irony. Honestly, I don’t know how I busted my knee open as badly as I did… I remember sailing through the air thinking, “Please, no major cuts please.” and then looking down to see a gaping hole right above my knee. There was so much blood gushing out of it and dripping down my leg, that I couldn’t even see how deep it went. My second thought after seeing the blood was, “Fuck. Not my Nikes!”

My friend Kevin was awesome. He kept composed (as did I) although I wouldn’t be surprised if he was freaking the fuck out inside. We tried walking a few steps, but it was just too painful. He immediately offered to run ahead to seek a park ranger for help as I sat down at the side of the trail. We were still pretty far in the trails, so it took him awhile. It wasn’t a big deal though, I eventually got used to the pain and just kind of sat there dealing with it.

Bored, in pain, and with time to kill, I snapchatted my gnarly injury. Yeah, I think that was my way of not completely freaking out that my knee was busted open. As I sat there, a few hikers, runners, and bikers came by. It was very interesting seeing their reactions. Some of them gave me great disappointment in mankind because they completely avoided eye contact with the bleeding Asian girl sitting at the side of the trail. What if I was dying?! Others were better, and stopped to ask if I needed any help. I still wish I got to properly thank the nice biker man who biked by, saw me hurt, stopped, asked me if I needed anything, biked away, only to return shortly to offer me his water bottle and paper napkins he had taken from a bathroom down the road. Thank you, biker stranger.

It was probably close to thirty minutes, and several back and forth jogs by Kevin before the park ranger finally found us. He bandaged me up with what he had, and the three of us slowly walked to his car where he then gave us a ride to Kevin’s car. Part two of the adventure was driving to Kaiser to get my leg stitched up. There isn’t much to that part of the story; but in case you were wondering, stitches don’t really hurt that bad. It is the anesthesia they use that is a bitch in the beginning.

With my leg still dirty from dried up blood and my left Nike shoe slightly stained with that nasty red substance, Kevin and I proceeded with our original plans to go downtown for acai bowls and Phil’s coffee. Boy did those acai bowls and cups of coffee hit the spot. I also enjoyed seeing people stare at my bloodstained leg like, what the hell…?

I gotta take some time to give Kevin a shout out. He really is a top notch friend. Not only did he run back and forth down the trail to find help for me, drive me to the hospital, and wait over an hour as I was getting fixed up; he also paid for my acai bowl and Phil’s. He told me it was because I was leaving the country for the rest of the year. God damn. I owe him big time. I told him that when I came back from Asia in January, I’d treat him to beers at Father’s Office since we would both be 21. Shit now that I think about it, I should be paying for his whole meal, maybe even multiple meals. Friends like Kevin are rare. Love you dude!

Despite the pain and hassle I experienced today, I don’t necessarily consider it a “bad” day. Looking on the bright side, I now have an interesting story in my back pocket and an unforgettable memory shared with Kevin. On the not so bright side, showering is so annoying -___-

“The keys to success: Stay golden, and love cats.”

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetI hung out with one of my closest friends last night and had a much needed catch up session with her. It had been months since the last time I had seen her, and since then, so much has happened in both of our lives. We legitimately talked for 7 hours straight. I didn’t even know that I had that type of lung capacity to talk for as much as we did!

Most of our initial conversation consisted of catching each other up on our love lives and our crazy college stories. Both of us have grown a lot since freshman year of college. Since the two of us don’t go to the same college and therefore don’t hang out with the same people, it was nice for the both of us to tell some stories to each other that we probably wouldn’t be as comfortable telling to our college friend groups. It gave us a chance to get things off our chests.

We ended the night with reminiscing about the high school days. A little background about my friend is that she is my first close female friend that I had made my freshman year of high school. I actually knew of her before I officially met her, through one of my best guy friends that I have known since kindergarten. You see, this particular female friend had always been on my guy friend’s “Top 8” back when MySpace was cool. She was the only other female on his Top 8 besides me, so of course I noticed her! I remember seeing her in one of my classes the very first day of freshman year. I immediately texted my guy friend up to confirm that it was her. When I found out it was, I approached her with a “Hi!” and a “You are ____’s friend right?” Since that day, we have been close friends.

During our talk about high school, I got the urge to look through my old high school yearbooks which brought back a flood of memories. It was a little sad seeing some of the long paragraphs some of my friends wrote me, who I have since drifted apart from. Then again, it was still enjoyable reading their yearbook signings because it was nice to know that we shared those amazing memories at one point in our lives, even if we don’t hang out anymore. Ironically, the people I am still best friends with barely wrote me even a third of a page in my yearbook. It is as if my close friends knew we would stay close, and that writing a lengthy yearbook signing was unnecessary.

Going through my yearbooks made me realize how much I had grown up. I have definitely moved on past high school. I’m glad that I have not gotten stuck in those glory days, back when school and life were easy.

I’d like to think that I haven’t peaked. I definitely miss being that two-sport varsity captain and valedictorian that came easily in high school, but I am still proud of my accomplishments at UCLA. I feel as if going back into the past and seeing my accomplishments as a high school student has given me a new surge of energy and determination to keep growing as a person. I have gotten a little comfortable with where I am with life at UCLA, but I realize that I can do so much more. It is sometimes hard to convince myself that I am still unique and capable of accomplishing big things when I am surrounded by such talented and intelligent individuals everyday at UCLA. Reminiscing about high school is definitely bring back that fire and confidence I used to have. I know it still exists inside of me, but it just needed that little push to start up again.

Random side note: “The keys to success: Stay golden, and love cats.” That was the quote I wrote on the yearbook editors’ page. I laughed so hard when I read that last night because I had forgotten all about it. That is so me.

Birthday Celebration

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My whole life I’ve always made more long lasting friendships with males than I do with females. I don’t know why! Maybe it’s because have always been a tomboy at heart. Today wasn’t any different, as I celebrated my birthday with seven of my closest guy friends, all of whom I’ve known since the elementary or middle school days. Because I am the only girl in the group, I do sometimes feel left out or out of place, but last night was not one of those nights. Last night reminded me that no matter how out of place I sometimes feel, my friends truly do love me and care about me.

I planned a dinner at a nice Greek restaurant in Los Gatos to celebrate my birthday. I didn’t expect much, just the usual hang out with the guys, but in a slightly nicer setting where we dressed up a little less bummy than usual. A lot of unexpected things happened though.  First was when Jesse insisted on paying for my dinner. He said that I shouldn’t have to pay for my own dinner at my own birthday dinner, which was super sweet. Later on after food, I went to use the restroom real quick. It was probably the span of 3 minutes that I was away, and the guys surprised me by telling the waitress that it was my birthday. Upon returning from the bathroom, the waitress appeared with a dessert with a candle on top and all the guys began singing my Happy Birthday. It was so sweet.

After dinner, we decided to walk around Los Gatos since it is pretty beautiful at night. We stopped at a random coffee shop and met the nicest store worker ever. She had the best service and was super patient even though they were close to closing. She taught us about the process of roasting coffee beans, introduced us to the various teas and chocolates the shop offered, and even gave us each a handful of delicious chocolate coffee beans to sample. Chris insisted on buying me a burlap sack because there were pictures of cats having fun with them inside the store. It was such a Chris gift to give and I greatly appreciated it, even though I probably won’t ever use the burlap sack for much. Hopefully my cat does use it as a bed at some point!

The night was topped off with a hang out session at Chris’s house. We did our usual thing; played board games and had chill talks. It was the perfect way to finish off the night since it would probably be our last hang out before break ends and we all go back to college. I truly believe that I am going to be friends with these guys well into our adulthood years.