Friday, August 25, 2017


There wasn't enough time. Back from DC, unpack, set up, help people, sleep alone at night, go to meetings, sleep alone during the day, shop around aimlessly, rinse and repeat. Start classes, figure it out, go through the motions, have an emotional talk with an ex-friend (minus the emotions), have a talk with a friend (again, minus the emotions), feel confused, feel ignored, feel confused, feel hurt and upset and say nothing.

Girl, it takes guts just to survive.

I'm feeling like a computer and there's a setting in my control panel that's wrong. I don't know how to process emotions, don't know how to make conversation, don't know who I am. Everyone is going out and hanging out and having fun, and it feels like I don't know how to do that myself and no one cares enough about me to show me how. I know this is something I can work on myself but goddammit it's difficult and I'm so tired and scared. People in their twenties are awful and selfish and oblivious. So am I. Don't take your friends for granted. Don't stop showing your friends you care. Things get bad but that doesn't mean you stop caring.

Finished the first week, really just half a week, and I'm already out of it. Nausea, headache, fatigue, whatever this is that's keeping me down, I'm sick of it, but I don't know what to do about it. Actually, I know what to do. Do better, do better, do better. Goddammit it's difficult and I'm tired and scared.

There's always that part of me that tells me to accept this emotionally stunted aspect of myself. I can't change the way I was raised. I could forego the entire struggle of feeling like I don't know how to fit in. I don't know if that's possible in this kind of society. I could move to a small farm with some cats and paint in my spare time. I'm already familiar enough with being alone, and this way, at least I won't have to struggle with being lonely if I have no one to miss. It's probably not going to happen, but I can always wonder.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Summer in Review

As you may have guessed from my previous posts, I've spent ten weeks of this summer in Washington, DC. Going to DC came at a good point in my life because I'm stepping into my twenties and learning how to be really independent, without the structure of college to hold me in place. At the same time, doing the Cal-in-the-Capital program gave me the support I needed when I needed it.

As much as I enjoyed it, this summer was also incredibly difficult. However, the challenges also made me learn and grow tremendously. I found myself more confident in my ability to take initiative to make things happen. I've always been fairly independent and capable of managing my own affairs, but this summer really forced me to put those skills into practice. I found myself confronted with many new questions: how do I network? what do you do with your free time? I realized that it is perfectly fine to enjoy doing nothing for a bit, but ultimately it is up to you to take the lead with opportunities. Nobody is going to give you anything until you ask for it.

Speaking of networking, I experienced firsthand the power and necessity of it. My first two weeks at my first internship just didn't feel right, and I'm certain I'd have been miserable all summer if I had stayed. Instead, I took a risk during week three, when that internship was on a break, and started looking for new places through networking. It was simple enough once I got the hang of it: talk to a person, who introduces you to another person, who introduces you to another person...

Somehow, in week four, I started at my dream internship at the National Education Association. The networking had paid off, and had landed me at the perfect opportunity to explore American education policy. Things were still kind of slow and I had no real work for two weeks, but this was an organization that had the potential and connections to introduce me to new things. At this point, it was over halfway through the summer, yet somehow I was still just moving in. I received a new placement in the Center of Communications after I took it upon myself to march down to HR for more assignments and finally receiving some work instead of waiting around for events.

In week six, a wave of loneliness suddenly hit. I was familiar with feeling alone but not lonely, but now I was definitely lonely as well as alone. Now that I was all settled down, with no one to hang out with, I took it upon me to explore the city on my own. Looking at the list of all the places I intended to visit, I was shocked me how few items I had checked off. My first destination: the Library of Congress. Initially, I was almost deterred by the amount of effort required to get a library card, navigate my way around, and figure out what I was going to do there. Though I was physically shaking from social anxiety, I trekked around and (after getting lost a gazillion times) made it to the main reading room. The view was breathtaking, and even though I was still shaking, it was worth it. I felt so privileged to be sitting underneath that resplendent domed ceiling. I meant to do some work in there, but all I wanted to do was to soak in every detail so I'd never forget the feeling of being in that space (what can I say, I'm a sucker for high ceilings). Emboldened, I made it my mission to do all the things I wanted to do that summer, regardless of if anyone else would be doing it with me.

The rest of the summer flew by. I made new friends, explored more of the city being comfortable on my own, and learned so much with the most amazing people at the NEA. I cried on my last day, but at the same time, I was struck by a disgusting sort of homesickness and terror. The unknowns of the upcoming semester loomed in front of me, but I missed California desperately as well. But there was no time to dwell on that as I scurried to pack, and then was whisked across the country at a five hundred miles an hour. There was no time to reflect amidst the frenzy of unpacking.

Tomorrow, the first classes of Fall 2017 semester start. I have some baggage in the form of essays I have left from incomplete classes for Spring, but overall, I'm looking forward to the incredible potential to do good things with good people around me. I feel confident to start on the right foot, mostly because my packages finally came in the mail and I have my shelves and lamp up. My roommate made me realize that this is my last first day of the school year for a very long time (technically, I have another first day next semester, but that doesn't really count), and I'm determined to savor every bit of it. Here's to adventure and friendship and love and joy and identity and everything that could possibly happen in this upcoming year. ◊

Monday, August 21, 2017

Present Anxieties

Wow it's been a while since I've last blogged. While many exciting things have happened since the last post, I've been so busy with work and moving around that I haven't easily had the time or willpower to sit down and write. Hopefully this informal little update will kick me back into the habit of writing frequently. I'll definitely go back and schedule a bunch of retroactive posts to keep things up to date.

1) Flying back to California

Finally, finally, I am back. While I had a lovely time in DC, my heart still belongs to California. Everything went well with the flight, including having an empty seat between me and the next person in a three-person row. I never thought that would make such a difference, but having the legroom to stretch out and sleep was a blessing. The views going through the clouds was incredible, as well as passing over the canyons in Nevada.

2) Shipping
I'm in a new room with twice as much space as my room last year, and I hardly know what to do with it all. As such, I've had to get a bunch of new furniture, and so far I'm incredibly pleased with how my set-up is turning out. My only issues are that only half of the string lights are still working, my shelves are not up yet, and I don't have a desk lamp. I ordered these things last week and the estimated delivery was Friday, but keeping in mind that the standard shipping is 3-5 business days, it's not too late. Nevertheless, late packages give me so much anxiety, and in terms of instant relief, receiving these packages is top on my list.

3) Essays
The semester is not officially begun yet, but readings and such have already been assigned. I also have a three page essay to write about my summer internship, due date TBD, as well as five essays from incomplete classes that I had meant to do over the summer. Unfortunately, I have not written a single page, and I have to finish them all before the start of the spring semester. I don't know why it's been so difficult for me to focus on these assignments, but hopefully, being in an academic mindset will help instead of being in a work and fun mindset from DC over the summer.

That's it for now. I know this semester will come with its own set of adventures and challenges, and I'm eager to see what will happen. Though I'm anxious that things aren't completely settled in yet, I'm hopeful that this will be an excellent new experience. ◊

Monday, August 14, 2017

Do's and Don'ts of Going to a Music Festival: Outside Lands 2017

Despite the quick turnaround in flying in from DC on Saturday to going to a music festival on Sunday, Outside Lands was incredibly enjoyable. This would be my first time going to a festival (though I still haven't gone to a concert yet!) and I learned a lot from the experience. There isn't a lot to say about my experience there, personally — the music was amazing live and the food was overpriced — so instead I'm going to use this post to impart a bit of wisdom on anyone else going to a music festival for the first time.

The DO'S

  • Get there early. The lines to get in are really long, and you don't want to be stuck in line knowing you're missing one of your favorite artists.
  • Try to carry as few belongings as possible. It can get exhausting walking around all day and pushing through crowds. It was easier just to have my phone, keys, cards, and a light jacket.
  • Wear a layer that can easily be carried around. Even though it was a cold day, I'm incredibly glad I wore something light, because being in the crowd gets very hot, very quickly.
  • Move with the crowd. I've always wondered how audiences seem to be able to jump in sync to the music, but really, it's only because if you don't jump with the crowd, you will be trampled underfoot.
  • Wear sturdy shoes. I was debating between running shoes and combat boots, and am I ever thankful that I went with the combat boots. I'm pretty sure I'd have a few broken bones in my foot otherwise, from all the times my feet were stepped on.


  • Don't try to squeeze all the way to the front. You won't get there, especially if you're a five-foot-three tiny human being like myself. You will have a miserable time trying to avoid being squished. Being a bit further back in the crowd is just as fun, and you have room to dance.
  • On a similar note, don't fall down in a mosh pit. You will be smushed.
  • Forget to bring a water bottle. This might vary from event to event, but Outside Lands had free refill stations for people who brought their own reusable water bottle. It's very easy to get dehydrated walking around all day and sweating.
  • Don't be afraid to go by yourself! I went with a friend, and it was very fun, but I saw a ton of people by themselves and it looked just as fun. There are so many people there that no one's going to notice if you don't have a buddy. That said, having a buddy is good just for safety purposes.

Those are the most important things I can think of for now, but if you have more suggestions, feel free to comment below (I say, despite knowing that no one really comments on blog posts). Hopefully I'll be back next year for Outside Lands as well, but I have to say, I couldn't have asked for a better lineup: k.flay, Sofi Tukker, Louis the Child, Lorde. Here's to many more music festivals in the future! ◊

Monday, August 7, 2017

#obsessed: Learn To Let Go — Kesha

Kesha's comeback is incredibly meaningful to me as a beacon of hope that one can survive and thrive after being subjected to a relationship that's abusive and controlling. I've been a fan of her music ever since middle school; while her songs were criticized for being empty of meaning, I found them to be fun and catchy anthems about doing what you want. Almost a decade later, I'm once again swept away by her adamance to not let other people define who she is. "Learn To Let Go" is especially poignant in that it is very much in line with my own life experiences, and I'm currently at that stage where I can soon break away and let go of the pain from my past in my relationship with my parents. I'm so inspired by this song and I wish Kesha all the success she deserves with her new music. ◊

Friday, August 4, 2017

New York on a Budget

Here we go, I'm finally going to tackle the New York posts (only about a month late). This first one is a quick overview of how much I spent for the three day trip, which is relevant because I only recently paid all those bills. To begin, a breakdown of costs:

Day One // Friday, July 29 // Lower Manhattan: total — $44.00
Think Coffee: iced coffee — $3.00
Dominique Ansel Bakery: cronut — I got lucky and got mine for free!
Washington Square Park Arch
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory
Strand Bookstore: postcards — $3.00 (3 for $1 each)
Union Square Park
New York Public Library
Flatiron Building
Central Park: bike rental — $13.00
The Met (from the outside)
Museum of Modern Art: free on Fridays 4-9PM, bookmark — $20.00
Joe's Pizza: slice — $5.00

Day Two // Saturday, July 30 // Brooklyn: total — $73.50
Egg Shop: brunch — $15.00
Ferrara Bakery: cannoli — $3.50
Grand Central Station
One World Trade Center (from the outside)
Nobletree Coffee: mocha — $5.00
Wall Street Charging Bull & Little Girl
Staten Island Ferry & Statue of Liberty
Coney Island Beach & Boardwalk: hot dog — $5.00
Brooklyn Cat Cafe: 30 minutes — $5.00
Black Tap Burgers & Beer: burger & crazy shake — $40.00

Day Three // Sunday, July 31 // Manhattan: total — $81.50
Zucker's Bagels & Smoked Fish: traditional lox & bagel — $12.00
Juice Generation: small juice — $7.00
Top Of The Rock: ticket — $37.00
Starbucks: coffee — $4.00
Chelsea Market: Very Fresh Noodles — $14.00
Magnolia Bakery: key lime cheesecake — $7.50
The High Line

By a very generous estimate, I spent about $15 on the subway and $35 on Uber/Lyft rides, for a total of about $50 in transportation. I easily could have spent less by walking more. Splitting the cost of the Airbnb and bus to and from New York with another person came out to around $200 per person total.

I probably could have done without as much coffee as I did (though honestly I don't know how awake I would have been to enjoy the experience). I also could have cut on expenses with cheaper meals than the Black Tab, or skipped some of the souvenirs.

With these expenses in mind, the total cost of the trip came out to around $450 for three days, or $150 per day. This is by no means wholly affordable, but if this is what your budget looks like, know that New York is doable without having to skimp on fun things to do or good food to eat. ◊

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

New York 3.2

1 // Handmade Taiwanese La Mei beef noodles at Chelsea Market.
2 // You know the food is good when it advertises itself — two people asked me where I got it!
3 // Magnolia Bakery on National Cheesecake Day.
4 // Key lime cheesecake. 
5 // Very aggressive sparrows trying to snatch my crumbs.
6 // The beginning of the High Line.
7 // The High Line is a reclaimed transit system made into a park.
8 // It is located on the western side of Lower Manhattan.
9 // The view of the Empire State Building there! ◊

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

New York 3.1

1 // Zucker's from breakfast.
2 // Traditional lox and bagels.
3 // Overpriced but still delicious.
4 // Juice Generation.
5 // Grand Central Station from the outside.
6 // Top of the Rock looking south at the Empire State Building.
7 // The view toward the north — Central Park.
8 // A window seat.
9 // Chelsea Market ◊