California Dreamin’

Posted on: September 16, 2011

I lost weight, ate healthier and even romanced the low humidity of the sunny state. Boy, I had a fling with San Francisco.

It all started with the battle of sleep and fervour. Could my overwhelming enthusiasm  settle my hurried heart and set my soul to rest in a 15-hour flight from Singapore to Taipei then Taipei to San Francisco? Apparently, I’ve decided to become a raucous beaver and brave the flight by only catching an average of 45 minutes of sleep. I kid you not. Also, I was armed with the determination to finish a 400-page textbook on the geography of California; titled “An Island Called California”.

Approximately fifteen hours and one arduous march to the transfer lounge, I finally breathed in the life of non-frizzy, non-clammy hair: San Francisco, I’m here to stay. The first gust of dry and chill wind threatened to form a crust on my lips. Seriously, the prospect of applying lip balm every 2 hours kind of excited me.

The bus ride out of the airport and into the city then into Atherton where Menlo College was was no more than an hour. Along the way, there was something about art murals and gleaming windows of corporate giants that juxtaposed quite beautifully.  It was as if industrialization never really defined the modern landscape.

Hugs, kisses and greetings: We were at Menlo College! Everyone was welcoming and I immediately felt home. I could also go on forever about the people I’ve met at the college, the timeless nights my 21 tireless friends stood up against, and how boundless and resounding the belief our 2 lovely chaperons had of us. I guess that was truly, if not a trying summary of what took place at the college. Again, words will admittedly fail to describe all emotions and I’m sure our gratitude and mine is better felt throughout and after the trip. Let’s keep it going guys!

On more lighthearted matters,  I spent the remaining days, four to be exact, just absorbing the lights and sounds of the city and its outskirts. The farms, the road trips, Yosemite Park… It reminded me of the school trip I had in Korea, but prolonged and experienced more fruitfully.

The farms were an interesting measure. Rows and rows of pastures, cows, goats and horses. Being born in a concrete jungle, I do bear the yearning of living next to neighs and deep-throated calls (do goats sound like that?! Or was I better describing a toad?). Somehow, life at a farm seems simple, quiet and slow. Ok, maybe bug infestations and the threat of slithering snakes might linger… But hey! Who said life was perfect? It can only be as ideal as one defines so. Why, don’t I sound like a 50-year old planning her retreat? Hmmm.

The road trips were sprinkled with pop hits, intermittent sleep and maybe some rustling of  plastic. That, you’ll know someone is clawing into a bag of chips or sharing M&M Peanuts with an army of dewy eyes, fresh from the depths of sleep. Somehow, 3 hours or even 4 hours was never defeating. We soldiered on and lent quiet support that our destination was not too far off.

The best road trip food I had (or only had, haha!) was a 3 ounce box of vegetable chips. I’ll speak about that in detail sometime.

Yosemite Park… Now how can words conjure the majestic beauty of its valleys and waterfalls? There, I hiked with a persistent bunch of seven and made it to the top of Vernal Fall! The trek might have been dangerous, but all our words of caution cushioned every step of the way. It was also a monumental end at the park with our team being caught in the first rainfall since June! It also taught me that warm soups and hot chocolates were invented for a reason.

The final day arrived and none of us, evidently, wanted to leave. Catching a glimpse of the final sunset at the Golden Gate Bridge, some teared while others yearned. Will we ever return?

My friends: Although we spent 2 weeks together, it sure seemed like we knew each other for eternity. I never once was part of a group who looked out of each other unconditionally and laughed at each others antics without being offended. (HAHA Sorority sisters!). Interestingly, we pioneered a couple of ideas and left our own legacies behind. Let’s never forget each other and continue to love others with the same passion.


President of the Sorority.


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