My Indian-Themed Weekend!

My weekend definitely had an Indian theme going on. Last weekend I went home for my cousin’s wedding (he married an Indian woman, so the wedding had Indian dresses, henna and ❤ samosas <3). When I got back to school on Sunday, I went to Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, which was located at Sunset Rec (on the Hill).

The wedding was on a Friday, so I had to miss classes for that day, but how often do you get to see your cousin get married (or really get to go to weddings, geez (actually, I have a lot of cousins who are probably going to get married (so maybe often?)))? Besides having to wave goodbye to UCLA, the trip home was fantastic. The wedding was in San Francisco, a city that is always fun to visit. Bee-boppin’ around SF reminds me that cities have a ton of really cool places to go – I’m looking at you, LA!

The day of the wedding was lovely. There were lots of pretty colors and delicious foods and certainly a lot of family members I loved seeing. There was smiling, giggling, tears of joy, and a ton of pictures. After the reception (at which the largest amount of dancing I have ever seen took place, and I did Dance Marathon, ok?), the family minus the newlyweds went back home to hangout and continue the festivities. After milling about for a while, I started a big game of Black Magic. If you haven’t played before, GOOD, because the point of the game is to guess a hidden pattern. Only me and two other family members knew how the game was played, so we went through many rounds with the entire extended family before people got the hang of it. I actually learned Black Magic playing it with my fellow tour guides! It was one of the games we played in the lines at Disneyland.

After getting back to school, I was able to immerse myself in the Indian culture further with Holi, that afternoon. For those of you unfamiliar with Holi, it is a festival of colors, which sounds nice until you realize what a festival of colors entails. Basically, everyone throws color at each other. Like powder dye- super bright pigment in powder form. And everyone dresses up in white clothes and people go wild. I kind of decided that this year at Holi would be my last because I got dye allllll up in my eye (owwww), but besides the occasional eye-dyeing experience, Holi is pretty fun. I mean just imagine a lawn full of college students throwing handfuls of brightly colored powder at each other until everyone looks like a Na’vi.

So that was my weekend. Thanks for reading!

New Year’s Eve in San Fran

This past New Year’s Eve was a blast. Traditionally on New Year’s, my parents like to find a get-together (I’m not even going to call it a party) to attend that usually includes cheese fondue, banging on pots and pans, and several different kinds of board games. While I do enjoy all of those things, as a sophomore in college, my idea of party has evolved past playing 20 rounds of Catch Phrase.

This year, one of my on-campus groups was having a New Year’s Eve party in San Francisco. I leapt at the chance of spending the evening in an exciting city (I did not want to ring in the new year attempting to mime out the word “fortify” during one of my family’s games of charades).

I live in San Jose, which is only about an hour from SF, so I planned to drive up during the day and spend the night in a friend’s apartment. At around six on New Year’s Eve, I began the drive up 280. There was not a ton of traffic, and the drive was smooth. It was dark by the time I got into the city, and the lights looked absolutely ~marvelous~. I headed over to my friend’s apartment, which was right near the Haight (woo shopping!). Although traffic wasn’t bad, parking was a nightmare, and I drove around for 20 minutes before finding a place.

The party was super fun. This break had been the first time that I have seriously missed my school friends and seeing them altogether in one place was great. We chatted about our breaks, what we had been doing, and how (freaking) excited we were for winter quarter.

After a little while, I said goodbye to everyone and headed off with some friends to go to the Embarcadero. Even though I had come to the city for the party, I thought that the fireworks on the water would be too good to miss.

My friends and I hopped on to a bus and winded our way through the streets of San Fran. We had to walk several blocks from our stop to get to the water, and on our way we stopped at a Jack-in-the-Box for a potty break. It was a good thing that we had left rather early because the line took about a half an hour (who knew, I would spend the final moments of 2011 in a fast food joint). But it was still fun – my friend got burgers for everyone! We ate, we peed, and then we jogged down Market to get to the Embarcadero before midnight.

The fireworks show was spectacular (and it lasted a full fifteen minutes!).  There was dancing, kissing, and a lot of yelling. We moved back toward the bus stop in a huge herd of people and finally got home around 1:30. The night was fantastic, and even though I love my family, it was so fun to have my first real live New Year’s party experience (and that I got to spend it with UCLAers was such a bonus).

Happy New Year, y’all!

Baikus

Photograph © 2003 by Alan Nyiri, courtesy of the Atkinson Photographic Archive.

 

It is my last day of summer, and instead of being out drinking Starbucks (what I should be doing), I am indoors packing all of my entire everything into trash bags. It is my fault. I waited and procrastinated until all my packing got squeezed into this one day. So, to de-stress I am (of course) listening to Beyonce and writing a blog post. I created a collection of haikus that bid farewell to summer, say hello to fall quarter, and talk about a whole bunch of other stuff that is happening in my UCLA life.

Underwear in bed

Glass of ice water with me

Am blogging, boo yeah

‘Twas this time last year

That mom was helping me pack

All of my clothing

Beginning of school

Excited for Bruin Bash

Who’s Kendrick Lamar?

Move-in will be fun

Already know my RA

Her name is Ann Du

Face trauma summer

Broken nose and wisdom teeth

Luckily still cute

Already miss Mom

Parent’s Weekend comes up fast

But why Halloween?!

Last year’s Halloween

Wore a camouflage t-shirt

Was an “army guy”

This year’s Halloween

Will be wearing chef costume

Make microwaved tea

Excited for class

Get to use my brain again

But please not too tough

Stoked for the dorm food

Want Cafe 1919

Caprese salad

Walking everywhere

Walking to and from Westwood

Walking to class, too

I’ve missed you, Bradley

And your fabulous courtyard

Study date soon, yes?

Finally, goodbye

Thanks for the fun, San Jose

This is a baiku

I didn’t mention Royce Hall, even though I miss that building a lot, too. I am so happy that summer is over and that I get to go back to one of Earth’s best places (I hate claiming anywhere is the best place on Earth), and do a bajillion 8-claps. UCLA, here I come!

Hollywood close to home

Alright everyone, I don’t want to toot my horn or sound the alarms or make other car noises, but I want you all to know that I may or may not be three degrees from Kevin Bacon. (That’s an old saying that my mom uses for all you confused youngsters out there.) Basically, I have been sworn to secrecy so some of the details will be left out from this wonderful blog, but for the first time in my life, I had the opportunity to see Hollywood up close and personal.

Being from the Bay Area (NorCal), I imagined that coming to LA would be just like it is in the movies; glamour, celebrities, and fashion everywhere you looked. I have learned that it is not. Apart from a few friendly encounters with celebs, aka my head making a 180 as I casually walked by them and pretended not to gawk (sorry Dakota Fanning), my Hollywood home has been far from cinematic. Until this past week…..

My wonderful office building down in Santa Monica was selected out of the hundreds of thousands of buildings in LA to be used for one of Oliver Stone’s new movies. If you don’t know who Oliver Stone is, look him up. Did you do it? Ok good. I am not allowed to give out the title of the movie, nor was I allowed to take any photos, but what I can tell you is that for one week I got to have an insiders look into what it means to be a part of Hollywood. From the set being arranged, to the 60 people that stood around and did next to nothing on the day of the shoot, to the mess and clutter that came after, and the clean up crew that got to make it disappear, I was there.

As I sat at my desk by the front entrance to our offices I, get this, made eye contact with my love Emile Hirsch. Yes, the god himself. Milk, Lords of Dogtown, my heart! It was magic, and it made me realize how tangible Hollywood actually is. They are just regular human beings like you and me except so much more ridiculously good looking. In case you couldn’t imagine how perfect I would look as arm candy on the arm’s of these movies stars, I’ve enclosed a REAL photo of me kicking it with my loves. Emile and Tim Riggins of Friday Night Lights are just a couple of the stars I made eye contact with. HOLLYWOOOOOD!

A how to guide about saying goodbye to your parents and embracing independence

Disclaimer: This guide is really only for those of you going through a similar level of emotional distress as I went through. This level can be determined by several factors:

  • distance away from your parents (I live in the Bay Area; a 5ish hour drive or 1 hour plane flight)
  • emotional closeness with your parents (I am obsessed with my parents)
  • reliance on your parents for support (financially, emotionally, or whether or not they tuck you in at night. All apply to me)

So, in about a month and three quarters you may be moving into your NEW ROOM! Yay! Whatever, that’s exciting, but this also means that move-in might be the last time you see your parents for a while (at most until parents’ weekend). Of course, this sparks, or rather, ignites an array of emotions. These will include anxiousness, mild paranoia, a intense feeling of being overwhelmed, and panic. Don’t worry, only a little bit of each of these are present at any one time. You will never feel like quitting (maybe, but not for more than 30 seconds).

For example, the first night I spent in the dorms, I nearly drowned in my own tears. My parents had not even left UCLA yet, but the mania had set in. I imagined the workloads of my classes and knowing that my dad would not be in the next room to answer my question about wormholes. I imagined myself for the next ten weeks paralyzed with fear in my bed every night. Of course, this did not continue. The next night was much better; I cut my sweat output in half. My parents had left by then, but, miraculously, I was calmer.

The key to doing this is to take this simple two-pronged approach:

  1. Prong One – Maintain contact with your parents
    • Text them frequently
    • Call them even more frequently (I called my dad every day of the quarter, if only for a second or to leave a message of me mumbling as I ate my bagel)
    • Skype, if you’re into that. (Personally, I am more of a phone call fan. The whole seeing-a-pixelated-face thing doesn’t do it for me)
    • Make them send you packages with cookies and cute clothes
    • Email them your most interesting readings
    • Take their advice
  2. Prong Two – Relish your independence
    • Attend all events (Bruin Bash, apartment parties, beginning of the year sale, etc.)
    • Eat healthfully in the dining hall (Seriously, passing up pizza for the first five weeks made me feel like an adult/Iron Man)
    • Explore the campus alone
    • Decorate your room exactly how you want
    • Be your own freaking best friend

Obviously there is a lot more you can do to feel independent and happy about it. And there are probably other ways to keep in touch with Mom and Dad (or just Dad or Mom and Mommy or Uncle Ben or Veronica). Basically, just go balls-to-the-wall crazy for college while keeping yourself anchored at your parents’ feet. It’s mega hard but totally doable. I did, and I was a complete disaster for the first three days.

Good luck!

Momma’s Boy

So my dad and sister have been out of town for the past week. I guess it’s more like they have been out of country. My dad is in England on a business trip (which I don’t understand. If you are going to do business, go to Hawaii or Fiji, whatever), and my sister is in Belgium as an au pair. That means that it is just me and my mom! Yippee!

We always joke (but are never kidding) that my mom and I are the more sophisticated half of the family and that we enjoy the finer things in life. All this really means is that we both love going to movies and eating out at restaurants. My sister kind of just doesn’t care and my dad would rather have his toenails removed (kind of exaggerating, kind of not).

So this past week has been spent galavanting from theater to theater with pit stops in between for huge slices of pesto pizza or goat cheese and corn quesadillas. I was even lucky enough to be housesitting during this time, which came with many benefits.

  1. full range of a beautiful awesome two-story house
  2. hang out time with dogs
  3. a pool (boo yeah)
  4. free food

As an added bonus, one of my mom’s best friends lived several houses down so we got to go over to her place for dinner all the time.

This change of pace reminds me of my time at UCLA. It wasn’t my dad or sister who were out of town; it was me! And even though I was in a different place (LA is very different than the Bay Area) I was still able to do a lot of the same things I love to do with my mom.

After all, I had access to at least two free movies every week with CEC’s free dollar movies and sneak peeks, and I had a meal plan so I ate a ton (and yes, the food was less glam, but I’m creative, remember my French soda?). I also was very close to an amazing pool at Sunset Rec. And, to top it off, I got to see dogs every once in a while! Faculty who lived on the Hill had pets AND there was even a special program that brought dogs to dorms for “pet therapy” to help students destress for finals.

So, when I think about it, the time I cherish with my mom when we do a whole bunch of fun things looks a lot like my time at UCLA. That’s pretty cool.