After a stressful finals week of catching up, writing papers, and drinking coffee I am so happy to finally be on summer break! To kick off summer, my roommates and I decided to take a celebratory trip to Lake Havasu- bordering Arizona and California- for a few days to spend some time in the sun. After a five hour road trip filled with junk food, naps, and various Pandora radio stations, we finally made it there. We unloaded our car into a cabin we stayed at near the lake and immediately jumped in the water. For the rest of the trip we did not spend much time outside of the water or the sun- we road around on jet-skies and a boat and took turns getting pulled on a raft during the day and each night we came back to the cabin to cook dinner for each other, watch silly reality TV shows and compare our sunburns- all things that we aren’t usually able to do during the school year! Unfortunately, UCLA students always fill their summers up with obligations other than vacationing, so we couldn’t stay forever. Eventually we came back to Los Angeles to start exciting new jobs, internships and summer classes. I had such a great time away from LA, but I’m also so excited for the other things coming my way this summer!
This past weekend I traveled to San Francisco to attend my boyfriend’s cousin’s wedding. Although it was a very hurried trip (we left on Friday and returned on Sunday), it still was a great experience. This marked the first time I traveled to northern California by car since I moved to southern California. Although I had gotten recommendations to take the scenic route along the coast, we were a little pressed for time so we took the straighter, flatter route on the I-5 through the Central Valley.
I finally got to see, firsthand, the long drive my roommate and friends take up to the Bay Area when they are on their way home for Thanksgiving or winter break. It was relatively straight (except the mountainous section of the I-405 before it meets the I-5), and we made good time both heading there and back. It gave me a chance to sit back from the daily bustle of my final quarter at UCLA (!) and take in the view of the Coastal Range as we coasted down the I-5.
One day, I hope to make the same trip again, this time on the coastal scenic drive, and this time all the way up to visit my mom and sister in Vancouver, Canada. Although that trip will not cross any time zones, I will traverse three states and one province, and hopefully many cities (and some national parks) along the way.
I had a rather eventful drive to NorCal. Just as I passed the junction between the 99 and the 5, the check oil level light flashed on in my car. With about fifty miles to Bakersfield, I got a little worried. Now, my dad had been bugging me since spring break to get my oil changed. But, I was busy and traveling. Then the car passed 100,000 miles and needed servicing anyway so I figured I would just do everything at once. Needless to say, I was starting to regret that.
Anyway, I pulled off at the next exit and hoped that the gas station would have a service shop attached. No such luck. Now, as someone who doesn’t like dealing with cars at all, I am proud to say that I was able to go into the store, buy some oil, pop the hood and pour it in. I don’t think that is the best way to go for the car, but it served until I reached my next destination. Needless to say, I have since got the tune up done.
It is hard to believe that I am already half way finished with my 4 years at UCLA. The last 2 years have been a truly remarkable experience, and I cannot wait for the next two and I am seriously dreading the end. As an out-of-state student from the east coast, I enjoy being in California and living somewhere completely different than my home. However, that distance can make certain things difficult when it comes to having a place to put your stuff at the end of the year, and lugging all your clothes back on an airplane which is what I did last year. However this year was totally different. I have a friend who lives in Arizona who needed to get his car back to the east coast, so I jumped on the opportunity to do a road trip.
We started our journey a few hours after my last final. We loaded up his Hyundai with all of our bags and headed out. Overall, our journey would take 3,000 miles, 110 gallons of gas at an average price of $3.38, and we averaged almost 31 miles per gallon. We drove for nearly 50 hours, stopped 16 times, and visited 9 different states, those being California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, and finally Delaware. Our first stop was in Phoenix where we rested up and prepared for the rest of the drive. Of course, any crucial ingredient for a road trip is the snacks, and drinks for the drive. We loaded up on brownies, beef jerky, cookies, pop tarts, Cheetos, tasty cakes, soda, energy drinks, and PowerAde . Not exactly a healthy diet! We knew that we were going to need all the sugar, caffeine, and easy energy that we could get for our drive to Dallas. 16 hours while only stopping at rest stops or for gas is a long drive but one that we were excited to take.
I have not seen very much desert in my life, so driving from Houston to Dallas meant I got to see a lot of desert scenery which I thought was beautiful. I loved the mountains, and rocks and I thought it was amazing to me how few people lived in all this space. I have also never seen Mexico, so when we drove through El Paso we ended up driving a stone’s throw from the Mexican border and the city of Juarez. Unfortunately after that, there isn’t much in west Texas except for windmills, and oil rigs. Luckily though, the next part of the trip was much more exciting, which I will write about in my next blog post!
I know I have mentioned this one too many times, but it seems to be a topic of discussion that I can’t help but to gush about. BRUIN PRIDE! I have spent three full years here at UCLA and am about to be finishing up my fourth and final year in just a couple quarters. Throughout my time here, I have had my share of Bruintastic moments and memories, but I think that when I look back fondly upon my college experience and the Bruin spirit that bubbled inside of me, I will look back upon this past weekend.
Football season is always a wonderful season to get out and show off how much UCLA means to me. (Although, I must admit, it is proving a bit difficult to cheer for a team that is on such an impressive losing streak) But I thought to myself, nonetheless, what better way to show my loyalty as a fan, than to travel with our team? And so, we did.
If you have ever taken a long road trip with some of your friends, you know that squishing yourself into a car, with no means of escaping each other for the next 400 miles, is always a good idea that is full of giggles and candy. However, I ask you this. Have you ever considered squishing 45 of you? What? Sheer madness you say???? Yes, yes it was. Going to such a large school of well rounded and advantageously organized students means that road trips to Norcal are not only frequented, but always a memory worth having.
We charted a big ‘ol bus with our lovely driver Fernando, stuffed 45 of my favorite UCLA Bruins onto it, all of whom were decked out in face paint and costumes, and began the trek from point A to point B. The bus songs, pit stops, and ridiculous antics made the trip fly by.
Upon our return the next day (despite our loss to Stanford), it made me realize just how much I have loved the people I have met here, the memories I have made, and how hard it will be to leave this place that I now call a home. Unless of course……it’s for another road trip…….
This weekend, I traveled to Northern CA (Santa Maria) with two of my very best UCLA friends for one of our friend’s wedding. It was such an amazing weekend! I was able to get away and travel while being in company of two of the very best people ever! I drove to LA on Friday and then we picked up and left during the afternoon. The drive there was so much fun–singing along to some of our favorite songs and chit chatting all the way there. On Saturday, the reception took place. I must say, the church was very touching and I have to admit that I shed a tear, haha. The food, the dancing, and the laughter were all amazing in itself. I had such a fun night. On Sunday, we had breakfast, went grocery shopping and then packed up and left. A little part inside me wanted to stay just another day to enjoy our short-but-very-sweet trip.
While driving back home from LA, I was thinking of how fortunate I am such an amazing group of friends. Before coming to UCLA, I was quiet and shy. I was afraid that I wouldn’t make friends because I was the only one from my school attending UCLA. In fact, I was the first one ever in my school’s history to attend UCLA! Once I arrived on campus, though, all those past questions and insecurities changed. I have met so many people that now play an important part in my life. Being able to take a trip with two people that I met a little over two years ago has created a memory to remember! Attending college has been a blessing because it has helped me become more social and met people from everywhere. That is what makes me so proud to attend one of the very best universities out there and be motivated to be the very best– my friends. Without them, I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today 🙂