Holi 2012

 

This past weekend, I went with a group of friends to an Indian event, Holi, with traditional roots celebrating the festival of harvest, held right on campus at our Sunset Canyon Recreation Center.

Long before the event started, a long twisting line of students waited to enter the upper field where all the colored powder was to be thrown.  To add to the excitement, music and an Indian movie were played, and groups were invited to present special performances as well.  It was surely an exciting afternoon for Sunset Rec, since amidst the usual swimmers and lawn tanners there was a whole other type of physical activity happening on the upper lawn.

As I had arrived late to last year’s event by a mere half-hour but missed out on most of the coloring, this year I made sure we were early.  And even then, we were among the last quadrant that made it into the venue and still got colored powder.  The preparation that went into organizing this event was seen in groups of tables set up throughout the lawn that became powder distribution stations throughout the event.  Event managers stationed themselves within an enclosed circle of tables, and distributed powder to excited participants with a plastic bowl.

Amid the frenzy, I managed to color my face completely red and purple, and my previously-white tee shirt will most probably remain pink for the rest of its life.

 

As the week went on after the event, photos of my friends in other schools across the country showed them splattered in color as well.  I’m so glad I got to join in on all the fun this year, and my photos, stained clothes, and memories of this will remain with me forever!

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!

Princeton Ly – Water Polo

If you’re from Southern California, you’ve probably heard of or even played water polo. If not, you’re definitely missing out. Water polo is probably one of the easiest games to watch and appreciate – a very low barrier to entry, if you will, compared to football’s arcane regulations or the plodding pace of baseball. I would compare it to soccer or basketball – it’s mostly intuitive and you can “get it” with little background or introduction – the point of the game is to put the ball into the goal. There’s lots of continuous action, it’s physical, and athletic “wow” plays abound.

That being said, you don’t hear much about water polo in most of the United States except during the Olympics or if you’re from areas that support it (weather-wise, mostly) – California, Texas, some private schools in the East Coast. Luckily, at UCLA, you have a great chance to see this sport in person played to very high standards; we have great water polo teams. In 2007, our women’s team earned the Four Letters its 100th NCAA title, the first to that number in the nation. Our girls have won two more since then. Our men’s team is consistently a championship contender, and are currently (as of 10/23/2011) ranked #1 in the nation after a blanking of Whittier and a beat-down of Pomona-Pitzer. USC is ranked second, meaning the 11/18/2011 home matchup between the two will have playoff implications. So come watch!

(Not that it matters as much, but another draw is the beautiful, newly constructed Spieker Aquatics Center that our teams play in, located above the Sunset Village tennis courts and below the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center/Field.)

Moving into Westwood Village North

This past weekend, I moved into Westwood Village North, where a cluster of apartments have been in the area for some time now, to serve UCLA students who typically move out of the dorms after their second or third undergraduate year.  At UCLA, we don’t have to worry about moving off campus right away (some friends at another university had to frantically look for an apartment after their freshman year) because we lead the UCs in guaranteeing housing for three years, and are currently working on guaranteeing four.  That’s something we’re very proud of because it gives students ample time to accustom themselves to the neighborhood around school and  gain “street” knowledge of the real estate market in Westwood.

I myself moved out of the dorms a year earlier than necessary because I wanted a taste of apartment life and having my own living room.  However, I already miss many things about the dorms. Where else can you walk to see all your friends within 5 minutes?  Where else do you have easy access to half a dozen residential restaurants, half of which have takeout options, one of which has gelato, and another a coffee shop?  And if I wanted a living room, choosing a suite in Hitch or Saxon would have given me exactly that.  Although it is nice to have your own furniture and kitchen, I’m so glad to have gone through the dorming experience, where I didn’t have to worry about cooking and had the opportunity to meet 10,000 other residents living on the Hill.

10 Things on Your Hill Bucket List

  1. Study in Covel Commons computer lab or study rooms.
  2. Try gelato at Cafe 1919.
  3. Eat in all of the residential restaurants at least once.
  4. Study in your house/floor study lounge.  Great place to meet people in your house/floor!
  5. Study in another house/floor’s study lounge.  Great way to meet others in your residential community!
  6. Play basketball or volleyball on the courts near the Suites.
  7. Work out or hang out at Sunset Canyon Recreation Center.
  8. Order De Neve Late Night pizza to share with roommates and floormates.
  9. Line up at Bruin Cafe for coffee during the rush right before it closes at 2 a.m.
  10. Watch TV or play pool/ping pong in the huge lounge in Hedrick Summit.

Dorms continued!

OK! Meal plans. You can choose from five meal plans. You can either have 19, 14, or 11 meals a week, and the 19 and 14 plans have a premiere option. Basically, with premiere you get a bunch of benefits:

  • your meal swipes roll over from week to week
  • you can swipe people in
  • you can swipe in more than once each meal period
  • you can donate unused swipes

Premiere plans are referred to as “19P” or “14P.” These are more expensive than the regular ones and the more meals you have, the more expensive your plan is. Your meal plan works by swiping your Bruin Card. Most of the time, you will be swiping into the dining halls (we have three that all have different food). Dining halls are all-you-can-eat buffet style (oh, yeah). You can also use your swipes at Bruin Cafe, Cafe 1919, Rendezvous, or Late Night. These are all take-away options, as you swipe for a pre-portioned meal (sandwich, side, and a drink) and then can take it into campus to eat. I mentioned meal periods; these are times (breakfast from 7-11am, lunch from 11-5, etc.) that you can swipe in for a meal.

On to roommates now! You can either have a single, double, or triple. It’s pretty simple–a single is one person, a double is two, and a triple is three. I had a triple my first year and it was honestly not that bad. Sure, we all kind of lived on top of each other and by the end of the year the floor was not visible underneath a layer of clothes, but it’s not that bad. You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, and you don’t even have to live with them. If you really want, you can request a room change. Get excited. It is really weird to have sleepovers every night of the week.

Now time to talk about some cool things about the Hill (oh yeah, if you haven’t figured it out or didn’t know, the Hill is what we call the area with all the dorms). Besides all the delicious food and the classrooms on the Hill, you can find a few other fun things. For one there is the Sunset Recreation Center. It is UCLA’s own country club complete with swimming pools, big fields, volleyball, a ropes course, barbequing, a cabana, athletes, and local Bel Air folk in fancy clothes. The Hill also is home to a farmers’ market, lots of construction, dances and other events in Covel’s Grand Horizon room, and a breathtaking view of the university.

Let me finish up by telling you a little bit about my own dorming experience thus far. Last year, I lived in De Neve Evergreen on the fourth floor. I had a lovely view of the construction on the new De Neve building next door as well as a lovely view of my two roommates’ bunk bed (not too lovely, actually / I slept on the loft bed). I was by far the messiest, the most decorated, and the least math & science-y.

Next year, I am rooming with my friend Safia on the sixth floor of De Neve Birch. But how? Remember the Gender Inclusive housing I mentioned earlier? Well, we are like the first ones to try it out (I am pretty sure we are the first)! Basically, if a girl and boy feel more comfortable rooming with a gender that is not their own, they can send in a request and if they are approved, they may live together on campus. Très chouette! So, that’s what’s going on next year for me. I’m really looking forward to it. Send me a comment if you have any questions or my descriptions were confusing (I always end up writing these things in the nighttime). 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.