Trying to keep up with this blog has been so challenging for me! I forgot how much I despise writing and am now reminded why I was a science geek in college :). But I promised myself I would stick with it so I could look back on the great memories I have been making on my travels and keep friends and family updated- I know I’ll be glad I did. I wanted to give a quick update on the past few weeks! I had my vacation time for the semester two weeks ago, which I split between my grandparents house in northern California and Irvine. I spent the past week visiting our Delta Zeta Chapter at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, which was a blast. Now, I’m back in L.A. visiting our chapter at USC before heading to UCLA on Tuesday. Here is what I’ve been up to:
I had a very short, but wonderful visit with my grandparents! I hadn’t seen them since June and hadn’t been to their house in Morgan Hill for (what it feels like) years. My grandma and I got lunch and massages together before getting dinner with my grandpa. The next day, we went to our favorite Gizdich Ranch to eat fresh apple pie on our way to Carmel. Usually, we go berry picking there in the summer and it’s one of our fun traditions to see all of the farms in Watsonville over the hill. Fun fact: you can get five avocados for $1 there! Mind-blowing.
Here are some pictures from our trip to Carmel and Monterey! Shockingly, the weather was great and the water looked amazing for the end of October. My grandma was in her element, as you can see in the picture below :). Few things beat running into the ocean on a sunny, fall day and breathing in the crisp, beachy air. We also drove the 17 Mile Drive through Pebble Beach and stopped at a lookout with a famous tree growing out of the rocks (picture below), saw where my aunt and uncle got married, and visited the retreat center where our huge family reunion was ~25 years ago. My GGMom (Great grandma) used to live in Monterey and the whole area just reminds me of her. We also had a wonderful lunch with a view at Schooner’s at the Plaza Hotel in Monterey, where we used to go with GG Mom. We all miss her a lot! I loved hearing all of the stories from memories my grandparents and family members have shared in the Carmel area.
Here is my grandma’s masterpiece she has been working on for months! She has replaced their entire front yard with drought-resistant plants and a dry creek made of rocks. She’s told me a lot about it over the past few months over the phone, but it was great to see it in person! She isn’t done yet, but there has been a ton of progress from the old lawn and ivy they used to have. She also has battled a yellow jacket hive and is convinced the young warrior bees are out to get her…I hope they stay away from her. It’s crazy to think that my grandma has done all of this by herself, including transporting and placing hundreds of rocks! You go, grandma!
After a quick two day visit with my grandparents, I flew to Orange County, where my cousin, Kayla, picked me up from the airport so we could head straight to Disneyland! She is in the Disney College Program and gets free guest passes for lucky cousins like me :). We had a fun afternoon and got to see all of the Halloween decorations and people dressed up for the Halloween party that night. Some of the rides were changed too, like the Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain. You can see my terrified reaction from the pitch black “Ghost Galaxy” version of Space Mountain in the front row in the picture below. My favorite part of the day was by far the World of Color water show at California Adventure. Somehow, I had never seen it before and now I understand the hype that Kayla had tried to explain to me- it was incredible! Clips from Disney films and Neil Patrick Harris and Mickey Mouse, who narrated the show, were projected onto the water screens. We got fast passes and still waited an hour to get good seats for the show, but it was SO worth it! If I was that blown away by the show, I can only imagine how little kids felt who were on their parents’ shoulders. Here are some pictures:
Tried to sneak a picture from an adorable family dressed up as characters from Frozen! The mom was Elsa, the dad was Sven, the young daughter (can’t see her) was Anna and the toddler was Olaf. So precious!
Main Street and the Haunted Mansion looked awesome!
I spent three days at home, which mostly consisted of spending time with family, going to the Optometrist and catching up with my former boss, and going to the beach and shopping with Shannon (my good friend and LC from last year who lives in Orange County). It was good to spend a few days at home and change out my clothes before heading to much colder Vancouver!
I just spent a week visiting our chapter at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and had a blast. I met with all of the officers to discuss what is going well, areas of improvement, goals for the rest of the year and how they are going to prepare the next officers after elections. I also did a presentation in front of the chapter at their meeting, which was well-received. Overall, it was a fun, productive Leadership Development visit and I enjoyed getting to know all of our members at UBC. Outside of meetings and other work, I got a chance to try some of Vancouver’s amazing food. There are sushi restaurants on every corner, lots of neighborhoods to explore, and everything was very accessible by their bus system. Some of my favorites were gourmet grilled cheese and tomato soup at Burgoo, funky sushi at The Eatery, and breakfast at Jethros, which included Nutella french toast (yum!). A few of the members gave me a tour of the beautiful (and huge) UBC campus and I also got to go to a UBC basketball game one night. During meals with members, I had a lot of interesting conversations and learned a LOT about Canada. I feel like I know a ton of random facts about Canada now- I can name all of the professional sports teams, how their healthcare system works, the different provinces and universities, a bit of history, and a few Canadian phrases (I now know the difference between a looney and a tooney!).
If you know me, you know how much I had rain and wind because I was born to be in the sun 100% of the time. Shockingly, I actually enjoyed the weather in Vancouver and decided it’s all about having the right clothing. I’m so glad I was able to go home to get some boots, an umbrella and my coat! It only really rained twice, but it was cold and wet the entire time. I actually expected it to be colder though, as it was in the 40s and 50s almost the entire week. Apparently, Vancouver rarely gets below 0 (32 degrees Fahrenheit) and they claim to have the best weather in Canada. All I know is I am determined to come back in the summer to visit Whistler, go bungee jumping, white water rafting, hiking and check out all Vancouver has to offer when it’s not raining. I will definitely be back at some point!
I love seeing leaves change colors, especially when they are Alpha Gam colors :). I also had to get a picture in front of the UBC sign, like I try to do at every campus I visit.
“The Nest” (a.k.a. the student union building) is brand new and was so cool! I actually worked at a computer station for an afternoon one day and loved seeing all of the students in their element. I also liked watching all of the water planes take off- reminded me of the movie “The Proposal”!
Downtown Vancouver is incredible! It was modern, full of nature, not as cramped as San Francisco, and right on the water. I absolutely loved it, especially driving through Stanley Park, which is actually larger than Central Park and definitely the most famous urban park in Canada.
I was actually supposed to go on a Halloween helicopter ride (in costume of course) with my friend Lisa, who I met in Croatia this summer. She lives in Vancouver and knows a pilot, so we were super excited to go on a helicopter ride to a glacier and get a nice discount of course :). Unfortunately, we got rained out, but I decided to rock my “basic” cat costume anyways. I got lunch with Lisa and a few of the Alpha Gams there and then went to the Vancouver Aquarium. It ended up being a great day anyways and I loved the aquarium! Here are some more pictures:
The jellyfish and sea otters were my favorite!
On my last day there, I went to Flyover Canada, which is similar to California Adventure’s “Soarin’ Over California”, but over Canada. It was awesome and I felt like I got to go on an almost helicopter ride over the whole country :).
Who knows… after this visit, maybe I’ll end up moving to Canada! I am still trying to explore my options for after my contract is up in May. I know I’ll be going to San Francisco to visit my friends and go to Alexis and Bridget’s law school and grad school graduations, as well as doing a trip throughout Southeast Asia. After that, I’m not sure but I’m starting to put out my feelers and talk to a few professional connections about possible avenues to go down. I’m excited to consider all of the opportunities out there! That’s all for now :). Thanks for reading!