Posts Tagged ‘California’
And Suddenly a Light Appears Inside My Brain. And I Think of My Ways, I Think of My Days, And Know That I Have Changed*
Looking back, every one if the past few years since I’ve started college has really been defined by a phase. Sometimes the phases span more than one year, but every section was still really definitive.
Freshman year was a time of really realizing the friendships I wanted to make and keep. The majority of the people I knew then no longer exist in my life, but a lot of the current close friendships came from that time. Funny how that works out. It was just not the crowd I wanted to be associated with; a lot of it reminded me of what I thought I was comfortable with in high school. And then BAM! I realized this was college in a brand new state. There was no one from my high school and I could really choose and figure out the friendships I really wanted to make. A lot of what you do in freshman year really does end up defining what your college experience is. I mainly found my roommates. :)
Second semester of freshman year was my first exposure to Illini Pride (student cheering sections for all varsity sports teams) in the form of Orange Krush (men’s basketball cheering section). And wow. I would never take back any of the countless hours I have devoted to being on the Illini Pride Executive Board and the countless hours spent at sporting events. When I earned my spot on the board starting sophomore year, it completely changed the lifestyle and friendships I had (aside from my roommates, who became a constant throughout the four years).
All my friends from freshman year were Asian. Meaning that I really only interacted with, at maximum, 16% of the Illinois community! 16%! It’s amazing to think about how much joining Illini Pride really opened my eyes to the world outside of what I had always known. My high school was by no means “Asian,” but we were still 40% Asian. For a lot of my Illinois friends, they had either no Asians or only a couple in their entire schools. This is untrue of some of the suburbs (Niles, Naperville, Oakbrook, etc.), but they still had much lower percentages than my area in Northern California.
Junior year/2008 was my favorite year. I knew the most people on campus during this time, my good friends were super seniors, and it was our Rose Bowl year! Penn St, Wisconsin, at #1 Ohio St for the Block I (football cheering section) annual road trip.
Senior year was difficult at times. I started traveling a lot more from accruing so many miles throughout my years at Illinois and having my car at school. So I was always either in Chicago, Berkeley, SD, or LA, which made it hard to enjoy college since I was so impatient about transitioning into post-college life. I do regret not having cherished that time as I should have, but at least I did made a resolve to spend more time on campus during the second half of spring semester.
After college was a little crazy. I wasn’t ready to move back to California yet, I wanted to experience living in Chicago, but I also didn’t want to find myself “stuck” in Illinois. I LOVE Illinois, but I’ve always known it’s not where I would eventually want to settle down. And so I started off with the Naperville downtown Apple Store opening. I thought after that for a little bit, I would move home and put my finance degree to good use. Somehow I ended up as a manager for Gilly Hicks (Abercrombie & Fitch Co.) and lived in Chicago for almost two years. That also almost took me to a two year stint in Hong Kong for Abercrombie, which didn’t work out, but, I did find my best friend there!
I ended up moving home and landing my current job. The hardest part about moving home is trying to pick up your high school friendships from where they were and finding that I was in completely different places in life than them. It took a while to really find friends that I completely trust, but these girls have really become my support system and this is the first time in my life that the majority of my close friends are female.
Quarter century birthday. It’s weird to think about how it only seemed like yesterday we were all turning 21, at the same time, I really can’t imagine being in college anymore. I’m really excited for this year and the maybe changes that I’m working toward, and there’ll definitely be more adventures in design and printing!
*Grouplove – “Colours”
Lately, I’ve been asked a lot on why I chose Illinois. My decision to go to Illinois was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. Sure, I would’ve been ecstatic if I had gone to a California university, but at the end of the day, I stand behind my choice to attend Illinois and ultimately, why I did not transfer back to California. I, by no means, ever thought I would end up at Illinois, or really any other out-of-state school for that matter. I applied because my Dad told me to (pretty sure it was to live vicariously through me since he had wanted to go there for his Masters in EE–which he didn’t tell me about until after I had decided where to go). I was all “sure Dad, I’ll apply there, but I’m not going to Illinois.” Joke’s on me!
Dad took me to visit Champaign about a month before the UC school decisions had come out and even then I was skeptical of me choosing an out-of-state school. Even after I felt how right being on the Illinois campus is. Even after I read about how awesome Orange Krush and Illini Pride are. Even after I saw how amazing of a city Chicago and driving on Lake Shore Drive alongside Lake Michigan are. Even after I put down my housing deposit ahead of the final UC decisions. I still had my doubts.
My gut was so much more sure about my decision even before I was. Ultimately, the fact that Illinois had a solid business undergraduate program, Division I Big Ten athletics, and me knowing that by giving up on Illinois would be like giving up an opportunity to have a very unique college experience, is what swayed me to go and eventually stay.
Even at one and a half years into undergraduate, I entertained the thought of possibly transferring schools, but it was also around that time that I really stopped missing California so much and began to really enjoy Illinois and find myself. The great thing about going to a school where almost no one in your high school went is that you don’t end up just hanging out with just the people you were friends with for the first 12 years of school. You get to figure out the friends that you want to hang out with. I bounced around a couple different groups of people before I found my roommates, Illini Pride Exec Board, and the Word of the Day boys. Even though I was only in Illinois for six years, a lot of those friendships have already endured longer than a lot of my friendships from home. I’m glad I stuck it through in Illinois. If I had left, I never would’ve experienced winning at the Horseshoe, playing in the Rose Bowl, calling Chicago home, and I most definitely would have never met and established some of the close friendships I have today.
Everyone in California always talks about awesome living in California is. Oh really now? HOW DO YOU KNOW? Most have never stepped outside of the California bubble. I respect their decisions on staying in-state, but please don’t try to convince me why LA or SF is better than Chicago, or any other city out there because you’ve never even lived outside of this state. I love California, but I love knowing I pick to stay in California not because it’s all I’ve ever known, but because I have already lived in another state and I want to settle down in California over anywhere else.
*Grouplove – “Chloe”
I’m still determined to make July an amazing month! Finally finished my save the dates for my bday last night–even while having to do an unexpected call. But they’re done and beautiful! My first successful solo letterpress project! :)
But back to the call. It really wasn’t so much unexpected since I pretty much had a month’s heads up on it, but it still felt like a slap to the face. And then I almost called someone else out on all their BS. Oops. Maybe a good thing I wasn’t able to say what I wanted to to that person? #sorryimnotsorry.
At the same time, whatever. Like I’ve always said, I’m gonna continue to do me and not let little things get to me and get me down. Just kinda sucked because I realized the two people at the top of my call list were in Hong Kong (thank you Viber!) and Chicago. I can’t wait for the first to move back to CA, but the other is stuck in Chicago. And by stuck, I mean he does love it there (move West!!), haha.
Just trying to stay positive heading into August since it’s traditionally such a roller coaster month. It’s got my favorite day of the year (August 15th!), signifies end of summer and returns to Champaign when I was still at U of I, but it’s also known to be a bit crazy and unexpected. It’s also (for the past two seasons) been the worst month of Giants baseball, which is scary being so close to playoffs! No matter, just gonna take it one day at a time since there’s no use over-analyzing things when I could just be living in the present. :)
Things to look forward to in the next couple of months:
Imagine Dragons&Walk the Moon, Nick Kroll, Of Monsters and Men?, Imagine Dragons (again), Grouplove x2, L.A. Printer’s Fair, Napa (yay for visitors flying in!), Chicago/Champaign/Homecoming
*Grouplove – “Love Will Save Your Soul”
Places, People, & Things I’ll Miss When I Move from the Bay
(All with the assumption, that I’m not moving OUT of state)
- The Presidio of San Francisco (Fort Point, Chrissy Field, Baker Beach, Marshall Beach)
- Bridges! The Bay Bridge and GG
- Berkeley (the food, the sports)
- Photohunting on Stanford Campus
- My Albany girls: Irene, Elaine, Tiff, Joanne (kinda…you’ll probably be in LA!)
- …And the rest of the group: Grace, JWang, Aaron, Shay, John
- being one cubicle away from Geoff
- Concerts at The Fillmore
- SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS HOME GAMES and AT&T Park
- San Francisco 49ers (AJ Jenkins!!! #illini :D)
- San Jose Sharks games at the Tank
- Seriously, just being in a city where all your favorite sports teams are. I left the Bay the first time around not liking sports as much as when I came back. And there’s NOTHING better than being surrounded by fellow fans. Bulls were the only Chicago team I loved and I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to adjust leaving NorCal, but at least I’ll only be a drive away. :)
- My awesomely designed room and bathroom
- Eric Bourman’s ballet classes at Pacific Ballet Academy
- Living ten minutes away from Chinese food (ugh. LA traffic, I will not like you)
- Driving on 280 (especially Palo Alto and north)
- Living with my parents. Love getting to actually spend time with them and talk to them whenever I want
- Mrs. Chai’s haircuts
- Adapt Clothing
- Apple ?
Hmm, did not think that my SF list would be so much short than my Illinois one. Then again, I’ve only lived back here for a little over a year and I’ve already spent six years getting used to not missing CA so much.
I think there a lot less things holding me back this time than when I had to move to Illinois. I was also a lot younger and I’ve already picked myself up and moved from NorCal to Illinois and then to HK already so what’s another move right? I’m just no longer looking for the whole “move-for-two-years” thing. It kinda makes establishing your life hard. And I think it makes other people equally frustrated when you can’t give them a definite answer on if you’re staying, if you’re going, if you’re really going when you keep saying it for over a year. haha. So that rules out moving to NYC. I LOVE NYC, but it’s never going to be a place I can actually see myself settling down in. I’d be 80% more likely to move back to Chicago than to NYC. I used to think I could settle down outside of California, but the longer and longer I’m staying here, I know that’s not true. It’s the culture and the cities that I’ve always loved. Everyone told me I was crazy for choosing to go to Illinois, and I can see why, but I’m still very glad I chose to go to Illinois and I know I’m choosing to stay in California not because it’s the only place I’ve ever really known, but because it is where I want to end up.
*Journey – “Lights”
I realized that as I grew older, the people who I consider to be my best friends–or even who I would consider friends–have evolved. I didn’t realize it in all my trips back home until I had to actually live at home. That’s when I realized just how different this was all going to be from my life in Chicago.
A lot of my friends here in California, I’ve known since high school, or even elementary school. And all of our experiences in college have shaped us. It’s not necessarily a bad thing and it’s great to have friends that are different. But I think it also opened my eyes as to people I’m not quite sure I want in my life anymore.
In college, and life after college, it is definitely easier to find friends that had more similar interests and are more aligned with my values. A lot of this comes from going to a college in a state where I knew absolutely no one else before going there. It’s not like high school where you have only 4,000 kids in the school that you’re interacting with. These are campuses with 40,000 students. Spend four years there, and you can pick and choose exactly the friends that you want to keep in your life.
Coming home though, has been in many ways, a shock. My friends here are fun to hang out with, but they don’t feel like they hold as much substance. I realized that our lives are back from when we left high school and losing those four years in between when we’ve all had time to grow and develop in different ways has left an almost empty space in the friendship. It’s like a relationship that has gone on for far too long and it’s comfortable, and you know they are there for you, but it’s not exciting and just not the same.
In all my trips home, they were never for more than a week or a couple days at time. Therefore, I never really took the time to evaluate some of my friendships. What I found is that there are people in my life that if they did the things they did in college, I would have already dropped them. It’s much harder to drop these friendships, because these aren’t people that I have met for only a year or two–these are friendships that are now six, seven, or even ten+ years long. But I think there comes a time when you have to stand up for what you believe in, and friendships are sometimes just of the toxic kind and it’s better to “naturally” drift apart.
There are still a lot of friends that I would consider my close friends, just maybe not my best friends anymore. It’s a little sad to think about, but I think it happens; it might have even happened to me in Illinois if I had stayed long enough. And who knows, these are people I would love to be as close with again, and it could happen in the future still.
*Queen – “You’re My Best Friend”
There’s been a lot of stuff lately that has just been really frustrating; especially I’m not exactly sure how much I can control that. One thing I have been working on is controlling my emotions more and not necessarily becoming more vacant, but less wearing my heart on my sleeve type of thing.
I just really can’t believe the nerve of some of the people out there and how much they think things are just entitled to them.
I’m super excited for this weekend though! I finally get to see my fam an a lot of my friends. Thankfully most of them have moved back into the Bay so it makes it a lot easier for going out and such. :) That and going to the Giants game on Saturday! It’ll be Mike’s first Giant game ever with Geoff and Charlie. It also happens to be Italian Heritage Night (Joe DiMaggio bobbleheads ftw!). Haha.
*Bruno Mars – “Just The Way You Are”
For all the surprises the L decided to throw my way on my adventure to Midway, it was surprisingly one of my most enjoyable flights to date. Smooth ride. Smooth landing. Bliss.
I got my haircut at Mitri today by Tony, and let me tell you. I have NEVER. EVER. been this pleased with my cut, ever. I got my bangs back AND I got an edgier layer on the bottom (without anymore split ends!) LOVES IT. $50 price tag and all.
How interesting wold it have been if I had kept this [written journal] from Freshman year… and seeing how far I’ve come from then. I used to be so sure that I’d win the bet, yeah. Not so sure anymore. I’m really not even sure if I won’t lose by the end of this year or not.
Hanging out in Chicago kinda makes me really miss the city. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in LOVE with Northern California, and I’ll always feel SO at home here, but Chicago has SO much character that I just want to explore it like I’ve explored San Francisco by now.
I was also looking at my New Year’s Resolutions and I’m really not doing so hot on them so far. I’ve got ONE done, and I’m sure some will never happen.
I’m going to see the LOVES OF MY LIFE tomorrow and I’m hella excited!