Personal, Travel

socal 🌞 santa monica, ucsd, & ucla again

This is the second part of this post, where we go to Santa Monica, UC San Diego, and then I go to UCLA without my parents to stay with my friend for a few days. First up, the beach!

I don’t have a ton to say about the beach, because all we really did was walk around for a bit. So here are photos of said walking around!

It’s weird to think that in a month I’ll be living closer to Santa Monica than to “home”. It’s weird to think that “home” might change soon.

In this one corner there were SO! MANY! BABY! SQUIRRELS! Please now enjoy a detour into amateur wildlife photography with me because they were SO small and SO cute and I COULD NOT BELIEVE HOW CLOSE THEY WERE TO ME.

Gah!!!! Fucking adorable.

Next, dinner at a Sichuan (/Szechuan is the alternate spelling) Chinese restaurant which was much too spicy for my liking.

The next day we went to UC San Diego, which my dad’s boss told him was “the best” (we are not sure if there was more he said here) – so my dad wanted to go visit. First, some ramen for lunch.

Now, UCSD! The campus was a bit, um, dreary, which could just be because it was a weekend and the weather was kinda gloomy.

This is the library that looks like a very odd spaceship!

In the front they had an exhibition on Chinese Communist propaganda, and a little further back some Dr. Seuss drawings. His real name is Theodore Geisel, and the library is named after him and his wife.

Back to UCLA now! One of my really good friends from high school was attending UCLA at the time (she’s graduated now!) so I stayed with her for a few days and basically followed her to all her friend dates and classes and everything. I’m so glad I have friends like her that I’ve managed to hang onto since literal childhood and it was really nice to see her life in LA, like a real life “day in the life” vlog haha.

There were a lot of cute cafes and restaurants we went to, but I’m afraid I don’t really remember the name of any of them!

One thing I do remember is how expensive they all were, like omg. These big city lunch prices are real and intense and I really have to up my budgeting + cooking skills before I move here.

And of course, they were all delicious! I tried Korean sundubu for the first time (tofu soup + rice, which is something I eat often anyways bc am Chinese but didn’t know was a proper dish), ate a lo0o00ovely rice + shrimp + roasted veggies bowl at a vaguely Mexican restaurant that I am determined to learn how to recreate for myself, and was very enamored with this illustration on my friend’s coffee sleeve.

The lawn at UCLA, full of people this time because it was during the week. I still felt very intimidated by the people around me who were rushing around to class or club meetings or jobs or whatever else, but it was a lil better. After talking with my friend and her friends and shadowing her around, I felt a little more part of the whole thing and more able to look forward to things like sitting in the sun reading or drawing or picnicking with friends that I will hopefully make!

A delicious ~FREE~* meal!! Very exciting, especially that free part. As it was the end of the quarter and of my friend’s time at UCLA, there were a lot of “wrap up” activities marking the end of certain things. This one was the year-end dinner for her on campus job. She smuggled me in and we ate on the floor and, like, is there any taste as sweet as a good free meal??

Dream bar decor – tabloid clippings from the 2000s.

And that’s the end of it all! I flew home from LAX, where I saw this really sweet art on the wall. I also tried Chick-fil-a for the first time and uh, I really do not understand the hype about that business? Like, the chicken is entirely meh. It’s fine, it’s tasty, but for a business that is so well-known to be anti-LGBTQ and that I’ve heard people say “I know they’re homophobic but it’s so good I can’t quit it!” – I entirely do not understand!!!! Very mediocre chicken, in my humble opinion. If you’ve had it, lmk what you think? I feel like people I’ve talked to are pretty split between “I would die for this chicken” and “it is very meh and not worth supporting a gross business”.

As always, thanks 4 reading and I’ll see you next time!


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