I spent a little over a week in Rome this June with my dad – here are the photos!
We stayed in a hotel right next to the Pantheon, so it was a really good distance from touristy attractions. This was my first time in Italy/Rome; it felt a little surprising, in that it’s not a location that I’ve seen a lot of or thought a lot of so I didn’t have that many preconceived expectations about it. Anyway, Rome is a city with a orange/red/yellow and green color palette. The younger people all look like they’re fun at pubs and pool parties. The older people look like that too. And I’m into it all. So now I’m head over heels for both France and Italy.
I started this day wandering around semi-aimlessly by myself. My dad was doing work at the university, so I set out to meet him but took my time to look at whatever caught my eye. I wasn’t very on top of planning/researching, so I’m afraid I didn’t know what a lot of things were until later in the evening when I looked them up. This is the Capitoline Museum, which I reached after crossing a terrifying roundabout.
The Vittoriano, or Altar of the Fatherland, is for Italy’s first king, Victor Emmanuel II. The Capitoline Museum is behind it, but this huge marble edifice is what originally caught my eye and set me started on a path through an intense roundabout and a huge flight of stairs in the heat.
I so enjoy walking around by myself in a city – it’s freeing and fun, to think of nothing but what you want to do in a city where no one knows your name and you don’t know much either.
Now the evening! The Pantheon was literally a one minute walk from our hotel and, I mean, how wild to have slept next to this building for a week. To think about how much life this building has witnessed is entirely mind-boggling; from marriages to religious services for the Roman gods at first to the Catholic church it is today to modern-day tourists like me to travelers passing through ancient Rome to locals using it as a meeting point for drinks after work, it’s been there for all of it.
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.
At the end of May I drove down to LA with my parents to visit UCLA, my future school. I took some photos, I want to talk about them, we all know how blogs work. We did a tour led by one of those backwards walking student guides, met up with some of my dad’s friends from college who live in the area, and I dealt with some intense impostor syndrome.
I’m always into a blue and orange combination. And I really liked the “adventure starts here” lettering!
UCLA has a gorgeous campus. It is green and sunny and feels like California in all the best ways. It makes me want to post on my studyblr more and be a Cool College Gal laying on the grassy lawn reading smart books. It also kind of makes me want to have an anxiety attack on the bathroom floor. During our tour I felt intensely insecure about my place there and scared of myself, scared of failure, scared of my ability to self-sabotage so that I fail, and eventually I realized that I live with fear at the top of my mind and that’s something that I want to get rid of. It feels maddeningly simple now but when I thought about it then I was like “my god, is this what Kylie Jenner talked about when she said realizing things?”. I don’t think I’d ever fully grasped how much I live with fear and how much I think in a fearful way – and from that, how much I want that to stop now. So, that’s where I’m at now in regards to this Big Life Move Thing, and I’m trying my darnedest to keep hope and belief strung throughout my brain despite my worst instincts.
It was almost the end of the quarter when we went, so we saw lots of people doing graduation photo shoots and flinging confetti in the air (only to later land on the ground and remain for who knows how long).
This building is Royce Hall and is on the cover of all the brochures and websites and shit that gets trotted out to potential students. This building is also one I had a stress dream about, involving me showing up to class here and being turned away. It’s impossible that my dream will actually occur, in part because I was accepted god damn it, but also because I think this building is only really used for fancy purposes, not classes.
We are almost done! Truth be told, I’ve been a bit sick recently so stuck at home with time to edit photos and whatnot lol. Today we’re going to Lijiang (丽江), a city in the northwest of Yunnan province, to look at the historic Old Town area. Like any good day, we start with a couple bags of chips in the car.
We had a meal (lunch? Breakfast? How do I remember timelines almost a year afterwards?) at this place on the side of the freeway, where we had chicken soup. I wish I could tell you more about it because it was delicious and there was some kind of special method for cooking it but, alas, memory does not serve me as well as it did in my youth.
A China Mobile shop near our hotel! The Naxi ethnic minority lives in this area, so you can see their language on a lot of signs – like here, the smaller characters underneath the Chinese 手机 words show the Naxi language translation.
And here we are at the Old Town – my uncle works in the tourism industry, and this city is a really big spot for tourists (mostly Han Chinese, not international, I think) after having been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Frogs, according to my uncle our tour guide, are important to the Naxi people because they’re…resilient and strong? Do not remember, pls take all info with several hundred grains of salt.
My brother and I tried bubble waffles for the first time here! When we were in London, there was a bubble waffle place on the corner of Chinatown that we would always pass and think about going into but never did because of the huge lines that were always there. So we are late to the trendy food party and it is indeed fun to eat, and fluffier than regular waffles.
We walked around Old Town going in and out of buildings and shops. These are some signs showing the Naxi language, which a nice old man started explaining to my dad and I.
You can’t super see, but this picture on the right has one of those stone lions that sit outside buildings and there is a BABY LION BREASTFEEDING. This is the interior decor of my dreams.
In December my family went to Vancouver for a lil family holiday. I took some photos and heeeeere is a blog post about it a whopping four months later! I always feel the urge to apologize when I am tremendously late like this but I wonder if 1) if that is necessary (because like 3 people read this blog, 2 of whom are my cat and my brother, and it’s not like there is a real ~deadline~ with ~consequences~* for my fun time blog) and 2) if it’s annoying (because I get annoyed when YouTubers spend the first eight minutes of a video apologizing for something being late). OK that said, I still feel bad about my travel posts being late because it feels awkward talking about a winter holiday when Vancouver is no longer in winter mode… The next big trip I take is going to be in a couple months to Rome (!!!!!), so hopefully I can make those blawg posts happen in a time frame that makes sense.
The Vancouver airport! I thought the way First Nations art was featured was really cool. To me, the US and Canada are like sibling colonists who killed mass amounts of indigenous people for our new nations, but Canada seems to be doing a slightly better job at respecting indigenous populations than this lovely home of the brave land of the free etc etc.
We arrived at night and took a taxi to our Airbnb, which was actually in Burnaby and not Vancouver itself so it was a bit of a longer transit time than initially anticipated. I didn’t check the address of the Airbnb when I booked because I assumed all the places that popped up in the Vancouver search would be in, you know, Vancouver. Lesson learned, I guess.
We walked around our Airbnb to find dinner and decided on a ramen place. They had dog butts on the walls for you to hang your coat, which I thought was a cute interior decor moment lol.
This trip was over Christmas, so right after my fall semester had ended. Unfortunately, I did a real dumb thing right before finals week and spilled water all over my laptop. Fortunately, the professor for the class that I lost my term paper for gave me an extension, so I spent the first couple days on holiday writing that again. In the afternoon once I finished, I left to meet the rest of my family who had already begun their day of touristing. On this particular day our agenda was to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.
And we’re here! All the lights were up for the holiday season, so it was very festive and Christmas-y. We started with a guided tour of some totem poles – I think I remember our tour guide telling us all except a couple of the totem poles inside the park were carved by indigenous people (i.e. not white people co-opting the practice), so that was cool! Some of the totem poles represented clans and some told stories. I don’t think I have a picture of the story I found the most interesting, but it was the origin legend of mosquitoes. It involved, among other things, a giant who carried a basket to put children in for meals, so for the rest of the trip my brother and I would snicker about getting a basket whenever we were around annoying children. I would not be a good babysitter, lol.
Nature! Trees! Walking amongst the greenery!
Once it got dark, the lights turned on and really ~shone~*. (Pun initially unintended). I will say that I’m certain my toes almost fell off from the cold, but it’s probably my bad for wearing slip-on Vans and not, you know, sensible winter shoes.
And that’s the end of our Capilano Park day! Very cold, very pretty, very marvel of technology (but I didn’t read the descriptive plaques on how the bridge was constructed so cannot know 4 sure).
Another day was spent at the Vancouver Art Gallery, which was an absolute dreeaaaam. The temporary exhibition they had going on featured Guo Pei, a Chinese fashion designer, probably best known for the huge trailing yellow gown Rihanna wore to the Met Ball a few years ago. Her work is, obviously, beautiful, but I think it’s the combination of Chinese history, legend, and culture with her haute couture that makes it unique.
All of her mannequins were shown with platform shoes in reference to ancient trends in Chinese history.
This jumpsuit is a dragon, and the blue dress is a phoenix.
(There is no city or place name for this past the province that I was definitely in, because I am afraid I don’t remember… a clear sign I need to finish this series already lol)
We start our day in a town that I do not remember, because I had just started my period and was feeling nauseous and Very Not Good and did not pay attention when my uncle said where we were. My brother and I just kind of strolled throughout the town while our parents and aunt/uncle went off to the original touristy destination, and it was nice to get a breather from the nonstop sightseeing my aunt/uncle are big fans of. We just got to wander around together and pop into stores that caught our eye, and be flattered by light-up café signs that say the sweetest things.
A group of kids were having a dance performance performance at the town square (? Is there a better word for this?), so we sat for a bit while I tried not to feel like barfing and watched them.
I think my brother took a few of these photos while I was feeling pained and pitiful, so pls reach out if you would like to hire him for photography jobs!!