I’m not gonna lie. One of the things I was looking forward to when I moved down to LA county at the start of college was that Tinseltown would be within reach, which meant inevitable run-ins with famous people. Growing up in Sacramento, any chances of meeting or running into celebrities were incredibly few and far between, only being able to see them from our TV and computer screens, and maybe in person if they were to come by on a tour of some sort. So it’s easy to understand why the idea of meeting a well-known person in the entertainment industry was such an exciting concept. Having now lived here for almost seven years, the excitement has gone down quite a bit, but I haven’t necessarily grown numb to the possibility of meeting one of my favorite famous people. I’ve gotten the chance to attend meet and greets, conventions, and show tapings where I got to share the same breathing space as celebrities. After going to a handful of these, it’s safe to say that I’ve gotten my fill of rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t get excited at any opportunities, should they come my way. While I have formally met some of my favorite Hollywood darlings, there are several that I came so close to getting to meet, but just barely missed my chance. I hope these stories frustrate you as much as they frustrated me at the time.
One Saturday morning in February, well into the chaos of Winter Quarter, I found myself drowning in obligations and work I needed to get done. I needed to work on a group assignment for my math class, had a fellowship application I needed to complete, and some much needed Bible lettering I was itching to do as well. I knew none of this would get done if I stayed within the confines of my bedroom, and going to the library wasn’t a particularly attractive option, either. I realized that it had been awhile since I went out and visited a new coffee shop. My list of recommendations from friends was extensive and growing, and so I figured what better time to finally check out some of these places.
Within an hour, I found myself sitting on an uneven chair at a table that was barely big enough to fit my laptop in a cramped space in the middle of downtown Pomona. While the latte I ordered was tasty, the space itself wasn’t very comfortable. I packed my things and decided to go to the next place that was on my list. Here, I found myself sitting in a plastic chair that felt like it would give at any moment, in a crowded space with no WiFi, with hard metal blasting over the speakers. It didn’t help that the drink I ordered was sub-par, either. I sat there and thought what an incredibly unlucky day for me to go out and try something new. Both of these coffee shops came to me under the recommendations of friends who knew that going out and getting work done in a coffee shop was one of my favorite things to do. I then realized that while I like to think that I’m open when it comes to what kind of coffee shop I like to visit, the truth is probably that my taste is far more refined than I would like to believe. So if you ever have a coffee shop suggestion you would like to give me, while I will still make note of it in the notes app on my phone, I do have a few things I like to consider before visiting any place new.
During the span of the 3 months following graduation, I can safely say that I’ve done a fair share of introspection, reflection, and self-discovery. This was the first time in awhile where I felt like I was truly ending one chapter of my life and beginning a new one as I said goodbye to my undergraduate days and dove headfirst into true adulthood. Just this summer, I earned my Bachelor’s degree, watched one of my best friends get married, reconnected with people I’d lost contact with, and silently cheered on other friends as they began new and exciting adventures in their own lives. Despite all of these huge strides my friends and I have taken in the short summer, the one thing that I’ve been spending a lot of my time reflecting on was moving house – not once, but twice – and the emotions and conclusions that came along with it.
Prior to the start of Spring Break, when I wasn’t ripping my hair out about final exams, I relished in the thought of being able to sleep in, stay home, and just do a whole lot of nothing. But because I live in a house with about twelve (!!!!!) other people, I quickly crossed “stay home” off of my Spring Break To-Do List. So what else is there to do? All of my friends were going out of town, I can’t go home because of work, and everyone else who doesn’t go to Cal Poly is in the midst of midterms. Then I realized it had been awhile since I last made the drive to one of my favorite coffee shops in LA, and so that became my new incentive to get through the rest of finals week. But visiting just one coffee shop turned into visiting many, and thus began my lust for discovering new coffee shops. I’ve compiled a list of five of my favorite coffee shops, and did my best to accurately describe them.
This past weekend, I got the opportunity to attend the 6th annual VidCon in Anaheim. Even though I was only able to take part in the Community-wide events (as opposed to the Creator and Industry exclusive events), I can still say that I learned a lot about the art of vlogging, and also gained the motivation I needed to really start taking my own YouTube journey more seriously.
Last weekend, in order to escape the pressure and anxiety that school has brought to my life, I decided to treat myself to a little LA adventure. I got coffee from one of my favorite coffee shops, and got lunch from a cafe that I’ve been meaning to try for awhile. I suddenly found myself walking down Melrose Avenue, soy Americano in one hand and cell phone in the other, with the sun beating down on me with my Aldo shades on, walking past lines of parked Mercedes Benzes and BMW’s and passing by the Kardashian’s boutique. It was then that it hit me: I am literally a walking epitome of Los Angeles right now, and the best part is that I didn’t even see it coming. I then became very aware of my surroundings, realizing things I’d hardly given a second thought about before, and realizing that Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley are characters in themselves.
Early Friday morning on January 9, I hopped onto a plane at LAX (oh hey, Miley) and flew 1,000 miles south to San Antonio to attend the Joint Mathematics Meetings. JMM is an annual event where Mathematicians from across the world come together to present and listen to various research that their international colleagues have been conducting. To put it simply, JMM is one giant Math convention.
Sacramento has a gross reputation of being exceedingly lackluster with nothing to do, unless you have a car, or are easily entertained by infinitesimal things. I am guilty of being one of those people who used to groan and grumble about the lack of “fun” things to do on the weekends when I was in high school. And after having moved out of Elk Grove into a much bigger city at the end of my high school days, I can even further attest to the fact that there is, indeed, nothing that would interest anyone of the teenage demographic in the small town of Elk Grove.
A few weeks ago, I was presented with the opportunity to give back to my community by volunteering to help pass out food and care packages to the residents of Skid Row. For those of you who don’t know what Skid Row is (and don’t feel like taking the trouble to open up a new tab on your browser to Google it), it’s basically a large homeless community located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles.