Dear California


I just got back from a ten-day break back home in California! I'm super grateful that all my friends made time in their busy schedules to meet up and just hang out. With each year that passes, the harder it seems to make time to see one another. I was feeling pretty homesick during the past few months. I'm relieved that this trip helped get rid most of it and contextualize my new life here in NYC.

Cheese Board & Wine Night

There are a few things that the New Yorkers in my life do on a regular basis that I never did in California. Hosting cheese and wine nights is one of them! I've had it a couple times at my workplace and also have had it at a friend's house before. When my closest friends asked what I wanted to do, I knew right away that it'd be fun to try and make a cheese board ourselves! I knew it'd be fun to bring a piece of my NYC experience back with me. 

At a friend's house in LA, (after many hilarious mistakes and hiccups) we were able to put together somewhat of a decent set-up. Our choices of cheese and various flavors ended up tasting a lot better than we anticipated. A weird inside joke that pretty much sums up this first night: 

"Friends are like cheese boards. You never know what you'll get... but I do, because I bought them." 



I spent some time in the Buena Park and Anaheim area to hangout with friend I hadn't seen in a while. Through a random search, we found a coffee shop called Stereoscope Coffee CoTurned out to be a great pick. We fell in love with the clean white minimalistic look of the place. The staff seemed pretty nice and the other customers were quiet and focused on their work. 



On a nice Wednesday morning, Ivan (my brother) and I headed down to San Clemente to meet with my friend Alyssa. She was coming up from San Diego and recommended we meet at a place called Bear Coast Coffee. Ivan and I got there first and realized that although the spot was lovely, it had slow WiFi and was too small. I quickly messaged Alyssa to let her know that we should go somewhere else. What I really loved about this place though was that it's right next to the beach! 

All of us ended up meeting a little further south in Oceanside at a place called Revolution Roasters. I'd already had coffee at Bear Coast so I just grabbed an iced tea. If you're ever in Oceanside or on the way down to San Diego, I'd highly recommend this place. Great coffee shop all around for just meeting up with people or working. Staff is sweet too. Three things that caught my eye was the unique cups, open garage format, and the super hero wallpaper in the bathroom. Two photos in this section are courtesy of Alyssa's Coffee & Convos project.


Downtown Fullerton with 31QT

31QT is the nickname my college roommates and I created for ourselves. I don't remember the exact reason, but it was a mix of our apartment's address and our WiFi passwords (Hahaha). If my friends from my cheese board night are more like my ride or die crew, these girls really feel like family. We lived together for two years and they are just the nicest (and weirdest). Always love hanging out with them and catching up. We had tea and dessert in downtown Fullerton. 



Obviously, the most important thing that I wanted to do back home was to spend time with my family. My parents are simple people. They like to "hang out" in the most routine and mundane ways. I cracked up my first morning there when my parents forced me to wake up and go workout with them (as they used to do every morning without fail) at the gym. I was exhausted from the night before, but knowing that this was how my parents liked to spend "quality" time with me – I went and sweated it out. 

I spent more time with my friends during this trip than I expected. Hilariously, my family turned out to be too busy for me. A few days after I was there — my mom left for Korea, my brother left for Yosemite, and my dad was getting ready to leave for Canada. A few weeks from today, they're going to Japan and Korea as well (without me!!!). But I'm still thankful that I got to have some coffee time with my dad and walks with both of my parents in our peaceful suburban neighborhood. 

A big shoutout to my talented brother Ivan for driving me around during this whole vacation! Couldn't have seen many of my friends without his help. 



I mentioned at the beginning of this post that this break helped diminish a lot of my homesickness and also contextualized my life in New York.

What do I mean by that? 

New York is just such an overwhelming place to live if you're completely new to the city. I had barely any exposure to the east coast before I uprooted my life on the west coast to move here.

The moment I was on my flight leaving for California and saw a whole overview of this bustling metropolis... I was speechless. I couldn't believe how I'd forgotten the beauty and complexity of New York City. I was so immersed in my day-to-day routine that it was wonderful to take some time away from it and be back somewhere that my entire being felt relaxed. 

I was able to somewhat put a metaphorical ellipsis on California and "home." Refreshed, I'm now ready to dive back into the New York hustle. Incredibly thankful for my friends and family back in California... but so happy to be here with my new community of friends in New York. 

This is officially my digital cheers to a new chapter of my life!