Our girls' road trip was one for the books! I'm almost certain that Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein would have been proud of us for how many places we ended up getting a chance to see. Exploring the PDX and other parts of Oregon with my friends was a liberating and eye-opening experience. There was so much to love like Aztec-printed rugs, A1 murals, Jonah's gracious family, mason jars galore, cute thrifted clothes, hipster boys with fire fits, a nature hike, artisanal coffee served by a barista with a well-groomed beard, CRATER LAKE, the massive collection of books at Powell's, fresh air, countless locals flocking to pet Lyla, a 21+ arcade where Yensy and I rediscovered that we suck at DDR, a charming winery, trees for days, and listening to too much Lil Tunechi while stuck in traffic because that's all Yensy had offline synced to her phone on Spotify. In summary, I never wanted to leave.
When I originally heard of Multnomah Falls in Oregon, all I could envision was Mackenzie Falls and Chad Dylan Cooper's forlorn face (Sorry, I'm Disney Channel trash!). Hiking to the top of the waterfall today was legendary. When I saw it in person, it exceeded my expectations. I was floored by its natural beauty. Even though I dabbed multiple times while sneezing due to allergies, I didn't feel any regret about the trek or disappointment by the view. Oh, what are men compared to rocks and mountains? Or Lyft codes that work? At some point, the sun broke out over the trail and Yensy made a remark about how her skin should "twinkle like in Twilight" which I never got over. On the way down, we saw a man wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat. I let the mist from the waterfall hit my face as I closed my eyes and cleared my thoughts for a couple seconds. It was so nice to forget, even for a little while, the scope of my own misgivings about society.
While on our road trip to Portland, Yensy, Jonah, Lyla, and I made a pit stop just for Dairy Queen in a place off the highway called Cottage Grove. The small town looked like one trapped in a rerun of Twin Peaks. It was quaint with giant murals of lumberjacks and an old country feel, but it was a tad eerie because of its lack of inhabitants. (FUN FACT: Some scenes from my favorite movie Stand By Me were filmed near Cottage Grove!) After hopping out of the car, Yensy and I got our mini Banana Split and Cookie Dough Blizzards. In the meantime, Jonah was letting Lyla stretch her legs. When Yensy and I came back, we found Jonah and, to our horror, she said that the car keys fell out of her pocket while running around with Lyla. As we looked all over the parking lot and across the street, it was scary to think that we might have been stranded in the middle of nowhere if we didn't find the keys before sunset. Thankfully, we found the keys across the street and we were able to proceed on our merry way. "Trust." Blind faith is sometimes all you can bank on for things to work out.
Seeing Steven today after he was gone for a year studying abroad in Europe was such a joy! I'm so elated that we're finally on the same continent (at least for the time being!). I met Steven during Senior Weekend and he was one of the first friends I saw again at CalSO. Even though a lot of time has passed since then, I'm relieved that it was easy to pick up where we left off. Last summer, I was so excited for him to fly to London and to go on his great adventure. Now, I'm the one going across the pond and having an adventure of my own. It's like we're trading places. I'm completely beside myself with nervous anticipation because I'm nowhere near prepared for this trip, but I'm ready for new scenery. As cliché as it sounds, I feel like I'm on the cusp of a life-changing experience. The mere thought of the immediate future has me bouncing off the walls!
For the longest time, I used to think that you could break the glass ceiling in one fluid motion. I thought there would be a spectacular show of it shattering in a million tiny pieces. It's supposed to be fragile, right? The grim truth is that I now think it's made of stronger material like metallic glass, harder to reach and even harder to break. Many of the business classes I've taken taught me disparaging lessons about the real world where people compromise their ethics to make profit and that the more attractive men are, the more successful they will be (in contrast, women who are deemed "too ugly" or "too attractive" aren't so lucky). Today, I've learned that it's truly a white man's world out there and when you're in these male-dominated spaces, you have to play to win. I'm not saying that all hope is lost, but I think I'm more in touch with the reality that whitewashing transcends Hollywood. It takes more than one person to chip at the glass ceiling and while my values keep me grounded on the inside, I'm excited to prove that I'm made of tougher material than amorphous metal.
Living in Berkeley is a privilege in itself. The only way my parents can justify paying the exorbitant rent prices here is the fact that I'm getting my college education at Cal. Over the past three years, the East Bay has been my playground. I've been able to explore the little nooks and crannies of Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco with ease. I take it for granted that I don't even need to drive anywhere. I can walk, bus, and BART to wherever I please! When you grow up in Stockton and the most exciting thrill is a visit to the grocery store (I shit you not, going to Food 4 Less is the closest thing to painting the town red in Weston Ranch), I feel like I've been living the dream here in the Bay. It's even better when you live with your closest friends that make you feel like your Berkeley trap haus is your home away from home.
*DISCLAIMER: I lost the Instax photo from this day but it was an über cute one of Yensy and Michelle at Panda Express with our fake (yet delicious) Chinese food. I'm still salty that I lost it, but I'm trying to be better at not getting too worked up about misplacing material objects. Hence, this photo taken in the Mission will suffice.*
If life were a series of meet cutes, that would be grand. Watching When Harry Met Sally and You've Got Mail with Molly made me very cognizant that I'm actually a cynical romantic. In this millennial age, we've reached the zenith of dating apps' use. In addition, chivalry seems like a concept of yesteryear. I'm just tired of everything going down in the DMs à la Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance. In my head, I dream of aesthetically pleasing meet cutes like the ones in the music videos for "Shot At The Night" by The Killers and "Someone That Loves You" by HONNE & Izzy Bizu. However, in reality, the idea of getting wooed right off the bat makes me belt out in peals of sardonic laughter. I don't expect much from guys anymore and I'm pretty sus when it comes to people in general. I learned a new word today. Velleity is "a wish or inclination not strong enough to lead to action." I guess my dream bae is a velleity because I'm ok with doing me for now. I've been warned of the senior scramble, and as much as I joke about its urgency, I think it's more of a senior amble for me.
Judging by the number of books I checked out of the Berkeley Public Library, you might think that I'm an avid bookworm. Sadly, I have to say that I'm more of an aspirational reader at best. Every summer, I have this grandiose plan to check books off my leisure reading list. And every summer, I realize it's easier said than done. My dad used to take my sister and me to the library all the time when we were younger, and he would scold us every time we'd forget to return mounds of unread books (rightfully, so). My overestimation of my abilities makes so much sense. I'm the girl at the buffet loading way too much on my plate because my eyes are bigger than my stomach. I'm also the girl who camps out on the futon to attempt all-nighters, but passes out without success before dawn. My penchant for making mini goals has extended to watching x show (Mad Men for sure this time!), y movie (I will get to Spotlight eventually, Michelle!), and listening to z podcast (shout out to rice gang!). I want to squeeze in so much this summer, I just hope I accomplish some of my goals by the end of it.
Today was Pil grad and it finally hit me that such a huge majority of people I love are leaving. Looking around and seeing Pauley Ballroom filled with so many families, friends, and straight-up brown ppl! got me feeling some type of way—mostly an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the Pil community at Cal. We may only make up 3% of UC Berkeley's population, but I have felt boundless love from others in this space that no statistic can quantify. With them, I don't feel othered. These people have shaped my college experience and helped me reconnect with my culture, which I am more proud to claim than I've ever been my entire life. I have it to thank for my paamily, especially my Ate Molly. Molly takes care of me when I don't even realize that I am not properly taking care of myself. She's there for me when I need an update on Harry Styles' haircut or for more serious matters like reassuring me that things will be okay when I'm at my lowest. She is my hero and I consider her and my other ates and adings sisters that I just never knew I had. I'm lucky that I've found a place where I've been welcomed with open arms and I feel like I belong here in this big university.
I love tennis. I love tennis the sport and Tennis the band. I love Josh. So, getting to play tennis with Josh was a dream come true. Considering that I'm a self-proclaimed couch potato who hardly exercises, it's monumental that we were both able to hit the courts this Saturday morning. I was pretty rusty after years of not playing, so I thought that it was a miracle that I was able to get the ball over the net at all. Josh is the best rally partner. We got to be soft together, take phone breaks, and just be the only two gangly Filipinos running around the court. Thank you, Josh, for putting up with my conditioned cross-court backhand attempts. Albeit we only played for 45 minutes, it was still a solid workout. I hope we become regulars and all the old-timers wave hello to us and say, "Back at it again, Josh and Abi?" I'm not an athlete, but it's fun to joke from time to time that I swear I could beat Serena when she playin' with her left.