| 11/28/2011 8:19:00 AM
Happy Thanksgiving to you! Happy Birthday to me! Well both recently just passed. My birthday falls in the same week as Thanksgiving. In case you don’t know what Thanksgiving is, it’s a U.S. holiday that celebrates the Pilgrim’s harvest feast when they first arrived to Plymouth, Massachusetts. The holiday today mainly focuses on being with family or close friends for a big dinner and being thankful for it. It also means a day off from school! That’s always a bonus!
Aside from celebrating the holiday, I also celebrated my birthday. I spent it with my sister and close friends who I consider family as well. It was a lot of fun! We went to dinner at this restaurant called Hot Pot City. It’s sort of a combination of Korean barbeque, Japanese food, and Vietnamese soup dishes. It was so delicious. It’s an interesting experience especially if your not used to that type of setting because it’s kind of an intimate type of meal. You share the food from one pot. A big pot of broth is set in the middle of a table with a grill surrounding it and you all add the ingredients you want to the broth as well as cook the meats you want. Many people in the U.S. are not used to being so close to they’re families and would feel a little awkward. I felt more than at home and comfortable because I grew up close to my family. I only have one sister; she and I are extremely close. We share everything and talk about anything. I think strong bonds with siblings and other family is important. My mom always taught me that no matter how many friends I might have or how close I might be to them, my sister is my blood and will always be there. Even if we fight we always get over it and act as if nothing happened. I also think the close relationship we have is partly due to the fact that our mother grew up in a very big and traditional Filipino family in the Philippines. She always made sure we knew the value and importance of family. Many American families that grew up here in the U.S. grow up differently. Not bad, just different. I noticed when I went over to a friend’s house as a child, their siblings had their own rooms, seemed very separated and distant because this society teaches us to be independent. With that independence comes a type of wall that hinders tight nit relationships with family.
I feel it is important to have a stable family support system, but also to maintain a healthy level of independence. I don’t live with my family but I do talk to them everyday. It never feels “awkward” when I go to my parents’ house to visit. Talking to family everyday is an excellent way to stay close and not feel so lonely if you live far away. Also, remember to pick and choose your really closer friends carefully. My really close friends are just as important to me as my blood related family. These friends can be just as comforting and loving as your family back home.
This was at Hot Pot City on my birthday. It was so delicious!! I love baby corn! I definitely recommend going there. It's also really a lot of fun! The food is pretty healthy too because there is just a on of veggies to choose from.
| 11/7/2011 8:02:00 AM
Moving to a new place can be really scary, but once you get over that first hurdle of arriving to your destination and settling in, you can begin to build your new life. I’ve moved all over California so I know all about having to start over and make friends. It’s not as easy to make friends for some people but a good and easy way to meet great people is to join clubs at school. There are clubs for everything here! There are even bulletins around campus that let you know when and where clubs might be meeting. There is also the student activities office where there’s a whole list of all the clubs you can join. I used to be part of the anime club. We would watch different anime movies or shorts every week. To some people that doesn’t seem like a very interesting club but I enjoyed it because I was introduced to new anime that I had never seen before. You could even suggest some of your favorites and it could get picked to be shown to everyone.
Other than school clubs, there are ways outside of school to meet people. Another way for some people would be through Church or whichever religious place of worship you may attend. Many people will volunteer at church functions. There are also special functions for age groups. One of my friends invited me to a study group specifically for young adults.
There are also little festivals and functions that are held by cities like farmer‘s markets or street fairs. Almost every city out here has their own farmer‘s markets one day a week. In Oceanside, they have what it is called the Sunset Market every Thursday which is more of a street fair; there is not just locally grown vegetables but food for sale as well as clothing and other items that people make. I love going for the food because there are so many different cultures that live here and many of them make food from their countries. The fair is held in the downtown area and a few streets are blocked off for the event. There are little tents where people sell their items. I love walking around and smelling the different dishes cooking. Some of the different food are Greek food, southern food (which is a type of style of cooking that originated in the southern United States), Filipino food (one of my cultures!), American food such as hot dogs and hamburgers, and the ever prevalent Mexican food. You will quickly find out that Mexican restaurants are everywhere in Southern California but the really good ones are not really known. Most people eat at the chain restaurants that advertise on television, some of them are good, but if you want homemade tasting Mexican food, you better ask your local friends.
Finally, you can also go to the local bars and clubs. Sports bars are a more relaxed atmosphere because they don’t just sell alcohol but food as well. There’s usually a bunch of televisions on the walls so you can watch the different sports games. These places may cost you a little money to hang out in, so not the best choice for trying to meet new people. Not to mention, since it’s a bar, it’s slightly harder to socialize because it’s usually loud from the televisions and people trying to talk over the noise.
I took this picture at a Mexican restaurant earlier this year. It was beautifully decorated with Frida Kahlo paintings, Day of the Dead decorations, and other Mexican type art.
| 10/31/2011 6:35:00 AM
Happy Halloween! Today is Halloween and many people are dressed up. I’m pretty sure Halloween is internationally known but I’m not sure how much people celebrate in other countries. I know that here in the U.S. it’s a day for kids to dress as whoever they want. Little kids usually favor their favorite superhero or princess. Then in the early evening, parents take the kids around the neighborhood to “trick-or-treat.” It’s a pretty sweet deal if you ask me, you walk to door to door yelling “trick-or-treat!” and you get free candy.
In my opinion, as you get older, Halloween isn’t as exciting. You stop trick-or-treating and is just another excuse for people to have parties. Many females turn Halloween into contest on who can wear the skimpiest outfit as an excuse for a costume. I’m not too fond of that part. Sometimes their costumes aren’t even costumes but just an excuse to wear almost nothing and be able to get away with it. Guys usually go for either the most gruesome costume or toughest looking. I can’t say I completely dislike Halloween now because it is still fun to think of fun and creative costumes and I do like going to the clubs and parties where we all dress up.
I wonder if Halloween is the same in other parts of the world? Or if they party like we do here in the U.S.? This weekend I went bar hopping with my sister in Old town Pasadena. It’s a place in Los Angeles that has a bunch of bars on one street. It’s a beautiful place during the day as well as at night. It was so fun to see the people lining the streets in their costumes. I saw Pee-wee Herman, Bert and Ernie from Sesame street, and a bunch of other television characters I used to love! I dressed up as a flapper and my sister was a nerd. I love dressing up because its like being someone else for the night.
Some people do not believe in “celebrating” Halloween because of religious reasons. And there is nothing wrong with that. I think that Halloween has lost its actual meaning, whatever it may really be (there are several different explanations for what Halloween truly is) and now it has just become a commercialized day of candy and costumes. I don’t know anyone who actually “celebrates” it in a way to where it is religiously meaningful to them. But if people do, we are taught never to judge. The closest thing I can think of to celebrating Halloween is the Feast of all Saints or All Saints day. In Mexican catholic tradition, we go to the graves of our deceased family members and clean the graves, put fresh flowers, make delicious food, create trinkets in memory of the dead, things like that. I find this celebration so fascinating because instead of a mourning or being sad for the deceased, people are celebrating the lives of their passed families. Rejoicing in the fact that they lived great lives and were a part of beautiful memories. That’s a good way to look at the passing of a loved one.
This is a picture my sister took of me being silly at one of the clubs we were at.
| 10/24/2011 7:43:00 AM
Wow, I can’t believe, it’s halfway into the semester! I feel like I just started school yesterday. Time flies when your busy though. I really can’t believe I’m only taking two classes and I feel like I barely have time for those two classes. I think I’ve just been especially stressed because I’ve had a lot of intense things happen to me all at once in a span of two weeks. Let me explain:
First, I was suffering from a lot of pain in my jaw and teeth from what I thought was just my teeth healing from recent cavities being drilled. Come to find out, I had to get my first root canal and hopefully my last! They are painful. Then I got really sick, I had to take a lot of medicines and run some tests. Very nerve racking as well as emotionally rattling when your waiting for test results for a whole week, so that just added to my stress. Because of all the pain and sickness I was going through I had to miss a week of school. That didn’t help my mental state either because I am such a worry wart! Not only did my health negatively effect my schooling, it also had some negative consequences in my ability to work. I was running late a lot and just couldn’t concentrate. Needless to say, everything was just a domino effect. We all know these things are a part of life, but it makes things harder to deal with when they happen all at once.
On top of everything else, I had a show coming up. I was hosting a benefit show and I had to prepare some comedy material for the show. Usually, I wouldn’t worry about something like this but it was a very different audience from any audience I have ever performed in front of. The majority of the people were older and more conservative; there were also kids in the audience as well as performing in the show. I had to be very careful of the content of my comedy and my language. Usually, I perform for younger adults who are much more laid back and casual. In the end, I did really well and everyone loved me. I got to meet so many artists and make great network connections.
I realized this morning that I haven’t been able to take a day for myself and just relax. Last night I worked till 11p.m. and had to be up at 7:45a.m. today for class. Without realizing it, I’ve been doing that pretty much the last two months because of my busy schedule. Sleep and I are strangers when I’m in school where coffee and I are best friends, which is not healthy at all. To be able to keep up with a busy schedule you have to be well rested. Sometimes one day off isn’t even enough, I know for me, I need at least two days to fully relax and rejuvenate. One day to do all the little things around the house like cleaning, laundry, catch up on studying fully and completely, paying bills, etc… The second day is for just relaxing and enjoying a day to yourself to do whatever you feel like. I think it’s very important to take a day for yourself. My getting sick was my body’s way of telling me, “Hey! I’m tired and I need to rest for a minute!” I really did sleep early and wake up late because I was just that tired.
Stress can lead to many serious health problems such as anxiety, depression, or high blood pressure. Those are just to name a few. So if you start to feel overwhelmed there are many ways to deal with them and there are even services at school to help you. I recently went to a workshop here at school specifically for dealing with stress. I found it very helpful. I left the workshop feeling a little relaxed than before I went in. There are also counseling services and time management workshops. We all know time management is a key factor in managing stress levels.
As for me, this weekend I’m going to a concert and I think it’ll be a good way to really let loose and not have to think about the daily stresses of a student or even adult. I won’t have to think about homework, my job, or bills. Even if you are just going to school, some students take five classes! That is a feat on it’s own. Even if you have nothing but time to study for all those classes, it may not necessarily be physically draining but being mentally overworked is just as bad.
So remember to take care of yourself mentally and emotionally. Some people may think, when I’m finished with school I can relax then. That’s a horrible thing to do to yourself. Your body is like a car, you have to keep up with the maintenance and not run it to the ground! Just like a car, if you don’t take it to the auto shop on a regular basis, it will break down on you and sometimes the damages are so extensive, it’s not worth repairing.
| 8/24/2011 6:41:00 AM
I had an amazing summer. I was so burnt out from spring semester because not only did I take four classes (12 units is full-time study and most classes are 3 units), I was working, did comedy shows on weeknights and still had an active social life. Going out with your friends til 2a.m. and waking up at 7 a.m. will definitely take a toll on your body. So when school ended I was so excited but at the same time, I didn't know what to do with myself with all the free time I had. I couldn't believe it; how could I be bored? The thing is, when you go from one extreme to another, your mind and even your body have to reprogram. I went from constantly being on the go with not a moment to stop and relax to having my days free with only work in the evenings. The first week I kept waking up early in the mornings thinking I still had to be at class. Even when I knew I didn’t have class I still had that anxious feeling of, “I’m going to be late and I didn’t even read that chapter from last week!” I am ever the procrastinator.
After about a week of school being over I kicked into vacation mode full force. I went to the beach almost every day, went out with my friends almost every night, and my brain finally learned to shut down and sleep in. I would sometimes just lay in my bed for hours playing on my phone or watching TV (television doesn’t even exist to me when school is in session). I could finally read books for fun again! I always felt guilty if I read for recreation because I always thought, “If I can read this, I can read something for class.“ Sometimes I wish I was an international student because you’re not allowed to work more than 20 hours a week and you can only work on campus; working on campus is really convenient because when work is over you can just go to the library or sit on the grass and do your homework. Not to mention, you don’t really need to work during the summer and you aren’t required to take summer classes, that makes for an even more fun summer. So much free time do everything you want!
The summer has ended and now that I’m back in school, I’m having to reprogram my brain again. It’s so much more difficult to go back into work mode, right? But with the new semester comes new challenges. I’ve cut my hours at work so that I have more time to be organized. I’m not very good at time management. For instance, if I knew I had school and work the same day, I wouldn’t think to gather not only books for school and uniform for work but pack snacks throughout the day. Sometimes I would get out of school at 3 and have to be at work at 3:30 and just get Jack in the Box on the way to work. That’s cutting it close to making it to work on time and also gets expensive every week as well as unhealthy. Now that I have more time to prepare myself for the day, I am much more organized and not so stressed. Along with new these new challenges, I get to meet new people! I’m having a wonderful time being a student blogger for the International Program because I’m making friends all over the world. I love learning and my new classes are really interesting. I think I’m getting the hang of time management and even learning how to balance my life.
About the author
"Kumusta! That means "How are you" in Tagalog. My name is Maria and I was born in the Philippines but grew up in southern California. I've been at Miracosta about a year and a half now and I love it because of the diversity. I'm a History major and hope to have my own museum one day. I love making new friends so I hope to meet you all soon!"
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