Blog of the Peer Advising Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

November 3, 2006 9:19 AM

Small to Big

For those of you from Southern California, you'll be familiar with the LA area. I was actually born in East Los Angeles, near Boyle Heights, and spent part of my preschool years in Hong Kong before moving to South Pasadena to start Kindergarten. I'm the youngest in my family and the only one born in the US.

South Pasadena is not a city that many are familiar with, though you could deduce where it's located based on the name. Ever watched the Rose Parade, gone to the Rose Bowl, visited Caltech or JPL? That is all a part of Pasadena, and South Pasadena is, well, directly south of that city.

South Pasadena, however, is unique in its own right. It was a great place to grow up in, as it's located minutes away from metropolitan LA and bustling Pasadena, yet still maintains a well defined "small town" feel. Movies and commercials are commonly filmed in our city, especially "Westerns" that take place on the historic Mission St. where Route 66 passes through. Bruce Almighty and 13 Going On 30 had several scenes from our city, and the house from Scary Movie was actually one of my classmate's. Also, several episodes of Desperate Housewives and Boston Public were filmed at our school. Other unique features include the world's FIRST Trader Joe's, as well as a house that used to be owned by President Garfield's wife.

Since South Pasadena was a relatively small city, going to Cal was a major transition. While South Pas is quite diverse, pretty much all my classmates had similar upper middle class backgrounds and knew one another since elementary or middle school. Take a drive through the city, and you'll see well kept lawns, people jogging with their iPods and pet dogs, and neighbors going crazy whenever USC wins a game. Arriving to Cal was like "starting all over" in terms of meeting new people from all over California and abroad. And I'm really glad I've had the opportunity to do that. For those of you who also come from similar suburban middle class neighborhoods, just take the plunge and use Cal as an opportunity to expose yourself to new ideas and perspectives. My hometown was a great place to grow up, but Cal really has allowed me to see a greater part of the world.


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