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

November 3, 2006 10:04 PM

The Place of My Childhood

So where exactly do I come from? If you ask me this question, I would generally reply LA so that I don’t have to explain exactly where I’m from to people who don’t know SoCal cities. In actuality, I am from Arcadia, which is a suburb of LA, bordered by Monrovia, Pasadena, and Temple City to name a few.

When I think about Arcadia, I think of several things: the trees and nice neighborhoods, the large Westfield Shopping Center, the Arboretum, the Santa Anita Racetrack, and our high school. It has about a 60% Asian population with most of the people being upper middle class. The housing, especially during the housing boom, is quite outrageous, but I guess it doesn’t compare to NorCal. Since it is known as the “Community of Homes,” it’s not too surprising to see really nice houses with landscaping as well as new housing developments. The shopping mall has…well, almost everything that one needs (especially with the new expansions). It’s quite convenient, and it’s also a popular hangout spot for students. One of the downsides to the mall is the traffic, the lack of parking (it can take 15-30 min to find a spot), and just that it can be overcrowded.

When talking about historical sites, the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden and the Santa Anita Racetrack come to mind. The Arboretum, as Arcadians call it, is rich with the 100+ history of the city and boasts a wonderful garden. You can see the wikiups that the Gabrielino Indians lived in as well as the Queen Anne Cottage, in which “Lucky” Baldwin – the person that owned all of Arcadia and parts of other neighboring cities at one point in time – had built for his wife. A random fact – part of Meet the Fockers was filmed at the Arboretum, the house actually the Queen Anne Cottage (though not the inside). The garden is just quite amazing and beautiful in its own right. Oh, and if you ever want to see a peacock, you can see them here, or just almost everywhere in the northern part of Arcadia. Nearby is the Santa Anita Racetrack (it’s actually where my graduation took place and where I took some of my AP tests). Some parts of Seabiscuit was filmed here, but he actually did race here. The grounds are actually really well kept with nice landscaping.

As for my high school, it has its own eccentricities. First of all, it’s a large school with about 3,000+ students and an average of 800 students graduating each year. Around a fourth of the students end up attending a UC; for my year, around 40-50 people actually came to Cal. Because of this, I can always expect to see familiar faces somewhere in this large crowd of people. The music program is quite amazing, the band consistently placing in the top throughout the years. It is also one of the largest bands around (I think even larger than the Cal band). I would go on and on about the academics and how some students (me included) didn’t really have much of a social life, but I’ll refrain.

All of this makes up my hometown. It may not be the most exciting of places, but it’s comfortable. It’s close enough to many good Asian/Chinese restaurants in San Gabriel, Monterey Park, and Alhambra to name a few, and it has it’s own library, mall, and Arboretum, a pretty good school system…what more can you ask for?


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