A Day in the Life
The CNR Peer Advisor Experience
Level 3
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Irene Liao
Genetics and Plant Biology major
Samantha Bell
Microbial Biology major
Jena Riggert
Forestry and Natural Resources major
Dale Dualan
Conservation Resource Studies major
Stephen Kwan
Molecular Environmental Biology major
Kay Jiaqi Yang
Nutritional Sciences - Dietetics major
Tiet Nguyen
Microbial Biology major
Selina Chou
Nutritional Science - Dietetics major
Jenn Jehnsen
Environmental Sciences major
Wendy Chen
Environmental Sciences major
Jessica LeBeau
Environmental Sciences major

November 7, 2006

Sweet Home

I was born in Shanghai, China, and I came to California when I was three. Surprisingly, I remember a lot of things from Shanghai. I have many deep memories from my childhood. I remember getting in trouble in day care, my grandpa picking me up and taking me home on his bicycle, eating red bean lollipops and swallowing bubble gum. I've only been back a couple of times, but it has a fond place in my heart, and I love the city and all the bustle that goes along with it.
The town where I grew up couldn't be any more different. Temple City, California. No one knows where that is. It's a tiny town in one of the valleys in socal. We have one high school, a tiny tiny library, and a main street that consists almost entirely of Asian bridal shops/photography studios. It's not very exciting, and most of us TC kids make fun of how boring our town is.
It's a big change everytime I go home from Berkeley. It takes a little time to adjust to the simplicity and slowness of Temple City. But as much as I make fun of it, it's still home. It's where my family and my house is, where my beloved elementary school is, and where all the little family restaurants and cafes I would go to with my best friends are.

November 6, 2006

My Hometowns

I am originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, and moved to the mainland (Southern California)
when I was around 3 or 4 with my family. I don't remember much of Honolulu from back then, but once in awhile during the summer I go back to the islands (usually Maui) to visit family and friends. My parents used to take me and my younger brother to the beach every day, where we played in the sand and ocean. It was nice that we lived right across it. My dad used to work in Hawaii and he knows all the ins-and-outs of the islands. He held the state record for the largest Mahi Mahi fish caught for awhile too. The local dialect is pidjin.

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From Berkeley and Back...

I was born in Berkeley at Alta Bates Hospital. I was raised in Vallejo, CA only 30 minutes away (with no traffic). Vallejo is the home of E-40 (rapper), Mac Dre (rapper), Jeff Gordon (car racer), C.C Sabathia (baseball player), Natalie Coughlin (olympic medalist), Six Flags Marine World, the Carquinez Bridge, Marine Island Naval Base, was twice California's state capitol, and was where the first Zodiac killings happened in the '70s. Well it's a pretty nice place to live because it's far enough away from the city, but it's not too far into farm country! Vallejo is pretty much directly inbetween San Francisco and Sacramento. It does have it's bad areas, but it does have it's really expensive ones as well. There is a lot of expansion and housing development going on right now. It's CRAZY!! Vallejo has a large Filipino community, I think it ranks 2nd after Daly City!!! Although my hometown wasn't far away I never really came to Berkeley. After many years, I am back in Berkely and it is so much FUN!

November 4, 2006

Places of Origin: It's Complicated

A quick look at the geographic locations in my 20 years of life:
I spent my 6 years of elementary school in 3 different areas. I was born and raised in a village in the rural northern part of Taiwan: Ling-co. I had a gang of buddies. They were all guys and I was the only girl. We played together everyday after school. We formed a little bike team. We played basketball, dodge ball, soccer, tennis. We caught grasshoppers together, went on adventures trips to the nearby forests, and play pranks on other kids. The village was big, the grass was so green, the trees were big, the people were nice, and the air was fresh. I fell in love with the beauty of nature. When I was in 5th grade, my parents took me with them to Montreal, Canada, for a year of research. I learned to speak French and learned to speak English. My brother and I were the only Taiwanese in our elementary school. The year for me was a great introduction to westerners and life in the other part of the world. I saw snow for the first time!! I still remember the first time I built my own snowman and gave it a name and watched it die when everything melted~~ good times! I also celebrated my first Thanksgiving, Halloween, Canada day, and St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe it was because of the amount of cheese, pizzas, bagels, muffins, chocolates, sandwiches and good western/Canadian food that I had that year, I grew more than 4 inches that year. After one year, I flew back to Taiwan in my 6th grade and moved to Taipei, where I experienced living as a city kid. I learned to walk really fast, talk really fast, eat really fast, shop a lot, and be really busy or at least act like I was really busy with school work and activities. I practiced a lot of looking many times at the cars around before crossing the streets even when the pedestrian light shows WALK. Never trust strangers and never trust traffic lights because people usually see them just as references. I became used to taking taxi and taking metro to places instead of riding my old bike. I also adjusted my exercising area to the swimming pools, stair masters, fitness centers instead of the big green grass field in front of my house in the village I grew up in. Training to become a real Taipei-er took me about 4 years. After 10th grade, my family immigrated to the United States! We settled in Irvine, Ca, and I finished my high school there. I adapted to Irvine better than I did in Montreal, probably because there are more Asians and Asian foods. Irvine is rated as America’s #7 safest city. It’s really peaceful and quiet. Not much night life goes on in Irvine. One thing I found interesting about Irvine is that not many people walk on the streets. Although the sidewalks are huge, I seldom see pedestrians walking around. Also, I don’t see buses coming often. Typical southern California weather. Not much rain not much wind. Beaches are just 10 minutes away: Newport, Laguna, Corona Del Mar, Huntington, Long Beach, etc. Biggest shopping mall South Coast Plaza is just 15 minutes away too. People always look like they’re ready for beach. I love Irvine!

I’m at my 5th location of my life: Berkeley. Year #3 in progress.

November 3, 2006

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.

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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.