As an international student from the Philippines, I’m very grateful to find my second home here at Cal and to find a family with my roommates, classmates, teachers, and advisors. However, I still long for something that is very close to home, one of which is Filipino cuisine. I was surprised to see that even though the Filipino community in Berkeley is big, there aren’t many places that offer Filipino food. I can get my Asian food fix and my Western food fix right away, but not my home food fix. Thus, before classes began, my Filipino roommate decided to bring me on a 30-minute drive to Concord, CA (one can also take the BART train to go to this city) and visit the famous Filipino supermarket, Seafood City Supermarket.
If someone were to ask me before I came to the U.S., “What type of cuisine would you choose to eat for the rest of your life?” and if I can only choose one, I would have to say that it would be the Asian cuisine (I had to combine all types of Asian cuisine into one, because it’s too hard for me to choose one among them). I have what I like to call an Asian stomach, which means that my stomach can usually just handle Asian food. I grew up with Chinese and Filipino dishes. I would not only eat them, but also I would always watch my parents cook them, until I would volunteer to help out and cook with them. When my family and I go out to eat, we always go to a same Chinese and/or Filipino restaurants. But sometimes, we would explore, but again it would be an Asian cuisine: Japanese, Korean, or Vietnamese. I like to eat spaghetti, and even though this is an Italian dish, the tomato sauce we use is the Filipino style sauce, so it’s a lot sweeter than the original Italian sauce.
This summer, I face the challenge of balancing studies and work. I’m currently taking two summer classes while working as both a UC Berkeley Campus Ambassador and a Planetarium Presenter at the Lawrence Hall of Science. Before summer, while I was making my summer schedule, I initially thought that it would be impossible for me to study and work at the same time, especially if I have in-person classes. I was also starting to feel sad that I won’t be able to work as much because I love my jobs. However, I was very happy to find out that the two classes that I’m currently taking are online classes, which give me lots of flexibility when it comes to studying and scheduling my work shifts. Also, I have never taken an online class before, so I was excited to get started and experience what it’s like. Now that it’s the middle of summer and I have concluded my first class, I would say that there’s definitely some beauty to online classes and also some disadvantages.
My sophomore year was a make-it-or-break-it year. I’ll soon find out if I qualify for my two majors, Media Studies and Political Economy. It has been a very busy year for me; I’m studying extra hard to make sure I get good grades to declare. In the midst of studying diligently, I didn’t eat as healthy as I could have. I started eating more Chinese takeout, cooking Spam and fried eggs for almost every meal, and sometimes I only had pastries and mocha drinks. Looking back at my year, I was sad that I didn’t get around to cook better meals, since I love cooking and baking. I just always viewed cooking something more wholesome than a Spam with rice meal as sacrificing study time (although I have to admit that my urge to procrastinate did play a role in my apparent lack of time for studies)
My classmate and I attend the same church, called the First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, which is located behind the Unit 3 Residence Hall. One day in class, while we were waiting for the professor to arrive, she invited me to the Chiapas Trip Reflection Event, where college students from the Fellowship of College and University Students group, also known as FoCUS, reflect and talk about their experiences on the mission trip to Chiapas, Mexico during spring break.
FoCUS is the undergraduate student ministry group in our church where a lot of Cal students, who are Presbyterians, join. There are many other spiritual fellowship groups on campus that provide niches for students with different religious beliefs: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and etc. I was curious about and interested in joining the FoCUS group. So, I decided to take the first step in knowing more about this ministry by attending the reflection event. I was also looking forward to hearing other students’ experiences, especially after hearing my friend’s stories.
I love watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy. When I was a kid, I fell in love with Legolas. Although his handsomeness was big plus, my key attraction was his impeccable skill in archery. He becomes this sharp and swift warrior as he holds his bow and arrow; that’s why I always had my eyes set on him.
Because of this, my brother and I had a makeshift bow, made out of a wooden stick from a back scratcher and a packaging string. We would partake in mini adventures in our bedroom, jumping to and from our beds as we attacked our enemies: our pillows.
My roommate asked me to attend a music event called “Soul Speaks Open Mic” at the La Peña Cultural Center with her, for an extra credit assignment in her music class. We took the AC Transit F bus to the stop at Ashby Bart and walked for about 5 mins to get to the cultural center. When we entered the cultural center, we saw a small stage and some chairs all set-up for the event. We also saw an entrance that connects to the next-door Mexican restaurant called Los Cilantros.
As my roommate and I waited for the event to start, we went to the restaurant to grab a quick dinner. I ordered the “Enchiladas Verde” which is a huge dish with 3 corn tortillas wrapped with filling (I chose chicken) and served with green salsa, cheese, sour cream, beans, and radish. It tasted really delicious, it’s spicy and sweet at the same time. My first taste of a true Mexican dish was really great.
I’d like to say that the sea is my therapy. It allows me to be happy and at ease, especially as I look at the calming movements of the waves. I also sense an adventure–an opportunity to travel across another world and experience excitement and fear. These were the emotions I felt when I sought out for a kayak adventure at the Berkeley Marina.
On March 26, 2016, the last Saturday of Spring break, my friend and I decided to register for a Cal Adventures class called the “Sunset Paddle”, where we get to kayak through the San Francisco Bay and watch the sunset. I was very excited because it was my first time to visit the Berkeley Marina, to learn how to sail in a kayak, and also to wear new swim gear other than my bathing suit.