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See You Later, California

It seems like only yesterday that I stepped foot into the freezing city of San Francisco, California. And, pretty soon, I’ll be stepping off the entire state of California and on to my new adventure.

One of the best decisions I’ve ever made is choosing AAU as the school to pursue my creative passion because it brought me to a city full of innovation, talent, and diversity. And, although I initially considered the Bay Area as merely a place I’d be living in until I completed my degree, the entire state sure did finesse its way into my heart.

From meeting new friends to saying goodbye to old ways of thinking and living; from learning how to do things on my own to experiencing completely new things in life; from creating memories to making more mistakes and learning from them – California has changed my life for the better.

What I'll Miss About Living in California (mainly San Francisco and San Diego)


I’d like to believe that the San Francisco weather was the magic to my clearing up my pimply skin. Yup, it’ll always be my belief. But, in all the seriousness I can give, I will surely miss the cold weather from the Bay Area. After living in extreme heat most of life, it was a cool (pun intended) change to experience. I love being able to walk for miles without breaking too much of a sweat, and not to mention that the sun didn’t show often so as to not burn my skin. Moving to San Diego may have brought back a lot of warmth to my body, and I’m still grateful to experience this.


Nothing will ever beat Saipan’s sunsets, in my opinion. But California sure does come a close second when it comes to jaw-dropping sunsets. It was lovely witnessing the colors of the sky change as the sun dips beneath the horizon.


Technically I haven’t been the one driving, but I enjoy long drives as the passenger anyway, so it’s a win-win for me. The drives also include ones I’ve taken in buses and trains. Who knows how long until I’m able to travel long distances by land. There’s just something about being in a moving vehicle and actually seeing the different landscapes, buildings, and events going on as I have my favorite music playing in my ears that’s excitingly calm for me.


As much as I love basking in the beauty of star lights, I also enjoy a couple of nights looking down towards the city lights. I’ve always wanted to admire city lights from a high vantage point, and I’m grateful that California was the first place to give me this experience.


I won’t have access to any mall for some time, and I’ll surely miss roaming around, urging myself to not buy anything, and eating at the food courts. I’m going to miss physically going into Target and Walmart stores. I prefer shopping at these stores in person than online – the items are much more interesting to look at when I’m right there. I’m also going to miss my main grocery stores – Safeway and Trader Joe’s. They provided some of the great deals and delicious snacks (and microwavable meals). Lastly, Bath & Body Works – I may still be able to order online, but it’s difficult not knowing the scents first, and having to cautiously pick which ones I will actually like.


Google Maps had been my number one savior for always finding my way (after a couple of minutes) in California, and I, unfortunately, won’t be needing it for a while. So, it’ll feel weird for a while not having to look for the location of a place, seeing how long it’ll take to get there by car, bus/train, or walk, and then constantly looking at my phone to see how many more stops I need before getting off the bus/train.


There’s no Starbucks at my next destination, and even though I don’t order from them every day (or week), I’m going to miss the fact that there’s at least one location within walking distance in case I suddenly want to get any of their Frappuccino-flavored beverages.


A phone number may not be something people would normally miss, but my Bay Area number is the first one I had since coming to the mainland, and I’ve had it ever since. I’ll miss being able to travel across multiple cities and states without worrying about changing it or getting a temporary number.


It’s rare for me to go out on a random day and not see anything unusual or exciting going on – street performers, people walking their dogs, mini food stands, construction, athletes running on the sidewalk, rallies, mini jets/helicopters flying around. A lot of randomness going on along the streets typically made my walks worthwhile.


Photo Credit: My Friend, Nina

I love looking at the illustrations done on the walls of buildings, and everything creative seen (and sometimes touched) throughout neighborhoods or businesses. And yes, actual artwork not vandalism. Seeing them reminds me of how much creative potential each individual possesses, and it inspires me every time I come in contact with such imaginative masterpieces.


Panda Express, Bonchon Chicken, Lai Thai, 707 Sutter, Sushi & Galbi, Applebee’s, Chik-fil-A, and Jollibee won’t be available to where I’m headed. I’ve tried all of these, except Jollibee, for the first time in California, and their dishes are mouthwateringly delicious.


The majority of my camera roll here has been nature. I loved venturing during springtime just to look at the wide variety of flowers blooming. Long trips also allowed me to enjoy the vast landscapes that the city offers, and although it’s not my first time seeing something so grand, I will always be in awe of seeing them up close and in person.


I have not encountered even one mosquito here, and I will surely miss this when I leave. Cooler seasons may keep them away, but come the warmer seasons and I’ll be covered in mosquito bites.


Lastly, I’m definitely going to miss the lifestyle here. Days may go by quicker, and everything seems to go at a much rapid pace than I ever experienced before, but it’s an amazing experience. I’m grateful to have gone through Daylight Savings Time. I’m grateful for walking the streets of a bustling city, and a quieter neighborhood. I’m grateful to witness various city events and festivals all year round. My stay in the Golden State has been a complete 180 from Saipan, but it was positively life-changing.

Goodbyes are never easy, and so to California, I say, “See you later!”

Keep being inspired and take care always,


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