Avoiding the brick weather of New England was definitely a highlight of my winter break. When my aunt and uncle asked if I wanted to stay with them for three weeks of my break, I jumped at the chance to not only see my two little cousins, but also to escape the plunging temperatures that enveloped the state of Connecticut.
The first two weeks of my trip was a blur of family outings and fun. I put my YouTube-watching skills to the test as I crafted origami for my four-year-old cousin and I baby-talked to my four-month-old cousin.
My first outing began in Burlingame, California, which can only be described as Blue Back Square in West Hartford, Connecticut, but with a lot more stores and restaurants, both mid-range and high-range in price.
As an avid reader, I had to check out the only book store in the area, called Books, Inc. Although I was in a different state, the smell of new books was comfortably familiar.
I had lunch at a restaurant called “Asian Box,” which served Asian fusion food and followed it up with a strong cup of coffee from Philz Coffee. My goal was to get as many postcards as I could, so I went into a paper goods store and bought two postcards.
I also got the opportunity to ice skate on an ice rink that boasted the same experience of skating on a frozen pond at New England. I can assure you, New England does that better.
A personal New Year’s resolution I had was to travel more, especially on my own. I gave myself a chance to relax on New Year’s Day and hit the ground running on Jan. 2 with a 40-minute train ride to San Francisco.
My first museum trip of winter break began with the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, California. The first thing that greeted me was a model of a dinosaur. My favorite part of the museum was the aquarium on the ground floor, which housed small jellyfish that reminded me of “Finding Nemo.”
Being a cheap person, I opted out of taking an Uber and instead walked the next 50 minutes to Yerba Buena Gardens. There, I got a view of the Modern Museum of Art in the city. The gardens also had a waterfall that featured direct quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. The most interesting part of the display was that it translated different parts of the speech into different languages.
I never allowed myself to sit around in the house for too long. My aunt and uncle live right by the water, so I took the opportunity to go for sunset runs as often as I could and bike ride for miles with the water on my right and a view of the San Mateo Bridge in the distance.
I made my way to Chinatown, where I got my favorite Dim Sum meal for less than five dollars at Good Mon Kok Bakery. That meal consisted of turnip cake, shrimp shumai and a sesame ball.
I planned for two museums that day in the city but ended up going to three. My first museum was the Asian Art Museum followed by the Modern Art Museum. Going to the Asian Art Museum made me proud of my background, while I was excited to see sculptures by Alexander Calder in the Museum of Modern Art.
As I was about to make my long trek back to the San Francisco Caltrain station, I noticed a sign outside the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts announcing that its gallery was free for the public. Naturally, I stopped by to check it out. I ended my day by visiting Boba Guys, my all-time favorite bubble tea spot that started on the West Coast. I highly suggest the milk tea if you’re starting off, as well as the Hong Kong Style tea.
I spent my second day at Stanford University. I grabbed a classic American breakfast at Palo Alto Creamery Downtown and walked it off while heading to campus. Although the campus itself was indeed beautiful, to be honest, it was just another dead college campus as I could only imagine UConn at the time. I greatly enjoyed the on-campus museum that was open and free to all. One of the most interesting displays I saw was morse code with popcorn.
The third day, I was back on the Caltrain headed toward San Francisco again. I took in the view of AT&T Park before walking to the Financial District to grab a bagel from Working Girls Café. That fueled me to head to (surprise!) the City Lights Bookstore that was apparently the beginning of the Beat movement. To me, it was three floors of literary heaven. I followed that with a quick visit to check out the water by Pier 39.
Of course, I had to visit the Golden Gate Bridge while I was in San Francisco. I walked the 1.7 miles of the bridge and had a beautiful view of the bay by Vista Point. I visited the picturesque town of Sausalito, where I bought a chocolate chip cookie the size of my face at a local bakery before taking an Uber across the bridge to the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre.
The architecture was beautiful. It certainly was a great place to take pictures, as there was a couple taking wedding photos while I was there.
I took in another view of the city while at the top of the Lyon Street Steps, and headed to Japan Center to meet some friends for a much needed bowl of ramen at Marufuku Ramen.
The last full day I had on the West Coast, I decided to go back to San Francisco one more time. I had a wrap at Palmyra and took an Uber to Golden Gate Park, where I went to my last museum of the trip: the de Young Museum. I fueled up with a donut at Mr. Holmes Bakery and ended my day one more time in Japan Town.
I’m definitely going to take another trip to the Bay. Boba Guys will forever be calling my name.
Kim Nguyen is the associate managing editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.