Monday, August 29, 2016

'COS THERE'S NOTHING THAT YOUR MIND CAN'T DO

(music: Helpless - Phillipa Soo/Hamilton)

I look into your eyes,
and the sky's 
the limit / I'm helpless

I'm so into you / I am so into you

It's been a strangeish sort of week. I guess I'm okay with strange, and I'm sure stranger things have happened, all things considered.

At this precise moment, I am dancing and grooving to Helpless. Listening to the Hamilton soundtrack always distracts me from typing but let me indulge, I'm living in the moment and relating to the lyrics and I just wanna enjoy being in love, okay? Also, Helpless is a rare track off Hamilton that's upbeat enough to bop to, and it has barely any negative connotation/heartwrenching sadness/struggle in it.

So I went to stay with Joey last weekend because you know, life is short, you only live once, carpe diem, follow your heart &c &c?

On Saturday, he was working on his Mazda and I began reading a book I found in his room (if you leave me alone anywhere, I will most likely start reading something I find --- it's a good thing my hosts have all had such great books), The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick.

It took me a day to finish it but it was such a good read. I loved the alternative dystopia he set up (Germany and Japan win World War II and have taken control of the world), I mean wow, it seemed extremely bleak and abysmal and it made me really appreciate the reality that we live in.

So anyway, as I was saying, Joey worked on re-wiring his Mazda.




He worked from day....

To night....



He drew his own diagram to figure out the wiring, and I found it so ADORKABLE. Y IS DIS MAN SUCH QTPIE.

I loved seeing his dedication to his vehicles, and we also watched videos of SpaceX and Blue Origin rocket launches, and he made snide remarks about Blue Origin. The man.... takes so much pride in his job and the place he works at, I just, you know? When someone is passionate, it's hard not to be infected by it.



I was asking him the most inane questions about what he was doing, and it was nice to have him answer them. I don't know, I didn't really have a strong father figure or male role model for a long time in my life and it wasn't like my mother was interested in this kinda thing.

Plus even with my stepdad, I have three sisters, so it's five females in my household, and I never really got the whole hands-on working-on-stuff thing.

I'm sure if I had seen it while growing up, it would have piqued my interest so I'd know more about it, but I'm as clueless as it gets when it comes to cars and rockets and whatnot. It was fun to learn, it was literally like a whole new world.

I don't know if Joey was tryna involve me in the process, but he asked me if I wanted to dilute the antifreeze/coolant with water and pour it into the engine (engine? tank? who the fuck knows?).



I loved it, and if I could observe someone working on their cars/vehicles all the time, I'd definitely pick up some of it.

That night, we watched Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (finally??? I remember Irene recommending it to me like literally years ago) and Joey made incessant silly remarks, I couldn't help rolling my eyes but grinning anyway. You know the level of affection is real when all you wanna do is roll your eyes but you start laughing. Goddamn, I hated providing him that satisfaction.

On Sunday, we drove up to the canyons again. Which means my heart was racing again. Which means I had no chance of not falling deeper for him, none at all.


I was wearing a two-piece crop-top-with-skorts outfit, it made me have yet another weird tanline. I have four separate tan lines, it is ludicrous how strong the sun is out here. I was in a car!!!!!!!! And I had sunscreen on!


We drove back from Malibu, afterwhich Joey agreed to teach me to drive.

He let me drive his Honda, which is pretty much a piece of junk (he says so himself???).

We went to an empty Kaiser Permanente parking lot (parking lots here are basically a massive block of space, unlike the narrow spots in Singapore --- which also explains why my parents have never let me drive, too high a possibility of damaging other vehicles, lol).

Joey told me that The Man in the High Castle has a TV series adaptation and I saw a billboard of it:



I've watched the first episode, and hmmmm.... It doesn't really stay that true to the book, and I'm not sure whether it will be all that similar, but I feel like so far (based on one episode), I prefer the book. I'll watch more episodes and see if I like it.

My sister Lyssa has been dating this boy called Dan, and they are the cutest things in the entire world, Huda and I ship them so hard. My little sisters and I love Dan too, we are so ready to have him as our brother-in-law, hehehehe.



He circled the flamingo, and asked if it was misspinkalot (AKA ME) and flamingos are my favourite animal, lololol.

So Lyssa told him that I would blog about it, and his reaction is as below:


Apparently he felt honoured and prepared a thank-you speech. The boy is ridonkulously adorable. If he ever hurts Lyssa, boy u fucken ded. I will cut you. U BEST WATCH UR STEP. But otherwise, welcome to the family. ;)

I moved to a place far out in Redondo Beach, and it was a really nice house.




Like Radhika's place on Rosecrans/in Manhattan Beach, it was just a short walk away from a gorgeous beach.


He also gave me my own room. My first thoughts about the room were that I loved it of course, 'cos I could leave my shit anywhere I wanted, and I had an entire bed to myself. Hello???? But then I eventually... changed my mind, but I'll pick up on that story in a while.

My host's name was Dustin, and when I arrived, he had his best friend Rachel over. They were superbly nice and friendly, I liked them a lot. They were also high on MDMA (whatever that means --- I haven't had any experience with that), so maybe that played a part. They were still super cool, though.

On my second night in Redondo, my host and I went for a sushi dinner, and on the way there, we walked along RAT Beach (Right After Torrance Beach, is that cute or what lol) and the sky was amazing.


I feel like Cali has good vibes 'cos the weather is almost always great --- I heard this commercial on the radio that was like "didn't do everything you wanted this summer? that's okay, here in Los Angeles, you can do those things literally any other time of the year" and it made me smile, it's pretty much on point.


We had really good sushi (I forgot the name of the place) and then he asked what I'd done on my trip and about the people I'd met, so I mentioned Joey of course. He was telling me how cool it was that Joey is an engineer with SpaceX and that he, Dustin, had a crush on Elon Musk. Dustin said he would go to Mars even if he had to spend the rest of his life there. Hmm....

What is this, guys? Is Joey really more interesting than I am? I mean, yes he's a rocket engineer who drives racecars and plays the violin, piano and deejays music. Does that mean he's cooler than I am??? Does it really???? Don't answer that. (Even my best friend loves him, so I know the answer already.)

No but anyway, Dustin and I had a pretty interesting conversation, we talked about relationships and having kids and he said he was brought up in a sheltered, privileged life. According to him, his life has been almost too easy, and he's looking for challenges and difficulty so he can grow and learn. (Yeah, I felt like punching his face a little. How is life so unbalanced???)


I love that LA has this culture of like.. take-one-leave-one book exchanges, pretty much everywhere. It's so encouraging to people who can't afford books, and I've left some of my books around, and taken some (to be honest, I've currently got a book from Dustin that I have got to return, but he lives so faaaaaaaaaaar /sulkyface).


So that night, one of the strangest things that's ever happened in my life, happened.


I woke up at like 2am 'cos I'd received a text from Lyssa or whatever, and then I realised there was a tapping on my window, behind me. I thought it might have been Dustin or Rachel, high on MDMA again, pranking me.

I went to the window and the tapping stopped. I looked out and there is nothing at the window, guys. It was shut tight, there is no ledge or parapet for anything or anyone to be there, there are no trees or anything nearby.

I went back to bed and looked away from the window, at myself (the wardrobe is one of those that has a mirror on it) and texted my sister. The tapping started again, so I looked around at the window, and it stopped. So I looked away, and it would continue again. It went on several times for at least half an hour.

It's not like I'm the most superstitious of people, guys, I don't believe in spirits, and I kept telling myself I'm a rational person, there is a scientific explanation. But then I tried Facetiming Lyssa, and for the first time in the six weeks I've been here, Facetime wouldn't connect my calls, so I freaked.

I ran to Dustin's room, and it was almost hilarious, if I wasn't so creeped out and about to pee my pants. I remember he said "are you fucking serious, Sarah?" and I said, with absolutely no humour at all, "yes, I'm fucking serious."

He let me in, and I literally plopped myself down on his bed, and he sighed. Like if there was ever a relenting sigh of acceptance, that was it. I lay down on the edge of his bed, and because I couldn't sleep, he couldn't sleep either (or for whatever reason, who knows).

I lay on his bed for about an hour or so, looking up at the ceiling. It was strange. I was in bed with a man I barely knew, and even till now, I have had no skin contact with him. There was a massive space between us, but because I'd had one of the most disturbing experiences in my life, I felt like okay, I have no more fronts! This man thinks I'm crazy! It can't get any worse!



The poor man!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel like horribly indebted to him for disrupting his sleep before he went to work super early in the morning. I need to get him something in return. I swear to God, Dustin is one of the best, kindest, chillest, nicest hosts I've had, thank heavens for that.

I also still have his book, which, just incidentally, is one of the most important books I've read in my life. It's Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, and it's philosophical, about humanity and human existence. I loved it, and I also happened to take it from Dustin without even actually informing him about it prior (but he then texted me that it was okay and told me to enjoy it, lol). Why is Redondo Beach so far? Why am I unable to drive????

ANYWAY: long story cut slightly short, when you Couchsurf at least you meet nice, understanding people who give in to your crazy even if they don't know you, unlike if you stayed in a hotel. This is what Couchsurfing is about, increasing your faith in humankind. If you encountered weird shit in a hotel.... Well, I guess you could go down to the lobby and stay there. But still. Couchsurfing is the way to go (says I again, the extrovert with thick skin but weak guts made of jelly).

The next day, I went to Downtown LA with Bill, and moved to his place, because I didn't wanna sleep in the haunted house anymore, HAHAHAHA (but not really laughing inside).



We went to Grand Central Market and had eggslut sandwiches. I texted this to Joey, I said I'd found my food soulmate and he said "we already knew you like eggs more than me." I smirked because it was kinda true, and yet even when I'm eating my food soulmate, I'm still thinking of Joey. -_________-




Bill has similar glasses to Lyssa's, One side of the frame has broken off, and they refuse to replace them. (Upside-down smiley / Blogger srsly needs to implement emojis, it's the currency of today's society!!!!!!)

And now, I'm gonna talk about something also quite strange. The interwebs doesn't usually talk about embarrassing stuff like this, but I am, because why not. When I woke up, I found out I'd stained the bed during my period, and I was mortified.

I was gonna sneak out and clean it up, but then Bill saw me right at that moment, and he was at the doorframe asking what I was doing, so I... reluctantly told him I'd stained the bed.


It was that bad, guys.

I was feeling humiliated 'cos my mum always thinks staining the bed is like the worst offence you could ever possibly do in the world. Like srsly I've never felt more worthless than when I stain my bed. She pretty much thinks we're the devil's spawn whenever we do it, you can ask my sisters too. I dunno, I think it's 'cos like period blood is apparently "dirty" blood according to the religion or whatever.

But then Bill was just like, oh whatever. He didn't even blink an eye, he was like "yeah, it happens... no worries, I have other bedsheets" and I was like, what????? I guess it may be because he grew up with sisters as well, but oh my God, I felt so relieved.

It just felt nice, his reaction made me feel like there was no need to be ashamed of a natural humanly function, I felt really, really assured.

Like this world and its patriarchy, it has no qualms sexualising the female human body and displaying a woman's tits and ass, but the moment period blood is mentioned, suddenly it's gross and Instagram shuts down photos that displays period blood. I mean, why is it so hard to accept that women's bodies have a reproductive function that is unsexual and not for male pleasure? I wonder.

When I have kids (if I have any), I will raise them to be comfortable with their bodies. They can stain anything they want, lolololol.

No but really, the monthly stresses of having my period are just... strange. Like I have enough to think about with my period cramps and fluctuating hormones without being made to feel ashamed of accidentally staining surfaces with blood. Fuck that shit. It can be cleaned.

....Like I said, it's been a strange week, but stranger things have happened.

On a completely unrelated note, I was telling Bill that the red sauce from The Halal Guys was the spiciest thing I've had in the US, and then he gave me a bottle of Insanity Sauce, to make me eat my words.


Insanity Sauce is now the spiciest thing I've tasted in the US, it's crazyyyyy hot. I drank so much water and milk trying to save and revive my tastebuds.


One of my favourite, bittersweet things to do on this trip is writing note cards to my hosts. :)

On Friday, I went over to Joey's again. He was wearing a button-down shirt, and a line from Helpless hit me, (then you walked in, and my heart went "boom") except that I walked in, and my heart went 'boom', lol.

I still remember the night I first met him, it was after the Dodgers game. He was taking me around the house and there were a dozen people there, but for some reason I was only interested in Joey. I don't know why, I love his eyes, and his eyelashes and his nose and his lips, and everything about him is attractive to me.

I think it's a bit of a novelty for me, being attracted to someone for both their looks and personality. If you've seen me through the years, you'd know my boyfriends were my friends first, and one of them was my best friend ever at the time, and I fell for them because they were really intelligent (I always admire the smart ones because I can leech off their knowledge hahahah) and I was never crazily physically attracted to them.

And then I met Joey, and I'm like, how is this man handsome and a genius? He's basically Alexander Hamilton (handsome, boy does he know it).

So anyway, one of his roommates Chip was putting together his motorbike.



Joey is slightly colourblind (I think the colours that affect him are purple, green and brown) so when he was indicating a wire to Chip, he said "this guy, whatever the fuck colour this is" which amused me to no end. (Slight colourblindness seems to be his only flaw so far.)

We hung out yesterday, climbed onto the roof of their house (as if the house itself doesn't have enough space, lol), watched his roommate Tiaan tattoo his other roommate Austin. Joey also spun a bit of music, played a bit of piano, basically inadvertently did everything within his power possible to make me fall deeper for him, except I didn't see him play violin, hah!

That was it for my strangeish week. Tomorrow I have an exciting start to my final full week in LA! Have a lovely week. So Much Love! ♥

Friday, August 19, 2016

I KNOW HOW TO SCREAM MY OWN NAME

(music: Love Myself - Hailee Steinfeld)

So last week, I stayed in the West Hollywood area for a bit. I was staying with two Jewish people, which was interesting, especially when they found out I'm a Muslim. Singapore doesn't have that big of a Jewish population, so it was cool to interact with them.

It was a Jewish community they lived in too, their neighbours were also Israeli and when I walked around there were many Jewish-centric businesses and kosher eateries. Very intriguing and such an eye-opener.

I don't know if it's a good or bad thing that LA is sort of "racially" segregated. On the one hand, it's great for the migrant communities who live together and can feel familiar among themselves. You can easily find food and knick-knacks of the various cultures in their enclaves and "sections" of town. But then the different communities don't really mix around as much as they optimally could.

Anyway, I went to the Trader Joe's near my host's place. Trader Joe's is one of my favourite American things, you can find so many things to eat at bargain prices.


Some days I eat three meals on a $2 Trader Joe's item.

I also went to pick up some postcards to post to my friends.


The giraffe is for Huda, the robot for Viv, obviously, and then the rest are for some of my other best friends.

I saw what used to be a Fight Club mural/sticker thing on a wall, but unfortunately they weren't very kind to Edward Norton.


I also saw an eatery that boasted of "Malaysia/Singapore/Indonesia" food, so I went in:


It was terrible! I was looking forward to getting nasi lemak or rendang or nasi ayam, even if heavily Americanised, but the only thing that was remotely Asian/Indonesian was satay, and everything else was like, salad/quinoa, NOT Singaporean/Malaysian/Indonesian at all! Much disappoint.

I Facetimed my family and you know, these are some of my favourite times of my trip, 'cos there's no better way to have such candid shots of my grandma being such a cutie-patootie (also applies to my mum, but I think she knows and does it on purpose to milk it lol).






AIYOYOI errbadeh so QT for what.



Isit my sister and mother nonsense and put on makeshift tudung all????

So my host Netanel was really nice and generous and kept asking if I wanted to eat more food, and then, although I said I was already comfortable with my air mattress, he got me sheets and a blanket and pillows. He has a three-year-old daughter so he said he has like more protective instincts, which is so adorable.


I went to Barnes & Noble at The Grove, a really fancy, upscale mall in LA (apparently with a few celebrity sightings) and finished Harry Potter & The Cursed Child in two sittings. I don't have very positive remarks about it, if you have finished it and would like an exchange of opinions, lemme know, but I won't spoil it here.



Once I was done with Cursed Child, the Humans of New York compilation book caught my eye.




I was so excited to see Lin-Manuel Miranda!!! If I'd picked up this book three months ago, I wouldn't have recognised him!




I wonder if this man brings his passport around everywhere he goes, just to prove his statement, lol. So cute tho.





This lady's Triumph motorbike made me think of Joey, whose new bike is also a Triumph (it's his new favourite toy, omg you can hear him smiling when he talks about it going faster than his Mazda).

I felt wistful reading HONY, seeing as I so desperately wanted and still want to go to New York this summer, but I guess some plans just take longer to come true than others do. I'm cool, though, California has been so kind to me, so there's that.



One of the days, I cooked the risotto from Trader Joe's and it lasted me the entire day. If I lived in the US, I would just live off Trader Joe's.



Netanel was video-calling his daughter, Shylee, who lives in another state with her mum. You know, I would reckon some Muslims and some Jews would say not to interact with each other's group of people, I'm sure I know some people who still harbour deep-rooted mistrust.

He was such a nice guy though, and regardless what race or religion or ethnic background you are, we all love our children the same, we all want to raise them the same way, we all feel the same things. It's really strange to have any hatred when our philosophies are generally common ground.

I was due to leave Netanel's place last mid-week, and I was too lazy to actually look for a new host, so I asked Joey whether I could just head back to his place. Plus, obviously I like Joey, so it would have been a welcome move.

He ghosted me, though, didn't respond to my text at all for an entire day. I felt really bad because we had actually had plans to go watch the new Star Trek film together on Wednesday, so it would have made sense if I headed back to his place after the movie, but he didn't reply all of Tuesday or Wednesday.

I cried, and I told Huda I cried. I was sad, because two blogposts ago, I mentioned that I'd felt lonely and isolated so I cried in front of Joey. After I cried in front of him, I felt safe and comfortable so then I naturally began to feel very happy with him and liked him even more.

But then he disappeared so it just really disappointed me. I told Huda though, that if I could cry in front of Joey and then use it to be happier with him, then I can cry by myself, anytime, and be stronger and happier in front of me. I have seen myself at my worst, and I accept it. I'm safe and comfortable with myself at my saddest, and I can use it to be happier by myself.

I went to my next host Sam's place, in East LA (a sizeable Hispanic population). It was really fortunate that I caught him on the perfect day, because he was leaving LA for Lake Tahoe, and he asked if I wanted to tag along, so I did!

Before we left for the long drive, I went over to the East LA district and had breakfast at an authentic Mexican place. Sam ordered a horchata latte which was delicious! Horchata is this sweet rice drink, that I really like.

I think it's Joey's favourite, he always orders it, but in any case it's a really nice flavour. I wonder if I can find sachets of instant horchata so I can bring it back to Singapore and make it for my friends and family to taste.


I had Torta De Huevos, which is like an omelette sandwich. There were only vegetables in my omelette sandwich but there was so much texture and it was so tasty!

I also had tamales for the first time, which are made of corn and wrapped in corn husks. Tamales are not my favourite, but they're okay.

Sam drove me around the district and down Whittier Boulevard, which is also known as the "cruising street", 'cos people (usually guys) would drive their cars slowly down the road and catcall to girls on the street, or stare at people from rival gangs driving in the other cars. It was fascinating.

We drove about seven hours up to Tahoe/Nevada. It was all mostly scorching desert, but there was a lot of cattle and horses. I played the Hamilton soundtrack for Sam to listen to, and he seemed to appreciate it.

I sort of missed Joey on the drive there, because Joey would have sped most of the way, 'cos he's a racer and the roads were pretty much empty (I wanna say deserted but psh), which would have cut the time by a bit. Joey also is a little more silent when he's driving, whereas Sam is a fan of banter.

I mean, I don't know, I guess I just click better with Joey 'cos I tend to enjoy getting lost in my own thoughts. I did really learn a lot from my conversations with Sam, and he is super super sweet for having allowed me to follow him on his trip anyway.

We arrived in Tahoe late Thursday night, and made it in time to catch a bit of the Perseid meteor shower. I was ecstatic, because we were sort of in the woods, and very high up in elevation, so it was perfect to see the sky and stars.

I had never seen a shooting star before, but I caught I think six of them during the meteor shower. I made wishes on behalf of all my loved ones and myself, it was so mesmerising and I wish you could capture memories with the human eye, but technology is not so advanced yet.

Also, when I was about to sleep, Joey texted me and apologised 'cos he said he was getting a bit freaked out over my... uhhh... fondness for him, I suppose, and so he didn't respond, and he said he felt really bad, and then on Saturday night, he called me to give me recommendations for Tahoe and to say he missed me.

I don't know what Joey wants. He's annoying, and yet I like him, and he knows it. I don't think I'll be seeing him again, though. I just don't like it when people aren't dependable, I would rather someone be upfront and honest about things, and he isn't. Like, you telling me you're freaked out makes more sense than disappearing and then still saying you miss me. What the fuck? Make up your damn mind.

Anyway, the next morning I woke up in a beautiful lodge.





We stayed with Sam's college roommate, James, and James' fiancée, Annie. Annie and I had many similar interests: we loved Harry Potter (she was going to start reading Cursed Child and before I'd even told her of my opinions, she was already feeling apprehensive based on other reviews she had heard), and word games, and we enjoy Hamilton and reminisced the fandom of Downton Abbey, etc etc.

There's lots of natural light in their home, which I loved.




It was just so... romantic to read a novel with the sun shining through the pine trees and a window pane in a slanted roof.



Sam let me have the guest room and he slept on the couch outside instead, which was really, really sweet. I wouldn't have minded the couch, as I've gotten used to sleeping on most couches in LA (I must say not all couches are created equal though, some are pretty much beds and others are.... more like chairs).

The guest room I slept in was definitely my favourite room I've been in the US so far.




With the sloping roof like an attic, and light pouring in through the windows, I loved being in there.

That morning, I Facetimed my best friends, who were having dinner together and also playing carrom.




I'm not sure why the video orientation was landscape instead of portrait, sometimes we are really not as smart as our smartphones lol.




Tiqs kept saying she had a double chin and using her hand to block it, silly girl.

After our Facetime session, Sam, James and I went hiking on the wildflower trail. Unfortunately, I think the ideal time of the season was over, so there weren't as many flowers in bloom.



Rookie mistake: I felt like my backpack was really heavy although there was nothing much inside, and when I got back after the trail I realised my laptop was in the laptop compartment (so I hadn't seen it). I brought my laptop on a hike yo!



Although the flowers weren't like covering the entire meadows or whatever, there were still many pretty ones scattered here and there.

That Friday evening, after Annie was done with work, we went to Lake Tahoe, and I tried my hand at kayaking.




It was nice and very calming, being out in such a huge yet calm(ish) body of water.

James and Annie have a Norwegian Forest cat, and it is the fluffiest, puffiest, most adorable cat I've seen in LA. I think it even rivals Huda's Rahul!

(The discrepancy in photos is 'cos the not-so-nice ones were taken with my iPhone, and the better-lit/sharper ones were with my camera.)











She would hang out in the guest room with me sometimes, ergh so cute. Look at how manja she is! She loves chin rubs! I think I had an affinity with her 'cos her name is Princess and you know, Sarah means princess. :P


They had an apt mug in the house. I deffo need one of these, for when I'm old and alone with several cats.

On Saturday morning, we went to one of the casinos (there are casinos right across the state line, because gambling is allowed in the state of Nevade but not in California). We had breakfast there.


Americans are quite particular about "high fructose corn syrup".


I had a bread pudding pancake, which was everything that is sweet, plus cinnamon. I loved it, but it was too sweet for me, but I loved it anyway.


This is the stateline marker! We were right between Nevada and California. If you stepped one foot on the right of it and one on the left, you'd be in two states at once. :D

After walking around town for a while, we went to the creek.


I collected some flowers for a tiny bouquet of sorts. There are so many pretty flowers you can find!



I saw James climb the tree, and I got tempted, so I climbed it as well.


Once I was up there, I got too scared to climb down. Never forget this lesson: the way down is always, always harder and scarier than the way up.


I also swung myself into the creek. The thing that made it so exciting was I climbed down from the tree branch to the wooden seat attached on the rope. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Once we were tired out, we headed to Divided Sky for lunch. We had such good sandwiches, James and Annie and even their neighbour Suzanne recommended it 'cos it's more of a locals than touristy place, so the food is good and not gimmicky. We had an amazing spinach dip that tasted like hummus, served with carrots and warm bread, and all our sandwiches were delicious.


After Divided Sky, we drove up to Emerald Bay for the view, and then went for a karaoke session. Only in USA (I would guess) can you find two ladies pushing 60, singing Miley Cyrus' Party in the USA. Such fierce ladies. James got drunk and got sort of touchy about me calling him a gringo (he said "only in Mexico am I a gringo!") but he didn't remember any of it the next day.

Sunday morning, Annie made waffles for our breakfast.



We had waffles with bananas and whipped cream and maple syrup and it was the perfect Sunday breakfast.

She then made heavenly dijon mustard chicken sandwiches, and we went to Lake Tahoe to supposedly "swim" (it's an alpine lake, though, meaning it's way colder than flatland LA, and I never once immersed myself in the water there).



Annie was dog-sitting for her friend, and kinda taught Raegan to doggy-paddle.


I saw #420 bags in the supermart, lol.

When we got back, they made chicken and cucumber and rice pilaf for dinner.



It was so freaking good. I love simple but comfort food.

Annie made date shake from dates and vanilla ice-cream.


This was perfect. I was just amazed that everything they fed me was delicious all the way, I kept thinking like, "this streak has to end somewhere?????"

Sunday night, Annie and I played Scrabble. James' mum had gotten a wooden set for Annie, 'cos she knew that Annie loves Scrabble.




Look at how perfectly it matches the wooden aesthetic of their home!!!!!!! #Tumblrgoals


I enjoyed playing with Annie, it was such a chill game and I didn't feel pressure like I usually feel with my family (my family members are crazily competitive when they play Scrabble).





James bought Annie a book of all the two-letter words that exist. They're such a sweet and adorable and healthy couple, I really admire them!!!!


I got 331 points, which was of course only possible 'cos there were only two players.

On Monday, I hiked Freel with Sam and James while Annie was at work (James teaches at a school in Tahoe so he was on summer hols). They didn't inform me beforehand that it was the highest summit in Tahoe, so I went, thinking I could survive it.


It was such a steep incline, and together with the really thin dry air, I had a hard time breathing. Some parts were just sandy and my feet couldn't get a grip, I wondered how goats do it. You know how goats stay on almost-vertical cliffs like it ain't no thang???? How even???



This was the most welcome sandwich I'd ever had.


My boots went from pink to a sand colour.


At long, long, last, I finally reached the summit, about half an hour after James and Sam had reached it first, lol.


There was a tin box of notes from people who had previously summitted Freel's Peak.








:) :) :)

We pretty much slid back down the sandy parts. My knees were hurting and I didn't really wanna bend them. When we finally, finally got back to the car (the hike took from 8am to 4pm), I was pretty much a dead girl walking.

We went to have sushi for dinner.


The most appetising nabeyaki udon I'd ever had, if only because I had to work so hard for it.

Throughout my stay in Tahoe, I felt that James, Annie and Sam were all sort of enlightened/aware of their privilege as white people. In fact, most of the people I've stayed with fully acknowledge the fact that native Californians were Mexicans, and white people pretty much took away everything.

I'm glad that I got to meet and now know people who are informed, etc. It was really nice, the back-and-forth learning encounters between me and most of the people I've interacted with.

Speaking of privilege, I really don't know where to place me. Sometimes, because my peers are mostly very privileged, I feel underprivileged. It all started with my mum marrying my (pretty much estranged) dad, especially because my dad hasn't really been the most positive contribution to our lives.

Because of this, I always feel like I want to live the most fulfilling life possible before having a kid, something which I'm so sad that my mum couldn't do. (I mean, I know most people used to marry young, but at least that was voluntary and not to an asshole, lol.)

And then they got divorced and there were always financial battles and struggles, and it doesn't help that I didn't have the strongest male role model for a dad, so I'm always fucking my life up with the worst assholes. It's like I get so distracted from what really truly matters, and I know it. I know some men are inherently bad for me, but I didn't have a healthy model to look up to, so now I'm stuck with going for whatever man, any man that pays me any attention.

But then I think again and I'm like, I was born in freaking Singapore, man. It's the land of privilege. I'm privileged that I never really had to learn to drive because the public transport system works (although not privileged to have been financially comfortable to actually go for driving lessons, you understand).

I'm privileged that I speak English perfectly, as well as two other languages. I was born into the most loving and supportive family. I have never had to worry about having shelter above my head, my family feeds me food at any and every instant they get. At 26, I've been fortunate enough to have travelled to some of the most beautiful, inspiring places, for sightseeing and for living.

Recently, I've begun thinking that if I ever have a kid (I'm not sure if it'll happen, I mean I think I want kids but who knows if I will ever have them), I might wanna raise them in USA. I've met so many people who are not native Americans, who've told me that because they brought their family here, their children are entitled to a world of opportunities, just by birthright.

And the thing is, even the local Americans are open to me starting a family here. They're very proud of the US and everything you can achieve here, even for immigrants. Education-wise, there are safety nets to catch even those who don't excel. Even if my kid doesn't go to an Ivy League school, there is always something else they can do.

I kinda love that America sort of has everything. One thing I've greatly enjoyed about LA is the diversity of experiences you get in one place. It's no wonder you don't really find American tourists internationally. It's true, in LA (which is only one county of one state), you get good food, you get access to the biggest entertainment industry, nature trails, beaches, great weather most all-year-round, you have so many different communities you can expose yourself to, so you don't seem ignorant.

It's a real melting pot, cliché as it is. I've been here for five weeks, and I haven't been bored or stopped learning something new every single day.

Anyways, wow, what a tangent.

Here is another tangent: I highly recommend Couchsurfing for solo or two-party travellers. I reckon it would be tough for bigger parties like families to do, but if you have the chance to do it, I would never say no (but then that's also because I'm an extrovert and I hardly ever say no to anything).

It's just so enriching. It might not be the most comfortable or extravagant at times, but then really, think back to all your hotel stays in different locations. Can you really recall which bed/pillow/blankets provided which level of comfort? I mean, even if you're actually able to, what kinda stories would they make for?

In contrast, when you couchsurf, you interact with people from all walks of life. They have different jobs, different passions, they watch different TV shows, they read different books, they practise different ideologies, they support different political causes and you learn. so. much.

Of course, a huge advantage is you save money (which is why I've done it, because I'm flat broke --- I'm 26 and I don't have a boyfriend, I don't have a job, I don't have money --- but I have a treasure trove of experiences and memories). A downer is sometimes you meet creeps, but if you screen the potential host profiles, it shouldn't be such a problem.

I felt this really strongly especially while staying with James and Annie in Tahoe.

Somehow I really clicked with Annie, and I would never have gotten acquainted with her, and known that we shared so many similar interests, if I wasn't staying at her place (technically I only got there 'cos I was couchsurfing with Sam, but Annie also has her own Couchsurfing profile and has hosted her own surfer-guests as well).

It just felt so homely, staying with them, how they always took proper care of us, and made us wholesome food. You know how you could tend to feel lonely if you travel by yourself (maybe you've never gone solo, I guess), well most hosts never allow you to feel alone. They're so hospitable and charitable and caring, and I dunno, it just brings out your faith in people and their kindness.

It's the best feeling and beats comfortable hotel blankets any day (although of course I was also really comfortable in most of the rooms/homes I've been in).

After a scorching seven-hour-drive back to LA, we made it back safely to Sam's place.


I got introduced to Tapatio sauce, which is a great spicy sauce.


I had it with my turkey pot pie, and it almost tasted like karipap with the sambal that they provide! Super sedap. (I miss speaking Malay/Mandarin here, but if I lengthened my stay, I'm sure I would pick up Spanish. I'm linguistically-inclined, after all. :P)

The night we got back, I heard a cute musical sound from outside and asked Sam what it was. He said it was an ice-cream truck, and you know I love (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) ice-cream, so I rushed out.



This was a guava ice-cream, and it's delicious, and only $1. ICE-CREAM TRAVELS TO YOU AND IS ONLY A DOLLAR. Guise, THIS IS THE LAND OF MY DREAMS THAT I WANNA LIVE IN. ($1 is about $1.30 in Singapore Dollars)

Okay I think I'm done being excited. Have a lovely weekend. So Much Love from Sarah Mei Lyana! ♥ x 28