Grocery shopping

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, stories,Tags: , , , , , , ,

dozens of inko's tea bottles in small whole foods two-tiered shopping cartThis morning I had a massage scheduled at Massage Envy and when I was done, I decided to swing by Whole Foods to see if any of my drinks were on sale. There are a couple of brands of bottled drinks that I like to get there, but only when they’re on sale so I can combine that with the store’s case discount (buy one case, get 10% off). I was happy to find my favorite bottled tea brand, Inko’s, on sale. I immediately grabbed a dozen each of my go-to flavors: blueberry and white peach. Then, as I was checking the price, wondering what the original price was, I noticed the tags said clearance price. Now per my understanding, when something goes on clearance it’s not coming back. Sooo I tracked down someone who worked there to check and was heartbroken to learn that they are discontinuing this brand from their store.

variety of bottled teas on shelf at store, with large gap where inko's tea flavors are

I emptied quite a bit of the shelf.

Apparently they’d been trying to reorder it but couldn’t seem to get them from the company? Well, whatever the case, I was told that what was on the shelves was all they had and there’d be no more. Upon hearing this, I immediately went to get another dozen drinks, clearing them out of the rest of the blueberry and white peach and also getting some honeydew and original to try. The shelf was about half empty by the time I was done. As I pushed my cart out, the bottles jingled and jangled against each other and I was glad that I checked today.

two pints of ben & jerry's ice cream and two pints of giant brand ice creamThen after dinner tonight, I had a craving for ice cream. Panda mentioned a deal Giant is having where you can get a free pint of Giant’s own brand of ice cream when you buy a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. It’s their way of having you compare their brand to the brand name (and hopefully adopt their ice cream as your new fav). When we got there, we found that Ben & Jerry’s was on sale, so we decided to both choose our own flavors. We ended up getting 4 pints of ice cream for just $7.18 with tax! Now that’s a pretty sweet deal.

Bargaining at Silk Street Market

laelene Posted in stories,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Visitors to Beijing will probably all be familiar with the Silk and Pearl Market known as the Silk Street Market. It has six floors of shopping, grouped into types. Towards the very top you’ll find the nice fancy jewelers with precious stones and metals. There’s the electronics floor, filled with phone and tablet accessories, headphones, etc. Then are the softer goods, like blankets, cloth, and clothing. Continuing on down you’ll find purses, wallets, and shoes. Somewhere along the way you’ll encounter luggage stalls too. And of course there are plenty of fun little Chinese trinkets and gift items.

stalls of vendors at silk street market in beijing with glass wallsBargaining at the Silk Street Market is pretty much expected (except for food you eat while there). I went there today with the goal of getting Panda a new wallet (or two) and checking out anything I might want for myself. You can get to the market from subway line number 1 (the red line). Go to exit A and up the escalators to find yourself in one corner of the building that houses the market. I like to start at the top and work my way down, so I strolled through some nicer stalls first. Eventually I made my way down to my real goal on level B1: the purses and wallets. The majority were for women, but I found a stall with mostly men’s leather goods and got to work.

My style of bargaining starts with first seeing how much I actually like what they have. After all, it’s no use to bargain for something I don’t really want and won’t be pleased with. So the stall attendant stares at me while I browse through a ton of their items. If I’m not seeing what I like, I’ll ask them if they have it. In this case, none of the wallets I was looking at had a little pouch for coins, so I asked and one of the ladies went to the back to find me some. She came back with four designs, of which two were to my liking. I asked how they were sold and was told ¥460 for one. Err, what?! That’s about $75!! I mean, I can go to Marshall’s or TJ Maxx and get a nice wallet for less than a third of that price.

men's leather wallets in brown and black from silk street marketThese attendants like to ask you what your price is. I like to go lower than I’d actually want it for to leave some room, and also remain as vague as possible at first. I said I came out only expecting to spend in the 10’s (as in not going into triple-digit territory). I kept looking and when I found blemishes, the attendant cleaned them off. There was one corner that was missing a piece, so she went to get a replacement one, but I didn’t like it as much (no more identical ones left). At these places you can usually get an item for less than 20-25% of the original asking price (often as low as 8-10%). So I figured, maybe I can get both for less than ¥100. I started by saying I only wanted to spend ¥50. She lowered the price into the 200’s. Still not good enough – I thought a bit, looked a bit, and decided I’d go with ¥80 (though I was considering saying ¥60). As she protested, I told her nevermind and walked away. As I walked off, she hollered at me to come back to talk and eventually (about two stalls away), I heard her say ok. I promptly turned around and I got my two wallets for ¥80 total – just $13!! If my mom was there, she could probably get both for ¥50, but alas, I’m still happy with my purchase.

Did I get the best deal? Probably not, but I certainly did pretty well. I think part of it might have been because the attendant could tell I’m a “??” (overseas Chinese). I never actually confirmed with her (once again, remaining vague with these people is usually a good strategy), but she could tell from my mannerisms, presence, and/or skin. She said she had a feeling and that my skin was different (presumably not white enough, since mainland Chinese women like to lighten their skin tone). I’m still amazed at how they know, but those people at the Silk Street Market… they always know. After all that interaction with people, I’m sure they’re excellent at reading us all.

cup of chinese frozen yogurt with fruit toppingsI then continued on to another stall, where I saw another men’s wallet, a women’s wallet clutch, and a toiletry bag I liked. When I tried to get all three for ¥100, the attendant started to put everything back in its place. That’s when I knew I was too low for them to even bother with me. No biggie, I didn’t want or need any of those three items anyway. So I kept going and eventually made my way to another floor to explore. When I came across a frozen yogurt stand, I couldn’t resist. I was thirsty anyway and wanted something refreshing. I got chocolate chips, watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwi, and peach jam drizzle on it. I like the Chinese version of frozen yogurt, which is more tart and dense. Some of the American ones are too sweet and soft for my taste.

silk market and pearl market plastic bagAs I carried my food, I continued on and went through a couple more purse/wallet stalls. In one of the larger ones, I saw some that I liked. They were a material resembling patent leather and had a fun, bold Asian-inspired logo on them. Unfortunately the attendant bargaining with me lost interest after I said ¥50 and she came down to ¥200. I guess I was too low again, so I walked away, hoping to find the design in another stall. I didn’t see it anywhere else and my back had started to hurt, so I decided to come home. I did get the one thing I absolutely wanted from there, but I’m considering asking my mom to go back before she leaves Beijing to get that wallet for me.

Oh, and according to the bag, apparently the three things to do in Beijing are: 1. Climb the Great Wall, 2. Eat Peking duck, and 3. Do shopping at Silk Market. I’ve done them all, so I must be properly acquainted with the city then!

Paying respects

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, stories,Tags: , , , ,

In modern China, you’ll find an eclectic mix of old traditions and new lifestyles. Even as they build skyscraper after skyscraper, tucked in between those giant buildings are tiny little ones from ancient times. And even as buildings get built and land gets cleared, you might notice many large bumps of dirt scattered around. Those are the graves of our ancestors, preserved through time as the world around it changes.

It’s been 10 years since my paternal grandmother died, so our family arranged a get-together to honor her and pay our respects at her grave site. An assortment of cousins, aunts, and uncles came. Most are my grandma and grandpa’s nieces and nephews (my dad’s cousins) and their families. Our extended family branches out in ways I don’t even know and can hardly keep track of, but all that matters is that everyone who came is family.

paying respects burning chinese paper money at ancestor's dirt mound grave siteThe day started off by meeting up at my grandpa’s. Around 10:30, the male lineage of the family (my grandpa’s sons and families plus his brother’s families) went over to my great-grandparents’ grave. Through the winding streets of the city, down an alleyway, and into a small area next to homes rising around it… there you’ll find a little locked door that leads to a walled-off area just big enough for the large dirt mound that covers my dad’s grandparents. A loud burst of firecrackers set things off to announce our arrival. My uncle set up the fire and we put in stack after stack of yellow paper representing money. Ashes rose up from the flames, gently carried away by the breeze as he spoke to our ancestors, telling them who was there and that we would be visiting my grandmother afterwards. We even offered them some (fake) US dollars, burning them to send them up to the heavens for my great-grandparents to use. My uncle kow towed on behalf of all of us and we let the fire die. This was my first time visiting this grave site and I’m glad it’s been preserved despite the growth around us.

long trail of people making way through crop fields to visit grave siteWe then went out to my grandmother’s grave and the rest of the family met us there. We had 12 cars in total, carrying around 50 people. For each who could make it, there were many more who couldn’t, but it was a really good showing. My grandma is buried out in the middle of wheat fields, in a spot chosen for good feng shui. I’m not sure exactly how they know that that particular mound is hers, but the family knows.

rows of fresh green wheat crops in winter

This is what wheat looks like in winter? I never knew.

setting up dirt mound grave with flowers, picture, and offerings

Upon arrival, we got to work setting up the site with flowers, a picture, and food offerings.

preparing paper money for burning at grave

Some of us working on getting the paper money offerings ready so they’d burn easier.

extended family gathering at grave site for memorial

As the fire got started, we all gathered around.

setting off fireworks at grave site to announce arrival

A massive round of fireworks crackled in the air and set off the proceedings.

offering stacks of paper money to fire at grave

Some of the money was folded into fun shapes.

fire burning fierce with new shiny paper money offerings

The foil money really fueled the fire!

giant pile of paper money burning in front of dirt mound grave site

The fire burning at my grandma’s grave, letting her know we were there and sending up offerings.

stoking large pile of burning paper at grave site

People took turns stoking the fire and making sure everything got burnt.

kow towing at grave site with smouldering ashes of burning paper

After an uncle read my grandpa’s letter to grandma, we all took turns kow towing and talking to her.

Setting up our Homeowners Association

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, stories,Tags: , , ,

Tonight was the very first meeting for our new HOA! The builders are ready to turn things over to us residents, so we met up in the library of the local high school and got to know our neighbors, elected our board, and hashed out some issues. We easily met quorum, with over a third of the units represented (and a few more of the units aren’t even sold yet!). All we needed was 10%, which would be 6-7 people (66 units total) and we got 23. It’s very encouraging to see so much of the community engaged and willing to spend time attending.

front of freedom high school with entrance, school name, and flags flying

Getting ready to join the inaugural HOA meeting.

There are three positions on the board and I thought it was kind of strange that we chose three people irregardless of what position each might take. What if we got all three vying for President and nobody wanted to be the Treasurer/Secretary? And why is there a Vice President when it seems to make more sense to break out Treasurer and Secretary, which can use very different skill sets? One gentleman came in well-prepared with a handout of his qualifications – I totally voted for him and thought he’d be a great addition to the board, but he lost out because this is not his primary residence. While I understand the concern that he would not be living in the community, he did say he’s only 5 minutes away and would share his email and phone number. Everything else about him screamed excellent candidate and I don’t think it should have been overshadowed by the fact that he is a few streets over.

Alas, we ultimately chose the three other people up for positions – the one who I didn’t vote for admitted he had no experience like this. There is so much to navigate that I would have preferred the guy with far better credentials. After all, I don’t want lack of knowledge and expertise to hinder the development of my community and any initiatives we take on. This man is a mechanical engineer by trade and I think he said he’s from Russia. The other two that I agreed with the others on were a banker who came in with some great knowledge (and vibrant personality) and a massage therapist who is very active in the community (and the lone woman on the board). I’m happy with our board though – great diversity in background, experience, profession, interests, passions, gender, ethnicity, etc. I might have considered getting involved if I was technically considered an owner (I’m not on the paperwork so I’m only allowed to attend the meetings and vote as a proxy for Panda).

We spent a long time going over a variety of issues that we all griped over – not enough parking space, challenges with snow plows plopping piles of snow we couldn’t shovel, house settling issues, dog defecation, temperature differences in the homes, doors that get stuck… at a certain point, I felt like people were bringing up maintenance issues that should be dealt individually, though some of them were a common problem across all units that we want to take action on as a group. It was nice to compare notes with other homeowners on how they handled certain nuances of these homes and have people to commiserate with about things that can’t be helped. I thought it was really cool to be able to connect with my neighbors on these things. 😛

As we finally wrapped up, I got a chance to chit chat with a few more of my neighbors. It’s been so cold and dreary lately that nobody comes out of their homes so it’s been difficult meeting people! I’m looking forward to some community events in the coming months – we’ve talked about a barbeque, block party, pool party, pot luck, and more. Most of the residents in attendance are older and have children who are around college age. There were a few of us in the 30ish range, some with young children, and some just couples. Culture-wise we have quite a diverse offering! South Americans, East Asians, Southeast Asians, Eastern Europeans, and general Americans at the least. Many have invited me over for food, which I think would be awesome.

I had a ton of ideas that I shared with the lady board member, including an email listserv for the community and maybe even setting up a website that we could post things to. Of course later down the line we can also talk newsletter and other such communications. I also suggested mapping out where everyone lives so we can easily visualize where our neighbors are. I’m really looking forward to being involved in this HOA and I’ve offered to help out with some of the more techy things. 🙂

The academic cost of moving

laelene Posted in stories,Tags: , , , , , ,

When I was growing up, my parents and I would move every few years (no, I’m not a military brat nor are we missionaries – the two most common guesses). As a kid, this was never really an issue – I’d just help pack up my stuff and settle into another new room. I’d go to a new school with new teachers and new friends. Life would continue on its merry way and my experiences expanded further. I even went to China for a full year of schooling when I was 9 and came back without skipping a beat. But then came 7th grade.

We were living in St. Louis at the time. I’d been there for 5th and 6th grade. I don’t know when I found out, but sometime in 7th grade my dad found a better job out in New York. We’d be moving over winter break. In a way, I was glad – there was one class I was really struggling with and I was convinced I’d get my first C in the class. That’s a seriously awful grade for a straight-A student with a Chinese-American upbringing. I don’t know if I would have actually done so poorly, but I was glad I’d never have to know! The move to the New York school system meant that that particular class would get lost in the shuffle; there was no equivalent course at my new school, so it wouldn’t transfer and count for a grade.

I thought my problems were over with this fresh start, but boy was I wrong. My counselor at the new school was concerned with placing me in the advanced track in case I had a gap in education (this was only for science and math classes). She convinced my mom and I that the best course of action would be to take the classes for the normal track and then test out of it before starting high school. So I finished up 7th grade and the next year came and went as well… my counselor had left by that point, so when I went to find out how to test back into the advanced track, I hit a wall. There was no such test to be found. I was stuck taking algebra while my peers in advanced placement had moved on to trigonometry (or something like that… the details are fuzzy now).

girl sitting at hotel desk studying with textbook, homework, and graphing calculator

Studying in our Houston hotel room.

What I do remember clearly was that I blazed through my freshman math class with 100% on all homework and an infuriating 98 or 99% on the final. My teacher loved me, probably because I made him feel good as a teacher. At the end of that year, I went to him and asked what I needed to know for the follow year’s math. He got me a book and told me which chapters I’d need to focus on and my mom spent the summer tutoring me. I even brought all my materials with me when we went to visit my dad down in Houston, where he’d been working for awhile. His company headquarters had moved and we were planning on moving there to join him eventually (though we ultimately ended up going out to Los Angeles instead).

Before I started my sophomore year, my mom and I went to the principal and counselor to present all the work I’d done (fully documented in the form of homework and tests). We convinced them to let me take the next level of math with a compromise: they said I still had to sit in the class I was “skipping” due to New York state laws that force you to spend a certain number of hours in that classroom. So I doubled up on math that year and “caught” back up. I don’t remember what happened in science. I wonder if ultimately it made all that much of a difference in my education. The one main component was that I was surrounded by less motivated peers in the normal track, whereas when I got back into the advanced track classes, I was surrounded by overachievers.

Sooo the moral of the story is not to move your kids around in the middle of a school year if you care about high academic performance. Between the different school systems in America, you never know what a transition will do. At least try to hold off until the summer so there’s a much more clean break. I’m going to plan on not moving anytime during the middle and high school years for my kid(s). It’s a whole lot harder to get caught up after the fact and with each step you miss, it could set you back that much more.

Haggling at Home Depot

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, stories,Tags: , , , ,

Omg what a night. Panda and I were going to move some boxes, but we ended up spending over six hours at Home Depot haggling over blinds. At first we got help selecting options by a rep of one of the brands of blinds, which probably took an hour. Then we sat down with a store sales associate to work out a price quote and discovered that what we were told didn’t cost extra actually did. PLUS for awhile the type of wood we wanted wasn’t even showing up in the system and we had to figure out why the pricing wasn’t matching up. Ugh. Sooo we reworked everything and then haggled for a better deal because of the misinformation and trouble that we went through, but the assistant manager didn’t even seem to care and took no responsibility for our experience.

sketch of rough blueprint of condo with window measurements

They could totally tell Panda’s an engineer when he brought in this diagram.

Granted, it wasn’t Home Depot’s fault, but I do consider it their problem. After all they’re the ones selling us the blinds and the manager didn’t even apologize that it was such a hassle. Whether or not it’s their fault, they should take some responsibility for the experience we had. We weren’t being offered anything that a normal customer coming in with a completely smooth transaction would have gotten. What sort of goodwill is that, after hours upon hours of time spent for wasted effort due to a breakdown in communication? After much back and forth, we finally got offered something beyond the discounts already in place and I struggled to decide if I wanted to take the deal. If I was going to go for blinds of that quality level, I wasn’t going to get a better deal than what was on the table. However, did I want to do business with these people after it was so much trouble??

Panda was pretty keen on getting them because of the pricing and time we’d already invested in the process. We discussed for a long time and I finally decided I was ok with it if we didn’t buy anything else there (we were going to get a washer dryer set, overhead lighting, and many other random things there too). This sort of transaction left a bad taste in my mouth, but it is so steeply discounted compared to anything else we’d be able to find that I didn’t want to just walk away. Once we finally decided to go for it, we started the tedious process of finishing the quote and applying for a Home Depot card. Panda’s application was denied due to some confusion with our current address and verifying his identity, so I opened one up. There were many hiccups with my application and it took nearly an hour on the phone to get it all sorted out.

So finally, we wrapped up at 10 as they were closing… after arriving around 3:30 that afternoon. I don’t even know how our day got away like that. I mean, I thought I disliked shopping before, but now I pretty much hate it. So much trouble!! But at least we walked away with a good deal.

George of Aegina

laelene Posted in stories,Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

guy and girl sitting at outdoor table having tea in greece

A most gracious host.

Meet George. I found myself taking a ride with him on his moped all around Aegina when I was visiting Greece back in 2007. My friend and I had explored Athens the day before and we decided to split paths for the day since I wanted to check out this little island and he wanted to see some museums. After arriving, I took a cute little carriage ride before finding my way to the beach. It was not the most welcoming for bare feet (all rocks and urchins and barnacles) but I insisted on at least getting my feet wet in the Aegean Sea.

pile of about two dozen little seashells with white and pinkish orange stripesThat’s where I met George. He was at the beach, picking sea shells. He liked to collect these cute little pinkish orange ones of a similar size. When he found he could speak to me in English, he was excited to practice. So we chatted, he sharing how I could use these shells to make a nice necklace or bracelet and I learning more about the region. He gave me all the shells we found so I could make something to wear. I still have them, but never quite got around to putting something together.

shadows of two people riding on moped

Our shadows from atop the moped!

He was such a sweet man that when he asked if I wanted to see more of the island, I decided to take him up on his offer. He had a little moped that he drove around and we went off, on the one large looping road that takes you all around the island. We first went clockwise along the coast, checking out cool sights like tables and chairs right at the ocean’s edge, beautiful homes and resorts, and an amazing coastline the entire way. After awhile, we turned around and headed back towards the main area of town where the port was. I can’t remember if we kept going along the other side of the island first or if we stopped for tea, but I think the tea came last. He showed me the teeny movie theater where he worked, a nice little shopping area with many vendors, and some old historical sites. As it was nearing time to part, he asked me to have some tea with him at a cafe right across from port. I enjoyed a nice pot of Greek tea with some random plants in there. When I left, he gave me a slip of paper with his address so I could write to him.

After the excitement and insanity of 5 weeks of traveling throughout most of Europe after that, the piece of paper got put to the wayside and eventually misplaced. I think I might still have it buried somewhere in all my stuff, but I haven’t found it. I always regretted not writing to him while I still had his address and I wonder if he thinks of me (and wonders why I never wrote). I hope he’s still doing well, putting on movies for his fellow islanders and enjoying moped rides around town. I’ll think fondly of him from time to time and send well wishes his way. He lives in a beautiful, peaceful little part of the world that holds a special place in my heart. Thanks to him, I got to enjoy it in a way I never would have otherwise.


laelene Posted in stories,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve had some pretty random and interesting experiences in my life. There are the moments when I had crazy encounters with strangers, the cool things I got to experience as a result of living in Los Angeles, and wonderful childhood memories. I’d like to share more of these, since a good story can be captivating, entertaining, and powerful. Perhaps I can hone my writing skills enough to write short stories!

long stretch of flat desert road

Driving, driving, driving, til she needed to go.

Today I was chatting with Autumnfall and our conversation reminded me of an experience I had back when I was working on the set of Wristcutters. I was interning for the first time and found myself taking on all kinds of roles, including buying food, managing staff (and wrangling extras), and taking care of the actors. When we were up in the deserts of Lancaster, our hotel was a good 40 minutes from set and I got called to go pick up one of the actresses. I got her from our hotel and we started racing down the long stretch of road. She asked to smoke in my car, and being the accommodating person I am, we cracked the windows open a bit so she could puff away. About halfway there, she wanted me to pull over. There was not much more than cacti and tumbleweed for miles in all directions and she needed to pee. So, there I found myself, pulled over on the side of this two-lane road as the actress squatted next to the open passenger door of my car and relieved herself (all the time still enjoying her cigarette). It was completely out of the blue and the type of startling experience that sticks with you for how random and odd it is. It also makes for a pretty hilarious tale to tell others. Autumnfall is going to take some elements of the story and write up a little fictional story from it. 🙂 I look forward to seeing what she does with this fodder!

This, in addition with Katana’s recent request that I read over some ideas she has for a book, make me want to share more of my life stories and grand adventures. I could share the times I took rides with strangers in foreign countries, the wacky times I spent with rich guys, the amazing things I got to do as a child, the fun experiences from college, and so much more… I just wish I could put together words as well as the writers I know (Autumnfall & Katana). Alas, I’ll do my best and hope to provide some worthwhile reads. Stay tuned!

My beloved teddy

laelene Posted in stories,Tags: , , ,

old teddy bearWhen I arrived in the US as a toddler, someone gave me this one teddy bear. I think it was the lady who flew from China with me, but I don’t remember. Whatever the case, it became my all-time favorite toy. As a kid, I slept with it and hugged it and brought it along to my trips back and forth to China. Over the years, it got quite worn out and I only loved it more for that. As you can see, it ended up quite raggedy and even acquired a couple of holes. I used to stick quarters in a hole in its armpit so it became a bit of a piggy bank for a period too. At some point, I outgrew the bear and just kept it at home. Eventually, I left it at my grandma’s, where it stayed ever since. I’d forgotten about it until I saw this picture again and I wonder if my grandma still kept it in her stuff. I guess I’ll have to check next time I’m back in China!

Do you have a childhood toy that you still adore?

The “Sk8er Girl” inside

laelene Posted in stories,Tags: , , , , ,

smiling girl in hoodie sitting on skateboard going down hillI’m not your average “skater girl,” whatever you think that may be.  At the least I can guarantee that when people picture a skater, they’d never come up with me.  I don’t resemble Avril Lavigne, I don’t wear skater shoes, and I skate just fine in flip flops and a dress.  To me, skating is a really fun way of getting around and improving your balance.  I don’t do it to try fancy tricks and I can’t say that I know much about the subculture.  All I know is that there’s a certain pleasure in having a board under your feet. It looks and feels really cool too.

My favorite is when I’m breezing along, picking up some speed from a slight decline in my path, but nothing too crazy. I can go down steep hills if I foot-brake along the way, but that does a number on my thighs. When you’re cruising, it’s the best feeling in the world. There’s a gentle breeze as you roll on by enjoying the scenery along the way. I once did spent a Saturday afternoon going from Malibu to Venice and back (about 6 miles each way I think). It was amazing – beautiful weather, easy boarding, and great company. I even got to practice balancing on one foot and streamlining closer to the ground.

showing off bloody hip injury from skateboard fallWhile I did manage to get pretty good (well, better than people probably expected), I never handled hills too well. I’m not brave enough to do what it takes to carve down a hill effectively. The one time I tried going down a hill with a friend, he held my hand to steady me, but we both ended up flying from our boards and “Supermanning” down the road on our hips. That scar finally faded after a good four or five years. I may never do the more crazy stuff with my board, but I can certainly hold my own when it comes to the basics. I have a Loaded Board that I absolutely love, partly because you can bounce up and down on it and it will not break. That sort of flexibility offers better maneuverability, though it does present a challenge every time you kick off and might veer more than usual. Still, it’s totally worth it and I wish I had more of a chance to use it these days.

I made sure to take advantage of the opportunity to ride around when I was doing Orientation at UCLA. In fact, I was awarded the Avril Lavigne award:

top half of certificate for the avril lavigne skater girl award

That’s me, just the skater girl cruising around campus with my fabulous board.

standing with brand new loaded boards bamboo skateboard

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