Finally we got to Alabama where we did...NOTHING! We got to Alabama at around 6 so we just ate dinner at Makarios Kabobs & Grill, a Mediterranean restaurant and it was really good. Especially since it was a change for food from what I normally eat. I ordered a chicken wrap and some onion rings. It was just great. And then on our way to the hotel, we got lost. It was really scary since there was barely any light and then we found it. It's really funny because it's called Microtel Inn & Suites. The next day we had breakfast at Waffle House. I shared with everyone because most of the meals we ordered were huge. We also got double some of the meals for the price of one. It's a win win.
That was it for my journey through the south. It was really interesting and lots of fun.
In Tennessee, there is a lot to do because 1. it is the home of rock and roll and 2. the center of the civil rights movement. When we first got to Tennessee, we went to Graceland, the home of the great legend Elvis Presley. It was truly breath-taking. We got there at around 10 and had a little hunt. First we went to the museums to see his cars, outfits, pictures, and most of his personal belongings. Then we had a tour of his mansion at 2 but since we had time before that tour, we had some ice cream. The lady was so nice, she gave us a free scoop of ice cream extra. I got chocolate ice cream and it was great for that time because it was so hot. Anyway, after we ate the ice cream, we went on the tour of Elvis Presley's mansion. It is really nice. There's so many things in there. The Presley family are buried there and open for the public to see too. After the tour, I went to get a chocolate milk shake from the ice cream palor again and since the lady remembered me from the last time, she gave me extra on the milk shake too. But overall, the whole tour took so long that we were there for about 5 hours. That was it for the day 6.
On day 7, we first had breakfast at the Cracker Barrel. To be honest, I didn't really like it; I think it's just because I had too much Southern food in the past 6 days so I didn't want it. The service there is great though. Everyone is super nice and it's just a great way to start the day with friendly people. After breakfast, we went to Sun Records and the Rock & Soul Studio in Memphis. At Sun Records, we got to see the studio where current bands like Maroon 5 still come to record after tour hours. At the Rock & Soul Studio, it was more of a self guided tour. After that, we went to the National Civil Rights Museum. OMG that took forever and it is even worse when you're hungry. We were all getting hungry so we literally just walked through everything like it was an amazing race (Hunter's English project). We walked to Double J Smokehouse & Saloon for lunch since it was nearby. I got the BBQ pizza and sweet iced tea. The pizza was really good but get the smaller one if you're ever there. The crust is not like the ones in California. After lunch, we went to our hotel until later at night. We headed to the city to check out Beale Street. It's not much but there are mostly restaurants and bars. It was getting late so we headed back to rest.
Day 8 was another day with a tour but it was raining. It wasn't the good kind though. Usually when it rains, it's cold and somewhat refreshing. In Tennessee, it's hot and it makes you feel sticky and it's just disgusting. We checked out Studio B in Nashville and it was just like the National Civil Rights Museum. We got out as fast as possible and when to eat lunch at Bajo Sexto, a restaurant next to the museum. I got the chicken quesadilla and it was alright. After that, we went to the hotel and back out for some thai food. I was loving the thai food because I needed something different from all the Southern food. After dinner, we headed back to hotel.
On day 9, we had breakfast at Yeast Nation, a local bakery and I had a blueberry muffin. Then we went to the Ryman Auditorium and it is just beautiful. We got to see backstage and the dressing room where famous performers used to be in to prep for the show. Then we went to Yummy Thai: Asian Kitchen which let me tell you, was not as yummy as you think it will be. Also, NEVER GET BOBA FROM THERE IT TASTE LIKE GRIND BOBA PUT BACK TOGETHER. Anyway just don't get boba there. After that, we went to the Jack Daniel Distillery where I smelled so whiskey. I don't know why but it smelled like bread, apples, and fried banana to me. Then my dad told me that's what rum smells like. It was really hot during the tour but it was interesting. Also I got some great lemonade. Then we headed to Alabama.
On day 4, we checked out of our hotel room at St. Charles and headed for Mississippi. When we got to Mississippi, it was noon so we first went to the Tourist Center to see what was good in Mississippi, and then we head lunch at The Camp. I got the 3 Lil Pigs which is a burger that consist of breaded and fried pork chop topped with BBQ pulled pork, thick-cut bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo. It was really good but I thought it was a bit salty so I got a side of sweet potato fries to balance out the salty with some sweet. For drinks, I got lemonade because the burger was a bit heavy.
After lunch, we started driving on Natchez Trace and to be honest, it was just a bunch a trees and the open road, but it's definitely something you will not find in SoCal because in Mississippi, they are not in a drought like we are on the west coast. It's so green and away from the city. I loved it. After driving on Natchez Trace, we reached the exit for Jackson for dinner. We wanted to go to a local neighborhood joint so we went to a small neighborhood restaurant called The Pig & Pint. It was just another BBQ restaurant but it was small and the service was amazing. We, being the only Asians in the area, were lost in Mississippi and didn't have a place to stay at because we were just going with the flow, so we asked one of the employees for a place to stay at. He told us that if we needed a place to stay, it would be better if we stayed in Madison rather than in Jackson. We headed to Madison and found the first (at least 3 star) place which happened to be a Super 8 motel. It was the first motel I stayed at and it was not as bad as I thought it would be, but it happened to freak my parents and sister out. We did not get that much sleep that night but oh well. Well, time to go to day 5 because that's all we did in Mississippi. There was not much to do there.
In Louisiana, my family mainly stayed in New Orleans because most of the attractions we wanted to go to were within walking distance from our hotel, St. Charles. After getting to New Orleans, we first checked into our hotel rooms and by the end of unpacking, it was around noon. We walked to Acme's Oyster House where I had half of a ham po-boy (sandwich) and some potato salad. The po-boy was really good and the potato salad had pickles in it so I didn't really like it. But the gumbo and crawfish were really good. I ate bread with the gumbo and I couldn't stop. It was just the right amount of creamy and it was just... so yummy! After lunch, we felt so full, so we decided to walk down Bourbon Street. To be honest, I didn't really enjoy it because there were a lot of people smoking and most of the stores on the street were bars or strip clubs or restaurants. I think the only good thing was the decorations on the balconies of the second floor of the restaurants. There were so many flags and plants just making the view more appealing. Bourbon Street was nice except for all the smoke that filled the air. After walking for about three hours, we went to Cafe Du Monde, a French cafe that sells only beignets and coffee. If you don't know what a beignet is, it's a French doughnut and then it is served with powdered sugar on top. It is so good; just remember not to breathe through your nose when biting into the beignet. You will either breathe in the powdered sugar or blow the powdered sugar onto someone else nearby. We hung out there until around 6 pm and then we started walking around again. We had a steamboat trip down the Mississippi River at 9 pm waited around the area taking pictures of the scenery and looking at some of the stores. When we got on the boat, it was so pretty and there was jazz music playing in the background. It just felt like all of Louisiana was on the boat at once. There was the beautiful scenery and the jazz music, which is most famous in Louisiana. After the boat trip, I had a headache but there was also a Fast and Furious marathon going on so I wanted to watch it. That only made my headache worse. And that was day one.
On day 2, we went on a swamp tour. To be honest, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would. While we were going down the river, we saw alligators, wild boars, and other animals that live there in the swamp. I learned that alligators eat hot dogs and marshmallows. Well, most of the animals will eat whatever is given to them but alligators like to eat marshmallows too so if anyone went into the water wearing white, the alligators will most likely try to eat that person. After the swamp tour, we went to the Garden District to just take a breather outside of the smoky New Orleans environment. It was fun actually. We had lunch at a thai restaurant and I found a vintage clothing store. My sister even got to hold the owner's dog at the vintage clothing store. After that, we walked around a cemetery and went back to the hotel.
On day 3, I went to two plantations; Oak Alley Plantation and Laura: A Creole Plantation. At the Oak Alley Plantation, I found out that the mansion on the property was built out of love. The first owners to leave in the mansion were in love but the man wanted to live out in the country whereas the lady was more of a city girl. The man thought that by building the mansion for her, she would change her mind and move to the countryside to live with him. It worked. The mansion is open to everyone and holds parties for special events like the Bonfire Party that is held on Christmas every year. Anyways, after touring the Oak Alley Plantation, there was a restaurant on the property so we decided to go there for lunch. I had the Four Cheese Pasta and it was just amazing. It was creamy, the service was great, and it just felt like getting served at Cheesecake Factory. For drinks, I got the Virgin Mint Julep and it's even better than the one at Disneyland. It's cool and refreshing after a tour of the plantation. I'll have a link to the recipe down below if you want to try making it yourself. After lunch, we went to another plantation tour which was not very fun. I only remember the heat that the owners and slaves had to live in for the summer and that it mainly grew sugar canes as their product. That tour was just really hot. As we got back to the city, it was time for dinner so we had lunch again at a thai restaurant. It was called SukhoThai. Every time we went to a thai restaurant, I always got paw see ew, or thai stir fried noodles, because I love it. Later for desert, I got the F.B.I. which is short for Fried Banana and Ice Cream. They served the banana inside of a fried wonton sheet like a dumpling. It was so cute. After dinner, my uncle and aunt went to drop off my other uncle because he had to go to work the next day but instead of dropping me and my family off at the hotel, I wanted to check out an art sell in an alley we passed by. There was just so many lights and art everywhere I just had to see what was there. So my family and I got dropped off there and there was just so much liberal artwork being sold. There were original pieces to jewelry to T-shirts. I literally fell in love with the place. I wanted to stay and buy something, but it was getting late and we had to walk back to the hotel. Luckily after three days in New Orleans, we got the gist of which streets we had to go on to get to the hotel. After about 20 minutes, we were back at the hotel. And that was day 3.
The last day in New Orleans, we just had breakfast at the Ruby Slipper where I got a T-shirt. After breakfast, we headed to Mississippi.
Here's the link to how to make a virgin mint julep:
If you are old enough to drink, I think you can just switch the lemonade out for bourbon and not change any of the measurements.
During the past month of June, I went on vacation for almost two weeks. I went with my family and a few relatives to visit some of the Southern states. We left on Sunday at around midnight and then got to Louisiana at 6:30 am on Monday morning. During my trip, I went to Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama. As I traveled from state to state, I learned something different every time, like how in Louisiana there was a lot of bright colors for festivals like Mardi Gras and the fleur-de-lis, the official symbol of Louisiana and in Tennessee, music legends were born there and music is a big influence due to all the blues and country music that started there.
But the biggest lesson I learned while I was there was the amount of work the slaves in the past had to go through. The slaves had to go through so much and since they worked year-long, I got to see what horrible conditions they had to go through. It was so hot and humid, and stepping outside was just like walking into a sauna. Everything was so hot and sticky that even after I took a shower, I did not feel clean.
Aside from the weather, I always felt out of place because there were only black and white people in the South. Everywhere I turned, I was stared at. In the parking lot of a hotel I stayed at, a woman in the next car took a picture of us because I don't think they have seen so many Asians before.
Anyways, since I went to the Southern states for about 10 days, I will share a post for each state because I did a lot in those 10 days.
Congratulations to the class of 2016!!! To everyone who graduated, good luck in the future. I wish all of you the best because the world is the harsh reality that all the schooling and parenting hid. We all have to be individuals and the world moves quickly.
Aside from that, I went to my first graduation on Thursday. My cousin just graduated and I am so proud of her because she is the first to graduate out of all of my cousins. It was so fun to listen to the speeches and they were so inspirational. After the graduation was the hard part. Since there were so many people there and the celebration was at a race track, we had a hard time finding her after. Her cousin had a lightsaber that made it easier. We all gathered around the lightsaber and used it to find my cousin. After we found her, we created a huge circle there because a) we found her, b) we were giving her the gifts, necklaces, and posters, and c) there was great lighting for pictures.
It was such a long day so after all the pictures and hugs and congratulations, my mom, sister, grandmother, and I left instead of going to eat out with everyone. We were going to drop my grandmother off and on the way, we picked up some McDonald's because we all didn't have dinner yet and it was around 9:30 pm. While we were going to drop my grandmother off, we realized we were going in the wrong direction. We drove an extra 20 minutes in the wrong direction and just realized it when we were in South El Monte. After changing direction and dropping my grandmother off, we finally went home and got there at around 10:30 pm. It was a wonderful celebration and from where I was sitting, I could see a beautiful sunset and my cousin walk to get her diploma. To celebrate her graduation, we are going to eat some KBBQ later.
Well, congratulations to the class of 2016 and may the odds be ever in your favor in the near future.
Hey guys! Since summer is getting started, I have some songs that I think you guys might like for the summer. You know something different from the usual pop songs that play on the radio every day. So here they are:
So I didn't post this past weekend because I had to study for finals but since that's over, LET SUMMER OFFICIALLY BEGIN!!! I just finished my sophomore year and I am so happy....until junior year begins. Thank you to all the people who I have become friends with over the year and I hope to get closer to you all over the next two years at Whitney. I plan to vacation this summer so I won't be posting for a bit but don't worry. I'll be sure to share all about it when I get back. For this upcoming summer, I plan to take a trip here and there, volunteer, go to summer school, and most of all, have fun with it. Last summer was a total bummer since I was studying for SAT and trying to memorize about 1100 vocabulary words that went to waste. This summer is going to be different.
Anyway, to all my friends, thank you for being there for me and making all those amazing memories with me. I promise to treasure them forever because we only go to high school once. To all the seniors, good luck in the future and all of Whitney is going to miss you. This one is kind of short because I'm getting tired so HAVE A GREAT SUMMER EVERYONE AND HOPE TO SEE ALL OF YOU GUYS NEXT YEAR!!!
Next year will be the year everyone struggles with APs, SAT, and ACT.
Even though I posted earlier about what I did during the first half of the last week, I didn't share what I did during the other half. On Thursday, I had a chemistry test which wasn't all that hard. On Friday, I went on a college trip to UC Irvine, my dream school. I only got to go because I am part of the Big Buddy, Little Buddy program at school.
Time to explain:
The Big Buddy, Little Buddy program is a program that is part of the National Honor Society. In this program, if you are an incoming seventh grader, it is mandatory for you to join so you will meet a sophomore, junior, or senior in your first year at Whitney. If you are the sophomore, junior, or senior, you are the Big Buddy and will receive volunteer hours for voluntarily giving up your lunch time or mornings to hang out with the new seventh graders (the Little Buddies) in your free time. Each Big Buddy is given two to three Little Buddies in the school year and it is definitely the best thing I've done.
Anyway, back to my week.
On the UCI trip, we were sent out on a scavenger hunt with our little buddies to get familiar with the UCI campus. I didn't know it was for us to get familiar with the campus so I forgot about the scavenger hunt and just took my little buddies around campus on our own. The campus looked so beautiful that I just wanted to stay there. After the hunt, we went to eat lunch and have some free time. I wanted to tour the campus more but then I saw that the dance team, CADC, was going to perform their last performance for this year and the seniors. I told my little buddies that I was going to watch them with a friend so they were kind of stuck there. (whoops) There are pictures of the performance in the gallery. At around 1, we left campus to go back to school. I did hoped there was traffic so I wouldn't have to go to my last class, but we made it back to school just as the bell rang for our last class.
After school, I went to academy, expecting to do homework, but we went to the park instead to play basketball. It was so hot outside but it was so fun.
On Saturday, I was woken up by my mother telling me that we had to go to Artesia High School at 8 am to watch the elementary school track meet because my sister was on the track team for her school. So I went to the track meet and I was there until noon. It was nice and cloudy for about an hour and then the sun came out. I was sunburnt after because I was walking around the bleachers, trying to get pictures from the track meet. I would have left earlier but my sister's event didn't happen until noon. Well, I don't know if I was sunburnt from the track meet or the UCI trip but either way, I was burnt.
Then on Sunday, I got to rest but that meant I also had to study because I have finals coming up starting this coming Friday and then onto next Monday and Tuesday.
Well, that's it for this half-week update. Hope you liked it. There are pictures from the UCI trip and the track meet in the gallery so go check it out. Good luck to all of the people who still have finals coming up.
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