San Diego: Seaport Village

I spent days consuming the glistening sand of Coronado‘s beaches and hours in a trance glaring at the bright blue color illuminating from La Jolla’s skies. On my final day in San Diego, I decided to visit the sunny Seaport Village.

Window shopping by the waterfront, strolling on the boardwalk, and honouring veterans and current troops at the Maritime Museum. What a wonderful way to spend my last few hours in San Diego.

Again, let us just appreciate the beauty and history present in this environment. San Diego in general was life altering. I admire and value California’s culture at a much greater level because of my heart-stirring experiences in San Diego.

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The art; the music; and the animals. Just a few of my favourite things.

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Wave after wave.

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It wouldn’t be a Seaport Village without some ships.

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Veterans Day spent honouring our troops.

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San Diego: La Jolla

Just a random thought before I start this post. I wonder if every blogger starts blogging because they enjoy writing, need a platform to vent, or have an interest in their niche of choice. Or, do some bloggers go into it already with the intention of making profit? 

Just a thought. 


Welcome to Part 2 of my mini San Diego series. If you tuned into last week’s post, you will remember my personal reflections and appreciations of Coronado. This week, we fly to the breathtaking La Jolla (seriously get ready to be lost for words). Since my last San Diego post focused heavily on my experiences and reactions to the city, this post will be mainly photo driven.

This journey starts off in the Ocean Beach neighbourhood. Let us all just take in those bright blue skies. Vivid and bold colours tend to brighten my mood.

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La Jolla

After spending a few hours in the Ocean Beach neighbourhood – eating ice cream, taking photos, and window shopping – We started our route to the legendary La Jolla. Every Uber driver, San Diego local, and California lover has spoken highly of La Jolla. My crappy iPhone 7 photos do not do this place justice. At this point in the day, it was dark, chilly and gloomy outside. I was too cold to pull out my DSLR. Still though, take in those views.

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OMNIA Nightclub

I am 21 years old and I like to have fun. Even though I was completely satisfied with my busy exploration day, the night was still young. I’ll leave the OMNIA stories out of my post. Those are “friends only” stories. In short, I had a great day AND night. Here are a few pictures I captured.

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San Diego: Coronado

I’ve been contemplating how I should arrange this post. Only two days were spent in San Diego, yet I have enough stories and pictures to last a lifetime. Since my trip was so fascinating, life changing, and beyond breathtaking, I decided to make a mini San Diego series (with a Tijuana post, of course).

Before going to San Diego, my opinions on the city were limited. After visiting the main cities in North Cal, I assumed South California would have the same characteristics. Boy, was I wrong. San Diego was my first South Californian city to visit. It was also the first time I actually felt like I was IN California. Everything I had ever dreamed of coming to this State was present this weekend in San Diego. The array of palm trees everywhere I went, the glowing beaches, and the bright blue skies made me feel like I was living a California dream. As of now, I officially know that California is HOME for me.

Like many of my other posts, this one is heavily pictured.

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While the weather in Sacramento has been rainy the past few weeks (winter has finally hit California), San Diego was fairly sunny. Sunny enough for this Canadian native to jump into a bikini and hit the beach. With so many beaches to choose from, I didn’t know where to go first. Which beach is the best one, I wondered. With our hotel being only a few minutes away from Coronado, we decided to go there.

The walk to Coronado was magnificent. This is where I began seeing California for the surreal State it is. There is something about the layout of this area that appealed to me. I felt like I was in an episode of One Tree Hill. I’m in California, I thought. The little girl inside of me that always dreamed of moving here was feeling all giddy. I’m ACTUALLY in California!

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I adore beaches. The heat, the sand, and the positive vibes surrounding me were gratifying. I sank my bare feet into the warm ground and felt the adrenaline slowly move up my body. I froze up like a mannequin. This beach, here in Coronado, was where I was supposed to be. In that moment, I felt almighty. I felt safe. I can be philosophical about my experience, but I see no point. I think moments like these make you realize your interconnection to the universe. You finally see yourself and your experiences for what they mean. This moment made me understand that I am taking the right path in my life. Sure, career wise I do not know where a Journalism degree might take me. But, I now know what it takes to make myself happy.

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And here I am, feeling comfortable and happy with myself. It’s so weird how your body and soul work. When you feel good mentally, you begin to feel good physically. San Diego was truly a life changing experience. I hope you all stay tuned for this mini series!

Yilei Xiao: From China to California

Yilei Xiao is an international, exchange student from Zhejiang in China. She is studying Interior Design at Sacramento State. Back home, at Nanjing Tech University she studies Landscape Design. 


Where in China are you from?

East of China… It’s called Zhejiang.

What do you miss most about China? 

My parents and my grandma. The hours are different by 15 hours. It’s kind of like they are in my tomorrow. I’m still in their yesterday. It’s more than half a day a part.

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Why did you decide to come to America for exchange?

Because I want to see different cultures and to learn English. As a transfer student, we only have transfer programs to America. There are over 50 universities I could choose in America. If I fly from China to America, California it’s the closest to my home. I also really like the weather here.

Can I talk about the weather in California. For the past 4 months, it has only rained once.

Why do you think it’s important to learn English?

I think it’s interesting to communicate with different people from different countries.

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Have you had culture shock here?

Nearly everything is different. For example, in class it’s so strange that people can leave before class is over. Back in China, teachers think it’s impolite to leave before class is done. Here, no one cares about what you do. And obviously the food here is really different.

Oh and people here have high enthusiasm to participate in parties and in sports. Everyone likes to assemble. Also, when I’m walking in the streets here I can say hi to anyone even if we don’t even know each other

What new experience do you want to have while you’re here in America?

I experienced my first sports game here in America. Back home we all know that Americans like sports and people are all really enthusiastic about sports. I just go to the games here and have different experiences because of how passionate these sports fans are.

How can you compare American students to Chinese students?

I never talk much with American students, so I don’t know much about them. During the classes that I have taken, I see nearly most of the students paying attention in lecture. Students in China are always writing their notes by hand. There is an old proverb that says ‘writing can help you memorize things.’ Here everyone writes their notes on their laptops.

There is always a misunderstanding with a lot of Chinese students. There are a lot of students who have a lot of wealth and their families will send them abroad to study and a lot of these students don’t like school. I don’t hang out with these students. I feel like their parents did not give them a proper education. But some of these students are very hard working because studying abroad is an opportunity to cherish. Money sometimes does not equal a good education.

Do you feel scared being an international student in America? 

I rarely go off campus, but when I’m on campus I feel very safe. There are so many people in China. Here sometimes when you walk on the street there are only cars passing by. This kind of situation scares me. I read the news everyday and there is so much bad news here in America of deaths and hate crimes always happening.

I don’t think about my race when I think of safety. I think  you should try your best to obey all the rules in the country you are staying in. Don’t do something that others would get mad at you for.

Are you ever going to come back to America once your exchange is done?

I’m not sure. Maybe for travelling. I want to go back to China. I miss everything about China. I grew up there. I miss my parents; my family. America is so far away from there.

What are your thoughts on the Yulin Dog Meat Festival?

We really hate it. We have a micro blog and we’ll expose the people who hurt animals. When people from different cultures mention that we all eat dogs, we feel a lot of shame about that.

Lake Tahoe

The serenity I feel consuming the phenomena of the physical world is indescribable.

The mountains, lake, beaches, trees, hiking trails, and even city of the Lake Tahoe region took my breath away. Literally, climbing those mountains was tiring. Visiting Lake Tahoe was a MUST on my California bucket list. Partially because of its close proximity to Sacramento, but the landscape is truly a sight to see.

Though we drove around the perimeter of the whole lake, our main excursions were to South Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay, Tahoma, the StateLine (for the casinos), and Sand Harbor.

I want to keep my words to a minimum and let my photos do the talking.

California Side

South Lake Tahoe

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The Nevada Side

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Farm To Fork Festival In Sacramento

I had the best weekend! Blog post done.

Just kidding… My weekend in Sac Town was lively. Can you really blame a girl for wanting to share her happiness with the rest of the world? I don’t think so.

One of my roommates wrote in her journal: “Happy thoughts only.” I think this is an important motto to remember when writing. Even though, I still want to share some of my deeper and more emotional thoughts with you, I want my travel section to remain POSITIVE. Looking back at my travelling adventures, I only want to remember HAPPY THOUGHTS.

Friday Night Lights

This section will be short and sweet (you’ll catch my drift in a bit). A typical Friday night for a bunch of college students was in place. You know the type filled with beers, other drinks, food, music, and more beers. A Sacramento pub called Low Brau has officially become a Nicole favourite. That is where we spent our Friday night. The atmosphere there is homey and fun. It’s just what I like. After a couple of drinks and an incentive to explore, we found ourselves stumbling into a dessert diner. Yes, those apparently exist. Giving us total 1960’s feels, we ordered the most delicious milkshakes and sat for a few hours. What a night!

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Farm To Fork Festival: The Real Fun

Sac Town is apparently America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital (I did not know this). Just like its name, the festival celebrates where the local food comes from. Wearing our comfiest shoes, we spent what seemed like the whole day checking out each local vendor. The free event offered a generous selection of fine food and drinks.

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The Food

Heading to the event, it was our intention to buy lunch there. We would find a vendor that appealed to our tastebuds and purchase lunch from them. But, booths were giving out free samples. And of course, I took each free sample I could get. Cheese, bread, fish tacos, pumpkin pie, cookies, and coffee were handed out for free. After devouring what seemed like my 20th free sample, I was full.

To be fair, we did pay for a fun, interactive wine tasting event held at the festival. California wine really is a marvel.

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The culture and community made this event special to me. Back in Toronto, locally grown foods aren’t celebrated or even acknowledged as much. Seeing thousands of people come out to applaud their local food culture was charming and quite inspiring. In a city that is so diverse with national identities, I appreciate the bond the food culture established for the citizens of Sacramento.

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