Well, I need to do a quick summary of this week because there was a lot of stuff that happened before Saturday that I will want to remember later on. To begin, on Monday and Tuesday, I helped Keiko write her Political Geography paper. She had what was probably the coolest assignment that I have ever heard of: make up a fictional country and write about it.
Henceforth, flashbacks will be written in turquoise. I didn't exactly have that many friends in middle school. I was beginning to try to be more outgoing, but was still terribly shy at the heart of my personality. My attempts at being outgoing were restricted to public displays of weirdness. I was still terrified of intimacy with other individuals. I rarely made an effort to make friends. As a result, I spent most of my time after school alone. While I fear that spending that much time alone nowadays would kill me, at the time I honestly didn't mind it that much. To occupy myself, I drew maps of fictional countries and made up histories for these countries. I ofthen took breaks from my map drawing to think about the girls that I liked, and wished that I could spend time with them. But that was impossible, I thought, so I went back to my cartography.
Now, fastforward 10 years. Keiko invites me over to her place to help her make up a fictional country. Who would have thought that all that time I spent making up imaginary nations would actually help me live out one of my middle school fantasies. Life is weird.
Well, by now you probably want to see some pictures. I'll start with the Epic Quad Battle, which happened on Wednesday while I was meeting Jerry for lunch.
The Epic Quad Battle, for those who do not know, is becoming a UC Davis tradition, thanks in part to Tom, the man fighting the tree in the picture below. Tom is a fellow Medieval Studies Peer Advisor, and will be graduating with me on Saturday.
Ah graduation. That means I am leaving. But before I leave, all of my friends that are international students are leaving. The first to go was Boeun. We met up on Friday for the last time (till August, I hope), and went to Redrum (pronounced "Murder") Burger. Both of us had Ostrich Burgers. Like all our conversations before, eventually our last meeting devolved into us telling eachother secrets. I may have gotten a little choked up when we were saying goodbye to eachother, but that is also a secret. By the way, let me briefly justify my photo taking method. Sometimes I may surprise you and take your photo when you are not ready. Most of the time this leads to closed eyes, open mouths and stoned expressions, but sometimes it yields priceless results. Observe the photo below. Taken by surprise while drinking vanilla milkshake, and doesn't she look fantastic?
The other girls are heading home as well. On Saturday, before we set off for the mountains, I took Sung Eun and Sohyun to the Post Office to mail some of their things. What a line.
Alright, so at 1:00 we finally had everybody in the car: Sohyun, Keiko, Sung Eun and Lindsey. Oh, and I shoud give you a little bit of an introduction to Lindsey since she was not able to come to Napa last week. Lindsey has the smallest appetite of any adult that I have ever met. She ate one third of an average sized salad on this trip and positively could not eat anymore that day. Her way of speaking and accent are both very cute. She has made many friends in America, so this is a tough week for her. Finally, she is our movie star.
After an hour of driving, we arrived in Placerville. I assure you, this picture was not intentional.
The day we went to Placerville was Founder's Day. So it was a big festival with people in period costumes. It also happened to be the day of the national gold panning championships at the Gold Bug Mine, so we went there too.
It was not a good day to go gold panning because of the crowds, so we went into the mine instead.
Sohyun and Keiko in the mine.
The mine was really small, so we were out within 5 minutes. We went to a refining demonstration, then got back on the Trolley Car bus which took us back to town.
Some of the characters in period costume. We just missed the gunfight.
After seeing what the festival was like, we left Placerville as quickly as possible and headed up into the Sierra Nevada mountains. Our next destination was Grover Hot Springs, where we were greeted with a line that took half and hour to get through. Beautiful scenery, at least.
Actually, Keiko and Lindsey have wanted to go to an American hot spring ever since I first mentioned their existence. Keiko's comment after first setting eyes on the hot pool at Grover Hot Springs: "Still, it's OK." I have no doubt that Japanese and Korean hot springs and very different.
After the hot springs, we went to set up camp at Turtle Rock Campground, but since the kitchen at Wolf Creek (the restaurant next to the Cutthroat Saloon) was only open till 9, we decided to go to dinner first.
We were all famished. Grace finished an entire plate overflowing with ribs, and Keiko finished most of a 14oz steak, Sohyun cleaned her ate all the components of her hamburger except the bread (which she didn't eat because it wasn't whole wheat), I ate my chicken sandwich, a cup of soup and and extra plate of fries, and Lindsey ate about a third of her salad.
Markleeville at night. Beautiful full moon.
Having stuffed ourselves, especially Lindsey, we returned to Turtle Rock and made camp...
Slept though an uneventful night, attested the pad to the top of the car...
And left Markleeville.
Even though we were behind schedule, there was one final stop I had to make.
So, we arrived at Camp Lotus, put in spot for our whitewater rafting trip, just on time.
Everyone else was running a little late, though, so we had time to go to the river and experience just how cold it actually was. We had to leave this spot when a grumpy goose showed up.
About half an hour later, we began to suit up. Poor Keiko. She had so much trouble with the wet suit. Her height and weight indicated that she should be a small, but while the bottom portion of the wet suit fit perfectly, the top was WAY too tight for her. It was very uncomfortable for her. Finally, we decided just to put on the wetsuit half-way, cover up with these orange shells, and not tell the guides. This is Keiko resting after the exhausting battle with her gear.
My gear was no problem.
Here we are, ready before all the other groups.
And here is our guide, Dale, with Lindsey and Sohyun on the river.
Keiko and Sung Eun.
We all had to jump in the river at the beginning, and to Keiko's dismay, the guide discovered her lifevest was not tight enough.
Lunch, sure enough, it was crushed.
Me at lunch, feeling good.
Keiko and grace after going down the best rapids of the river. According to Dale, we were one of the 3 best crews he had ever had. We were not strong, but we worked together and always followed instructions. We got into one really bad situation where the entire boat was flooded (according to Dale, a situation that usually results in the boat capsizing) but we worked together and got out of the situation unharmed. Another time we accidentally floated through some really bad branches, but, again we emerged unharmed.
By the end of the trip, we all wanted to go down bigger rapids. Sadly, the South Fork of the American River is really for beginners. Instead we chose to go swimming.
Lindsey posing on the boat, in a very dangerous position.
Me in the water.
Keiko got pulled in by the guide, and then she tried to get out on her own. No luck. We pulled her in.
We got a tow to the take out point.
Then went to the Argonaut in Coloma for some ice cream.
Walked around Coloma and went home. On Monday I am going to go have dinner with Sung Eun, Sohyun, Keiko and Lindsey for the last time (until August, hopefully). I am not looking forward to saying goodbye.