research

LaBobatory Exploration

Being in Southern California, there is really no shortage of boba or boba places. I personally haven’t explored a ton of them, relying on friends’ favorites as my own go-to places. And at those places, like Factory Tea Bar and Half & Half, I really can’t go wrong. But with another one of my friends, who is only a little more clueless about boba than I am, we decided we wanted something different.

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culture

Tasty-est Recipes

I’m relatively obsessed with Tasty; I watch a ton of their videos (sometimes multiple times), and if that wasn’t enough, I even have the app - it’s the first sign of madness. So I’ve made some of their recipes before, but nothing as ambitious or as obviously “Tasty” as the Chicken Parm Lasagna Roll Ups.

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research

Pirates

Each of the 8 houses at Caltech hold their own Interhouse: a party that they plan, build, and put on as a house. In third term, there are 3 parties: Lloyd’s, Blacker’s, and Fleming’s. Blacker’s Interhouse was this past weekend, with the theme of pirates. While the structure itself was pretty awesome (project leads decided to build a boat) the party was also really fun. It started off slowly, like all Interhouses do, but by 12 it was a great party, with the boat being crowded with people dancing, talking, and enjoying the music.

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research

Norton Simon Visit

Although Pasadena is not that large, it does have a nice museum called the Norton Simon Museum, which houses the previously private collection of - and you can probably guess this - Norton Simon. It has a pretty wide range of works from Europe, with selections from before 1700 all the way up to the present.

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clubs

Room Escape LA

Every now and then, ASCIT puts on small social events for students to go and do something off-campus. Last term there was a Color-Me-Mine excursion; groups of students were chosen by lottery to go to a session at a place called Color-Me-Mine, where groups can go and paint, chat, snack, and even drink if they are old enough (this would depend on what was reserved for the group though). They either paint something on a canvas (like a landscape or a still life) or they paint pottery.

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culture

Blacker Pop-Up Restaurant

Early in the term, some moles sent out an invitation to Blacker members to come to their Pop-Up Restaurant. They wished to prepare and serve a fancy meal to their fellow house members - for experimenting with fancy food. In a concerted effort with Tom Mannion (who has had previous experience with this sort of stuff), they completed a nine-course menu which we were served for dinner.

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global

Caltech Dance Show

Although the Caltech Dance Show is put on every year, this is the first year I went (1 of 2, not too bad I guess). A few moles gathered together to walk over and get tickets to watch the show; it was split into 2 parts, with an intermission in between. There were quite a few groups and dances - a lot of cool hip hop, but also more specialized dances such as ballet, a Chinese fan dance, and a few different types of Indian dances.

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research

​H-Mart in California (and Why Thirsty)

I decided to go out on a Wednesday night, crazy, I know. Anyways the entire point was to try this place that homemakes their boba just as I’m working with CDS to do. This place is called “Why Thirsty”, it’s Taiwanese and off Rosemead. Basically the first good sign is that there were a bunch of Chinese characters I couldn’t recognize on the door; that’s always a great indicator for good boba.

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culture

A Story of Formal Finery

Each year, ASCIT arranges a formal dance for the students who wish to attend. The Social Director organizes venue, ticket sales, and transportation for the students who want to go. This year, they held Formal at Hotel Alexandria. I went to formal with a friend, as each other’s “dates” - I somewhat jokingly dressed up in a suit to escort her to the dance. It was both of our first times at formal, so it was a new experience to see everyone from all of the Houses dressing up in long dresses and fancy suits. The venue was pretty - but we didn’t arrive in time for pictures, so we couldn’t go up to the second floor balcony (I hear it’s kinda famous?) to see the city or have photo ops. Even so, we enjoyed ourselves having food and chatting with friends, and even dancing a little.

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culture

New Term, New Place

For the third term, a few friends and I decided to move off-off. This is the customary way for Techers to say renting an apartment not owned by Caltech, and therefore not governed by the Housing Contract. It’s an unusual move so late in the year, but our group knew that we wanted to move off-campus next year (for my Junior year). There’s a multitude of reasons to move so late, but our primary reason was that an apartment in our desired complex was up for rent, and so we wanted to take advantage of that while we had the chance.

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clubs

Chinese New Year Parade

For Chinese New Year, all of the Chinatowns that I know of put on a parade at some point in time. I heard from my family that the parade in Chicago was actually on a Monday a little farther into the new year, but in LA, it was on the first weekend. I went to see the parade that day (not very early admittedly); from what I saw, it had a lot of other ethnic groups marching as well, including dancers, cowboys, etc. as well as marching bands from a lot of high schools around the area.

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culture

Avery's Coco Interhouse

This year, Avery interhouse was in second term (they had it third term in my freshman year). It was Coco themed - which may not seem like a great theme to begin with, but the artwork to go along with it was really amazing. The dance floor was set up inside, so that the room was really cozy. In my opinion, it’s actually advantageous to have a small dance floor for interhouses. When a large dance floor is too empty, many people don’t want to stand out and start the dancing, whereas if the floor is smaller, as long as a few people are dancing, the floor looks more populated.

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research

The Caltech Dance Show

About a week ago I started seeing posters for the Caltech dance show. It seemed like a fun time and honestly I could’ve sworn I remembered seeing something on there about snacks at intermission (spoiler alert: there weren’t any snacks) so this past Friday night at 7:30pm I found myself sitting in the back of Ramo auditorium watching, well, a dance show.

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global

Taiwan

Taiwan has gorgeous mountains and forests. There are also fields for agriculture in other regions, rocky mountain gorges, the ocean, hot springs, and other attractions throughout Taiwan. We went to this place called Sun Link Sea, which is a beautiful forest with hiking trails.

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global

Taiwan

Blogging on my travel before and after study abroad is long overdue – at the start of my journey, I flew from the US to Singapore, then Taiwan, then Bruges, and finally Cambridge. My blog posts on Singapore are up, so time to start with Taiwan! Taiwan isn’t Taiwan without its variety of food – shops on the side of the street, food carts, proper restaurants, and more. On our first day, we got delicious boba tea from this super aesthetic shop.

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culture

Taco Tuesday and Pi Day

In the last week of term, my friends hosted a Taco Tuesday at their apartment. The food was amazing. The chicken, chorizo, steak, refried beans, guac, and salsa were all homemade!

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research

Visiting a Bird Collection

Warning: don’t read on if you don’t want to see pictures of stuffed/preserved birds!

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culture

Dourmet Dishes

This is the part of a series of posts on food that can be prepared in a dorm kitchen amidst the craziness of life at Caltech. I absolutely love peanut butter. Whether on toast, in oatmeal, in smoothies, or spoonfuls straight out of the jar, I love the rich, creamy texture and salty-sweet flavor. It’s perfect in every way but one—it needs to lighten up. It’s a little too dense and sticky. (This is especially inconvenient when eating it out of the jar.) I’m happy to announce that I have a solution to this peanut butter problem: pair it with pumpkin puree. The resulting spread is whipped and airy, with a light sweetness and hints of pumpkin flavor added to the classic peanut butter taste. The method is simple—just beat together equal parts peanut butter and pumpkin puree with a fork until light and fluffy. Cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg can be mixed in to enhance the fall flavor.

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local

Hiking in Almaden Quicksilver County Park

I love going hiking, and I recently discovered Almaden Quicksilver County Park when I went home this past break. I came here with a high school friend, and we hiked for a few hours. I like this park because there are both wider routes and smaller, shaded ones that go through the forest! We also came across a reservoir with a lot of dried mud next to it, and some quails :)

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research

Art Center Scholarship Portfolio Exhibition

Last week, I went to a scholarship portfolio exhibition hosted at the Art Center. My Graphic Design teacher recommended us to go to see what strong, developed portfolios look like, and I’m really glad I went! All of this is so different from what you see at Caltech; it’s so refreshing and creative (and also a bit overwhelming).

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local

Birthday Celebrations

Most of us got various schnitzels for the main, and my boyfriend and I also got a pretzel and the weisswurst to share. It was my first time having the white sausage, and I thought it was pretty good :) I haven’t had the real thing in Germany though, so I can’t say if it was authentic or not.

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local

Valentine's Day Celebrations

On Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend and I started off the day by making scrambled eggs on toast. I love toast and almost every variation on toast! I feel pretty silly saying that, but it’s true.

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local

Ice Cream Around LA Part 2

An overview of the ice cream places around LA, continued :) Salt & Straw Salt & Straw is in the Arts District in LA, and I believe their salty flavors are what they are famous for. I haven’t been there in a while, since I think their ice cream doesn’t really suit my taste. I once had their strawberry ice cream with smorgasbord coffee ice cream, which was a very good combination, but the second time I went, they didn’t really have any flavors I liked. I know a couple people who think Salt & Straw is the best ice cream place in LA, so it’s definitely worth giving a shot.

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culture

Bubbly, Midnight Wieners, and Formal Dinner

In Page, we have an event called Bubbly to celebrate the last day of classes. This year, our grill team made banh mi for everyone! Everyone was talking in the courtyard, so it was great to just hang out and chill.

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culture

Ice House Comedy Club

In each house, the upperclass counselors (UCCs) host an alley event each term. These are subsidized events that the UCC chooses, such as laser tag, going to a restaurant, bowling, paintball, horse riding, etc. Typically, each person in the house will choose one alley event that they want to go to, although you can attend multiple (you just won’t get subsidized after the first one).

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global

Caltech Y Decompression

The Caltech Y is an organization on campus that hosts various extracurricular activities including tutoring, hiking and camping trips, volunteering, and more. Decompression is an event they host on the last day of classes every term. At Decompression, there’s dinner, sometimes a movie, and other various events to help de-stress.

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culture

Potluck!

At the end of the term, just before Venerable interhouse, my friend Janice organized a potluck at the Chester apartments, which is Caltech-owned off-campus housing. She invited her separate friend groups to meet in one place, so there were a lot of people I didn’t know, but it was fun meeting new people! The theme of the potluck was ‘food that reminds you of home’ – a really cute theme. I made braised pork rice, which is a classic Taiwanese dish. Others made arugula salad, bread with trout spread, gimbap, hot cheetos chicken, channa, curry puffs, and more. We could barely fit all the food on two tables!

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culture

Love Sucks

Every term, the a cappella groups at Caltech have a concert. Their second term concert usually comes around Valentine’s Day, and is called ‘Love Sucks’. This year, the concert was in Beckman Auditorium, also known as the Wedding Cake. This hall is usually reserved for special events such as Commencement, but since all the other auditoriums on campus were booked this year, they managed to get this very fancy event hall.

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local

Artisanal Donuts

In DTLA, there’s a cute shop called Birdies LA that sells donuts! Instead of the typical flavors, they have dark chocolate, cinnamon toast crunch, strawberry and vanilla, and more. They even have a donut that is decorated like a penguin, and they were also featured on Buzzfeed for selling a $100 donut that’s covered in gold flakes.

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local

Santa Anita Horse Races

Apparently Page house used to go to the horse races at the Santa Anita Race Track every year, and this year we decided to bring it back as a house event. On President’s Day, we all went to the horse races, where there were $2 hot dogs. It was pretty fun to watch the races and we even bet a bit (we won one bet, but lost the other so it ended up almost even). The 4th race of the day was even named after us!

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local

Poppy + Rose

Last weekend, I went to get brunch in downtown LA at Poppy + Rose, which is right next to the flower market district. There were stalls selling various foods, orange juice, and flowers, along with a lot of flower shops on the street.

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local

Ice Cream Around LA Part 1

Since I’ve come to college, I’ve probably consumed more ice cream than I have in the rest of my life. I feel like I have ice cream nearly every weekend now…It’s definitely not a healthy habit, but it’s so nice to get ice cream :) Here’s a short, 2-part overview of the ice cream shops I’ve visited around LA, in order of distance from campus: Afters, Bengees, and Baskin Robbins: Afters is very close to campus, on Chester and Allen, and features crazy flavors like milk tea and lavender. The ice cream is very pigmented, and they also have this blue colored ice cream in a glazed bun…which I haven’t tried, but it looks very sweet. Bengees is another ice cream place close to campus, near Lake Ave, but I haven’t been there. I think the general consensus is that Bengees has more classic ice cream flavors and is better than Afters. There’s also a Baskin Robbins on Lake! These ice cream places are all a 10 minute walk away from campus.

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research

My Favorite Class Last Term

Wouldn’t it be neat to look at something magnified to tens of thousands its normal size—so much that you can see the individual hair follicles on an ant (and realize it’s just as furry as a dog)? Or to fabricate an LED from scratch, doping the semiconductor and etching out the contacts, all to be rewarded by a tiny yet brilliant red light? Or to design a microfluidic device, drawing it in AutoCAD, making the mold out of a silicon wafer, and after producing each polymer layer, watching blue ink flow through the tiny channels?

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global

Cirque du Soleil

This term, ASCIT organized a trip to Cirque du Soleil at Dodger Stadium. Tickets were $10 each, and transportation was provided. It was my first time seeing Cirque du Soleil! The show was based on Mexican culture, with the name ‘Luzia’ fusing two Spanish words ‘luz’ and ‘lluvia’, meaning light and rain respectively.

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local

McConnell's at Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market in Downtown LA is great. It’s home to many stalls selling food ranging from breakfast sandwiches like PB&J to Thai food to lobster rolls to excellent ice cream. Since I went at night, more of the market type stalls were closed, but the ones selling dinner were still open.

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local

Hiking in Ernest E Debs Regional Park

I didn’t know about this park before, but apparently there’s a large open space park just 15 minutes away from Caltech, in Montecito Heights! It’s also the home to the Audubon Center, which is a bird conservatory and education center. I went hiking here this past weekend :)

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research

Taking Graphic Design at Art Center

This term, I’m taking Introduction to Graphic Design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Caltech has a partnership with them where Caltech will pay the class fees for us, and we are able to sign up for the Art Center at Night (ACN) courses. We do have to pay for the materials ourselves though, such as foamboards, x-acto knives, portfolio folders, etc..

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global

Hong Kong pt4

Hong Kong is indeed known for shopping, maybe because their history is not as large, long, and as impressive as China’s. While they do have amazing shopping complexes, with a lot of high end brands with stores all over, there are similarly many street markets. You can find a lot of small stalls in side streets, as well as stalls that set up during the evening and night specifically. A lot of the side streets have small stalls that sell fresh produce, all for very cheap (and most likely locally grown as well). It’s very interesting to see cheap prices for the foods when I am used to super expensive organic locally grown products.

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global

Hong Kong pt3

Hong Kong is a really pretty city. It doesn’t feel very different from many other American or European cities, mainly because it is so young (only a couple hundred years). In addition, it is mostly the city itself that is an attraction. There are a few temples that are nearby, but they are actually very young, with their relics being from the 20th century for the most part. Instead, I saw a lot of ads for the Asian gambling capital, Macau. Although we didn’t go, I’ve heard that it’s very much like Las Vegas, with a lot more shopping, like Hong Kong.

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culture

Hong Kong pt2

As we went during Christmas, there were many different decorations for the holidays. Both commercial and city-sponsored displays and shows are on during the whole of December. Hong Kong is also well known for their light shows, of which there are multiple during the holiday season. In general, they’re put on by malls trying to attract customers for the season. And all of the high end malls have extravagant decorations for Christmas, ranging from tinsel and rocking horse displays to those made by professional artists, all in the name of Christmas (shopping).

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global

Hong Kong pt1

Over break, I had the good fortune to go to Hong Kong with my family to enjoy the city. It’s built on multiple different islands, but the principle ones being Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. It’s a really beautiful city, because from either side of Victoria Bay, you can see all the buildings on the opposite shore. It’s especially pretty at night, when the sky lights up and you can see the dark water reflecting off of all of the skyscrapers. Sometimes you will also see a couple of junks (reconstructed, not original junks) for which Hong Kong used to be known for as well. However, now those two ships are used as large tourist attractions; they’re reserved far ahead of time, and are generally pretty expensive to ride on, especially when there is the ferry across the harbor which only takes 5 minutes and 50 cents, from which one can look at the views of the city.

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Spotlight


culture

Caltech Food Tour

Caltech may be a small campus, but it has a large variety of food options. There are three main dining locations on campus — The Lee F. Browne Dining Hall, the Hameetman Center (which houses our beloved Red Door Cafe), and the Broad Café.

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academics

Some Late-Night Stress-Saving Food Runs

Midterms kept up its unrelenting attack on my sanity this week – at least a little bit. And how did I solve this? Two words.

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culture

Caltech Art Gala

Every year, Caltech’s literary and arts magazine Totem hosts the Art of Science competition.

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global local culture

Quick Trip to the Beach

Although there are a lot of smaller things, such as midterm smoothies and milkshakes (Blacker does something similar to this) and some larger things like Faculty Dessert Night, the soc team usually agrees that beach trip is the most work.

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