Gardens by the Bay is one of Singapore’s main tourist attractions. It’s a huge nature park, with three main attractions: the Flower Dome, the Cloud Forest, and the Supertree Grove. The domes are large air-conditioned spaces, filled with flora from different parts of the world.The flower dome is more a more dry environment and contains plants representing Australia, California, the desert, and other dryer environments.
Throughout both domes, there are pieces of art scattered everywhere. This portion of the succulent garden is named ‘Aloes in Wonderland’ and has all the various characters from Alice in Wonderland.
The cloud forest dome is much more humid and is regularly misted to keep up the humidity. It’s also fairly mild and cool, representing plants found in Middle-South America and South-East Asia. When walking in, there’s a huge waterfall structure, and to walk through the whole dome you ascend 7 stories up the waterfall to the top of the ‘Cloud Mountain’, and then make your way downwards.
In the photo above with the carnivorous plants, those plants are actually made out of legos! Isn’t that amazing? (There were real carnivorous plants on the side as well though.)
I really enjoyed the Cloud Forest because there were so many orchids of different kinds, and they were all so beautiful! Next up is the Supertree grove, which are vertical gardens containing ferns, orchids, and more. They also act as huge vents for the hot air from the air conditioned domes.
From the domes, you can walk to an area called Marina Barrage, which has amazing views of the ocean and of the city skyline! It’s very relaxing and nice to just sit there and rest. People fly kites there as well, which I think is super cute.
Starting college can be a big transition. You’re moving to a new place, starting a new school and classes, and faced with making new friends in an unfamiliar environment. And, of course, there’s that whole “becoming an adult” thing. But, you’re also leaving a lot behind. Every new beginning means that an old chapter must come to an end. Leaving behind our friends at home may seem difficult, especially if they’re going to be a long distance away from you during the school year. Something I made sure to do was to spend a lot of time with them during the summer after high school. Of course, going to college doesn’t mean you’ll never see your friends again, or that you will no longer be friends with them. Good friendships will last if you put effort into them. It may seem hard initially. Coming into Caltech, it’s a sharp adjustment and many are caught up in the excitement of Orientation, Rotation, and starting classes. It may be hard to remember to check your phone frequently and to make time for phone calls and such. Rest assured that if you have other friends going to college, they’re probably going to go through similar things you will. In this transition period, it can feel like you’re going to immediately lose touch with people that mean a lot to you.
Let’s face it: the US loves being just a little different from everyone else. The obvious example? Units of measurement. As an international student from Canada, even I have no clue what’s going on half the time when my friends talk to me and use these weird nonsensical units. And I’ve literally lived on the border between Canada and the States for all my life. After a year here, I’ve finally got a sense of how the two systems of measurement compare and how you can more easily get your bearings with these weird units.
After a year spent in “soft-lockdown” at home in Atlanta, and as Caltech students prepared to finally return to campus, I was aboard an eight hour flight towards Edinburgh, Scotland. Since my junior year plans were interrupted by the virus who shall not be named, I’m spending my first term of senior year studying abroad through the Caltech - Edinburgh University International Exchange program. I’ve only been here just over a week yet have been exposed to so many new people, perspectives, foods, and classes.
When the announcement was first made that fall term was going to be online, I started talking to friends and looking for places to live. We were debating locations around the country: California, Florida, New York, etc.. there were plenty of options. Then it suddenly hit me, what is stopping us from going to Hawaii, covid numbers were better and a two week quarentine would ensure that numbers stayed down… I proposed this to my friend and we agreed it would be an amazing experience, but we didn’t want to get out hopes up. A month or so later we still haven’t decided where to live, Hawaii seemed too far and too difficult to plan. But we couldn’t get the idea out of our heads. We spent some time looking into plane tickets, places to stay, etc… and it actually didn’t seem so impossible after all. A couple weeks later and we were arriving here on the big island!