Freshman year of Caltech is over, and—besides friends, clubs, and maybe classes— there’s one thing I’ll really miss this summer.
Every weekday morning this school year, I awoke to the promise of the cool, tangy juice of plump red raspberries bursting in my mouth. Their sweet morning greeting motivated me to slide off my bunkbed, slip on sandals, descend a flight of stairs, and cross the courtyard into the cafeteria within minutes of my 7 AM alarm. Raspberries were my favorite fruit when I arrived at Caltech in the fall. Now, a hundred and fifty raspberry-replete breakfasts later, that hasn’t changed.
Raspberries are good in yogurt, on toast, and on their own, but most often, I ate them in oatmeal, where their sweetness, sourness, and subtle flavor beam from the mellow bowl.
Fruit is one thing CDS (Caltech Dining Services) really does right. Every day, the kitchen is stocked with a colorful assortment. Trays brim with raspberries, strawberries, and sometimes even blueberries. Apples—usually the sweet and tangy Fuji, but occasionally the crisp, lightly floral-flavored Pink Lady—are piled in a wire basket. Citrus is next, including navel oranges and clementines or tangelos, depending on the season. Bunches of bananas and bowls of dried apricots, cranberries, and raisins round off the ensemble.
Why does the cafeteria provide such an extraordinary array of fruit? Is this just a California thing? I don’t know, but I love it.
As I write this blog, I’m sitting on a grassy knoll on Pomona-Pitzer’s campus. It’s the last match of my final season of tennis here at Caltech. It’s definitely a bittersweet feeling to be done with my college tennis career (unless I decide to use my final year of NCAA eligibility, granted to athletes affected by the COVID-19 pandemic). Being a part of the women’s tennis team here has been a defining part of my identity and where I met my community on campus. In this blog, I want to discuss a bit of the process of becoming an NCAA athlete, the Caltech experience of handling schoolwork and a sport, and my take on how it affected my growth here.
A few days ago, I wrote a blog post for recommendations of boba around Caltech. This follow up includes a far more comprehensive list of boba shops in the 626/SGV area. Now, I’ll admit that I have a rather extensive spreadsheet of boba stores and drinks that I’ve tried and enjoyed or disliked. However, I’d rather not bore everyone with a full spreadsheet, especially when it reveals just how much boba I’ve had each year. However, if I attempted to write about all of the shops I’ve tried, this post would get too long, so it’s instead compressed into a much more easily digestible format: a Tiermaker list. Obviously, this is the most sophisticated possible presentation of this information and 100% objective. Definitely tested via the scientific method and not subject to personal bias whatsoever.
In the past few years, boba or bubble tea has exploded in popularity, with stores opening up all across the country. As a very avid but picky boba drinker, this has been a blessing for me, as I’ve been able to try drinks from so many new stores. In the past four years, I’ve been able to try what might be conservatively called a fairly significant portion of boba stores in the Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley area (otherwise known as 626/SGV).