Post-trip Reflection :'(

Ahh, my last blog post. Feels kind of weird, like high school graduation on a mini scale. I really loved this trip, even though it was far from relaxing, because I saw so much, and what I saw changed me. I don’t like the word life-changing, but this trip definitely made me reconsider the way I interacted with my environment, and also the way I interact with the food I eat.

I said this so much over the trip, but it’s because it stuns me: I don’t get why I ate so much on this trip.

I still don’t know why, but that was one of the greatest highlights of this trip: trying to help make food, and then eating with everyone. It wasn’t anything glamorous, nor new, but it was somehow really great for my appetite.

The week might be composed of: the Shirley Show, really fun car rides, battles over the aux cable, inspirational people, farming, berries x2, and lots of reflection, in the form of blog posts and thank you notes. Note that I left sleep out (granted, we got good hours of sleep, but it was always a struggle to wake up, even with the mold song).

I focused on the little things because I feel like that’s what I’m afraid of forgetting. I don’t want to forget our little lunch at Pt. Lobos, nor the moment before when Shirley, Yuto, and Joe (?) were up on the high peak. I really don’t want to forget being inspired by the WATCH high school students who were so driven and smart. I don’t want to lose the tune of the mold song, nor our bbq at the Hopkins Marine Station (and the pasta lunch before that).

This trip, I got to really value the little things that made me happy: good places, good people, and good food.

Thank you all!


P.S. I can’t forget that I really want to participate in a CSA near my home during summer, and also go to farmer’s markets all the time, and try gardening with some easy veggies or herbs. And cooking, too! I won’t pepper-salt the chicken too much next time, I promise.


ASB Feb 1 Recap

Last Friday’s ASB Class was pretty cool, seeing the relationships of issues going on. Yuto covered the issues in the distinct areas, but I’d like to talk more about Monterey (my assigned area) because there are interesting economic tensions which are pulling at that fabric of the local community. The Williamson Act is being repealed, which had subsidized the property taxes of Monterey farmers, protecting them from the incredibly high property taxes (beach houses) and only taxing them for what the land could produce. The repealing of this act will drive out many small farmers and will make for fewer “new farmers,” strengthening the old generational farmers who pay low property taxes thanks to Prop 13. This creates a weird hierarchy of “old-money” farmers squatting on many hundreds of acres of land bought at a fortuitous time with low property taxes, and very few new farmers (such as small migrant worker families saving up for new land), potentially aggravating class tensions.

In addition, the shale oil deposits found in the Monterey Area, extending down to LA bring a new option for revenue generation to the table, but comes at the cost of the land that is becoming so expensive for the farmers. The oil extraction process includes pouring into the earth acid, which seems like a great way to damage that precious land.

Ultimately, these tensions (one pushing farmers out and the other pulling land towards oil companies) seem to spell trouble for the agriculture in Monterey, and maybe even for the ecosystem there, with the shale oil extraction. I found it a disturbing process to see the land being haggled over for resource pillaging, and also that this money game we’re all in has so much power to push and pull people.


cool poster


yuto and shirley chatting


us being very happy about posters

Tide Pools (the trip there and there)


The tide pools were amazing. They made me think a lot about things, though not really marine biology related. I liked how when I stuck my finger into anemones, I felt it kiss me, but Grace corrected my omantic misnomer, since the anemone was actually harpooning me. When Grace did that, I found it profound, because I had been thinking about how love and hate spring from the same passions, and how the same passions we feel for something can lead us against it, and how man’s love for the ocean might lead them to kill things for the pleasure of seeing them at home. It was all very interesting, this interplay of thoughts and comments that were sloshing around.

On the trip to the tide pools, Julia and I sat in the back of Grace’s Benz and it was such an eye-opener. Julia prefaced the trip with, “I like how I can see the faces of people driving; it’s interesting.” And it made me think a lot about the community we live in, strictly defined by “things we know” but also in the amorphous community of friends whom we click with on a gut level but beyond words or time. The whole idea of this kind of nameless friends and wordless experience is reminiscent of a haiku, and I like haikus a lot, so I wrote a pretty free form haiku amoeba (not strictly 5-7-5 and I put in two liners in between; thinking about both community and the tide pools):

wish to be hermit crab
alone in dead snail’s home
drifting in pool

i used to play in kiddie tubs
cheap plastic home of hope

kissing my finger
the feelings of anemone killing;
same thing i guess.

“love and hate spring from same”
they told me so.

back of car is magic—
Facing drivers approaching and passing
friends unknown made forever

you can tell a lot about a person
by waving at them for ten minutes

dear redhead like kirsten dunst
we could have been friends
had we met in half moon bay

i forgot that childish wonder
naive acceptance of beauty

i’d like life in hermit shell
swimming with people unknown
with beauty i can’t see