I’m still working on it: #CollegeLife

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Photo by Luis Enrique Casavantes

Here I am guys! Living it up in the city of Orange! Welcome to the "Amanda Experience" and keep checking back for more on my new life here in at college in California!

By Amanda Lee, adjunct columnist ('12)

Honey, I’m hooomee!!

Hello, dearest readers! Did you miss me? I missed you so much and am so happy I’m back! It was simply too hard to not write to you guys. Without you, I had no one to tell all my secrets to and have an internal dialogue with. There were some dark times guys. Dark. Times.

Well! I have so much to tell you all. I have to update you on my life here in the OC (Orange County) and at the highly-esteemed Chapman University!  I suppose that, as with all good stories, the best place to begin is the beginning. So, without further ado, I present to you “My Life So Far.”

After I graduated from high school I spent most of my free time either working at Subway or worrying about college. Mostly the latter. Then, before seemingly any time had passed, I was packing my bags for my one-way trip to California.

Let me tell you guys, it is so hard to pack up your entire life into five suitcases that weigh under 50 pounds. I was still packing the morning before my flight left. It was extremely stressful and I don’t advise you do it. Ever.

Fast-forward past all the stress, the tears, the panic attacks, and the innumerable times I got my parents lost on California freeways, and we are at Chapman University!

My dorm is all cutesy and decorated, I’ve got all my books and am pretty much set to begin life in this strange new place.

(Fun Fact: The first time I saw Chapman was when I moved in! I didn’t visit ANY college campuses. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing…)

Then, it’s the momentous moment guys: the moment when you say goodbye to your parents and they leave you stranded with a bunch of hormonal young adults to get smart.

I’m not going to lie, guys, I cried. A lot. I thought I was so set for the goodbye. I thought to myself, “College is going to be so fun! I can’t wait to be on my own! I’m going to be FREE and it’s going to be GREAT!”

And don’t get me wrong, it’s great to be independent, but it was also a lot harder than I ever thought possible to say goodbye.

So, now, here I am in college. I think the most profound thing about college so far is the culture shock. I thought I was pretty universal back on Maui. I didn’t think I was very different from someone who grew up in California, or Oregon,  or Texas. This is not so. I am actually very different, I can’t figure out if it’s just me, or if it stands for all people from Hawai´i.

Mostly, I just say lots of things differently. For example: Laundry. I have never called laundry “laundry” ever in my entire life. I called it “wash.” So, when the first week of school passed by, and I had a full load of “laundry,” I knocked on my friend’s doors and said, “Hey everybody! Let’s do wash!”

I’ve never gotten such a large collective “HUH?” from a group of people. They gave me a half hour grammar lesson on how to properly use the word “wash” and had me look up what “laundry” meant. I keep forgetting and calling it “wash,” but I think they’ve just accepted that I’m weird now.

Another thing: no one here knows what saimin is! My parents bought me a huge tub of Cup o’ Noodles and I went into my suite-mate’s room to ask her if I could use her microwave to heat up my saimin. She gave me this weird look and tentatively said okay.

As I’m microwaving my noodles she asks me, “What’s a Simon?” I pulled out my noodles and said, “This is saimin!” and she asks me if I normally name my food before I eat it. She thought I was practically a cannibal! I had to inform her that saimin is Chinese for noodles, and I don’t normally personify my food before I eat it.

We’re actually really good friends now, although sometimes I think she only keeps me around to see what strange thing I’ll do next.

I don’t think I fully realized just how special and unique life on Maui is in comparison to the rest of the world. We have our own culture, our own language, traditions, and norms that are completely different from the lifestyle that people lead in California. It’s not bad, it’s just different. It’s definitely taken more adjusting to than I was anticipating.

Culture Shock, guys. It’s real. If I were you, I’d eat all the musubis, li hing mui, and “Simon”out there before you leave our little tropical paradise. People here just don’t get us.

Stay tuned: I have LOTS more stories. Trust me, this is only the beginning.