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Category Archives: the places

Field Trip! (Griffith Observatory)

You could see miles and miles in every direction. Tops of buildings, upon buildings, a cluster of high rises mingled in, clouds, ominous and brewing on the other side, but we couldn’t tell as we stood shivering against the biting cold on top of the Griffith Observatory.

It was family day/field trip/anniversary date rolled into one. I was a bit nostalgic as years and years ago we strolled the same place, just the two of us, enjoying a day trip out and about, no bedtimes to worry about, no fears of losing a short person in a crowd, nobody to think about but ourselves.  And now as we walked hand in hand in hand, looking at all the exhibits, always vigilant of making sure Miss Independent didn’t disappear somewhere, I saw the world, or space, rather, through the wonderment of a six year old.

It was a perfect day.

Clear skies from the front…

…storm’s brewing from behind.

Mission San Juan Capistrano

When I think back to my elementary years, snippets of faded memories scroll through my mind’s eye. I can vaguely recall bits and pieces of projects we created. I remember being complemented on a trendy outfit one day–I think it consisted of a long pink coat, long skirt and boots. I had a list –classmates on the “good” list and the “bad list. Most of the boys ended up on the bad list as well as a few mean girls. In the third grade, we created a microcosm of the world. Each Friday we would turn the classroom into our city, with stores, arcades, etc. Class “money,” food and school supplies exchanged hands while we learned about commerce and trade. I remember losing an election to be class secretary by one vote – mine, because I thought it would not be right to vote for myself.

In the fourth grade we made salt sculptures of California and studied the missions. My mission was Santa Barbara, the 10th mission. I remember classmates coming in with intricate projects, little details and accoutrements that no fourth grader could think of on their own. My own project was a poster, roughly pencil drawn on the back of an Asian calendar, with the face of a beautiful Asian actress or model on the back. I remember that the teacher hung up my picture next to the classroom door, against the window, so everyday when we lined up after recess, the sideways Asian face stared down at us.

I ended up teaching fourth grade for 4 years and my most loved subject was social studies – California history. I loved seeing the various projects coming in during our California Missions study. Not one student though, brought in a poster drawn on the back of a calendar, but every time I think about the missions I think of a little fourth grade Asian girl with pigtails and an Asian model forever immortalized on the back of a poster of Mission Santa Barbara.

A few weeks ago, I took a little Day Trip to Mission San Juan Capistrano with some friends. My friend Joe Photo believes in taking time every so often to play so we can remember our passion for photography, so every other month he plans awesome getaways in and around SoCal. Thanks Joe for the playdate!

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