Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lake Cuyamaca

Post-grad life.

The summer where you blow every penny you have scrupulously saved over the past four years from your minimum wage campus job. The last summer of living in reckless abandon, before the reality of the "real world" consumes you, before the chains of adulthood shackle you.
Lake Cuyamaca was the start of what I will dub my "post-grad summer" and in all honesty, there is no better way to start the post-grad summer than with your childhood friends.
I learned how to start a bonfire, which was absurdly hard to start. It makes me wonder how wildfires ignite so quickly...
We cooked a delicious combination of canned soup, Taiwanese noodles, and Louisiana hot sausages on the gas stove. After so many years of trial and error, we have developed an amazing camping cuisine: bonfire roasted sausages, baked potatoes, Indonesian ramen, canned soup, iced watermelon, Pillsbury crescent roll with honey, chips, and fruit snacks.
Our pathetic little fire from our first night, before we discovered the beauty of using pine needles and pine cones as tinder. A heap of pine needles in the bonfire results in a spectacularly explosive fire, satisfying our inner pyromaniacs.
Nature is absolutely breathtaking. For a city girl, nature is a breath of fresh air. I love the tranquility from living amongst a sea of green. I love lying down at night in the middle of the road and staring into the pitch-black starlit sky.

I even appreciate the night hikes where we ascended 1,700 feet  within a distance of 2.2 miles. Yes, my gluteus maximus is still protesting the treacherous incline on that hiking trial.
Our campsite was conveniently situated near Lake Cuyamaca, a prime location for fishing and boating. I spent the afternoon admiring the scenes of Lake Cuyamaca with my friend, who will be relocating to Long Island, New York to begin her medical school journey this July.

I had always fervently championed beaches but now, I'm starting to reconsider. Lakes are... kind of amazing. When I'm old and retired, I would love to reside in a lakeside home enveloped by a forest of trees.

We fished for three  hours at Lake Cuyamaca and caught absolutely nothing. Thank God for our bachelor degrees because otherwise, we would starve. Meanwhile, other families near us were catching fish left and right.

The view from our tent during a midday nap.

Fishing with my friend, the stripper cowboy fisherman.

Ninja training camp in the forest where we honed our kunai-throwing skills.

This might be the last time I see these people for a very long time. While some friends will remain in Los Angeles, some will be in New York for the foreseeable future, others in Boston, one in Japan, and one with strong aspirations to leave southern California for medical school.

In retrospect, we seriously overreacted after our high school graduation, when it dawned on us that we wouldn't be congregated in Walnut anymore. Our college years would scatter us all around southern and northern California and even to the reaches of Evanston, Illinois. Once upon a time, not long ago, we were mere middle schoolers lost in the grips of suburbia and love triangles.

Is it bad that I'm slightly disappointed by the fact that I'm still in southern California after all of these years? There's a part of me that yearns to be in a new city, to explore new sights. I truly thought that I would be attending dental school somewhere on the east coast this fall. But life has a weird sense of humor - it only granted me dental school interviews on the west coast. So Los Angeles it is for the next four years...

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