Taste of Freedom

Exams finished and it was time to decide what to do over the summer. Internships, work or vacation. These were all great ways to spend my summer. Although I had my mind-set on working over the summer to put myself in a more financially stable situation ( well, as financially stable as student debt would allow me ), Jerry suddenly brought up an idea I had never ever considered.

*insert Jerry-hype-man*

“Let’s go to America, I need to go see Kobe!”

I instantly rejected this idea, but flights were going for ~$1400 NZD there and back! That’s pretty cheap in my opinion. I ended up using this as leverage with my parents as they are always reluctant on me traveling. To my surprise, they actually allowed me to go! Eventually ShuFen was able to persuade her parents on letting her go as well. I say “eventually” because there was honestly a lot of back and forth between her and her Dad but I’m still unsure what really changed his mind.

The next few weeks before leaving Auckland to “the land of the free” involved, working at the architecture library for 2 whole weeks ,being involved with a childcare programme at a local church; all while getting ready travel documentation and accommodation. There were many new things I learnt from this experience, mainly due to the fact that this was the first time I traveled without my parents.

  1. Passports don’t last a lifetime.
    For some reason I assumed that my passport would still be valid. I was so wrong. This required me to rock up to the internal affairs office, take a mugshot photo, fill out a couple forms and wait in queue. Lame.
  2. You need a visa to enter countries.
    No excuses here. I’m just dumb.
  3. Accommodation is annoying to book, especially on a budget.
    Traveling with parents is great, actually the best. You don’t really have to worry bout money and at the end of the day you end up in a nice hotel, ready to take home all the free soap, shampoo and conditioner. For this very trip, airbnb was the way to go. Cheap, fast and relatively clean if you looked in the right places.
  4. Deciding on things to do as a group is difficult.
    The three of us that went on this trip had very different interest. Shufen was really into her music, Jerry into his basketball and I was keen to try food and amusement parks. 12 days in California would be plenty of time usually to hit most of the hotspots but all of us were in the “I don’t mind” mindset.
Someone didn’t get the memo.

Reb actually visited New Zealand to meet up with some others she had met when she was here a few years ago. This meant we could fly back to LA with her too.
With our bags checked in, smiles on our faces and bellies ready to consume IN-N-OUT, we left our little home in the corner of the world for what we had only ever experienced through the television screen.


New Zealand’s legal drinking age is 18. For America, it’s 21. Jerry and I thought it would be good idea to have a drink on the plane before I couldn’t over there in the states. We ordered a rum and coke each. Worst decision ever. The cup was about 3/4 rum and I’m pretty sure a drop of coke. Jerry downed it pretty quick and me being the man I was, didn’t want to back down. I finished my drink and instantly felt the wave of dizziness hit me.


Moral of the story, if you can’t take your alcohol, it’s probably not a good idea to have any on a 12 hour flight.

As always, I leave you all with a song.




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