“Yup, I’m an Asian gal from SoCal.”

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Only a few words slip out of my mouth before someone says, “OMG, you’re so from California.” 

I’m not sure what gives it away, but I really don’t mind.
I’m proud of where I grew up. It’s a big part of who I am.

 

The following was written back in my Tumblog days. Back when listicles were a valid way to sum up your thoughts and I had so much sass to share with the internet. (There's some seriously cringeworthy stuff below.)

 


I now live in the Northeast after being born & raised in Orange County. The following are trivial ‘facts’ I've listed as answers to questions I’ve been asked many, many times. I say 'facts’ with a heavy emphasis that while these are true for me—and likely a majority of my friends—I also recognize each individual has their own unique perspective. 

 

 

So read up... maybe try to be a little more creative with your questions:

1. When you ask if we’re from “Cali,” we’re going to specify SoCal in our answer. Even if you didn’t ask. 

Because NorCal isn’t SoCal. SoCal isn’t NorCal. 
The only thing we really have in common is that aquaduct. Like hella.

 

2. Should you choose to follow up with “What part of SoCal?” be prepared to be told a combination of freeway intersections/exits. 

I highly recommend against asking this question if your knowledge of southern Californian cities is limited to LA & San diego. 
We’ll just get frustrated and say “20 mins away from Disneyland,” and you’ll still be confused where to drop the pin on Google maps.

 

3. Yes, we have beach. And a good amount of it. But not all of SoCal is sand & we don’t crawl out of our sandcastles to longboard & eat tacos.

We also have a lot of desert with cactus & tumbleweed, mountains with real snow, and forests of lush trees. This is why most of us don’t care to leave the state.

 

4. If we cross the stateline, it’s usually on the way to Vegas.

Or Tijuana, if we’re feeling brave. Lately it's been more of hitting up arizona to take dank pics in Antelope Canyon. #travelgram

 

5. We likely know a decent amount of crappy, not-so-conversational Spanish.

It’s usually just barely enough to get by at the hole-in-wall we get our fill of carne asada fries + horchata. 

 

6. Only someone from Orange County should refer to it as “the OC,” if he/she so pleases. (But we usually don’t.)

Anyone else will either get an automatic eye-roll and/or a lecture of how laughably unrealistic the show, Laguna Beach, etc is. I mean, where’s the cheap & accessible Asian food at?!

Which leads me to…

 

7. If we’re driving around at 4am, we’ll probably end up at a 24-hr pho spot in Westminster (Little Saigon) or BCD Tofu House in Garden Grove.

 

8. Boiling Crab is really only worth the wait if you’re with a loud ass group of friends.

Skip the line & go for take-out if you’re a quiet one & would like to hear yourself & the people around you.
(Tip: Call ahead with your order to make a quick swoop for that lb of shrimp + cajun fries.)

 

9. What is this “bubble tea”? It’s boba. 

Now, let’s meet at Boba Loca/Tea Station/Half&Half/Milk&Honey. Be prepared to loiter there excessively.

 

10. Guppy’s original shaved ice size is the epitome of getting your moneys worth.

Despite the colossal ice mound being drenched with condensed milk, it’s also topped with tons of fruit. Therefore, healthy & happy.

 

11. We’ve worked at (or know someone who did/does) Disneyland, Vans, Abercrombie/Hollister, and/or Jamba Juice. 

And hooked it up with a homie discount.

 

12. We attended at least 1 debut. 

We were probably in the court for that debut (or a candle or rose), and subsequently may know how to waltz terribly.

 

13. This debut we’ve attended likely included at least 1 person who’s on a dance team(or 2). 

We also likely know somebody (who knows somebody) that’s been a Kaba Kid or is in Kaba Modern.

 

14. You may think of us as chill & slow-paced beings, but if you want to see ANY one of us truly lose our shit – join us for a ride on the 405 between the hours of 4-7pm.

 

15. Aside from the Governator (& maybe Gray Davis), it’s likely that we have no clue whatsoever who’s sitting up in Sacramento. It’s also pretty likely that we’ve never been (or ever want to go) to Sacramento.

 

16. Making plans to “just chill & catch up” are a perfectly valid ways to spend our afternoon/day/night/weekend.

 

You can take the gal out of SoCal—
but you can’t take the SoCal out of the gal.

Lessa Chung