Several months ago, my boss decided that it would be a great idea to have a staff meet-up with the five of us in LA after the San Diego Comic Con. My boss has been residing in China for the past couple of years, and I had never actually met him or my colleagues since we all work remote.
We had a booth in San Diego, and my boss had flown J over from the UK to help out. The event was supposed to last until the 24th, and then we’d meet in LA from July 25th to the 31st.
I was extremely excited and slightly anxious since I hadn’t travelled in over five years. However, my boss was covering for the flight and the accommodation in LA, so I was like, “Hell yeah!”
I decided to head to San Diego to meet some of my discord friends prior to LA. On the morning of July 23rd, I arrived at the Toronto Pearson Airport four hours before my flight because I had received multiple notices that the lines were terribly long, and I should arrive more than three hours in advance.
I had already checked in online, and I was also NOT checking in a bag, so I didn’t think it could be that bad. But when I had arrived at the airport, the situation was insane. There were at least thousands of people waiting to enter Gate F at 4am, where we needed to go through security check.
I got into the line immediately, but after ten to fifteen minutes, I was told to show my ticket and was told that I was TOO EARLY, and I had to go all the way back to 15 (I don’t know what they’re called, but it’s the number 15) and wait until it was later before I could get in line. The airport representative said that I should not be in the line unless my flight was 6:30am or earlier (at the time, it was 4:15am or so, and my flight was at 8am).
I mentioned about the email, but was basically told, “Too bad.”
Why are they telling me to come so early if they’re not even going to let me get in line? UGHHHHH.
Anyway, by around 5am, I was finally able to get in line without getting sent back for the 4th time. After an hour of waiting, I thought I was nearly there, but it turned out that there were even MORE lines inside Gate F. And the security check was so hardcore. I needed to use 6 boxes: one for my laptop and electronics, one for my jacket, one for my backpack, one for my carry-on, one for my shoes, and one for liquids.
After passing by security, I foolishly thought I would be close. But nope. There were still several more hundred people ahead of me to go through customs.
In the end, it took me over THREE hours to actually get to my gate. And my flight was also delayed for another TWO hours. Holy moly. What a pain.
Anyhow, I arrived to LA and knew I had to go to the Union Station and then take the train to San Diego. My friend, T, was going to pick me up from the station.
However, I had never been to LA before, and even though I knew I had to take the Flyaway bus, I had no idea where it was.
So, I asked a random airport staff, and she told me to exit and then find the green pole. But when I got to the green pole, it turned out it was not the right spot. I had to ask another person, and they told me to go to the blue pole. Luckily, it was a minute away, so it wasn’t too bad.
When I got to the blue pole, I was going to scan the QR code to buy the ticket. I hadn’t booked in advance since I figured my flight was going to be delayed, so I decided it was safer to buy the ticket when I got there.
But the bus suddenly arrived, and the driver was telling everyone to hop on!! I exclaimed, “But I haven’t bought my ticket yet!” He said it was fine. I thought it was extremely strange since I thought it was only normal if people paid prior to getting on. Otherwise, how would you get them to pay afterwards?
Anyhow, the ride was approximately 30 minutes. The moment we arrived, there was a lady that was waiting around to scan tickets. It turned out that they had a booth there where people could pay AFTERWARDS. Interesting.
The ride was around $9.75usd. I think it was pretty good since it would’ve been far more expensive if I had taken an Uber. (Note: It looks quite ghetto though.)
I was now in the Union Station of Los Angeles. And oh dear, it smelled like urine everywhere. Also, there were a lot of homeless people walking around. I was lining up for a subway sandwich, and I almost fainted from the scent despite having a mask on.
There were also a lot of police or security everywhere. It did make me feel a bit fearful, but I was also busy being stressed since I needed to buy a ticket to San Diego.
I found the booth and asked, and it turned out it was only $36 to get from LA Union Station to the stop I needed to get off. Not bad! The ride was approximately 2-2.5 hr.
I didn’t have enough time to get a drink though, since the ticket lady told me the train was departing in three minutes, and I would have had to wait THREE HOURS for the next one if I had missed it.
So, I ran like the wind and caught the train just in time. It was actually quite weird for me since I had never actually taken a train to go somewhere far before. Everyone had their own food on their laps and were just on their phones or tablets or whatever.
The lady next to me got off earlier than me, and so I took her spot and charged my phone. I notified T that I would be arriving soon, and she told me where to wait for her.
It wasn’t difficult to find T, and she picked me up without issues! I was actually quite excited. I had known T since 2015?? Back then, a bunch of us would go on discord to chat and sing karaoke. T has an extremely low and sexy voice. LOLOL. (It’s true though). Anyhow, we stayed in touch throughout the years, and even though we haven’t talked all that much in recent years, we still have a pretty good relationship. She is also a fellow translator, but we have different sites. If you’re confused, just imagine Asian youtubers meeting up with other creators in person.
Anyhow, T’s house was absolutely beautiful. When she took me to my room, I was amazed by how spacious and new it was. The ceiling was sooooo high (probably like double the ceiling of my house). It looked better than a hotel, and I had my own washroom too!
And T was pretty much the same in person and online. There was no awkwardness at all.
After I settled down my stuff, we met up with L and R. L was someone I had already met four years ago when he came to visit Toronto. Before we had met in real life, I didn’t know L that well. But because we basically have the same group of online friends/community, I didn’t mind meeting up with him and showing him around Toronto.
Most of my online friends have met each other even if we all hadn’t met yet, and we hang out when we can. L and T have known each other for years as well, and they had met up countless times.
It turned out L was/is super sweet and generous. He was/is also very VERY shameless. If you think I’m shameless, you haven’t met L. lol. Back then, I told him his skin was thicker than the Great Wall. HAHAHAHAHAHA. He is a very brave man.
Anyhow, it was nice to see L again after so long. He was hanging out with R because they were supposed to go to a concert together. R was also a translator, but he had quit and is now in tech. We had never met before, but I had also known him from around 2015-2016.
Anyhow, we went to eat at a Chinese restaurant, and I was really bewildered by the prices. Everything was around $18-19 per dish, and this was in USD!!! We ordered a few dishes to share, and split the bill. It was decent, but I felt like it was quite overpriced. Tipping is expected in Canada and US, and it’s usually at least 15%-18% on top of tax. Sooooo pricey!
Afterwards, we went to Hui Lau San (I don’t remember the exact spelling. It’s either Liu or Lau). It’s a place where they specialized in mango desserts. It was quite yummy, and not something I had tried before.
There was still some time before L and R’s reservation; they were going to go to a Japanese bar for an event later that night. So we went back to T’s house and played some games!! It was like charades, but the rule was that you could only use one syllable words. T was super pro, and R was really bad. I was slow, and L kept messing up. But I only remembered how R described milk. He said, “Cow, Juice.” LOLOLOL It sounded SOOOOO gross. But we figured out what he meant. Haha, but was fun. T described milk as, “Good, for, bones.”
A few hours later, L and R left to go to the Japanese bar, while me and T got some alone time to have GIRL TALK. (Note: Girl talk is private, and I shall not disclose what we had talked about)
The next day, we were going to have breakfast with S, an editor who actually flew all the way down from the Bay Area to meet up with me and J. Keep in mind that none of us have met before.
I was really surprised that S would actually fly down and leave on the same day. That was so much work and money!? I told her that J was going to be at Comic Con, and I wasn’t sure if we would be able to meet together. After all, I was staying with T, and it would seem rather rude if I had left T to hang out with J and S. Plus, J was supposed to be at the booth.
I had mentioned this to T, and she said she was fine with meeting S for breakfast. S was arriving at 7am on the 24th, and she said she was going to Uber to where we were.
However, L was also dropping off R to the airport that morning, and he offered to pick S up so we could all hang out! So L picked S up, and we all went for breakfast! Yay!!!
S is a reader of my blog, so I’m sure she will be reading this. Thanks for reading and all your support over the years!! Hehe. I was very happy to meet S, and we went somewhere to eat very good food (sorry I cannot remember restaurant names). But it was a chain, and it is popular in the US. I ordered a turkey mash. Mmmmm. YUMMYYYYYY.
S also gave us all a small gift of appreciation with some goodies. It was so cute! Thank you so much!
After breakfast, S said she was going to commute downtown to meet J near Comic Con. At this point in time, L suggested we all go downtown to hang out! But I think T wanted to stay near our area because downtown parking was very expensive, and also because the food was also better near us.
We ended up going to T’s house, and she was dancing to Dance Revolution. T is a pro dancer, and I admired her moves LOLOLOL.
By now, it was after ten in the morning. And I messaged J to see if he was willing to come closer to us to have robot sushi with us! J was fine with coming to us, and so we decided to head out shortly after 11 to wait in line.
As we were walking through the parking lot to get to the restaurant, J also arrived and I think he called my name, so I turned around and saw him. Then, I ran to give him a big welcome hug!
He seemed a bit astonished, but was very nice and gave me a proper hug (unlike some people. I shall bring this up more often in the Singapore post).
Apparently, the wait was going to be nearly two hours. Once again, I was speechless. How come the lines are so long??? Do people actually wait that long? I would not even wait an hour, let alone two!
I guess there is just a lot of demand!?!?!
About half an hour or so, K, S’s friend, also showed up. So now, it’s me, T, L, J, S, and K.
We decided to get bubble tea from a store nearby while we waited to be notified. And then we all sat around (three on one side, and three on the other) and chatted. It was quite nice.
Finally, around 1:30pm or so, we were told that six seats were available. I had never had robot sushi before, so it was a very cute experience.
The robot delivered water to us, and the sushi went around the belt. Basically, you take whatever plates that you want to eat, and then when you’re done, you put the plates inside a slot and it counts the number of plates that your table has eaten.
The sushi was ok. I wouldn’t say it’s some super high quality stuff, but it wasn’t bad? The experience was neat though!
Meanwhile, we chatted more and had a great time. S said my jokes were great. Take that!
At this point, L asked J how he was going to LA the next day. In case you’ve forgotten, me and J were going to meet my boss and my other colleagues in LA on the 25th.
J replied and said he was going to Uber there. And everyone was like, “WHAT????” My boss had already left Comic Con, and so J was going to have to go there on his own. Since he is from the UK, he wasn’t exactly comfortable taking public transit to another city.
L then offered to drive J. L was going to drive me to LA from San Diego, so he said he could also drive J as well. L is such a generous person!!!!!!
I had asked L why he would do such a thing, since gas wasn’t cheap, and with traffic, taking the train there would probably be faster than his car.
However, L’s response was, “Because it would make it easier for you.”
One line. So simple, but so sweet. Ahhhhh. He is so nice. *sobs* I’m going to tell him to read this. ARE YOU READING THIS, L??
Anyway, I was very touched by his offer, and obviously, I was not going to say no if someone was going to offer to drive me!!
So after lunch, we split up. K went to Comic Con, S and J went to hang out on their own, while me, T, and L went back to T’s house and we completed a puzzle together!!! It was soooo tiring, but we managed to finish the 1000 pieces after 6-7 hours later. It was a lot harder than it looked!
By now, it was 10pm or so, and we were exhausted. L needed to go home to sleep, since he was going to pick up J from downtown and then me the next morning to head to LA.
The next day, I made sure to clean up everything and thanked T and her mother for their hospitality. I would never forget their kindness, and I told them to contact me if they ever decide to travel to Toronto.
L and J arrived and I got into the car and waved goodbye to T. L was driving us, and asked where we wanted to go. I said that I wanted to try “In and Out”, because it’s super famous in the west and we don’t have it in Canada.
So, we stopped by an “In and Out” in Orange County. I asked what L wanted, and he said he wanted a double. This sparked a joke in me, and I chuckled, “Hey L, you should message Double to tell him you’re having a double!” (Double is another mutual friend of ours, and an ex-translator as well).
Both L and J groaned since they did not appreciate my awesome joke. L called me a grandma. Ugh. (And he didn’t ping Double)
Anyhow, the burger and fries were quite good. The soft drink was gigantic though. I was only able to finish 2/5 of it. I don’t know how Americans could consume so much stuff.
When we were done eating, L asked if we wanted desserts, but we were already full. L asked us where we wanted to go, and I suggested, “How about the Hollywood of Fame?!”
So he drove us there, and we walked around to explore a bit. It was actually quite hot, and I had my backpack on me since I had brought my laptop and a lot of other stuff. I was afraid that L’s car would be broken into, since it had happened previously when he was travelling, so we all took our backpacks with us.
I was struggling a bit since my backpack was so heavy, and L noticed and asked me what I had in my bag. When he felt how heavy it was, he told me to switch with him. He was also carrying a backpack, but his was far lighter.
I refused, but he kept nagging until I did it. He is honestly such a gentleman.
I also remembered when he had come to Toronto four years ago, he saw me struggling with my laptop bag back then, and he just grabbed it and took it from me. He’s like those manly characters that are just super dominant from dramas. HAHA. But L has three sisters, and he’s super pro with the ladies, so I think he’s just very experienced and comfortable with women in general.
ANYWAY, I’m already at 3000 words and you guy haven’t even met my boss and my other colleagues yet. Omg.
At this point, my boss messaged J and asked where we were. They were waiting for us at the villa that he had booked through airbnb. We didn’t want L to go home immediately after dropping us off, so we asked our boss if L could stay with us for a bit, and he also got a tour of the place.
When we arrived, I saw my boss, and C, my Singaporean colleague who manages the Korean department. And next to them were M and A; they are both tech people who are very good with coding.
I had never met any of them, and was very happy to finally meet everyone that I’ve worked with for years.
C took me to my room, and also gave me a brief tour around the villa. I wanted to give her a big welcoming hug, but I think she was not very comfortable, so she gave me a half-ass pat instead. Keep in mind that we’re actually quite close, but I guess she doesn’t like hugs (from me at least. Humph! I know she’s reading this).
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. C is Singaporean, J is British, A is Spanish, M is American, my boss is American but he resides in China, and I’m Canadian.
Anyway, after chatting for two hours or so, my boss decided to take us to dinner (including L). He had made a reservation at a pretty nice restaurant.
Unfortunately, it was so loud there that I could only hear the people next to me. It was hard to chat with everyone, and we would need to yell over the music.
Nonetheless, it was a nice meal. My boss then said that we would mostly be staying at the villa since covid cases were still on a rise. We would mainly order food to the villa and eat there. The next day, we would be going to play mini-golf in the evening and also go to an arcade!
My boss would order a big Uber X that would fit all of us, and that was how we got from places to places. We never actually took public transportation. But little did he know that we would still catch covid…
On the 26th, my boss ordered three 18 inch pizzas and a bunch of wings and some other stuff for the SIX of us. There was so much leftover food, and I felt so bad. My boss wanted to make sure there was more food, but two 18 inches would have been more than enough. The portions are SOOOOOOOO big in the US.
I wanted to keep the leftovers so we could eat it the next day, but my boss kept ordering different food for us each day. Sigh, in the end, we basically did not eat the leftover pizza. But I did eat some leftovers over the next few days, just not the pizza.
Anyhow, I had never done mini-golf before, and it was so cute and fun. At night, LA’s temperature drops quite a bit, so it was around 20 degrees Celsius at the time. It was a nice temperature.
I kind of sucked, but I did get slightly better near the end. I liked how creative the set up was. I think it would be a good date place to take people.
Anyhow, after we were done, we went to the arcade and played some games. We also won some really cheap prizes. My boss said if we still have the prizes the next time we meet, we’d get a bigger prize!
The next day, my boss had booked tickets to watch THOR. However, A didn’t feel so well, and he thought it was the jet lag. He had flown from Spain, and was also in the airport for many hours before the flight since he had no way of getting to the airport if he had arrived at a later time. Spain was 9 hours behind LA, so he figured he was just exhausted.
A decided to go to the theatres since the boss had already gotten the tickets. It was actually a very small theatre with barely anyone else. My boss wanted us to have as few contact with others as possible, since he had to return to China in August; if he had caught covid, it would make his situation very troublesome.
THOR was pretty good. I thought the male actor was so hot. I forgot his name, but he’s sure handsome. The movie was pretty good, but I have already forgotten the ending. I only remember the part when the male lead fought Zeus and then Zeus blasted his clothes off and the women around Zeus fainted. HAHAHAHA.
That night, my boss took us to Griffin Park to watch the sunset. A didn’t join us, because he wanted to rest. I was surprised by how chilly it was. It was probably around 14-16 degrees near the top. Keep in mind that during the day, it was around 28 degrees.
The walk up was quite long because the Uber driver wasn’t allowed pass a certain point due to the crowd or something. I was trying to walk quickly after my boss since the sun was setting. He wanted us to catch the sunset. It was a bit of a struggle since I have short legs.
We managed to kind of see it, and we were also able to see the Hollywood sign from afar. It was very beautiful and dry. LA really looks sooooo dry.
After that, we realized the observatory was closed, but we still stood around and waited for the sun to set and gazed at the night view from the top.
Our boss told us that we were going to go to Korean town the next day and we were going to sing some karaoke. Boss, me and C were extremely enthusiastic and were singing random Chinese songs already. C also knows Korean, so she could also sing Korean songs as well. Meanwhile, M and J were quiet. Haha.
This reminded me. On the first day when the boss had mentioned we’d go karaoke, A had asked everyone, “Who here have not been karaoke before?”
M, J, and A raised their hands. (They’re all Caucasian)
“Who here is not confident of their singing?”
M, J, and A raised their hands again. It was so funny!
Oh, I forgot to mention that they had never had bubble tea before either. My boss couldn’t believe it and immediately ordered some for all of us. After all, we are a translation site that focuses on Chinese and Korean novels! How could they not try anything Asian!?!??!?! Karaoke? Bubble tea? Hello!!?!? lol
Sadly, M and A didn’t like bubble tea. J was the only one who reacted positively and commented, “This tastes quite nice. It tastes like British tea with sugar.” He sounded very polite like he always does in his British accent. Haha. (Note: On the day we had robot sushi, J didn’t actually order bubble tea, so it was the first time he had tapioca.)
M only seemed to like it when my boss made dirty jokes because A choked on the balls. LOL
By the way, because we all have different accents, sometimes it was harder to understand each other. C said she was only able to understand J and A 60%. HAHAHA. I think they had difficulties understanding each other. I had to focus really hard whenever A spoke, because he spoke very quickly and was kind of monotone. But if I paid a lot of attention, I could understand.
I also had to focus a bit if J spoke. If I really focus, I could get around 95%. I could still understand 80% if I am daydreaming. He sounds very elegant, and the British accent is hot!
I could generally understand C’s Singaporean accent, but sometimes I needed her to repeat a few times because I was confused. By far, the easiest accent was M and my boss’, since they sounded American. I could zone out and still understand 100%.
I personally cannot tell the difference between the Californian accent and the Torontonian accent or the New Yorker accent. They all sound the same to me. I know the southern American accent sounds quite different though.
This reminded me of how my boss had said he would order two quesadillas for us and C heard, “two cases of beer”. LOLOLOLOL Omg. It was hilarious. The Mexican food was sooooo good though. Mmmm.
That night, my throat was hurting really badly. Prior to going to San Diego and LA, I thought I had covid because I had a headache and I was experiencing fatigue. I had also experienced other symptoms such as a runny nose and a sore throat. But I kept testing negative apart from one weird test where one of the lines were slanted.
I rested for a week before I went to San Diego, so I thought I was ok as I had never tested positive and had felt much better before I left the country. So since I was running on very little sleep, I thought perhaps my exhaustion was catching up to me, and didn’t think it was anything serious.
But that night, I went downstairs to get some salt to rinse my throat. It was extremely painful for me to swallow, and I was hoping the saltwater would help. I was eating throat drops and also using a throat spray, but the pain wasn’t going away.
My boss was playing a game downstairs in the living room and asked me if I was ok. I said my throat was in pain.
The next day was the 28th, the day we were supposed to go karaoke. In the morning, I woke up and I sounded like a frog. C told me I should add some salt to coke, and said it was a remedy that would help sore throats.
I thought it sounded gross, but since my boss had so many cans of diet coke in the fridge, I decided to give it a try. We had a lot of salt packets from all the takeout places, so I added one to half a cup of diet coke and gulped it down.
Within thirty minutes, it really brought me A LOT of relief. My pain level went from 9/10 to 3/10! No lie! If you have a hard time swallowing due to inflammation, you should try adding some salt to coke!!!! It really helps!!!
Anyhow, not long after, A came downstairs and said he tested positive for covid.
At that moment, my boss made all of us do rapid tests. I had one box with 5 kits, and the rest of us did it. I tested positive within three seconds, and my boss sent me to my room. The rest were fine.
My boss said no more karaoke, and no one was allowed to go out. I was devastated. I didn’t feel unwell apart from a runny nose and sore throat. I had no idea it was covid. Initially, I thought I was just having an allergic reaction to the trees, since the backyard was surrounded by trees and I’m allergic to basically all trees apart from palm trees and banana leaf trees.
Anyway, I was very miserable. I wanted to hang out with my colleagues downstairs, and I didn’t want to be trap in my room. It was so boring.
Then, my boss said that me and A had to stay 10 days. We had to leave the villa on the 31st, and my boss said he was going to put me and A into the other airbnb where he was supposed to stay with his wife. However, his wife was homesick and had already returned to China. So, there were two rooms available in that airbnb.
However, I did NOT want to stay an extra week at a random airbnb. I just wanted to leave on the 31st and return to Canada. But apparently, you are not supposed to fly if you test positive within 10 days. I felt scammed since I thought I was more sick prior to San Diego, but I was not positive. And now that I’m positive, I actually felt more ok than before but I had to stay for another 10 days!!?!!?!
So, I was super depressed. C tried to make me feel better and ordered bubble tea for me. It helped a little, but I was still sad. I didn’t even have any selfies with C since I was planning to take some at karaoke. But now, there was no karaoke and I wasn’t even allowed to hang out with anyone.
I went to find A since I was so sad. A was like, “Karaoke is the last thing on my mind. I don’t want to stay here for another ten days!!!!!!”
A was going to Thailand after this, so he had to cancel his flight and also make other arrangements. Poor guy.
But also poor me. I had a translator that was coming from Singapore to visit from August 3rd-13th. I was supposed to meet him at Union Station when he arrived, but now I wasn’t going to be back until the 8th…
Anyway, I was super grumpy and sad. Deep down, I was hoping we would all test positive and we could all just stay at the villa together. But at the same time, I felt bad for C. C came all the way from Singapore, and she probably would never return to America. Hence, I was hoping she’d be negative so at least she could meet up with another Korean manager who lived near LA and do something before she flew back.
The boss then got me and A to go with him to a clinic to get PCR tests in case our condition worsened and we needed to claim insurance. We got the results in less than an hour, but it was quite expensive (around $200 usd?). I got the email with a stamp that stated I was positive.
The boss wanted to send everyone else back as soon as possible. He felt that the longer we stayed together, the higher the likelihood everyone would test positive.
Not to mention, M has asthma and his parents were worried sick. M’s parents wanted him back in Florida asap.
However, the next day, J and M both tested positive. Now, it was 4/6, with C and my boss the only ones fine.
C said she had already contacted Omicron a month or two ago, so she probably had some immunity. Meanwhile, my boss had gotten his booster shot two months ago, so perhaps it helped.
My boss immediately got another room at a hotel for C, and made her move there. Basically, he wanted to make sure at least she could fly back and not stay an extra week.
At this point in time, J was having a fever, and M was experiencing shortness of breath, and my boss was stressed beyond his mind. His wife and parents were calling him and berating him for planning this gathering to begin with. To be fair, we barely had any interactions with the public, and apart from the first day, my boss never took us out to eat at all. We all wore our masks whenever we were outside.
Nonetheless, the four of us were positive, and it was sad times. None of us had had covid before. I think I experienced the most “mild” symptoms since it was mainly my throat and a runny nose. The coke + salt combo had already helped fixed most of my issues. Oh, I was actually a bit sleepy, but I wasn’t sure if that was due to a lack of sleep or from covid.
Anyhow, my boss also left the villa since he was trying to stay negative. He wasn’t sure if he was just taking a while to test positive, but didn’t want to stay with us longer than he had to in case he was fine and we all infect him.
So now, it was only the four of us left. Since we were all positive, we no longer had to remain in our rooms, and we were able to go downstairs and hang out with each other.
I was actually very happy it wasn’t just me and A. It felt nice to have more people. If I were the only one out of the six to test positive, and I had to stay another ten days by myself, I would’ve definitely cried. SO SAD.
I also felt bad for J, since he probably caught it from me. After all, he met me on the 24th, and we also sat together often whenever we were sitting in the Ubers. Poor J. But I was glad that he tested positive and had to stay behind. (I know it’s a bit evil, but at least I’m honest, right?) And fortunately, none of the people I met in San Diego were positive.
Anyhow, M was having issues breathing, and sometimes we were a bit worried since he was breathing so loudly. Luckily, he had a puffer, and we were all there with him, so we could make any emergency calls if needed.
For the most part, he was ok though. I remembered M was reading off his Ipad, and I asked him what he was reading. He replied, “Invincible.” (Note: Invincible is a Chinese novel on our site, wuxiaworld.com). I then joked, “So do you feel invincible now?”
To which, M just stared at me with his mouth opened wide. I think I made him speechless.
J shook his head and muttered, “So bad!”
I think A was upstairs and wasn’t present to witness this. Haha.
Anyhow, we began to watch the first season of Stranger Things together as a group. It was scary but interesting. I am a chicken. I would try to cover my eyes during the scary parts, but at the same time, I wanted to see what was going on.
A, M, and J did not find it scary. In fact, M was like, “I’ve seen scary things, and this is not one of them.” Humph!
Meanwhile, C was free to meet up with Y since she was now on her own in the hotel, and Y took her around LA on the 30th and 31st. I was watching her stories on IG and feeling envious, but at least I had people with me and we were also having a good time.
However, July 31st quickly arrived, and we had to leave the villa. My boss came to pick us up with the Uber Black and sent us to the Beverly Hills Marriott Hotel to stay for another seven days.
You would think that the Marriott at Beverly Hills would be some super nice modern hotel, but it was quite worn down on the inside. In fact, anyone could come up the elevator and there wasn’t even any security!! I thought hotels were only supposed to let guests who stay in the hotel access the residential floors!
It was a huge downgrade from what we had experienced. My room made weird noises, and sometimes it sounded like people were knocking on our doors. We could hear everything along the hallway.
Anyhow, we were all staying on the ninth floor. C was staying on the 12th, I think. But she was leaving the next day.
Oh yeah! I had forgotten to mention that since my boss had left us all by ourselves, he ordered a lot of stuff for us in the villa. We all got N95 masks, thermometers, gloves, covid test kits, and etc. He asked us if we needed anything else, and I actually told him that I was going to get my period in a few days, and that I would need pads now that I had to stay beyond the 31st.
My boss then proceeded to order 82 pads online for me. LOL. How much did he think I bleed? Ahhhh. He got both the thick and thin ones. However, I had asked for the ones with wings, and sadly, they didn’t have wings.
When I had told my boss this, he declared, “I’ll order more!” To which, I immediately objected, “No! It’s fine! I don’t have enough space!”
Anyway, the reason why I brought this up was because I ended up meeting Y, our other Korean manager, briefly to give her some pads. Y was taking C around, so when they had returned to the hotel, I met them at the lobby. Y was flabbergasted, and said, “This is enough to last a year!”
I know, right?
Anyway, that was the end of my meeting with Y. We only exchange pads and I had to go since I was positive and I didn’t want to accidentally give her covid. This will probably be the weirdest first encounter I’ll ever have.
Anyhow, it turned out my boss is a Titianium lifetime member at the Marriott Hotel, and we were given access to the lounge to get free breakfast on the weekdays. Yay for free food!
The problem was that it ended at 10am, so we would meet up at 9:20am by the elevators to go down together and have breakfast.
Several days later, I realized they also served some “snacks” between 5-7:30pm. Their snacks were good enough to be our dinner. Yay for more free food!
Since my boss was no longer with us, and we were all staying in different rooms, we ordered our own food now. Usually, one of us would order and have it delivered to that person, and then we’d go to their room to get it.
By now, A was fed up with fast food and fried food. His requirement was, “Please no fried and no fast food. I’ve eaten more fast food this week than I have the entire year in Spain.”
Another funny fact is that A LOVES the word TRASH. He would say, “This is trash” all the time. I began to imitate him, and I would point to random objects and say, “This is trash!”
But apparently, there are different levels of trash.
This is kind of trash. This is trash. This is so trash. This is fucking trash.
I couldn’t stop laughing. He is very hard to impress, but also very nice (and inappropriate).
Meanwhile, M preferred fast food since it was tasty. So, whenever he chose what to eat, he’d default to KFC. Hahaha. And each time, he would check to see if they had included a straw, and almost every single time, he’d groan and say, “Oh c’mon!”
Generally, everything was fried, fast food, or too sweet and salty. When I had returned to Canada, my mom wouldn’t stop complaining how fat I had become. Sigh. But my mom had always been skinny all her life. I feel like she had not gone over 100 pounds apart from being pregnant with me and my brother, so she probably has the skinny gene or something. Ugh.
Anyway, everything on Uber Eats was also really expensive EXCEPT for McDonalds. Omg. McDonalds in the US had a deal for 40 nuggets, and it was only $11.79!!! WHAT A GOOD DEAL!?!?!? In Canada, we basically pay $1/nugget. It’s so expensive!!!
Since A didn’t want to eat McDonalds, me, M, and J split the 40 nuggets. But I kindly left two for A so that he could try it. Haha. (The truth was I was struggling to eat my portion…)
I would not recommend ordering on Uber Eats though. We would’ve gone in person if we weren’t covid positive. All the fees and tips really add up to a lot!!
So during the next few days, we basically ate breakfast and dinner together (sometimes lunch). And after doing some work, we’d watch Strange Things at night in M’s room since he had the Apple TV.
As mentioned previously, M and A are tech guys. Whereas, J deals with the operations of the site, and I manage most of the Chinese translators and editors. So generally, I work a lot more with J than M and A. As a result, I am naturally closer to J.
So, when the cleaners cleaned our room, M and A would generally go to each other’s rooms, while me and J would go to each other’s. We’d bring our laptops and work together.
I remember distinctly that one time J came to my room and we were sitting side by side on the side couch. I suddenly thought of a funny joke from a few days ago, and began giggling silently.
However, because I was kind of laughing too hard, the seat was trembling and J was like, “What?”
And then I told him I was laughing about the joke from a few days ago. And he went, “Still?”
Humph! It was so funny though!
Anyhow, we all got along quite well.
On August 3rd, I tested negative! The day after, A and M tested negative, but J was still positive. Finally, on the night of August 5th, J tested negative!! So, I said we should all go out on the 6th and check out some museums.
But since A and M really weren’t interested, J and I went without them on the 6th.
J and I went to the Tar Pits, and it was pretty cool! But the museum was so tiny. We were hoping to see more, and some areas outside were also closed off.
Afterwards, we had lunch nearby and then we went to LACMA. LACMA is basically an art gallery. It is ok. I do not enjoy contemporary art though. I prefer looking at scenic paintings or portraits. They also have the biggest glass elevator I had ever seen. Here is a pic.
Regardless, I would probably not go back.
After that, we took the Uber to the Beverly Centre and went to the Museum of Dream and Space since I saw the videos on C’s IG stories, and it looked SO NICE.
When we got there, the guy was explaining to everyone that it was basically six rooms with cool effects. I pointed at the brochure and asked how we could get the 20% discount that was displayed on the front.
The guy asked us if we had student cards, but me and J were no longer students. So, he whispered, “Pretend to pass me your phone and show me your IDs.”
I had a feeling that we were on camera or something. Anyway, J passed him his phone, and the guy began his act. “Oh, Harvard? I see. Good for you!” LOLOLOLOL. It was so funny!!!
Anyway, we ended up getting more than 20% discount! Woohoo!
When we entered, it really did not seem like a museum though. To me, museums are places where you could acquire knowledge. But this was basically six rooms good for social media.
We took some cool pics, and I don’t regret going, but I don’t think I would ever go back either. Haha.
By now, it was probably around 3-4pm, and we went back to the hotel to finish off Season 3 of Stranger Things with M and A.
The day after was the day we flew back. My flight and J’s flight were supposed to be at 3:20pm and 3:40pm respectively, so we went to the airport together. M’s flight was at 9pm or so. And A’s flight was the day after since he was going to Thailand, so I guess they didn’t have one available on the day we left.
We had one final meal together, and then me and J left for the airport. I was really sad. We had all gotten a lot closer.
We took the Uber to Terminal 6 where my flight was supposed to be. J was going to walk over to Terminal B after. But because I was so afraid of crying, I literally gave him a quick hug and ran away. I cry very easily, so I had to dash. Too fast too furious, yo.
Anyway, going through security was SOOOOOOOOO fast in the US. I guess they really didn’t care since the people were leaving their country. It literally took 10 minutes for me. The woman didn’t even ask to see my ticket.
In fact, she didn’t even ask me any questions. She just looked at my passport and said I was good to go. It was a VERY different experience from what I had experienced in Toronto.
Meanwhile, J said there was a dog sniffing him and other passengers’ luggage. I’m not sure why it was so much stricter for him. Perhaps the UK required more screening?
My flight was supposed to leave at 3:20pm, but sadly, it was delayed by almost two hours, and they changed my gate twice while I was there.
In addition, all those on my flight were forced to take a shuttle bus that took us to our flight because they said the walkway thing to the plane broke at our gate.
In the end, my journey ended up being 12 hours even though my flight was only 5 hours. Aaaaiii.
Overall, it was a good trip even though there were some chaotic moments. It was really nice to meet T, L, S, and R in San Diego. And I’m grateful my boss organized the LA gathering so we could all spend time together. It was sad that I didn’t get to spend more time with my boss, C and Y. But I would see C the next month in Singapore.
My next post will be about my trip to Singapore. So stay tuned! If you made it all the way to the end, good for you! This post was approximately 8200 words! Please comment and say something so I can praise you!