Some of our best family friends live in California, so we usually visit them in the summer. This year’s visit was especially memorable! Here are a few of the highlights:

State Fair

When we arrived, our friends told us that the California State Fair was happening. We decided to check it out, and I had a great time! There’s something about fairs that makes me nostalgic. Maybe it’s the multi-colored lights, or maybe it’s all the people there solely to have fun.

We looked at the art exhibits, which was one of my favorite parts. I love seeing student and novice art; you don’t need to be Michelangelo to be creative. We saw an acrobatic show, which was mind-blowing. The best part of the show was probably a middle-aged guy sitting in front of us. Throughout the performance, he was loudly oohing and aahing, and generally being amazed at the show. He reminded me that it’s no crime to wonder at things that truly deserve it.

One thing that I will always remember from this night is going on a ride called The Zipper with my sister, Millie. I usually stick to the milder rides, like the ferris wheel. But this time, she got me to ride when she reassured me, “It’s not even scary.” I believed her and headed to stand in line. When we were in line, she said, “Okay, I’m actually really scared.” At this point I started to freak out a little, since Millie is usually the brave one. I didn’t want to back down, so I got on. While we were locked in the cage that would promptly flip upside down, she told me, “I want to get off.” Fortunately, it was too late to get off, so we conquered The Zipper together. After it was over, she finished off her commentary with, “That was probably the most fun I’ve ever had.”


The main reason we came to California was to see Millie’s favorite musician, Grace Vanderwaal, perform. Grace was opening at Imagine Dragons’ concert. None of my family had ever been that interested in Imagine Dragons, but I ended up loving them! I could tell that they really care about their audience and their music.

The venue for the concert was outdoors and it was a gorgeous day. During the concert, the sun was setting all around us. I even saw an owl fly above me at one point!

Afterwards, I started to listen to some of Imagine Dragons’ songs, and have really enjoyed them. Surprisingly, I like their less popular songs more than their hits; so many have interesting underlying meanings and feelings behind them. I would highly recommend their album, Evolve.


The day after our concert, we took a campus tour of Stanford. My little sisters got to go, which was fun, since I have previously only toured colleges with my mom. I loved the classic California architecture all around the campus, and the relaxed West Coast feel. From what I saw, the students seemed nerdy in a cool way, funny, driven, and creative. The campus was very bike-friendly and had great 4-year housing.

The entrepreneurship and innovation that comes out of Stanford really surprised me. I didn’t know that both students from Stanford started Google and HP! It’s in the middle of Silicon Valley, so it’s very popular for students looking to go into technology. Despite this, they still have a big arts and humanities program, which I loved. I was also surprised by their amazing athletics. They have a ridiculous amount of olympians, including the swimmer Katie Ledecky. (I know almost nothing about sports, so most people probably know this. 🙂 But it was cool for me to learn!)

Overall, Stanford thoroughly impressed me, and I am excited to apply there! The State Fair and Imagine Dragons Concert were also a blast. I am so grateful for the opportunity to see all these things. I’ll definitely remember this trip in future months!


  1. What a wonderful description of all the offerings you took part in while in California. Stanford would be so lucky to have you! I love all the great pictures of you and your sisters. M & N are blessed to have you as their big sister.

    Ann Donnell

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