« And the Winner is...... | Blog home | Getting ready for Work experience in Cambodia! »

With my first batch of midterms over the week before Halloween, I decided to celebrate the brief breathing time by beginning Halloween celebrations early. Yep, the movies are pretty accurate – Halloween is HUGE in America. There are countless stores entirely devoted to selling Halloween costumes and accessories (I’m not really sure what they do for the remaining 11 months of the year), and as early as the start of October, businesses had started scrambling to make most of the festive (ie. money-spending) mood of American society ... myself included.

On the 2nd to last Saturday of October, I went to Universal Studios – not the normal day session of course, but the special Halloween Horror Nights from 7pm to 2am. Essentially, they had added scary mazes as well as “scare zones”, which consisted of monsters jumping out at us as we walked unsuspectingly from one ride to another. I found the entire experience more amusing than terrifying, but fortunately, I had a great time scaring my friends!

The next day was spent at Six Flags, a great theme park that is less “family-friendly” than Universal Studios and therefore packed with thrilling rides. What ensued were sore throats (from screaming), aching necks (from straining against gravity) and completely drenched clothing (from the water rides), but definitely no regrets! Of course, Halloween had encroached upon Six Flags also, the mazes being considerably more intense than those in Universal Studios the night before!

Actual Halloween was a hurried affair. Due to midterms, I was unable to start shopping for a costume until the day before and by this time, shops were almost bare, despite the seemingly excessive number of Halloween costume stores and their extravagant prices. However, I managed to dress up for Halloween for the first time in almost 10 years and join in the nationwide celebrations. There were parades in every town, parties in every house and fully-grown university students trick-or-treating.

While Halloween consumed a large part of the past fortnight, other aspects of life in LA soldiered on too …

Academic: I’m very happy with my midterm results so far, reinforcing my opinion that difficulty and workload at UCLA is comparable to Sydney.

Social: Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to devote as much time as I would have liked to club activities or travelling during the past fortnight, but I have made sure to pack the coming few weeks, which I look forward to sharing next time!

Adapting to America: I’ve definitely settled in – not in a routine since everyday continues to offer new experiences, but I feel comfortable in LA. This doesn’t mean I don’t still suffer from “America shocks” however, the most recent shock being due to my first visit to Costco, a wholesale warehouse chain to which Walmart is nothing in comparison. I’m trying to forget how much I ended up spending there …


hey jina, so does that mean you don't have exams right now unlike your fellow second years back here? and did you find everything at Costco in bulk-buy? apparently there'll be one opening in Bondi soon.

hey rowena

u guys are in the middle of exams right? ive actually just finished my midterms, which are like midsemester exams except that they're as important as final exams.

Yeah, costco is pretty crazy ... everything is sold in huge boxes, so i ended up buying enough tissues, toilet paper, snacks, detergent etc. to last me forever! wow ... they're opening one in bondi??? i guess it's impossible to stop american consumerism from spreading everywhere!


yeah i just finished exams wednesday LA thursday here. how is university life in the US? e.g. lectures, labs, tutes, etc. is it more fast paced there?
you seem like you're having heaps of fun regardless of studying for one extra set of exams,

and talk about the cost of living, especially in LA, being heaps lower than here in sydney? yeah about costco i just heard about it from some relatives who went earlier this year. all i know is that there's one in melbourne. im nowhere near halfway through the chocolates my family brought from there when they also went in september, and that was just from walmart, goodness i couldn't believe how cheap it was! though you could say quality of life in LA is another thing...

have a good 'thanksgiving' i know its in november but i don't know exactly when. and try some reese's peanut buttercups while you're at it :) .

Regards, Rowena

awesome entry, im planning on going to ucla myself, looking forward to more stories

Thanks Kenneth. Yeah, you would definitely have a great time here!

Rowena, I think the academic side of things would depend on the courses you take, but I found that pace and amount of work is pretty similar. The people here do tend to study more though. As for living costs, it's definitely NOT cheaper here. I'm bleeding money like crazy and I'm not someone who spends thoughtlessly!

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Enter the code shown below before pressing post

The Authors

About the Blog

Everything you ever wanted to know about uni but were too afraid to ask....