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 …