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Quarter Century

Quarter Century.

This year is a big year for a lot of me and my friends. The reason being  because many of us were turning 25 (our quarter century)! One of my friends who had a relatively earlier birthday in the year was especially special as it also happened to be her champagne birthday. For those who don't know what that is, a champagne birthday is the one year in your life where your age is the same as your birthday. In my friends case, she turned 25 on April 25th. So for her birthday, her best friend decided to throw her an exclusive girl's only party (I was an exception since I was the photographer).

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For her birthday, I got her this box of candies. Apparently it's really popular among girls and she really likes these specific kinds. The girls were gracious enough to let me try some, they were pretty good. Sugarfina is definitely on the higher end of brands for candy though (aka it was pretty pricey for the amount you get).

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Of course with any champagne birthday, there had to be champagne.

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After the girls had all their fun, it was time to switch up the venues. We went to Chewies Steam and Oyster Bar where we were joined by the rest of the crew (and the guys still didn't manage to get in on the pictures).

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The City of Angels.

For our grad trip, my besties and I chose to go to Los Angeles, the City of Angels. It was very exciting as none of us have ever gone and we already had a lot planned ahead of us. As we wait eagerly at the Bellingham airport ready to board, we had to take one obligatory pre-trip selfie.

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We finally landed in the City of Angels safe and sound. After we picked up our rental car, the first thing on our itinerary was hitting up the famous Hollywood Blvd.

Another landmark that we thought we couldn’t miss was the Griffith Observatory. Thinking back, I’m actually not sure why we didn’t decide to go at night…when the stars were out. So we ended up just taking more pictures of ourselves.

One of the main highlights was probably going to Universal Studios and Six Flags. We only had time to go to two parks so we decided to skip Disneyland as it was the less thrilling of the three. All of us were very into roller-coasters so it only made sense.

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Of course, we made sure to try all the different foods including the famous Pink’s Hot Dogs (and waffles).

By the fifth day we were pretty much all “travelled out” so we wanted to just plan some more relaxing activities. One of the things I really wanted to visit (after watching No Strings Attached actually…) was the MoMA exhibit with all the street lamps. There were so many people there but we managed to get a couple of good shots.

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On our last day, we drove down south and hit up Santa Monica.

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Overall, I thought it was a great trip. It was a good mix of eating, thrilling activities, and relaxing ones. And to be honest, given this group, I was surprised by how smooth everything went.

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The Big Apple.

Now and then my friends and I like to do a trip together somewhere, especially since we all have graduated and entered the “real world”. This past June we decided to hit up The Big Apple, New York City. It was my first time going so I was pretty excited. Before that, we first met up with my friend who had moved to Boston to work as an actuary. He took us around town, the usual touristy suspects. I was however surprised this particular piece we found outside MIT though. Back in 2013, I went to Spain for exchange and saw a very similar structure in Zaragoza.

One of the places I really wanted to check out was MoMa. Reason being I knew there were lots of cool exhibits there that could result in some really interesting shots.

I think the highlight of the trip was probably when we were on our way to Dumbo and the Brooklyn Bridge. We came across this cool looking structure that said “YO”. We ended up spending over an hour there just taking photos. The fact that the weather was amazing worked out perfectly.

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The First Proposal.

About a couple weeks back one of my best friend’s boyfriend (let’s call him Jon Chan, that was his secret name during the whole mission) met up with us to discuss about plans for my friend’s 25th birthday (which knowing her and her family, was going to be BIG). Little did we know we were about to plan something much, much bigger and important. We were told that the Jon Chan planned to propose at the new love locks statues in Queen Elizabeth park on October 1st. This was of course very exciting for us as it would be the first proposal to happen within our circle of friends. And that was the beginning of two very stressful and sneaky weeks in our lives.

In order to get the bride-to-be (let’s call her Kathy) to the place, we organized a group “photo shoot” (my friends loved taking photos) where it would be our last chance to get in a couple of nice photos before Vancouver turned to Raincouver as the seasons turned colder and wetter. My job was going to basically play photographer, slowly lead Kathy and the group through a pre-planned route towards the statues and finally capture the beautiful moment, in all its emotional-ness. Personally, I thought I had one of the hardest jobs as I had to act during this whole process knowing what was about to come up ahead. Nonetheless, I managed to get some nice “decoy” pictures out of all this.

Leading up to the proposal, we had to meet up for rehearsals and scope out the location and venue. We were very meticulous with all details — making sure we had multiple contingency plans, especially because there was a high chance it was going to rain that day. So for two weeks, we lived in fear that Kathy was going to be on to us as we all knew she was a very observant person. There were even a few scares where she had, one girls’ night, spontaneously talked about what she wanted for her wedding center pieces and that if Jon was planning on proposing, she’d be able to tell *suspiciously glares at the girls*.

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Luckily we had made it to the morning of and it was go time. We had our morning huddle at our setup base where we had all the balloons, staging, and everything ready.

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In the end, the mission was a 100% success. Kathy had completely no idea because everything had gone SO smooth.

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