School Life Pt. 5: Ramen Day!

School Life Pt. 1, School Life Pt. 2, School Life Pt. 3, School Life Pt. 4

On LINE last night, the boys in my class suddenly coordinated a ramen day for lunch today. We’d joked about having a ramen day after seeing a girl classmate eat ramen instead of the school lunch.

In the morning I went to 7-Eleven and tried to find the largest bowl of ramen that was selling for the cheapest.


This was NT$53 at 7-Eleven. I expected it to be much cheaper but this turned out to be high quality ramen.

90% of my classmates who brought ramen today also had the same brand.


The student in this photo wasn’t actually posing for this photo. He was daydreaming for real.


Most ramen brands in the US only have a powder packet and a dried veggie packet (cough Shin Ramyun), but this popular Taiwanese brand had a meat/sauce packet (big one), a powder packet (small one), and a spicy oil packet (transparent one).

In this photo, you can already see that I’ve made a mistake. I completely removed the top cover on the bowl. The top cover is supposed to come in handy later in the process.


Here’s my cover-less bowl of ramen waiting at the hot water machine.


There are water machines like this on every floor. No water fountains here. There are three different temperatures of water in one machine (the red, yellow, and green numbers are in Celsius).


My music textbook is taking the place of my bowl cover that I ripped off.

We arranged the desks in the back of the room to form a long cafeteria-style table. I think all of these students have paid the monthly fee for their school lunch (NT$50 per day) and they are sacrificing their money to have a ramen party. I still don’t understand my class’ thinking process.


I didn’t want my NT$50 to go to waste so I added green vegetables and more meat to my ramen.


My ramen noodles were flat and thin, which was much different from the Shin Ramyun that I eat in the US which has round noodles.


A lot of my classmates weren’t used to eating spicy food because they were all sweating a ton. In the end, we were all sniffling and praising the ramen. A few classmates who hadn’t brought ramen were swooping in to get a few spoons of the salty, spicy soup that was left over. One dumped rice into the soup and ate the rice that way.


Two classmates arrived late holding freshly made ramen bowls. They’d gotten kicked out of the student council meeting because their ramen smelled too good!!!

Golden Gate Bridge

One cool thing about living on Stanford’s campus in Palo Alto is that the Caltrain station is really close and San Francisco is then only a short train ride away.



San Francisco is usually cooler in temperature than Palo Alto because San Francisco is surrounded by water. Fog was covering the “Twin Peaks”, two hills near the center of San Francisco. Fog was covering the top of the Golden Gate Bridge for awhile. Even though I was wearing jeans and a hoodie for the first time this summer, the breeze traveling up the hilly streets of San Francisco made me cold.


We joined the hundreds of people already walking on the bridge.

The wind intensified as we walked onto the Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge walkway was pretty cramped because cyclists were supposed take up one half of the space.


Knowingly throwing objects off the bridge was quoted as a misdemeanor.

I overheard someone say, “The bridge isn’t golden in any way, shape, or form!”, and inside the gift shop there was a book with a title asking the same question. The bridge is that shade of orange to increase its visibility, and it’s named after the Golden Gate Strait, the area between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay.


Amazing view of San Francisco.

I suggest bringing extra layers to put on here because it gets really windy and chilly.

I also suggest you go to Tampopo, a Japanese restaurant in Japantown in San Francisco. They have amazing ramen and the food comes sooner than you think.



Day 2: Lawrence, KS to Goodland, KS

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 6.26.09 PM Last night I’d gotten only about 7 hours of sleep, which is 2-3 hours less than usual for me. The relentlessness of the driving hit me today. We are aiming for six hours of driving each day (today we drove a little less than the projected average). We split the driving as evenly as possible between Me, my dad, and my mom.

There were several contributing factors to this realization that we were continuously moving away from home. The first was that my mom had pointed out that even after a full day of driving we would not be able to leave Kansas. The 75mph speed limit would not take us out of Kansas’ grip (we stopped at Goodland, KS which is 15 min from the Kansas-Colorado border)

. IMG_4948 IMG_4951 The changing scenery also humbled me. Eastern Kansas was hilly and green (pictures above), but as we neared the western border, the grass turned yellow, the landscape flattened, and there were hardly any trees. Additionally, the distance between small settlements and radio stations increased dramatically, making everything seem larger and further away.


The gutters were changing too. This one was at a rest area. It was wide open and much larger than gutters in Illinois.


A marker at the same rest area.

We found our hotel in Goodland, Kansas, without a problem. Goodland is a small town of about 5,000 people. On the edge of the parking lot of our hotel, Holiday Inn, there were Tesla (electric) car pump things. It was the first time I’d ever seen one in person. They were really futuristic but looked strange in a small town like Goodland. IMG_4957 IMG_4956 We were so exhausted that we didn’t bother exploring Goodland. We made ramen in the hotel room with the small microwave and added canned sardines, tofu, and hard-boiled egg whites that we’d brought from home. IMG_4958