I'm just going to merge two blog posts together as my farewell. This class and cohort has been my favorite so far during my ENTIRE UCSD career. I'm so honored to be a part of this cohort and able to learn from both Professor Bussell and Lewis and my amazing classmates. My favorite parts of the year were first few trips in the beginning of the class (last quarter). I remember I didn't know what to expect and didn't know I'd learn so much about San Diego and the experiences of the elderly in our community. From the way they live, cultural backgrounds, and barriers, we as a society need to really work to help the elderly. There are several ways such as stopping ageism and actually stopping to reflect on how ageist our society is. I never really thought about it before. I also really love how humanized this course was. I wasn't just taking notes. It was communicating, telling stories, by touching peoples hearts and minds. It was applying our work and unifying college students and elderly with intergenerational projects. Lastly, I truly love my HAP group. LOVED the project and the people. My favorite part was talking to multiple elders I've met multiple times before. I've made friends from this class (young AND old). Thank you for an amazing year (kinda? 2 quarters?) <3
This week was a very busy week for me. I’ll cover the intergenerational lunch, which in my opinion, was an amazing idea. I met fellow LGBT seniors in the community. I met some like Bob who enjoy country, Richard who was a teacher and overlooks frats at UCSD/SDSU, and Steven that represents multiple communities. One talking point I loved was when Bob told me the only way to defeat stigma and create intergenerational spaces is to learn to love one another. If we do not learn to love then we cannot respect one another’s points of view. Overall, this event was amazing BUT I do wish it was done last quarter or earlier on in the quarter. One, it was kind of intimidating to be alone and talking to around 5 seniors at once. So it was difficult to ask all the questions and get everyone to answer. Second, it would have been better if more students were able to make it. Only half the class came due to midterms, class, and HAP projects. Maybe we can do a Intergenerational Breakfast for next time? NOW my group’s HAP project actually was a great success. We went to Bayside on Friday and had an amazing turn out. Many of the Seniors told us they wished there were more events like Succulent making with Students. Shivani and I thought that maybe for next year, we can have more hands on workshops when visiting centers instead of just having talking sessions. We can make plants/art AND talk at the same time.
There’s not much to reflect on this week, other than that we’re almost wrapping up the quarter. I guess I’ll first reflect on the the book we read. I definitely like the second half of the book more because it goes into different lessons each senior goes through in their life. I definitely liked Jonas’ story because what I got out of it was that to be able to push away negative thoughts is to do and look at the things you care about. It’ll give you happiness and a sense of purpose in life. Overall, I did enjoy this book and recommend it for next year. I’m really excited about our HAP project and since I was out town this week, I definitely can’t wait to participate next week. I heard it was a great success from my classmates. I enjoyed preparing though by cutting the succulents out beforehand. Lastly, I’m really excited for this week and our “field trip” to the North Park center.
I didn’t know what to expect when coming to the West Center. At first I thought we’d only be able to talk to just one senior, but I had the pleasure of talking to three! Our first senior understood English but spoke better in Chinese. She came from China and traveled all over the US but loves San Diego because of it’s weather and how happy it makes her. Our next Senior actually saw our little activity from outside and came in to join. She was talking about the mistakes in her life that she’s made and how she didn’t taken her mental illness seriously. From her I learned that even with mistakes we must move forward and look at what’s ahead. Our last senior was a lady from Pakistan. She lives in Hillcrest and takes the bus to the West Center. She said she moved to San Diego because she has family here. She told me she’d love to go to the mosque but it’s far and she doesn’t have easy transport to get there. All in all, I loved our trip at the West Center. I felt I got to talk to a lot more seniors and listen to their advice/life stories. I felt the questions we had (although I don’t remember them) opened for conversations and even more questions. Which is really good.
A lot has happened the past couple days. I switched groups and decided to join the gardening group. We first set up a list of items we'll need for our HAP project. Then we contacted centers we know and been before. All is well for right now and our first HAP event is May 10th. The reason I chose to switch to the gardening group was because I love gardening and plants in general, as well as I believe my efforts would be more beneficial to this project. I'm really excited for the first event and to see how it will turn out. I'm only worried that something may go wrong, but hopefully it all works out and we get to spend some time with elder community and bond. I'm really excited to go to Bayside. It’s probably my favorite center that we have visited so far. The community seems great and strong at the same time. I miss the lady Shivani and I spoke with the last time. I have so many questions I need to ask her. Such as how her realty work is going right now? If she plans to stay in San Diego for the rest for her life? I still remember her invitation to go fruit picking in her backyard. I just may accept the invitation. All in all, this week has been pretty okay. Class was interesting and I loved the book presentation from my fellow classmates. My group presents next week I believe (so we still have time!).
I really like the new Bayside center! I wonder how long it took them to rebuild or receive funds for a news center. It’s definitely a lot smaller but it’s fully functional. Shivani and I had the opportunity to talk to one of the sweetest ladies. I actually spoke to her husband a while back during our first visit to Bayside. Anyways, we learned that she was an agriculture major back in the Philippines. She used to do work in the villages and teach women etc. When she came to America she worked at Jack in the Box corporate for about 25 years (that’s a ton of years!). She enjoyed her time there and was well taken cared of BUT it wasn’t what she enjoyed doing. She’s been meaning to get into realty and decided to do it with her husband later after retirement. Now she enjoys selling property, providing for her sons and granddaughter (they gave her a college fund), and going to Zumba at Bayside! She invited us over for some fruits and I’m definitely not going to pass that up! One thing she taught me was that there’s always room to do what you truly love at any moment in your life. You’ll know when the time is right. It maybe now or in the next 30 years.
I was excited to see everyone after a short but memorable break. There were many people from our cohort that traveled, which was very nice to hear! Such as to NY, Boston, Honduras (:o). I’m excited for the quarter because it’s not going to be assignment heavy. Yet, we’ll be busy working on our HAPs. Not everyone in our group was in class but my group got a lot of work done and received great feedback from the professors. I’m excited to get creative and actually make an impact and debunk ageism or stereotypical ordeals attaches to aging. I believe our HAP project will showcase elders in great light by conveying the many obstacles or spectacular things they did in life.
I was really excited for this prom because I really enjoyed our last visit to the center. I saw a couple of familiar faces as well! I liked how everyone in class worked together to decorate and clean up the prom. I noticed a couple of things. One, the seniors really enjoyed the Photo Booth. There was one lady that kept coming back and go all out with the props. Even the seniors that didn't know much English knew what it was and would enjoy the Photo Booth. Second, during the raffle a couple of seniors weren't really looking at their raffle tickets either because they didn't know what it was for or didn't understand English. Thirdly, I noticed how a lot of the Seniors went up to take extra food with them. It just shows how more in need the center is compared to Casa. (They really liked the pizza) Overall, I really enjoyed this prom and thought the theme was so good. Although I think we were rushed, I can tell a lot of the seniors loved. I can tell that the seniors really appreciated the prom and a lot look forward to it each year. I'm going to add the last couple class days as well. The last day was really sad but I'm excited for next quarter and what it'll bring. I'm still conflicted on doing the community garden or picture museum one. I really like both ideas but I feel like doing both will be a lot of work.
In the beginning of class we talked about the prom outcomes and it was nice to hear everyone's input. I really liked the current event since it talked about age discrimination in employment makes it harder for seniors to find jobs. Since social security is not enough and the overall cost of living is very high. I also think it’s cool that there are actual senior job fairs out there for seniors. It’s really important to help the aging community and to be able to help them help themselves at the same time. Katrina’s oral history was really cool! Her grandma is such an entrepreneur which is enlightening since it was a while back. She opened many business in Africa which I don’t doubt was hard. Yet, Katrina said it was her happiest time in her life to spread Taiwanese culture.
Rock n’ rollin with Casa was a great success in my opinion! The decorations were very nice and I loved the polaroid camera idea. With the photo booth props, it really brought things back in time. It was fun seeing the seniors have fun, whether it was dancing or sitting and enjoying while watching. It was cute when some couples danced together (and boy did they have moves!). It was apparent the seniors were enjoying their time because a majority had a smile on their faces. It was funny watching some seniors get upset when their number for the rafle get called. I remember one senior I was talking to earlier really wanted one of the plants and later she walked out with a hyacinth. One senior told me while she was leaving that just watching us “young kids” dance made the prom so much fun. She said it was refreshing to see young kids have fun since they don’t seem people of different ages as much. Towards the end of the evening Janan and I met a Lebanese senior. I was surprised, I never expected an arabic speaking Senior would be in Casa. He said he’s a doctor and I believe he’s part of the Arab Medical Association, if I’m not mistaken. He clearly was successful in his life and loved what he did. He seemed really happy to be speaking Arabic with us. He was telling me about how he watched a BBC documentary on Palestine and that he was happy because he never really see’s Middle-Eastern cultural things at the center. We promised him that we’ll come back and visit and bring him food.