Bayside Church part 2 was amazing! Sallie and I conversed with Gloria, an 71 year old lady who immigrated to the United States from Mexico with her husband. She has 3 sons- one who does business administration, another who became a Coast Guard, and one who recently graduated with a philosophy degree. Although both of us may have lived in different decades at 20 years old, we both have similar goals and ambitions: to get married, travel, and reach financial stability. She loves to knit and displayed several knitting projects she completed- a cell phone bag and a hat. Gloria admitted when she was younger she sold her knitting projects as a side business! Gloria is now a proud grandparent of 3 granddaughters at pre-school ages. She tells us while she did not like children at first, she now adores having grandchildren. They bring joy to her life, especially since her husband passed about a decade ago. Her grandchildren are scattered all across the United States, from Virginia to Colorado to San Diego. To her a qualified physician was important to her father’s wellbeing and extension of his life in his last days. Sallie, Gloria, and I share a common love of food! We each shared our favorite foods: Gloria- homemade Mexican food, Sallie- sashimi and cheesecake, and me: strawberry shortcake. Our favorite San Diego restaurants are the Taco Stand and Menya Ultra Ramen. She recommended Sunset Buffet, an Asian food buffet on Convoy Street that serves lunch for under $10!
Today was the first class of Life Course Scholars- part 2! For my HAP Project, I with many others are planning a local Walk-A-Thon, an intergenerational walk-a-thon to bring awareness to the benefits of exercise and connect diverse individuals. While it was difficult to obtain permits, we are settling with a public venue that does not require such reservations including Mission Beach or a sidewalk near the ocean front. We were hoping the race commemorates a specific holiday during spring quarter such as May Fourth, after the Star Wars mantra “May the Fourth be with you” or Memorial Day Weekend or Mother’s Day. Our large group has been assigned to different tasks including location and map course designation, fundraising and outreach, and the day-of-the-event activities. I was assigned to day-of-the-event activities- I am planning to allocate my $100 on Propel packets people could pour into water bottles, granola bars, and bananas. I would also like to make posters to decorate the race, and use sidewalk chalk to mark the distances and pathway to avoid any confusion for our participants. I have also designed a race logo on t-shirts which could be bought for a requested $5 but participation in the race itself is free. The logo I designed as footsteps fading into the background of a palm tree. As a group, we plan to talk with Jadzia, the previous Life Course Scholar who has initiated such idea. With our fantastic team and great dedication, I believe the walk-a-thon would be a success.
Serving is the most amazing feeling in the world! The smiles and joy which radiate from people who I’ve impacted reciprocates to me. The Gary and Mary West Senior Center dance was a success! I can tell from distributing pizzas, churros, and apple juice that they enjoyed such delicious treats. I was so glad to be serving seconds as well. The music contributed to the wonderful ambiance of festivities!
When the raffle tickets were being called, numerous tickets were not claimed. I believe that because many seniors do not speak English, they did not know what the caller was saying.
Also, the thoughtfulness into each gift was outstanding. I feel that every human has a right to eat and live with basic necessities. Blankets, granola bars, and bars of soap were much appreciated by the seniors! Many also participated in the photo booth and the feather and masks activities.
The best part of the Gary and Mary West Senior Center dance was crowning the Prom King and Queen. I think it was wonderful in selecting individuals who had a rough year and deserve the uplifting moment most. I could see how happy the lady was when she was chosen. Their dance together was adorable! She received two gift bags and she literally danced her way out through the exit. I hope the remaining of the gift bags would be bestowed to other Gary and Mary West seniors who could not attend the event. Lastly, I hope that there could be multiple proms during the year to spread the joy!
Today, every group presented our NAPs, or Neighborhood Age Friendly Project. The neighborhoods our class chose were Little Italy, Barrio Logan, Sabre Springs, Hillcrest, and Encinitas. Even though all these neighborhoods are located in San Diego, stark contrasts in amenities, population diversities, and incomes characterize the various neighborhoods. My group presented specifically on Little Italy, the historically “hip and urban” neighborhood. Clearly, the lack of accessibility to the houses and absence of hospitals, grocery stores, and community service centers fail to accommodate the aging population. There were few schools and parks, if any, so families with children were not encouraged either. Instead, the young professional white collar employers were the target customers of Little Italy’s luxury condos and high rises.
Little Italy was very different from Barrio Logan, whose population was majority Hispanic. The senior affordable homes had a waitlist of well over 300 for approximately 80 units which opened in 2009. This translates to a wait time of about 10 years! While crime and noise burden the neighborhood, Barrio Logan is proud of its Hispanic cultural heritage as seen by the beautiful murals in Chicano park.
On the other hand, Encinitas and Sabre Springs boast of much wealthier and educated residents who live in multi million dollar homes. These suburban areas encourage families with children to attend the city’s highly rated schools and to play in safe parks.
Hillcrest attracts a diverse age group of LGBTQIA+ individuals. It has the second largest LGBT community center, but the area’s residents are mostly Caucasian.
Today, my group- Chloe, Sallie, and I- presented on Austin, Texas’s first senior job fair. In our Powerpoint Presentation, we explained that elders face job discrimination due to society’s stigma of elders being incapable of working compared to their younger counterparts. This job fair would allow seniors to have a fairer chance of being employed. The job fair consists of 35 employers- including the state’s popular grocery chain H-E-B market, who are looking to hire elders. Our class felt that age discrimination is most prevalent in technology due to the fact that elders are perceived as not being able to keep up to the advancing technology and in retail where younger individuals are preferred to handling customers over elders. Our class also pointed out the media’s significant contribution to age discrimination as well as the media’s bias for women to look younger than men. It is unfortunate that everyone who lives beyond 50 will experience some level or form of age discrimination, as it is a natural process that all long-living adults have to encounter.
The second group- Sabrina and Alisa, shared the research that African Americans have a higher chance of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. There are structural and systemic discrimination that contributes to factors of Alzheimer’s including but not limited to the wage discrimination that could lead to poorer nutrition due to the expensiveness of higher quality food, the limited long-hour requiring unskilled jobs available due to the inadequate schools in certain areas, and the overall stress they face as a member of their race.
Casa de Manana dance was so fun! I usually don't listen to older generation music but the music was so fun. I recognized 2 songs- Havana by Camila Cabello and Pretty Woman sung by Roy Orbison. My Dad's favorite song is Pretty Woman. I enjoyed the raffle and the multitude of prizes. Shoutout to Joey Uy! Anyway, one lady asked me to grab another raffle ticket but I found it behind her. Lucky for her, she won a fern! There were so many wonderful prizes such as succulents, Starbucks gift cards, and soaps. No wonder the elders were excited for our dance!
I think the intergenerational dance was an excellent way of bridging the gap between individuals of all ages. Dancing is an artistic form of expression that has been around since the beginning of time and although some may feel more comfortable than others when dancing, dancing is an activity that can be accomplished by anyone. Even a few hand claps and movement of their feet can count as dancing. Dancing has always brought people joy and emotion and has never been act of violence.
The Polaroid camera was also the perfect way to capture such a precious moment. Many seniors who wanted to remember the festivities were able to bring home a portable and quick memorabilia. I am glad the seniors enjoyed such activities and the props they wore to reflect the “Rock and Roll” theme. Everyone should have fun in their life, no matter their age or background!
Today, I presented my memoir to the class. I shared the three most important life memories of my extraordinary person- my father, Peter Leung. I shared in depth of his childhood living in the tenements of Low East Side of New York, the diversity of his neighborhood surrounded by Chinatown, Little Italy, and Little Germany, and the closeness and trust in the relationships he built with the residents of Low East Side. I also explained his proudest memory of being the first in our family to graduate high school, to earn a bachelor’s of science degree in Chemistry, and to obtain a PhD in pharmacology. I shared his happiest memory of meeting my mother at a coffee shop in Los Angeles after a Pharmacology conference. It was by coincidence, since my mother’s date never appeared but my father did instead. It was also bittersweet conversing about this memory because my mother died when I was 2 years old. My memoir project was a cookbook infused with recipes and the three memories, since my father and my mother possessed a shared passion for cooking.
I also listened to a group presentation of This Chair Rocks. It was interesting seeing another person’s perspective of ageism, which is the discrimination that one receives for being a certain age. The media contributes much to the negative perspective of aging, and unfortunately, women have a higher chance of being targeted as potential customers to purchase anti-aging supplements and hormone therapy to reverse the natural process of aging. It is sad to see that of all types of discrimination, everyone on this Earth who lives long will have to face ageism.
Today several people in our class shared their memoirs. The memoirs were amazing and reflected not only the delicate and precious memories of each extraordinary person, but the overflowing creativity of our classmates who created artifacts. There were jewelry boxes with heart shaped memoirs, origami flower, model airplanes, and manila bound memories. I noticed a common theme among the stand-out memories of their extraordinary people- all contributed meeting and marrying their significant other as their happiest memories and all designated education or the traditional “rags to riches” stories as their proudest accomplishments. Many saw the success of their children as an award for their hard work and if applicable, their immigration to the United States. I also noted that many included traveling, whether it be to permanently move to the United States or to explore the world for recreation, in their memories. I hope that one day I, too, will be able to travel to different states and see the highlights in numerous countries across the globe.
As part of the group reading Selling of the Fountain of Youth, I contributed much to the presentation. This short novel shared the perspective of Ms. Arlene Weintraub, who disapproved of the growing push for hormonal therapy to counter the effects of natural aging. She cited examples of physicians profiting from the lucrative business of anything from testosterone supplements, estrogen mixtures, and weight loss treatments that are deemed unsafe and unregulated by FDA. While physicians claim that testosterone supplements and estrogen mixtures replace natural hormones, they are synthetic and produce harmful side effects including pain, hair loss, and even cancerous tumors.
Today was the first class at school after numerous visitations to elderly communities in San Diego. We finally collaborated in our book groups. I am part of the Selling of the Youth group. The novel explains the fad of using unnatural hormones to attain a youthful quality of life while preventing anti-aging characteristics. Physicians are culprits as well; by encouraging elders to partake in hormone therapy for estrogen, testosterone, and growth hormone, they leave out negative side effects such as cancer, loss of hair, and depression.
Furthermore, we discussed neighborhood friendly aging projects (NAPs). Sallie, Leslye, Nina, Wayne, and I will be studying Little Italy. We will be searching for accessibility issues, transportation options, amenities, and housing availabilities for elder individuals in San Diego. We are planning our visit on Saturday February 16th and possibly meet elders at the famous Little Italy's Farmer's Market!
Finally, we divided the class into two groups to plan a party for two vastly different elderly communities: the Casa de Manana, which caters to individuals of a higher socioeconomic status, and the Gary and Mary West Senior center, which serves a San Diego population on the brink of poverty. I was assigned to the group planning party for the Gary and Mary West Senior Center. We decided on a Carnival theme, music reflecting the tastes of the past, carnival games such as bean bag throw, archery, and ring toss, and carnival food including churros, pizza, and nachos. Although we will have to fundraise, I know this party will be a blast!
$14,000 a month! My mouth dropped as the property manager revealed the monthly rent at a luxury villa at the luxurious Casa de Manana senior homes. Of course, the extravagant amenities came at a cost: a cozy theater showing Oscar winning movies from several generations, a private beauty salon, nutritious meals served at a resident’s discretion, an 84 degree Fahrenheit pool with a spa for exercise and relaxation, a modestly equipped library overlooking stunning views of Children’s Pool Beach and La Jolla Cove; personal trainers to ensure healthy lifestyles at their fitness center; exciting trips to the opera, plays, and local gardens. Casa de Manana offered an experience to seniors unlike any other place I had visited.
As I explored the comfortable Casa de Manana located in a priceless location, I met many residents who shared their background were in their early to mid 90’s yet they did not seem a day over 70! Most were educated with college and even professional degrees, and they chose Casa de Manana as their choice of home to have fun in their retirement years. Their adventurous backgrounds including serving in the U.S. Navy, traveling to Kenya and Italy, and skydiving and rearing children whose partners had close ties with U.C. San Diego encouraged me to continue to pursue a higher education to be able to enjoy the world’s treasures. Through their lens, I realized only an education can earn me success and enable me to access such a beautiful life. They sought higher education, prioritized their health and wellbeing, and formed trusting relationships to unlock a fulfilling life.