Riverside reunions and the bond of study abroad / by Amanda Liew

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I have been so incredibly lucky to have made such amazing study abroad friends during my time at King's College London. Over a year ago, I brought the Brits on an amazing cross-country USA tour, but was worried when we would all be reunited together next. When I studied abroad, I was a junior in college, but all of our British dormmates were freshman - now, two years later, the British students are in their 3rd years and studying abroad themselves! My good friend Max just loved us Americans sooo much (hahah) that he signed up to study at University of California Santa Barbara. Talk about an American experience! Fortunately, he decided to stay with a friend in Riverside for Christmas, and I was able to drive up for a mini reunion of our own! Considering neither of us knew anything about Riverside, we resorted to Yelp and TripAdvisor to figure out what to do. We went to the Mission Inn for lunch (good food, bad service), and then realized the UCR/California Museum of Photography was just a quick walk away! By far my favorite piece was Hank Willis Thomas' Strawberry Mansions. There were multiple shots of a block connected accordion style. I particularly appreciated how each panel showed the uniqueness of each house, yet the connection of the panels provided a sense of unity of the entire neighborhood. For more of Hank Willis Thomas' work, check out Artsy here._DSC0010_Riverside 2013 The museum itself was designed in a modern way. They had a large camera obscura outside which allowed you to see an outside view as a living photograph of sorts on an interior wall! I highly recommend the museum - it's free for students or with a Yelp check in, but also only $3 regular admission._DSC0017_Riverside 2013

We next decided to go to the UCR Botanical Gardens. I originally anticipated a small walkable garden, but we were astonished to realize how vast the grounds were! The place is massive. There were various plants with which I practiced shooting at a shallow depth of field.

f 1.8 1/640 ISO 400 - I could have probably reduced the ISO down to 100 on this

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We noticed that the sun was about to set and thought we could take a path up to the highest point to see the sunset. I quickly realized my sandals were completely ill equipped for the steep hike up, and was too busy dying before Max made me turn around to witness the scene behind me! _DSC0063_Riverside 2013 _DSC0064_Riverside 2013 _DSC0066_Riverside 2013

All in all, it was a wonderful day and so amazing to catch up with Maximus as I like to call him. I'm excited because another cross-country trip is in the works, and hopefully all of us will be reunited yet again!

I'm so blessed to have good friends who make the effort to keep up relationships despite being worlds apart!_DSC0071_Riverside 2013 _DSC0078_Riverside 2013