Alum Rock Branch Library

Basically, I just didn’t like the ambiance of Latino america today so I left it for the next place on the list: Alum Rock Branch. So what if I have to bike 5 miles? Library closes at 8 anyways. I have time.

So I head off to the land past downtown and I-680. There I find a more densely Latino and black population. Don’t mistake me for being prejudiced, but after being checked out by a middle aged black man earlier that day I’m kinda wary.

The Alum Rock neighborhood is weird. This block looks like I passed the border to Mexico, the other is like I never left Westgate.

Moving on, the Alum Rock Branch Library. It definitely stands out from its surroundings.
Like every library, it’s pretty awesome. The Children’s area is populated by cute little plastic palm trees and blue clouds.
But I never linger there for long. I plop myself down on a comfortable couch in the quiet study room and start THE TRAVELER by Daren and Daniel Simkin.
[[SPOILERS: The story is about a boy who wants to find out what he wants to spend all his time on. So he packs up his suitcase with hours and minutes and months and travels across the world until one day he comes home an old man and realizes he wants to spend his remaining time with the pretty girl he left at home. But when he opens the suitcase where he kept his time, only a measly month falls to the ground and several seconds trickle to his feet. And only now does it hit him. You cannot pack up time and save it. And so he lived the rest of his month with his friends and family. It wasn’t what he planned for, but he was happy. END SPOILERS:]]

The short story really resonated in me because, heck I’m pretty sure it’s what I’m doing right now!

Because the reason I’m going to all these libraries is because I don’t know what else to do. I’m searching for a reason right now.

Later, I tried to do homework but every sentence of SIDDHARTHA was a melodic harp that lulled me further to sleep.
I have no dreams of late. It’s all black. A dark abyss. I’m searching for a star to look upon.

Finally, I decide I can do nothing more here and head out the door. It’s sunny outside. Good weather. The breeze is warm.

All that’s missing is… my bike.

My bike with the tattered basket and pink lock. Linh’s bike with the tired brakes and rusty chain. Where did it go? Who did it go to? A deep pool of anger surged within me but I tried to stay as calm as possible. My eyes radiated anger. I resorted to fast-walking to the nearest Alum Rock lightrail station approximately 0.8 miles from the library.


My mood today :<
My mood today :<

I screamed in my head that it was not so but Alum Rock is far from Cottle. The hour-long ride home leaves me exhausted and drained of anger. Now I'm just freakin' depressed. At the end of the day, I just don't care anymore. My legs ache. My feet hurt. I take off my flip flops and walk home barefoot the rest of the mile. Through grass, cement, pine leaves. It's the true hobbit experience you know.

It's like we're at the verge of Mirkwood Forest. The horses cannot go any further, nor can my bike help me. The band of dwarves and hobbit traveled great leagues on foot. Why can't I go a few miles?

Even without my bike, I'll still continue my journey. It's a duty to you readers and a duty to myself.

With that being said, tomorrow I am headed for Berryessa Branch Library! Fighting!


Biblioteca Latino Americana Branch Library

Yes. There is actually a library pretty much made specifically for the latino american population in San Jose.

Anyways, today started out in a frenzy. I had to hurry to school to get my schedule and ID and then rush to the book room to get my books and then spend the next 45 minutes delivering bookbricks to students.

I was so engaged in helping the busy crowd that I forgot that in an hour I had to take my senior portrait!

So I rushed home, grabbed my books, wallet and raced to the lightrail.

Suffice it to say I managed to reach my destination and took my picture.

Speaking about pictures, I couldn’t find my camera today (scatterbrained) so we’ll make do with small, low-quality phone camera. Good? Ok! 😀

Onto the Biblioteca Latino Americana Branch Library! (phew that’s long)
From the outside, it looks huge! Tall enough to have two stories. Big enough for a basketball court.

From inside, it totally reminds me of those awkward one room houses. No. Just.. No. I want my privacy please.
Still, it’s a reaaaallllyy pretty library from the inside. Upon entering the front doors, a gush of air conditioning welcomes me to a cozy looking arena of books.
On either side of the library are hand-painted canvases depicting important Mexican figures and culture. There’s also really cool quotes on the wall too.
So the library system has been down since August 5th therefore most of their services have been… wacky.

So it’s just my luck that my card just so happens to expire this week thus disabling my computer and checking out privileges.

But nice lady let me make a temporary new ID and check out this cute book called THE TRAVELER. I’ll read it later.

Speaking about later, this day isn’t over! The second half of Tuesday, August 6th will be up shortly.

In an epic quest involving bikes and books and people, a girl will show her wrath at Alum Rock Branch Library!! RAWR!!! :<

Calabazas Branch Library

This is the 16th library. I went here last Monday but only got the chance to write about my trip now.

The Calabazas Branch Library is probably the farthest I’ve traveled by myself. I biked 5 miles to the edge of Cupertino and encountered many similar paths along the way.

I reminisced the Westgate shopping center from when my aunt took me to Yogurtland near West Valley Branch. The stretch of food shops along Old Campbell looked like the one I traveled in Willow Glen.
downtown campbell
I recognized so many street names I crossed on my other trips. I’m not afraid to take detours because, I’ll know my way back.

The Calabazas Branch Library is not the biggest library, nor the smallest. But it’s more like a combination of Educational Park and … for some reason, Joyce Ellington.
It’s colorful and optimistic. Bold and friendly.
But I have to admit, it wasn’t the most comfy place to do homework. Since I arrived so late (after volunteering) and had to leave early, I didn’t do much other than browse the shelves for good reads and packed up for an hour ride back home.

The biggest impression this library left me with was the predominant Asian population. No wonder I didn’t feel left out. haha! I kid.
In any case, the bike ride here was extremely fun. So many sights to see, places to be… I seriously biked around the Campbell Community Center twice and circled Rainbow Park three times before I got to my destination.
downtown campbell lightrail station
Overall, I’d love to come back here just to enjoy the views along the way~

Now, onto miscellaneous stuff, the reason why I skimped out on this post for so long, I won’t make excuses. My mom left for Vietnam the Saturday before so I had to stay home, be a good daughter and do chores.

No I won’t make excuses. I just stayed home and watched dramas last week. I did.

But to make up for it, I’m hitting up all the libraries this week before school starts next Tuesday! Think I can do 6 libraries in 5 days? (Shoot I should have gone today…)

Well, we’re off to the Biblioteca Latinoamericana Branch Library tomorrow morning so keep your socks on!

East San Jose Carnegie Branch Library

I have to say I’m a bit of a dreamer (ha you probably already knew that from my last post)

But yes, I do suffer from the chronic daydream. Which is probably why I count airplanes in the sky pretending they’re shooting stars. Wishing for a wish that won’t come true.
The East San Jose Carnegie Branch Library is, despite the man it’s named after, ain’t so big. Seriously. Standing on this side of the library, I can see the other end and it’s not much.
It’s on the corner of 24th and Santa Clara, a rather small part of town where the majority of people are, sadly, not big on biz.

Yet, it’s not too shabby. The flowers and flying creatures theme is still prevalent. Although they have an affinity to birds here.

I love the teens room. If you sit in the farthest corner possible for a long time, the lights will turn off and leave you in a deep cave until the next passerby decides to awaken them from slumber.
Birds Take Flight

I stayed for as long as my hunger could hold and then dashed off for mama’s cooking.

But of course. I was in downtown San Jose. I couldn’t.

My favorite place in downtown SJ is probably the area around Plaza de Cesar Chavez. In the evenings, the place is so lively with people and their pets strolling around. Bikers near the stage doing their tricks. Kids running through fountains.

I bike through the fountains myself. It’s refreshing after shutting oneself in a library all day long.
No matter how many times I circle this place, I never get bored of it.

I always come back and find a new thing I didn’t see before. The Paseo de San Antonio Walk isn’t bad either. They have theaters, lightrail station, eateries, flower shops, and a ROSS. What more can I ask for? XD

I have to say, downtown SJ is very biker-friendly. I approve.

Just being able to be at this place, being given so much freedom to roam and scour the city as I please is a blessing to me.
Veterans flag

Come to think of it, I only started this library-expedition business because I felt that I wasn’t blessed with the money to go to summer school but now that I think about it, I would have rather taken this trip than a summer course on BlahBlahBlah 101.

Because of my adventures, I’ve learned more about myself, the people around me, and most importantly, the place around me.
I still don’t know what college I want to go to or what I want to major in or what I want to write in my personal statement or how I’m going to pass calculus next year or what I’m going to eat tomorrow!

But despite all that, I’ve had so much fun going to all these libraries.

It’s been TIRING, HOT, GRUESOME, and sometimes downright a drag to bike all the way to some of these libraries but boy am I glad I did.


Anyways, I just wanted to say that sometimes, there are other things more important than studying. Like friends. Like… dreams. Like yourself. For me, what I need to do right now is keep..biking to the city of my dreams.

In any case, the next post will feature the lovely Calabazas Branch Library! A rotten 6 miles from the Campbell station! 😀

Cambrian Branch Library

Today wasn’t necessarily BAD. I just had bad timing.

First, I was so engrossed in the book I was reading on the lightrail that I missed my station and barely arrived in time for my shift at CDM.

Then while I was in the garden helping kids make sundials, I lost track of time and was 15 minutes late for my break with Jayle! (I know, the irony)

But after that, my 4 mile ride to the Cambrian branch was pretty fun. I didn’t take pictures of the directions today because I trusted in my memory (shouldn’t have) and sense of direction (hello, couldn’t even figure out which way was south when I was making sundials).

Yet I arrived at my appointed destination. And boy was it magnificent!

The Cambrian Branch Library has TWO STORIES. Glorious cheesecakes.
I love tall nouns. People, buildings, ideas, windows too.

I was entranced by this little swirl in the ceiling. These library architects really love circles.
The interior was just as brilliant as the exterior. This mini tunnel reminded me of Alice in Wonderland and I admit to spending quite a while just standing there and playing with all the equipment like a little kid.
Then I spent the next 2 hours reading my fantastic book. I was so into the story that I almost didn’t notice the friend who came to visit me at the library today! It was too good to put down.

In any case, the Cambrian library is a great place to do some reading. With their giant windows and not-too-freezing-AC, the second story is perfect for reading.
I think today I was just really…absentminded. On the way home, I was too busy enjoying the scenery to care where I was going and ended up short 2 miles from the Los Gatos Mountains!

No worries. Linh knew her way back.

I think it’s because I’m a Pisces. We fish dream of becoming dragons and sometimes we forget that we’re still fish.

Until I become a dragon, I’ll continue my journey. My next stop is to the long overdue trip to the East San Jose Carnegie Branch!

Edenvale Branch Library

Maybe it’s because I go here so often or because I was too preoccupied with the friend who went with me that Wednesday, or maybe both that I didn’t take any pictures of our trip to the Edenvale Branch.

Recounting my long bike ride to her house, I admit that I am a girl. However, when I am with this friend of mine, I always feel like a knight who has to protect my precious princess from every harm.
So, yea I kinda like her cuz she makes me feel “manly.”

But that’s not all. Sarah is daring, outgoing, and chic. She’s got the hots for vampires and love novels. She’s probably everything opposite of me but I love her even more for that.

ANYWAYS. I digress.

The Edenvale Branch Library. It feels like home to me. I’ve walked through every aisle and browsed every shelf (yes, even the languages and biographies) and spent many of my days here just browsing, doing homework, having meetings, dating, you name it!

This stop was a date with my longtime friend, Sarah. You know that friend you haven’t met for a long time but when you see each other, it’s like they never left?

Yea, that’s not Sarah. xD

Time passed so long between us but it’s great to get together and find each other again.

Speaking about finding each other, we watched “17 Again” that day. Sometimes it takes a guy going through puberty twice to find out what he wants to do with his life.

And other times, it takes a girl travelling to all 23 libraries in San Jose to decide what to do with her summer.

And her next stop is the Cambrian Branch Library on Monday afternoon!

Educational Park Branch Library

Not to brag or anything but I think I’m pretty cool.

If I travel a road once, I’ll be able to find my way back even with a few detours.
Well, I’ve been to downtown SJ only 100 times so I easily figured out the way.

OMG THE EDUCATIONAL PARK BRANCH. It opened just this May but even I’m surprised.

I walked through the doors and FELL IN LOVE.
Educational Park
How can you NOT?

The colors, the space, the AC, everything was just so BEAUTIFUL. LOOK AT THE THAT EXPENSIVE HP.
I wish I could study here everyday…sadly this is just a short stop along my travels. But I swear I’ll come back here just for the hp. Someday. Even if I have to bike 5 miles for it. ❤

For my lunch break(I survived the day on Chocopies), I visited the Overfelt Garden Park right across the parking lot.
Looking around, I felt as if I were roaming a secluded forest in the middle of some Chinese wildland.

But of course, that’s not true. Looking around, I also saw buildings looming in the distance.

Jaylee told me about this one college that has a giant jungle of trees in its center. I found that weird yet oddly appealing. One mustn’t forget nature!
On the way home, I timed myself.

I left library heaven at 7:00PM. I arrived home at 8:15PM. But, no worries, it’s only because I took a lot of stops along the way to take pictures and enjoy the breeze.
I bike pretty slowly guys. What takes googlemaps 20 minutes will take me 40.

I go at my own pace where I can enjoy the world as it turns. Slowly.

I see the flowers breathing and people walking. Children running through water fountains and the world feels like it’ll never end.

Downtown San Jose is definitely much more lively at night.

At the end of the day, all these moments rush past and fade in time but I feel at peace.
The lightrail has many stops.

So until we all reach our destinations, let us enjoy the little stops we encounter along the way.

Speaking of my next stop, off to Edenvale Branch Library it is!