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Sorry for the delay, #4 was hard to write, and I got lazy/busy. I hope to resume Part 3 and 4 sooner than later.

Enough with the negativity! I want to cheer myself up, so I'm going to look at the best things that have happened at Peralta - Laney College and Berkeley City College in the last eight semesters, but I've only come up with things that happened in the Final 4. I came up with 13+ moments and picked the 5 that mean the most to me.


The Top 5 Best Moments at Laney/BCC

My first four semesters were not the greatest. I enjoyed being at school especially once my grades started to pick up, but it was never a place to go to meet people. I never felt like in my first four semesters I really enjoyed being with anybody. There were some nice people, and people who talked to me sometimes, but aside from one girl in Spanish 1A in the Fall 05 semester (See: "The Silence" in the Top 5 worst moments) there were never anybody who I really wanted to get to know. (Actually, that's probably false, but whatever.) This story will continue in #5 and finish in my #1 Best Moment. For now, let's just start the Top 5...

Best of the Rest
The Spanish 2A and 2B classes had some drama involving seeing other people in the class join eachother for lunch over at a certain restaurant (2A - Au Cocolet, 2B - Cancun). In the Spanish 2B class I was able to succeed for one day, to have lunch with my 2B friends, but nothing really came out of it. On the other hand, my success in the other class led to 2 of my favorite moments of my Peralta days.

Number 5... The Study Group
December 10, 2007 - Spanish 2A


As I said to begin the special, school was never a place to go to meet friends and have a good time. It was always work, studying, and maybe staring at a pretty girl or two but rarely if ever talking to them. Things began to change in the Fall 2007 semester. The Spanish 2A class had a pleathora of cute girls, and other people who were interesting, who I was required to talk to because of the nature of the class. In addition, Choir was starting to become a place to have fun, and I was starting to join a clique in the Guitar class. (see #4 best moment)

There were issues though, I still wasn't talking to people enough, I wasn't actually talking to the cute girls early on. Things were getting better as I sat near some girls and started to join a clique (dubbed in Spanish 2B the "smart table") consisting of several older people, and three cute girls - Theadora, Ashley and Leslie. This meant I got to talk to them more, and it seemed like they liked me back. However, the problem was, after class most of the clique would get together at a French/American restaurant a block from the school. I could not join, as I had to go to Laney for Choir class. I thought about skipping the class once or twice, but ultimately I didn't waste my time. How was I going to join? Was I going to ask after class? Would I just show up? I was struggling with this issue.

The last day of Choir was December 4, 2007. This meant that the final two weeks of the semester were free during the Choir timeslot. December 5 was the first day I could join a study group, but because of some absences one wasn't made.

Then came December 10. I knew if a study group was made I was going to go, because there would not be another chance as the final was on the 12th. I awkwardly waited around in class to follow everyone out, but everyone seemed to leave at different times, and the last ones to leave left too quick for me to talk to them. I decided I would make a plan. I would go to the restaurant, order food and sit somewhere near them and hope I would be spotted and invited over to sit with them. That way, I'd appear to be there just by coincidence.

The plan worked perfectly, whether or not they saw my bluff (I'll never actually find out, I doubt it really) Theadora saw me and invited me to sit with them. Everyone was there, except Leslie, who was sick. It was actually the very last study group, since Spanish 2B wasn't set up for a real need for study groups. It did not feel like it, as most of my classmates there implied this would be going on again, except Theadora who seemed really sad about this last day. (I will continue that story in #1)

Although I nearly missed the chance to say goodbye to people, as a really really bad stomach ache sidelined me for a while, I did just get out of the restroom in time and even walked out with Theadora, just the two of us...

The study group went well as I got a lot of help for the upcoming test, although unfortunately I would bomb it. However, it was a proud moment and where I thought, possibly with the help for therapy, joining Raider tailgates a few months earlier, and maybe just the desire to be with those people, I finally accomplished something I wanted to.

It also set up one of the best days ever in my life.

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Number 4... The Guitar Group
December 11, 2007 - December 16, 2008 - Guitar


This is actually a huge group of events that coincide as one moment.

For three semesters I took Guitar class at Laney with longtime teacher Ron Galen. The class had it's ups and downs, possibly more downs, as I wasn't that great at the guitar.

When I first took the class, I was struggling heavily and I wasn't sure if I'd even pass the class. I was dead certain I wouldn't come back for a second semester, but then with two weeks I left I got some inspiration from a girl named Brateil. She caught my eye on the first day of school, but because she was an intermediate student I didn't see her much. Usually the beginning and intermediate students separated after an hour to do their own things in the practice rooms or in the classroom.

One day, I was riding BART when it turned out we were on the same train. After we got out she saw me and talked to me during the walk to the classroom (About 3-4 minutes). This was the very next day after the events of "The Study Group" above. As you can tell, this was the turning point for my social life at Laney/BCC altogether and was why the Fall 2007 semester was so important to me. Suddenly I was having conversations with cute girls, this doesn't usually happen!

That very day I accomplished several things for the class, and I actually wound up completing all four of my assignments, a few weeks earlier I looked certain to only finish 2.

The day after the events of "The Last Day" (see #1 moment) it was the last day of Guitar class, and the last day of the Fall 2007 semester altogether. I remember that we had to take the Guitar test in another room since the Music department was closed for remodeling. The semester ended with a Pizza party at Lanesplitters in North Oakland. There I made lots of friends and felt a lot better about my guitar playing, so much that I made a last minute decision to return in the Spring semester.

The Spring Semester was difficult since I was now a second semester student and I was getting harder work, and I wasn't sure if I was capable of doing any of it, but I proved myself wrong by nearly successfully participating in a Youtube video of our Guitar group performing a Brazilian song, and finishing all my assignments.

Socially the Guitar class, along with Spanish and Choir, were the key parts of the semester. Guitar class was also a good alternative to the usually frustrating Spanish class, which was on the same day. In fact, I recall one day when I had one of my worst days in Spanish, academically and socially, before I had one of the best times at Guitar class, completing a (Best Moments candidate) personal comeback that meant a lot to me.

Specifically, that day was when our group recorded the Youtube video of our group, and the ensuing party afterwards.

The Fall 2008 semester was also special.

I've spent too long writing about this one event, which actually was changed to a look back on the entire era of the Guitar class, so I want to end it where the era ended. At the Pacific Coast Brewery in Oakland, the same place we spent the Spring 2008 parties.

It was the last time I saw much of the group, with a few exceptions, and the last time with one exception I performed Guitar in front of people. At the party, I got very drunk. We stayed up till near midnight celebrating our achievements and socializing about random things... I talked to Brateil about Cal and their victory over Stanford (she was then a Cal student, and I was anticipating being accepted) and she talked to the teacher about traveling with him (maybe the rest of us) to Brazil some day.

The party was recorded, and a Youtube video was made by one of my friends, although I don't know where it is anymore. You can watch the Youtube videos of our performances here - http://www.youtube.com/user/ronaldogalen

--------------------

Number 3... The Offer (aka "I finally did it!")
December 8, 2008 - 3D Animation/Spanish


Most of these things took place during a particular class. However it wasn't really about one class. I was taking a 3D Animation class at BCC on Thursday nights that I was having a bit of trouble making time to study. So I decided that on a time in my schedule on Monday and Wednesday where I was free, around 3:30, I would head over to BCC and work on my homework. I had considered that being at BCC more would give me the chance to run into more former classmates, particularly those from my Spanish 2B class the previous semester, where several of my favorite classmates hailed from. I already saw Leslie plenty of times at Laney since she was a music student too, but one girl in particular I hadn't seen. Her name was Analisa. We met early in the Spanish 2A class a year earlier, but although I was too shy to really get to know her, she seemed to like me. It took me a while (in the middle of Spanish 2B) to develop feelings for her, but the thing is, who didn't? She was gorgeous and every guy was after her. It didn't really seem likely she was available, and certainly not for a guy like me.

Well, anyway two weeks passed since I started going to BCC more when it happened, I saw her. I couldn't get her attention as some other guys started talking to her before I could. I tried to wait around for her but it was getting to the point where I would appear stalkish, so I backed off. I was really pissed though, since I didn't know if she was there for a class or if she was just around, thus I might not have had another chance to see her.

Turns out the very next week I went back around the same time, intentionally, and sure enough she was there. This time, it was not so hard to run into her. However I thought too much about what I would say that I appeared shaky and nervous, not exactly what I wanted to happen. She seemed okay with seeing me again though.

This would wind up being a saga that lasted the entire semester, where I would try to talk to her, usually in vain, and ask her out. A chance came in October when I was leaving the computer lab and she was near the elevator, she followed me down the stairs and I talked to her a bit. I asked if she was around on Tuesdays and Thursdays (when I had a Psychology class) but she said no. Rather than following up with "When are you available?" I gave up and never asked the question. Big mistake, and I'd make it again.

After weeks of not being able to talk to her, I decided to force the issue. I actually parked outside the classroom on a bench with my guitar (not to play for her, but to practice for the class, but it sure didn't hurt my image!), made up an alibi (Oh I was going to use the PC lab nearby, ha) and waited for her to come, which she did. We talked a little bit but she had her eyes on somebody else. Not that kind of "somebody else" but some classmates for help on something, so I was out of luck.

But I tried again the next week, and this time I was successful. We had a long talk (3-4 minutes) and even though I could have came back another day, because I didn't want to go to school just for her and I had finished all my 3D assignments, I told her that this would be the last time I would be around. She said "Oh we'll probably see each other again next semester" but I decided to ask her if she would be around another time and we could hang out. She said no, that she'd be busy with finals. Fair enough, but rather than following up, I again just gave up and was happy with what I did.

I was very confident in my body language, I asked her what I wanted to ask her, I was very happy. I didn't even care that she said no, in fact I was sure she would say that, but it was enough to make it one of my favorite moments as a BCC student. She was one of the more popular students at the entire BCC campus (it's not very big) and just associating with her boosted my self-esteem significantly.

If you read the "Worst moments" that I made a long time back, you would know that things weren't so great the next semester. By the time I started running into her (perhaps not coincidentally at the same time period) she had a boyfriend and actually sometimes went out of her way to not talk to me. We never had a conversation the entire semester. Whether I'll see her again is up in the air, as I'm not sure she's tranferring, and UC Berkeley's not far from the BCC campus. We are both fans of the chinese restaraunt next door to BCC, so who knows. But she's in the past anyway, and it's not that important that I see her again now.

Best of the Rest

Up till December 2007, one of the things that never occured at BCC or Laney was me hugging a girl. All of a sudden, they became a regular occurence. I got 4 that month, 6 in the Spring 08 semester, 2 in the Summer, 9 in the Fall 2008 semester, and 2 in the Spring 2009 semester. But there's nothing like the first one.

Number 2... The Hug
December 4, 2007 - College Choir


As I talked about earlier, the Fall 2007 semester was a big semester for me. It was really the first semester where I had fun being at school. It wasn't perfect, it's not like I made any friends outside of school, I had a few emails but I never regularly talked to anybody on AIM, Facebook, cel phone, etc. and I didn't get a girlfriend out of it, BUT school was something to look forward to every day. Even if things weren't going right, it actually created something I was lacking most of my social life - drama. Most of my drama involved internet girls or internet bullies or something stupid. My internet girlfriend broke up with me 6-8 months earlier and I was still getting over her. This all helped me a lot to successfully forget about her.

One of the reasons for that was the Choir class. This was my third semester in the Choir but my first taking it during the Monday-Wednesday daytime slot. Previously, I had taken in during the Tuesday night slot, which was mostly full of older people coming from work, and barely any people my age (in fact, the Spring 2007 semester didn't have anybody my age at all). That wasn't why I made the switch, it was because I was taking the Guitar class for the first time, which was on Tuesday nights.

Things have a funny way of working out. The semester already started out well, reuniting with nighttime classmates Laura and Marc, but I made new friends too like Lauren, Carlos and Eugene.

Late September/Early October this new girl joined the class. Her name is Cicci. She was a foreign exchance student from Sweden. She was incredibly gorgeous. I would think most of the guys in the class thought the same thing.

As you may expect, I didn't talk to her much, but later in the semester I would get a chance to talk to her a bit more, but usually in a group with Marc and others. Her beauty was certainly discussed with me and Marc. He suggested I ask her out in the last week, but I didn't want to because she was only going to be in the U.S. for another month before going back to Sweden.

One of the things about her is that she sometimes hugged people whenever she left, but that didn't include me so I had to force the issue a bit when I thought I wouldn't get another chance, that being the final performance in early December.

When the performance was over I waited around a bit and saw her hugging Eugene, that came around near me. I don't remember if she said anything, but it didn't matter. I approached her and said "Good job Cicci!" and hugged her without any hesitation. It was my first ever hug with a girl at Jr. College, and I was at the time 4 years in. I told her it was nice meeting her and she did too. Unfortunately I didn't think ahead, couldn't think of anything else to say and things ended a little awkward (think she even said something along the lines of "I'm going to go over there now", never a good thing to hear). I have to admit, she's probably the hottest girl I've had the pleasure of hugging, lol. I did see her again the next week but we didn't talk. Kind of wanted that moment to be our last interaction. Unfortunately a scheduled group thing with her and a few others was cancelled because the coordinator (Lauren) got very ill. I never saw her again as expected, but she will always have a place in the Best moments.

She was brought up near the end of the Spring 2008 semester by Eugene, twice. A particular conversation during our last performance of that Choir: (paraphrased) Him: "Not a lot of cute girls this semester;" Me: "Nope"; Him: "It would have been nice if Cicci was still around"; Me: "Yeah" Him: "You probably thought she was a real cutie didn't you; Me: "Well I do have taste."So clearly she was remembered by several people, heh.

Though I sure enjoyed having her around, she wasn't my favorite girl that semester by a long shot.

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Number 1... The Last Day
December 17, 2007 - Spanish 2A


This moment is a continuation of the number 5 moment. If you recall, on December 10 I participated in a study group with several people for the first time, and last time, and was excited about the prospects of the coming days and months with the finals, and Spanish 2B. Particularly I was interested in several of the girls there, notably Theadora. I was starting to get to talk to her more and she seemed to like me. I was getting interested in possibly asking her out, and was keeping mind of her two friends Ashley and Leslie.

So the final came by on Wednesday. I came in a little late, sat on a table with Ashley who was all by herself. Eventually Theadora came in and sat with us. (For the record, Leslie, who got an A in all the previous tests, got a "bye" of sorts and didn't need to take the final) I remember a little uncomfortable moment came when Ashley needed a pencil. I gave her one but she had trouble getting it to work. I had to talk to her to resolve this issue but Theadora was sick and didn't like us talking at all. Ashley comforted her but I felt bad for that. I did enjoy sitting with the two of them though, because who knows if I'd get another chance? (lol foreshadowing) I savored the moment.

Eventually things finished and I left without saying anything to them. But I was getting second thoughts because I didn't know if I would see them after that. There was an event the following Monday where we could get our final grades, but who knows if they would show up. So when I walked back up to the second floor I saw them walk by. After they asked me how I did (Theadora referred to me by "Sweetie", because I guess she does that for everybody) I asked them if they were going to be around the next class to get their grades. They both weren't sure, and as said earlier Theadora was sick. I decided to follow up with "Are you going to be back next semester?" and she said that was not going to be back as she was transferring to SF State. She actually said that a few weeks earlier but I forgot for some reason. I was very sad about it, but I maintained my cool and just said "Well it was nice to meet you if I never see you again" then I proceeded to sit down on a bench where I sulked for several minutes.

I went to Laney, even though I didn't have a class scheduled, so I could visit voice class and see Lauren, Eugene and others and even though I didn't tell them what happened, I was very down and I was happy to be in their company. As I went to sing a song, I announced "This is the first time I've been angry that a semester is ending". I mean could you blame me? This was the first semester where I actually had fun and it was coming to an end, and not only that I wouldn't see several people (Cicci, Theadora, and others) ever again. I got a little applause and I sang a beautiful rendition of "Tu lo sai." The next day for the voice class I was actually enrolled in, I sang "Come in From the Rain" with her on my mind.

I was depressed all weekend, the ensuing 3 days would be the longest 3 days ever. I attended a Raiders game which calmed me, but I was just too nervous as I didn't know if I would see her again, or what I would do if I did. I talked to people on the internet and they were very clear, ask her out.

So December 17 came. I got a haircut and went to school playing love songs on my CD player. When I got there, Theadora wasn't there, but I saw Ashley, Tammy, Juanita and others, so I sat with them and we talked for a while (in English too!) I was very open about being very stressed out (Tammy blamed it on the Cure shirt I was wearing, lol) and I also got word that Ashley wasn't coming back. Things were looking very bad, not only was I not going to see Theadora, but my second favorite Ashley was leaving too.

While I was being all down, Ashley started talking to Theadora on the phone and I overhead the conversation. She apparently was coming after all. I clenched my fist in relief as she walked in the room. I immediately started talking to her, asking her if she felt better. She thanked me for asking, and after that I moved in closer to her. After I got my grade from the teacher I stuck around to talk to her a bit more, about my own intentions to attend a 4-year as well as learning video game design at an art school. (She didn't recommend it: "I had a friend who did that, and now he's currently a busboy in New York") After she realized that I was still around despite that I got my grade, I said "Well, it's the last time I will see you guys" and she and Ashley started laughing in a ... flattered kind of way. Ashley had to go and at the request of Theadora she hugged me goodbye. (Not too long after Cicci did it, making her #2)

Theadora went to get her grade, and I sat by nervously waiting for her to be finished so I could possibly ask her out. But I was getting really scared, and I knew deep down that I was going to choke and not ask her the question. I knew if I didn't ask her out and she said yes, I would never see her again. She was the first girl in recent memory that I had true feelings for. As she found out she recieved an "A" in the class, she was very excited, and among other things credited her boyfriend for helping her out. As I heard that, I was disappointed, but relieved in a way, because I didn't have to worry about asking her out anymore.

Which meant I got to enjoy the following moment with no tension. I walked out after she was done and she came out crying telling me how happy she was that she got an A in the class. I congratulated her and as we were walking towards the elevator she saw Leslie in the window of the counselor's office. We went in and talked to her a bit (not too long, we aren't actually allowed to talk in there) and I got to say bye to her, as she was the only one of the three I would see again, and it brought a little closure to the saga with her for the time being. When we got out, Theadora told me she couldn't leave with me because she had to use the restroom, but gave me a hug goodbye and told me she would possibly return if she had the time. (She didn't.) I made the mistake of telling her that I hoped she did, but when I realized my mistake, I told her "Oh but if you don't I understand" and that was that. I left in a rare moment where I had no stress, sadness, or tension whatsoever. I felt very high, and walked out with a lot of pride for what happened.

I never saw her again, or Ashley, and for months I could not get over her. I remember the first few weeks of Spanish 2B hoping she would come walk in. I even made the regrettable mistake of not pursuing girls who were still around, like Pricilla who probably had a thing for me. (I'm fairly sure of it) However, eventually I did get over her, even opting not to go to SF State the next year when I knew it meant possibly running into her. I would gain new love interests like Pricila, Leslie, Analisa, Brateil, and Janneth anyway. It certainly didn't hurt though, as it gave me confidence into my last 3 semesters at Peralta, and jumpstarted my new social life at the school.

Next time: Part 3 - The all-time best people I knew at BCC/Laney

OTHER STUFF

So I'm going to see Depeche Mode on August 12. It will be bittersweet as I will be sitting on the lawn, far away from the band. I did go to see Coldplay at the same venue last Monday at the lawn, and it was terrific, so hopefully it won't be so bad with DM, who I've historically sat in the lower levels.

July 2nd was Cal's student orientation and it was a blast! I met new people (whether I actually see them at Cal is another story) and learned a lot of new things about life at Cal. I am really looking forward to the first day of school - August 21. And I look forward to getting Football season tickets next Tuesday.

The A's still suck. Oh well. The sad thing is, I have no other alternatives to watch. When the Raiders suck, I have Cal Football and the Sharks. When the Warriors suck, I have Cal Basketball and the Sharks. Who do I have when the A's suck? The Giants? I don't like them. The Earthquakes? They also suck. I guess I could... get a life!

Speaking of which, I returned to Laney to use their fitness center for the Summer. I've ran into a few classmates and it's made me feel less bored this Summer. The highlight was yesterday, when I saw my teacher do a lecture at the Berkeley Public Library and several of my friends (Marc, Shanti, Annie) and others. It was really nice to see them again, even if I may not see them after that.

Really really happy I finally finished this retrospective. This was what, 6 weeks late? Really sorry, and I know none of you are actually going to read this lol.

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