March 7, 2011:
From the first minute I walked off the plane to get my bag from baggage claim, I fell in love with California. The weather is phenomenal compared to that of Ohio. There will never be -10,000 degree ice storms or difficulties driving due to weather in Redondo Beach, California (I am staying there for my Spring Break). There will also never be any temperature below 50 degrees Fahrenheit or even hail. This place has perfect weather year-round. The temperatures range from 60 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Those temperatures are perfect for me because I like weather that is not too hot (so I could not live in Savannah, GA during the summer) and not too cold (so living in Ohio during the winter is not my cup of tea).
The weather is not the only thing I love about California, though. I like the fact that I can be on the beach, be in the city, and be in the mountains all in the same day if I wanted to. The beaches of California are absolutely beautiful. I can ride a bike or walk right next to the beautiful (and cold) Pacific Ocean. I can also go to many of the bars that are alongside the beach and enjoy a couple of Martinis or even some straight-up Jack Daniels shots if I desired. I can ride along the city streets of Los Angeles and view their beauty; palm trees line most of the streets. There are so many beautiful buildings in Los Angeles. There are even quaint suburban areas that seem quite home-like. The suburban areas near Hollywood Hills are so awe-inspiring. They look like regular houses with fancy gardens. In fact, they remind me of the quaint houses that William Wordsworth would write about in his poetry. The most amazing part of my vacation so far (besides my many ventures through bars) was my hike through Hollywood Hills. I could not believe that I was so close to the Hollywood sign. I will probably never get that close to Hollywood again, since I cannot act to save my life. I even saw the entire city from the cliffs of the Hollywood Hills, and I must admit that it was amazing to see the big city against the backdrop of the mountains and even the island of Catalina that was twenty miles off of the coast of California. I was able to experience nature and city all in the same moment; I do not think that I could not experience both of those things simultaneously anywhere else. The hills were a natural green with a hint of reddish-brown. There were shady trees all along the trails that my uncle and I walked. My uncle and I even took his dog Mizzou to walk with us, and she had as much fun as we did.
While being in California, I re-experienced the wonders of Jack in the Box, my favorite fast-food restaurant in the entire world. The food was as good as I remembered from 10 years ago. I missed Jack in the Box because the Jack in the Box chain is not in Ohio or Georgia. I love the other restaurants in California, too. There are so many kinds of restaurants that if I wanted to have even Lebanese food, I am sure that I could find it. The grocery stores also have so many types of food that I have never experienced before, such as jalapeño and cheddar hotdogs. Those hotdogs were amazing. If I were not so weight-conscious, then I would eat them all of the time. There is even some Greek yogurt that I wanted to try, but I could not because it magically disappeared from the refrigerator. When food disappears from the refrigerator the next morning, then you know it is good.
If the great food, weather, and diversity of landscapes would not convince me to move to California at some point in my life, then the diversity of the people would. There are so many different types of people here, unlike in the area of Ohio where I live. There are blacks, Hispanics, whites, and even some Asians in California while in the area of Ohio where I live, there are only whites and a very few blacks (the only diversity I see in my area of Ohio is that there are occasional Native Americans). There are people with many different types of personalities in California, even more than those in Ohio or possibly Georgia. There are people who speak all kinds of languages, especially American English and Spanish (En facto, hablé español en el avion al señor en mi vecindad por tres – cinco horas. Sabe más inglés que sé español. Hablemos inglés y español, y mi español es terrible). I really need to learn Spanish again because it is much easier to use than English is. If I move to California, which is becoming a larger possibility with each passing day I stay here, then I will definitely take some Spanish classes. California is so amazing. My friend in my acting class said that she loved California and that she would have loved to come with me; I now fully see what she means.
In fact, I will actually look at the University of California in Los Angeles while I am here just so that I can have another graduate school choice. I am also thinking of Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Pittsburgh, PA; Youngstown, OH; Atlanta, GA; St. Louis, MO; and possibly Arlington, VA (although my mind fluctuates on this option quite a lot) in terms of locations for graduate schools.
I will have to force myself to get on a plane back to Ohio because as much as I love my family and friends in Ohio, it will be so hard for me to leave this place. California is a playground that was designed especially for me.
Xara Nahara O’Connor