my family has always been extremely interested in road trips. with four kids, it's a little too expensive to buy a handful of plane tickets. our suburban got its fill of exercise throughout the course of my childhood, you can tell from the broken door handles and goldfish that have become permanently scrunched into the seat.
since my siblings were a bit too young for long distance travel, we didn't go too far out of our way until i was in high school. there were a couple scattered trips to disneyland, and a drive to eureka. then, when i was thirteen, my luck changed. i would no longer be able to claim the fact that i had never left my home state. not only was i going to exercise my love of history with a class trip to washington d.c., but my family was going to move around as well.
we were going to texas.
okay, okay. it's not that exciting, looking at the trip from this end. at the time? i was ecstatic. i packed up a "les miserables" cassette to play in my walkman (remember these?!?!), and with an old copy of "gone with the wind" on loan from the library, i finally got to travel. through the desert.
i still think that no one lives in new mexico, except the one random woman that keeps up that tiny old gas station somewhere in the middle of it. she must get flown in, i'm sure. and arizona? i'm sorry. i must have been in the wrong part because it was kind of dry...i mean. really dry.
texas was my first taste of family travel, and i loved every moment of it. in the years to come, my crazy family threw us kids in the car and made the trek to utah, colorado, oregon and nevada. we drove back down to los angeles.
somehow, it's so different now. i've been on my own for about four years, and long-winded travel suddenly became a fond dream, something i thought of on my ten minute breaks as i scarfed down a sandwich, or during the morning commute. thankfully, the Lord has opened a few doors for me, and the decision to travel lies in my own hands. and my friendships. in a couple short weeks i'll be flying out to nashville, and in december?
i get to go to africa for a month. with my best friend.
for an unseasoned california kid, that sounds pretty amazing.
i feel very lucky to have been blessed with such phenomenal opportunities, and i am excited to begin traveling the world i have only perused in books. i don't think "gone with the wind" will be going with me, sad to say. my nook will work just fine.
there's something nice about acting like an adult. buying your own plane ticket, providing for yourself. now that i have a phenomenal job? (check my company out!) many, many doors have been opened. for old times sake, here are a few photos from the past. don't laugh too hard at my blotchy skin or goofy, too-big teeth. i didn't quite know what i was doing, yet.
(when we were cute...eureka, ca)
(first time to alcatraz, as dad prays i won't fall in love with the city by the bay...san francisco, ca)
(disney trip...anaheim, ca)
(little peanut sleepin' in the car)
(northern california + southern california cousin reunion...los angeles, ca)
sometimes i get a bit of an itch. an adventure itch, one that makes me want to make my bed a stranger and hang out with my car for a long, long time. for someone who loves to take long runs and smile really hard, california has definitely been the best place to grow up.
in the past two years i have made the state of california my personal playground. in the past two weeks i have driven my creaking little car up to the bay area, down to san diego, as well as in and out of hollywood and los angeles. my home state, my adventure place. somewhere i love.
in a few short months, i'll be making a big move. it will be a good thing, but oh so sad. no one wants to leave their home. however, since i've lived in the san francisco bay area, up around sacramento and in la, i must say. i don't think you can find a more true blue california girl. i'm not quite sure how tennessee/iowa/maine will serve to treat me, but i know how i will be to them.
kind, polite. i'll work somewhere and let them tax me. but i will make every place an adventure, an experience to wrap my mind around when i am tired. i've have been well taught by my kooky parents. there is a story in every song, in the cracks running along an old woman's cheeks and clinched between the tight clasped hands of best friends. it's always important to love where you are, but it is a great thing to find beauty in where you end up.
my dear california, i love you more than you know. and i will be back. our next six months are going to be lovely, and i can't wait to spend them with you. but then it's time to go...
in celebration of my ((stunning)) home state, here are a few bits and pieces from a recent time back home, to the bay area.
i like to dance around my apartment. yes, it's true. i have hidden microphones stashed everywhere, a scrub brush or wooden spoon is always available for my crazy dance moves and off-key accompaniments.
last night i finished up the "footloose" remake, (definitely was awful. see the original) and the songs that played while the credits rolled were much too exciting to be left alone. i spent the rest of my evening flipping through spotify and touring the musical sensations of the twentieth century. i sang into everything from a spatula to a glass bottle of flowers, and it was one of the best evenings all weekend.
this was one of the songs that i sang/danced over. i think you'll find it quite fitting.
wednesday was supposed to be full of fireworks, big bridges and ocean air. instead, we got a july 4th with lots of driving, laughter, a HUGE explosion and quite a few stories to tell. i think it was a pretty good trade. you can read about our nationally televised fireworks fizzle here, and you can laugh just as much as my father did. (yes, he thought it was hilarious that the best friend and i drove three hours to see...a fifteen-second show)
we acted like tourists for the day and walked through seaport village, balboa park and the gaslamp quarter. starbucks got to enjoy our consistent visits, as did the darling upstart crow bookstore. it was so cute. we had a "chai break" and listened to a brother duo play the piano to patriotic music. i've never heard 'god bless america' done with a jazz emphasis, but now i suppose i have.
since the day was overcast, we got to enjoy an empty city from noon until the night crowd bustled out and filled the streets. it's always fun to have something special to yourself, and san diego felt perfectly 'ours' that day. no pushy crowds, no crazy people trying to run us over. just a couple of train whistles that made us jump out of our shoes and a bridge i was much too scared to drive over. (i will, one day...just not now! :)
by the time we watched the firework explosion and fought the crowds to I-5, we were more than ready to go home to la. san diego truly was beautiful. it was a nice road trip, a perfect random adventure. i've found that the most beautiful adventures are found right in your backyard. adventures aren't necessarily created by thousands of miles. they can be, that's true. but if you can find a beautiful story down the street, or on the drive home? then you truly are blessed.
(downtown from balboa park)
(our walk through balboa)
(our restaurant on the bay)
(taking too many pictures makes best friends annoyed)
i was thinking this afternoon. i guess i'm kind of, maybe, close to...? being an adult. that means that my dad isn't always here to read the directions, and my mom doesn't make me dinner every night. as sad and disappointing as that is, i am now able to experience all the super cool adult things i wanted to do as a kid, like...paying a ton of money for furniture? reading the instructions (pictures?!?!) wrong? realizing why my dad hated painting so much?
yep. that sounds about right.
a couple of weeks ago the best friend and i headed down to burbank, so we wouldn't have to sleep on the floor of our bedroom any longer. yes, the receipt was three digits and my dad wasn't standing next to me with his handy-dandy credit card. no, my mom's darling fashion sense was non-existent, and yes. yes i did get lost in the parking garage.
i'm hoping adulthood gets a little easier at some point...
(the cheap bed slats. naturally)
(best friend took over because...i'm bad with directions.)
i absolutely love summer in la. it's never too hot, perfectly warm and you can do anything from swim/read all night/tour hollywood/meet crazies at any time of the day or night. here, you can find pretty much anything to be thankful for. one of my favorite things this week?
the walk home.
we live in this darling little apartment complex, and due to lack of parking spaces i get to walk down a pretty little pathway to and from work every day. i love the flowers, and the new mama's rocking their babies on their back porches. it's always so lovely and fresh in the morning, and magnificent in the dying light of day. one of my favorite places, for now.
i never thought i would say this, but...it's finally tuesday! if you're lucky, your tuesday, like mine, has become a friday. i guess that's only natural with tomorrow being the lovely fourth of july. i can't wait to drag the best friend down to san diego to fight the crowds and eat ice cream while watching fireworks. it's going to be amazing.
while we were waiting for one of my favorite holidays to finally get here, the best friend and i decided to take our minds off of our impatience and go down to one of our favorite places: hollywood. i love it there. i can never get enough of all the crazy characters on the street and sight of the hazy sign, high up in the hills. even though everyone could do without the ten-dollar parking and that filmy grime that clings to your hands, this is a pretty amazing place to spend my early twenties.
we decided to finally make our way down to pink's hot dogs on la brea and melrose to fulfill our tourist's bucket list. the line was only about a half hour long, so we got to enjoy chili dogs the size of our head in no time at all. we picked up a couple of cokes and matching mary-jane's (shoes!) from urban, and then took off for a winding drive through the hollywood hills. the roads are so precarious and windy, you can't help but feel indomitable so high above the multiple skylines. every house is different, one from a fairy tale and another straight from the set of 'star wars.' we came across a gorgeous hidden view high up on grandview drive, and managed to make it home in time to beat traffic.
there was a lot of laughter and big, cheek cracking smiles. i'd say it was a pretty successful adventure.
i never really branch out of my country music comfort zone, which i guess makes me a little uncultured in the eyes of music snobs. but you know what? that's just fine. i don't need to be considered "sophisticated" or one with excessively cultured taste. instead, i'll settle to singing along to songs that tell stories. there's nothing wrong with a song that's simple, everybody. sometimes it is within the delicacy of simplicity that the greatest beauty hides.
*i don't like drinking songs. this definitely does NOT apply to uncouth drinking songs...
i heard this twangy tune a couple of hours ago, stuck on the hollywood freeway (170). at first, i thought it was a silly song about a break up, with an overly emotional girl and a love that grew cold. i was quite wrong. after looking a bit deeper, i realized that there was a heartbreaking story behind the simple lyrics. the chorus was written on a napkin, found crumpled up on the floor after a night of heartache.
if i were you, i would read the story, then listen to the song.
it makes it so much more powerful.
i haven't posted in almost two weeks. i promise it was for good reason, what with the (successful) ending of the quarter at work, moving boxes with the family and settling into two crazy summer classes, i have more time.
since it's a sunday night, and i want to curl up with my new book (blindness) and eat lots of goldfish, here is a quick update on the last two weeks in los angeles. simple moments that made me smile, and laugh.