On one of our days off the first week here in California, Sonya and I decided to go to the beach. We had to decide between Huntington, Newport, Laguna, or Corona del Mar. In the end, it was a no brainer because Corona Del Mar has a Sprinkles Cupcake and a Sprinkles Ice Cream near it. So we got up and quickly got dressed and ready for the day and headed to the beach.
Driving out there was astounding for me. It was so crazy to see the hills/mountains/whatever you want to call them. It makes me so happy to see different landscapes. When we came off the top of a hill and could see the ocean, my heart immediately fluttered.
The houses here are so diverse, there are a ton of different styles of architecture and that's crazy to me. It's not something that you really see as prevalently in Louisiana. The beach is so different from Florida, and it's amazing. There are rocks, and cliffs, and the beach, and a jetty (still not quite sure what that is). And it's beautiful, and diverse.
We parked at the top of the hill and found stairs down to the coast for the Coronal Del Mar State Beach. We walked, as carefully as possible, down the stairs to the beach. We walked around the beach, and played in the water. We talked to some other beach goers, and played with a puppy. Then we climbed the large rocks, and found another pathway to the beaches. I wore my sling because my shoulder had been bothering me and the entire time Sonya and I kept laughing and saying how it was so irresponsible of us and how if anything happens my best friend would kill us.
Good news is, we didn't fall and we didn't get hurt. We climbed the rocks, played in the water, and still had a really good time. Being by the beach, by the ocean and the water, made me think of Louisiana. It reminded me of home, reminded me of my paw paw's fishing camp. I grew up by the water, and being nearer to it here than in Florida makes me so happy. Do I know where I'll end up? No. But we'll get there.
My roommate was very gracious to pick me up from the airport. She and her boyfriend had been spending some time together in Anaheim, and they picked me up from the airport the day before we had to check in. After picking me up, we drove to the hotel, dropped off my bags, cleaned up a little bit, and then got right back in the car and went straight to In-N-Out. She's done the program here before, and so she knows quite literally everything about the area that we're in and the surrounding areas.
I was so curious about In-N-Out because I've heard a lot about it, and wasn't really sure what to expect, but it was pretty good. It's not the best burger ever, which is what a lot of people made it seem like, but it was good. I ended up just getting a cheeseburger and fries, against the many suggestions of friends who have eaten there before.
Next time, I'll get the double double with animal style fries (is that what it's called?...I need to get the lingo down...). Because let's be honest, we all know there is going to be a next time. And a next time. And a next time. Because I'lll be here for the next eight months.
I didn't know if I would actually want to go to California when I signed up for it, but the moment that I was flying into Anaheim, I knew I made a good decision. I was nervous, scared even, to go to a place where I would only know one single person. I didn't know if I would like California. I'm an east coast girl, hands down. I grew up in the south, in the east, I love it there and wouldn't trade where I grew up for anything in the world.
But then I flew into California. I saw hills, that looked like mountains to me, and the beach both at the same time. My nerves started to go down, and I started to become excited. You see, I'm the kind of person that has to see the destination before I get really excited about it.
I'm still very overwhelmed by it. It's a lot to take in, especially growing up under sea level, and the fact that I can see hills/mountains/whatever they're called is really, really, awesome. My flights to get to California were very, very well. Luckily, I flew into a small airport in Houston and there were only a couple of gates (maybe 20?), and my flight out of the airport was at the gate right next to the one I had just gotten off of.
I flew with Southwest, the first time I've flown with them, absolutely wonderful. Especially because they let you have two bags checked for free. That was seriously great, and so helpful. I've got another flight booked with them for later this year, and then soon after that there will be my flight home. California's been great, and I couldn't think a better way to start off the new year than with a change in scenery.
There are a ton of things I want to talk about, to write about, to remember, and I'll get to them eventually, but right now I want to write about the things that are fresh on my mind, and then work backwards. It may not seem like a lot of sense but It makes sense to me. So now, that we've talked about what's on my agenda for the next few days: I'm going to talk about attempting to unpack my car because lord knows that was the biggest task I had.
Packing up my car took a literal week, between working and attempting to pack my car, and pack up my apartment, and still keep up a social life for the last week of my program. It was stressful and probably the least fun thing I've done in quite some time, but it was done. My car was an absolute wreck, much like my emotions that last week, and I literally only had enough room to see my mirrors and to see out my back window, just a little bit.
After the 12 hour drive home, I took about a three hour nap and then decided to tackle the task that was unpacking my car. My room, and the kitchen, and our spare room looked as if a hurricane had come through there. It was crazy, and intense. It took me about an hour to unpack everything from my car, and then about two days to put everything back in place, only to have to pack it up again.
Packing for California was stressful, and something I hope I never have to do again. Moving across country with two suitcases, to live there for eight months was difficult. Two suitcases, under 50 pounds each, a carry on and a personal item. My dad and I must have weighed my suitcases at least 20 times. And finally we got them both down to right under 50 pounds each. It's been a crazy journey, but one I'm quite thankful for to say the least.
Going back and forth from Louisiana to Florida is never easy - it takes about 12 hours to get there, with stops here and there for bathroom breaks and food. I decided to drive through the night for multiple reasons - the first being I could barely see out of my windows. I made enough space so I could use my mirrors and see out of my back window, and that was good enough for me.
I drove through the night because it was cooler, and there was less traffic. Also because I could see peoples lights on the road if they were next to me, just in case I needed to pass other cars. But let's be honest here, there weren't really any other cars on the road. For about two hours, I was literally the ONLY car on the road. It was intense, and scary, but fun at the same time.
What was a lot of fun for me was the different states each had different stickers in SnapChat. It was fun to see all the different things, especially when I was stopped in different towns getting gas. It was a long ride home, but luckily I had a ton of friends who were more than willing to talk to me all night as I drove through by myself to make sure that I would stay wide awake. Plus, my dad couldn't sleep at night because he was worried about me driving home.
It was an easy drive, and nothing really went badly (besides me having to pee once or twice and not being able to find a stop easily). I made it home quite easily and giving my dad a hug after being in the car for 12 hours and not seeing him for two months was definitely welcome.