Hiking to the Hollywood sign has been the most interesting adventure that I've had in California to date. This is partially because we weren't really prepared for it; for some reason we didn't think it was going to actually be a hard hike. We got a late start to the day, which is normally okay, but not when it takes 5 hours to hike to the hollywood sign and back.
Then when we finally got there, we ended up hanging at Griffith Park for a bit (more on that later). We finally ended up starting the hike and didn't really realize what we got ourselves into until about an hour an a half in when we still weren't to the top. We took possibly the hardest way there, and there were many times when we wanted to give up, but we never did. We perservered through and made it all the way to the sign. The day included lots of jokes "we're almost there guys", "right over that hill" and a lot of sweat.
When we finally made it to the top, we couldn't have been happier. We worked our butts off to get there, so we stayed there for a good while, prolonging the trip back down the mountain. Once we finally decided to go back down, we decided to take the road down (a much better idea then the one we started with). All in all, it was an amazing trip. We watched the sun set on the way down - something that made us nervous and excited us at the same time. Plus, driving back down from Griffith during dark was amazing because you get such a great view of the city with all the lights at night.
After the crazy trek that we had, we decided that we were much overdue for in-n-out because none of us had eaten that day, and none of us thought to bring any food either (because that would have been the smart/responsible thing to do). We ate as much as we could at in-n-out after our 1.5 hour car ride back to our side of the city, and then all piled back into the car for some much needed sleep. A shower after that night had never felt so good.
Hiking to the Hollywood Sign is something that I'm glad that I did once, but if it were up to me if I were to do it again, I'd definitely want to be more prepared and I would definitely want to leave a lot earlier. It's something I can add to the 'I did that' list, but if I never did it again, I wouldn't be mad.
This year was the first year that I missed Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and I was a little bit more than bummed about it. I was ready to go home the second King Cakes hit the market for the first time during Carnival. Then when all of my friends back home kept texting me about the King Cakes and the Parades and the Balls, I was super ready to go home. So, when Fat Tuesday hit my roommate woke up bright eyed with a plan as I sulked in the kitchen.
She looked at me firs thing and goes "We're going to go to New Orleans Square (in Disneyland) and eat beignets and celebrate Mardi Gras for you." I was upset and just shrugged it off, but she insisted so I begrudgingly got up and got dressed in my Louisiana tank and she dressed in Mardi Gras colors. As we were getting ready, two of the guys we were friends with down the hall knocked on our door to chat and we invited them to come as well.
We all piled into the car and headed to New Orleans Square in Disneyland. As we started walking towards it, I started to feel a little bit better about everything. I still wasn't thrilled, but I was a bit happier. And then we tried beignets. Beignets in New Orleans Square taste nothing like the beignets in the French Quarter. However one of the waiters there came up to us and began asking us questions and talking to us about Mardi Gras, and he made a magical moment for us. We answered a question correctly and he rewarded us with a mint julep!
Afterward, we sat and took in the sights and sounds (and smells) of New Orleans Square, which didn't quite feel like home but was close enough. We hopped on the train and road it over to Toon Town. It was okay, but it was more fun just to spend time with everyone else and not worry about anything. I was sad to have spent Mardi Gras away from home, but my roommate made the best of the situation and got me out of the house and into having more fun.
One thing that Sonya and I do, that I absolutely adore, is write notes on the mirrors to each other. One of the first things that we did whenever we moved into the apartments was buy expo markers for the mirror in the bathroom and the mirror in the common area/bedroom area. You see, since we have such different schedules and instead of texting each other everything since it's not always that important we just write things on the mirrors.
Sometimes it's cute little notes about having a good day, and other times it's GRE words that we need to be studying. It's something that I hadn't really ever done before, and I love it. I had always written little things on my mirrors, but never anything written out in too much depth. It's a trait that I'll definitely bring to other apartments that I have from here on out because it's just way too easy to keep up with things this way.
My favorite drawing that we've had so far is the one that Sonya drew on the mirror before my first day at Autopia. She is such a talented artist, even if she doesn't believe it and it was so precious I had to take 1239210 pictures of it and post it everywhere because I loved it so much.
Comparing Disneyland and Disney World is something you shouldn't do - it's not something that you can really do. It's like comparing oranges and apples. They're both fruits, but they're two completely different things. However, it's only human nature to try and compare Disneyland and Disney Word. One of the first things I compared whenever I got down here was the two parades that they have: Soundsational Parade and Festival of Fantasy.
The first time I saw Soundsational, I knew that I had seen it before but I just didn't know where. I knew the music, but couldn't figure out how I knew it for the life of me. I just brushed it off my shoulder and kept on watching. I thought I was crazy at first, but whenever Lauren and Madison came to visit me, Lauren kept singing the music even though she had never seen the parade before. We spent three days trying to figure out how she and I knew the music and couldn't.
I think it's slightly unfair to compare both Soundsational and Festival of Fantasy because they're such different parades. Yes, they're both the day parades but that's about the end of their similarities. I have such a fondness for Festival of Fantasy that I think it's unfair that I attempted to compare them in my mind. Soundsational is definitely growing on me, but it's not something that I would go out of my way to watch every day (like I would for FoF). I feel like the parades are just done a lot better in Disney World, especially the Boo to You parade.
Then the other day I was watching Festival of Fantasy online, because I miss it that much (yes, I'm crazy it's cool), and I realized how I knew the Soundsational music when I first heard it. If you watch Festival of Fantasy, just after the Dragon breathes fire and the creatures from Sleeping Beauty go past, the characters from Pinocchio, Snow White, and Dumbo come out right before a Dumbo float and then last but not least, Mickey and Minnie. When they come out, a sample of the music from Soundsational plays. It's a nod to the classics in Disneyland, and Soundsational parade. I immediately grabbed my phone and texted Lauren in all caps. She was just as excited as I was to figure everything out. It was so great.
Making gumbo in Florida was something that was a challenge in and of itself because it was hard to find the correct spices and the right type of meat that I use back home. So whenever I decided that I wanted to make gumbo in California, I was expecting all kinds of issues as well. However I was pleasantly surprised when it was a lot easier for me to make gumbo here in California.
Whenever I went grocery shopping, I was looking specifically for andoullie sausage and I immediately found it in a Walmart here. It was amazing and I was so excited, I immediately called my mom. Her response? You should have realized because it's California and they have a ton of 'weird food' and other stuff there. All I could do was laugh.
Usually in Louisiana we wait for 'gumbo weather' before making the first batch of gumbo of the season, but I knew that there was no way in hell it would ever reach that here. You see, gumbo weather is cold weather. Cold enough to warrant hot soup. It got cold here, but it was never bone chilling cold. So I bit the bullet and just ahead and made gumbo.
Gumbo takes about three hours to make - it's a process. Especially when you tend to multitask like I do. I usually split it up over a few days because it's easier just to have everything chopped up and then throw it all in the pot and go from there. Making a roux, the base for the gumbo, takes about thirty minutes by itself. So, about three hours later my gumbo was finally done. Being able to make food from home, by memory, is the most liberating thing in the world. I'll always have my comfort food.