The Starbucks Experiment

Friday, December 30, 2005

Sunny San Diego

Since my oldest sister Jessica lives in Anchorage, Alaska with her husband Nathan and their beautiful year-and-a-half-old daughter Lily, we occasionally try to have a vacation on the west coast so that they don't have to travel as far. this christmas we settled on renting a house in San Diego, in a charming enclave called mission beach sandwiched between the bay and the ocean (our house is a block from each beach). i was particularly looking forward to this vacation for various reasons. firstly, it marks the end of the stressful getting-in-applications phase, and from now on all i have to do is wait for the graduate schools to offer me stipends (i hope). secondly, San Diego is in that region i have previously viewed askance known as southern california. many of you know that my first choice for grad school, USC, lies most unfortunately in the heart of a city that i rank slightly above Beirut in my list of places i can die without seeing. but even though i know with a cold certainty that i would hate living in LA, i did come on this trip hoping that i would find something to like about southern california.

and it's basically paradise. 350 days of the year here its 74 and sunny. the ocean is beautiful, and the gardens! i could easily be in the riviera as i'm absolutely surrounded by bougainvillea, or in the tropics, with birds of paradise sprouting from every corner. dozens of different palm trees line the streets and make me think of Dr. Seus (who's v. big here, he spent the last part of his life in La Jolla). i've seen roses bigger than my fist, hundreds of blossoms on plants that i didn't even know had flowers. it is one word, lush.

i find myself watching the surfers with envy. they seem like a school of fish, a whole other species let loose in their natural habitat to be observed from afar by the humans. it seems like a wonderful way to enjoy the ocean. i even find myself enjoying the tacky christmas decorations. the one evergreen tree on ocean beach was decorated with beach balls. another house in the neighborhood is strung with a garland of beach pails and shovels. here the plastic santas wear board shorts and flip flops. i always thought that if i did move out here i would spend 3+ years complaining about how much i missed New York, the seasons, public transportation, old buildings, walking, etc. but now i think it would be a lot more fun to turn traitor, to embrace california with a tube of sunscreen and pair of shades. if i lived here i would have to go all the way; i would have to get a tan, a clunky convertible, and a surfboard. if USC were in San Diego i would be here in an instant.

but of course San Diego is not LA, and although i still haven't been to that metropolis two hours north, i still think i will hate it when i see it. but i guess now i see how living in this region, even in LA, could work. and that is rather a relief. not only can i look on USC with an even friendlier eye, but it's nice to know that i'm not so stuck up or east-coast centric that i couldn't survive west of the appalachians. it's nice to feel like your character has some breadth as well as depth.


At 9:17 AM, Anonymous Danielle said...

Holy crap, who are you and what have you done with my best friend?!

I'm kidding, of course... actually, I'm not at all surprised that you liked it. A dendrophiliac such as yourself would of course appreciate the lush and beautiful foliage of SoCal. Don't worry, LA has it too... just try and ignore its other unsavory aspects, and you'll be just fine. : )


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