Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Best and Worst of LA

(I wrote this a day or two before we found out about Jack, but hadn't posted it yet. Thanks to all of you who have responded so lovingly during this time. We are doing a little bit better each day. Brandon's been really good about letting me recall Jack stories, and that's helped. We appreciate your prayers and notes so much. Attempting to regain a sense of normalcy, here it is...)

We really can't believe that it's been almost 3 months since we've moved across the country! The culture shock has (mostly) worn off, and we have been able to enjoy some great aspects of Southern California living...here are the top 5 things (Nicole's opinion).

LA's Upside Top Five

1. Beach and Mountains- Even though it's said that South Carolina has it all, beach and mountains, anyone who's been there knows that it takes at least 3 hours to get from one to the other. However, in Los Angeles, you can be surfing one minute and hiking the mountains in less than half an hour (when the traffic isn't ridiculous- see LA's downside).

2. Beautiful Weather- Out of the 3 months that we've been here, it's rained maybe 5 days total. Every other day has been sunny and nice. Even when it's 95 degrees, LA doesn't have to deal with humidity.

3. Randy's Donuts- We visited this joint on our scouting trip in March. Ever since, we've talked, dreamed and thought about the scrumptious goodies we had there. I'm a glazed fan, and Brandon is obsessed with the Apple Crepes there. We finally got to go back on our way home from the airport and appease our tastebuds with a taste of heaven. Another rediscovered love: 7-11. We love the slurpees and coffee bar!

4. Rose Bowl- Not only is one of the coolest sporting events in our backyard every January, but the Rose Bowl is the perfect running venue. The three mile trail goes around the famous stadium (Home of the UCLA Bruins), peewee soccer fields, and a golf course. My friend, Christy, and I run it a couple of times a week. Brandon and I have run it together a few times as well, when we're feeling the need to get rid of the honeymoon weight!

5. Diversity- This place truly is a melting pot! In our apartment complex, there are Korean, Chinese, Russian, Indian and Japanese people. At our school, I think that it is more common for people to speak English as their second language (maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration). We can be driving around downtown, and all of the sudden not be able to read the signs. There's Chinatown, Little India, Little Armenia, and Little Eithiopia just to name a few. We have eaten some really good Mexican food (every other restaurant in LA is a mexican restaurant). We got to try pineapple with chili sauce one day at our Food Truck location. It's a great place for us to learn to love people of all races and walks of life.

Now, before you go packing your things to come out here, let me warn you that it's not all fun and games. It's not for the faint at heart. You've gotta be tough to endure...the top five downside aspects of Los Angeles.

LA's Downside
1. Traffic- If you hit it just right, a trip that would easily be 10 minutes could turn into over an hour. Other insights: 16 Lane Highways. Double Merging. People flying past you (when you're going 85 just to stay with the flow). Many cars with 'bumps and bruises'. Traffic even on Saturdays and Sundays. Rush hour is every hour. On the upside: Carpool lanes. Since we only have one car, we're almost always together on the interstate, so we're eligible to take the fast lane.

2. Tea- If you go to a restaurant and ask for sweet tea, the server and your LA native companions look at you like you're crazy. Then a few packets of Equal or Splenda are thrown at you hastily. We've invited some of these poor souls to our home exclusively to share with them the secret of southern living. Almost every Westerner, Midwesterner, and Yankee that we've shared it with have liked it...of course!

3. Weather- Despite the fact that we love the sunshine and warm temparatures, enough is enough. We really miss the beauty of an upstate fall season. Palm trees don't have leaves that change. We wish for the crispness in the air, and long to pull out some warm winter clothes. So far, the furthest we've gotten is my denim jacket and Brandon't Furman Football fleece pullover.

4. News- We don't have cable television, and rarely do we even turn the thing on, but every once in a while, we'll turn on the news. It's horrible! Whereas in Hendersonville or Irmo (our hometowns), the local news would feature one or two sad or bad stories and then follow up with local high school football or something more uplifting, here in LA, most of the news is about murders, hit and runs, and drug busts. The commericials are all political, urging voters to vote "YES" on one PROP and "NO" to the next. (The next commericals will illustrate the opposite view).

5. 2430.58 miles- That's how far we are away from home. From our friends. From our families. From our church. From Jack Kitty (my beloved cat at my parent's house). From Sweet Tea and Collard Greens and a land flowing with Texas Pete. From the Blue Ridge Mountains. From El Paso in Hendersonville. From familiar roads and familiar accents. From hometown news and Mamaw Clara. From kayaking down the river from Carmelita and Troy's property. From Furman football and soccer games. From our beloved mentors in Greenville and Mt. Pleasant. From Chic-Fil-A and Sonic. From Brandon's beat up old truck. From real cornbread and milk, done Denice's way. From the idea that we really do know people and they know us.

1 comment:

Ashley Fazal said...

Yes, I did tear up at that last paragraph. Not that I have room to complain, since we are only 3 hours away and brought 30 friends with us, but Charlotte is certainly not Mt. Pleasant! I love the diversity, too. I'm a minority in our neighborhood (about 20% white), whereas good ol' Mt P was about 90% white!.