Thursday, August 22, 2013

SoCal so far

I haven't taken much time to write about Southern California on a whole, aside from when I'm mourning my Philly life.

SoCal, as the natives call it, is a strange little place. It's really unlike anywhere else I have ever lived. I have spent most of my time in Seal Beach, but during the weekends we try to branch out a bit and explore. I have spent afternoons in Long Beach, Newport Beach, ...that other place(?) and driven through Huntington Beach on a few occasions. That place is ALWAYS swamped and I can't wait until it's a little colder/quieter (does it do that here?) so that I can explore without the mob scene. I can see the Long Beach skyline from the beach at the end of the San Gabriel Bike Path, where I like to conclude my walks, but it's not even really a skyline. For two years I missed seeing the stars from my yard and now I miss the city noise. I guess I'm hard to please.

The thing that struck me about SoCal and one of the (few) things I like about living here is that I can see the history here. This is a different kind of history. Not the Liberty Bells or Independence Halls, but remnants of a cultural past. One afternoon Matt and I hopped in the car and he took me to a fabric shop in Fountain Valley. It was in a nondescript shopping center, standing beside a Mexican Bakery, fish supply store and Indian fast food "restaurant." I was immediately thrown back into my childhood, taking weekend trips with my family and grandmother to Addison, IL for the the better thrift shop, Mexican pastries (I like those sugary white things) and my mother running into pre-supercenter JoAnn for a peek at fabric. Sharing sugary Mexican coke & cookies with Matt in a moment of familiarity in an unfamiliar place was nice. Then we probably got into a fight and that moment was over.

There's a proper Tiki Bar down the street. One of the few in existence bearing the original Don the Beachcomber name. It may be a newly minted version of the original, but it's still there. People tend to focus on the beauty that is found in California. And it is; I really do live in paradise now, but there is something so strange and beautiful about the sense that I not only live in a different place, but also, seemingly, in a different time all together. I remember being obsessed with the strange abandonment of the Salton Sea way back in high school. Back then I never thought I would be living in California, let alone 2.5 hours away.Given the plethora of information I've found (thanks, Google!), I feel ready to explore.

Let's hope this next month is kinder to me than the first has been. I'm ready to go home.

P.S. I'm pretty sure that if the zombie apocalypse ever happens it will start here.

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