Hello my lovely readers! I hope you’re all well. I couldn’t be more excited if I tried as in 1 week, I FINALLY turn 21! Coming from the land in which you’d have a Smirnoff Ice from when you were 14 at an afterparty and Freshers revolving around alcohol, it’s weird to be in an environment where I’m once again illegal to drink. Granted, it hasn’t been THAT awful. But, as we approach the warmer weather, I’m looking forward to going to a bar and having a drink at 4pm because I bloody well can.
Enough about the future, let’s focus on what’s happened. American universities all across the country have “Spring Break”. Famed as the time when students do no work, students are encouraged to go and explore and relax or just go to Rocky Point and have one too many tequillas (we have all been there). I went to California with my big, Olivia to her hometown of Huntington Beach and we explored the surrounding areas. She took me on an unofficial tour of SoCal and I cannot stress how wonderful my Spring Break was. I had SO much fun. So much so, the day before I went to CA, I dressed CUTE for my American Presidency midterm where I actually did pretty darn good? OK. (lahoma)
I was in California for 9 days and by the end, I felt like I was getting to know the area pretty well. For the first time on my year abroad, I could see myself having a future in the United States and moving out here for good. In particular, I would love to live in CA. Sunny weather and the coastal fun was something that I needed to get away from snowy Flagstaff. I love my little American town but CA is special.
On the way to California, we stopped at In-N-Out twice. In-N-Out is ICONIC of the West Coast. Specialising in burgers, fries and the secret menu, In-N-Out is cheap American goodness. Clearly, I was excited to be reunited with a food love that I’ve forged over this year out here.
We stopped at Kingman, AZ and Barstow, CA. In this middle section of the journey, we listened to Hamilton as it is mine and Olivia’s unashamed love. What is it about Lin Manuel Miranda? He’s a musical God and I’m determined to meet him one day and kiss him on the cheek and then probably get a restraining order because of my regrettable actions.
The drive from Flagstaff to Huntington takes around 7 to 7 hours 30 minutes dependent on traffic. Thankfully, this goes by very quick when you have good company! Setting off in the afternoon, we arrived at her house just before 10pm. A long day of sitting doing nothing but sitting in the car made me feel very tired. I quickly got changed into my pyjamas and then had a relaxing evening in.
During my Spring Break, I stayed at Olivia’s house. Her family are some of the kindest people that I’ve ever met and I’m EXTREMELY thankful for their kind hospitality and generosity throughout my entire trip. They made me feel so welcome and so ‘at home’. THANKS HANKINS, you’re the best.
My first Saturday in California was full of fun, as I went to the beach! Weirdly, SoCal wasn’t having excellent weather. Three out of four times that I went to a beach, it was foggy. Gutted I couldn’t get the cool photos you see on other people’s Instas, but it was awesome to be somewhere that I’ve seen on the Hollister billboards when I’ve shopped in there.
After a delightful meal at Ruby’s and a walk along the pier (in which I was nearly attacked by a huge crane bird, to the delight of Olivia and her mom), we went to Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s is a supermarket, but it’s got a bit of a cult following (especially with my big) so we spent a fair while in there… wish I’d got the cookie butter now!
Another fun thing that we did during our Spring Break was go to 1000 Steps Beach. Just off of Laguna Beach, we went to the beach in an attempt to get some sun. But, once again we were treated to the delightful fog. Even though we got burned on the beach as we were there for four hours, you couldn’t see the other side of the beach. It felt as though I was on a TV show. The scenery was gorgeous, even if a little eerie.
Okay, leaving the beach tested my physical fitness. Called 1000 Steps beach, the only access is going up and down a HUGE flight of stairs. Granted, it’s not 1000, but it bloody felt like it! If you’ve never been to this beach, I’ll describe it to having a similar feeling of going up the steps at Covent Garden. You feel good once you’ve done it, but it’s hell going up the stairs as you can’t stop.
Once we’d been to the beach, we’d planned to go to Downtown Disney and watch the fireworks. The two of us, along with Olivia’s lovely friend Gabby hit up Anaheim and I purchased my Disney ears. I got the Elsa ones because she is my favourite princess.
HOWEVER!!!! They don’t do the fireworks Monday through Thursday. We waited for so long in the “cold” to then be told they were not on. Olivia and I went later in the week and it was as magical as I wanted it to be, but that’s for the future…
Tuesday was such a fun day! Meeting up with Olivia’s big and my grandbig Lyn, we went for brunch in Orange, CA. Also, it pleases me that I wore an orange vest in Orange because it’s so meta. We had a delicious Mexican-French inspired meal (of course, why wouldn’t you have that all the time?) and then posed for the cutest picture alive. I love my sorority family so much, I think we’re the true Schuyler Sisters.
In the evening, we had a really odd session with a Mary Kay businesswoman. Mary Kay is a makeup brand who do parties like Avon and Ann Summers do. Olivia won the prize at a bridal convention, but she’s not getting married. She had to make up a whole back story and we had to play along. Also, I don’t really know how good the makeup was and how much makeup it took to create a natural look but it was hilarious. The lady complimented my accent (of course) and said she didn’t have one, but she was from Ukraine and she most definitely did.
Wednesday was a COOL day. We had our LA day. I love Los Angeles. Yes, it’s super grimy and it doesn’t have my heart like London does. However, there’s something special about it and it does feel as though there’s an opportunity around every corner. We visited Olivia’s dad who works for Los Angeles Police Department and he showed us around. I finally got to sit in the back of a cop car* and see weapons and stuff and went inside a jail cell. I’ve had people comment on whether this demonstrates privilege.
OKAY, maybe it may come across as glorifying, but I’m not making a mockery of the system. I’m not pulling any faces, making derogatory comments to anyone. I’m simply at a place in which a police force is based.
*I made that sound as though I’ve always wanted to do that.
Wednesday was super cool because we got to go to the Late Late Show with James Corden. James is one of my favourite TV hosts in the States; the Brit stands out against the saturated competition. I WISHED I could have got tickets for Ellen Degeneres, but those are some of the hottest tickets in the world. One day…
Anyway, we got to CBS Studios and ate our Chipotle outside of the studio while we were waiting in line. We were then allowed into the first waiting area with our blue wristbands. However, we were also given a gold wristband. Unaware of what this meant, we carried on but I was excited that they were blue and gold as those are NAU’s colours. After this, a lady asked us if we were from NAU as she taught there!!! 500 miles away from campus, we get talking about the university and how much we hate Rita Cheng (doesn’t everyone?). My lovely friends Katrina and Adam were also at this TV screening so it was cool to have fellow Brits on Tour with me!
As you can see from this photo, we managed to get front row tickets. Dressing cute has it perks. Kate and Adam were also at the front too (YAY TEAM!) We saw Reese Witherspoon and Tony Goldwyn which was super cool. I absolutely bloody love Reese as she is Elle Woods and Elle Woods is my spirit animal and go to girl and everything in between. She’s so tiny and cute and lovely and I hope I can look that young at 41! James Corden was also hilarious and being the first ever people to watch Crosswalk the Musical was so great.
Clearly, I had such a marvellous time for the first half of my Spring Break. Make sure you read Part 2 which will be released soon. For now, listen to this song as I did hundreds of times on the radio.