California! They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade; so we turned what some may call an inconvenience into an adventure!
Bianca and I decided to spend a night in California before heading off to Australia for a few reasons. My Aunt Jean, who I only get to see for holidays, lives in Los Angeles. I miss her very much and I jump at any opportunity to see her. And Bianca had never been to the west coast. We decided we shouldn’t pass up this opportunity and could try and squeeze in as many touristy things we could do in LA as possible.
We arrived at LAX around 11 a.m. PST! The flight was quick and painless. The best thing Netflix ever did was let their subscribers download specific shows so you can watch them offline. I got through five episodes of the newest season of Orange Is The New Black and napped the last hour. It went by quick and honestly, I was just excited to get to California. After getting our baggage, Bianca and I got an Uber to take us to In N Out for lunch. We planned to Uber to In N Out and then find a new Uber to bring us to Beverly Hills, where we would meet my Aunt at her job so she could bring us back to her apartment to rest. Then we realized that it would be way too difficult to navigate our four large suitcases in a packed In N Out. We told our Uber driver, Derrick, about our issues and he told us he could bring us to In N Out, wait for us, and then drive us to Beverly Hills.!Thankfully, he didn’t drive away with our bags or do anything sketchy (don’t yell at me Mom). Either way, the reunion with In N Out made the sacrifice worth it! I can’t get over how good the burgers are!
When we finally reached Aunt Jean, I could not contain my excitement. My Aunt Jean embodies all I ever hope to be– a kind and caring soul who is understanding, unique and giving. Our reunion was brief, but made me feel at ease about my long journey ahead. After stuffing our bags into her bright red Kia, she took us back to her place where we napped for almost two hours. We had woken up at 5:30 a.m. in the morning to catch our flight and needed the extra hour of beauty sleep to be able to function when we finally met up with Brendon! Brendon, is a close friend of Bianca and I’s, who grew up in California but attends school at Rutgers University in Newark! Since we decided to go on this trip, we knew we wanted to meet up with him so we stayed in contact until the day of. Around dinnertime, Brendon and his friend Nick drove the hour and a half in rush our traffic to see us!
After introducing Aunt Jean to Brendon and Nick, we left Aunt Jean to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings at the Galleria in Sherman Oaks. I really think the boys like Aunt Jean. She definitely is easy to get along with (love ya, Aunt Jean xo) and super awesome. Anyways, the Galleria is so cool because it’s an outside mall. Bianca and I don’t have very many outside malls in New Jersey, so it was quite a cool experience. We ended up going to Buffalo Wild Wings because it’s cheap and quick! All we needed was a place to catch up so it worked out that we could easily walk to the Galleria from Aunt Jean’s.
When we were done eating, we decided to take a ride with the boys back to their home town of Palos Verdes so they could get clothes to stay over night. Aunt Jean suggested they stay the night at her house so they could take us around Hollywood the next day. I’m so happy we went with them to Palos Verdes because it was beautiful. It was also so cool to see a suburb kind of area of California, because I’ve only spent my visits to LA! They brought us to their high school where we got to see the most amazing view of Los Angeles. I never believed that high schools in California were actually outside, but it wasn’t a lie! Their high schools really are outside. Compared to my hometowns high school, their athletic facilities were unparalleled.
On Saturday, we had about 6 hours until we had to start getting ready to go to the airport. Aunt Jean (and her dog Cooper) took us to the best spot to see the Hollywood Sign– Lake Hollywood Park! Lake Hollywood Park is a dog park that overlooks the Hollywood sign. It was definitely quite the hike to get there but it was worth it. We took awesome pictures and got to be tourists! Afterwards, the boys took us to the Star Walk and the Chinese Theater so we could see some familiar names and celebrity crushes!
Our flight to our second layover in Sydney was at 8p.m.; so after getting one last bite of In N Out and saying our good-byes, we made our way to the airport. We had a short hour and a half long flight to San Francisco and then started the 15-hour-long plane ride to Sydney! I spent most of the flight sleeping and the other portions, I spent watching Orange Is The New Black. It went by quicker than expected and I’m super thankful we upgraded our flights to Economy Plus. It was like we got royalty treatment.
I want to end this blog post by talking about something important to me. If you didn’t already know, I studied at San Diego State University for the first semester of my freshman year. I had planned to spend all four years of my undergraduate degree there, but I decided to finish my studies at a university closer to home. I feel like a lot of people think that since I “couldn’t handle being across the country” that it was mostly because I hated California. I know it sounds silly but I want to clarify that I don’t hate California. I actually love California and can’t wait to explore more of it and maybe live there one day. I left California because it wasn’t my time. I learned that I wanted to spend my undergrad years closer to home so I could spend more time with friends and family. Just because I left doesn’t mean that I’ll never go back. I needed to be closer to home to find myself again. And I did. That’s why I’m studying abroad in Australia and I’m feeling very good about it. I grew and learned a lot of things about myself. I’ll talk about more of that in another blog post.
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