The school year has finally ended. I have finished my tests and my essays and the stress has magically disappeared. So I did what I do at the end of every year, I packed up and went home. Home being in Northern California. As I drove away I felt different than the year before. I was looking forward to going home but still a little sad to be leaving.
As I was leaving I began to realize that living in Southern California, even for a little bit, has changed me. I have begun to say “the” in front of freeway names and I’m not afraid to be aggressive while. The rain is no longer a major inconvenience, but is now highly amusing. Mostly, I’ve begun to see the city in a new light. I don’t just think of Disneyland, tall building, and beaches like I used to. Now I think about all the little gems hidden in Southern California. I think about the Queen Mary, a wonderfully preserved ocean liners with all the luxuries of its time. I think about the Santa Monica Carousel and delicious, authentic Mexican food found in tiny family owned restaurants. Mostly I think about the diverse culture. The beach is filled with surfers and Suburban wives walking dogs. I think of how the Spanish fantasy that built Los Angeles collides with actually Mexican heritage and the strangest ways. I know I’m going to miss everything this summer. I’ll miss the sun, the beach, the musicians who perform on the streets, the strange artwork, and the idea that you can always see something strange and new. I’m going to miss the adventure of exploring Los Angeles and all of the crazy things it offers. Most of all, I can’t wait to come back and find new things to explore in Southern California.