Sunday, February 10, 2008

A long overdue retrospective of California

I'm stuck at home because I live too far away to do anything. And I'm dreaming of California. I'm dreaming of last spring break. I'm dreaming of my own little manifest destiny. Of when I finally came to the Pacific and could proclaim "I have been coast to coast." I'm dreaming of the friends I met out there who mean more to me than most any of the friends I've met in this gray Midwestern city.

"When I get to California gonna write my name in the sand. Gonna lay this body down and watch the waves roll in."
- Beulah - "Gene Autry"

I went out to Los Angeles for two weeks during last Spring Break. I'd had, up till that point, a fairly long and exhausting, and hermit-like school year. I was facing a lot of the emotional shit of having broken up with my last girlfriend (of 2.5 years) and the culture shock of being in a brand new city, and not under my parents roof. It was stunning. And then, after a long Christmas Break spent watching a gross amount of movies with my buddy's now wife (they were still engaged at the time, and she had come back home from LA, while he couldn't afford to), she planted the seed of me visiting of Spring Break. I, desperate for any excuse whatsoever to get away from my roommates, jumped on it. Arranging my schedule, and taking a week off of school I managed to make a one week spring break into a 3 week excursion, two of which were spent in sunny SoCal.

The experience itself was something that I so desperately needed. It finally got me back out and loving living, and not being such a hermit again. For most of the two weeks I was there I spent it sleeping on the floor of my buddy's messy room surrounded by mounds of dirty clothes and a couch cushion as my only pillow. It was wonderful. I ran a few times a week. I played discgolf. I reveled in the sheer awesomeness of the west. Of the far shore. Of being in America, but being in a country so different than what I was used to. I visited Hollywood on multiple occasions (did the touristy thing one day, and wandered the far reaches of elsewhere the other times). I went to a church service, which was the first time I'd ever really felt truly moved by what the speaker was saying and the christian truths he was preaching (of love and the importance of sacrificing ourselves to others in all we do (being truly christ-like)). We went to the Getty museum where I spilled coffee on myself, to Santa Monica. We partied hard over St. Patty's day, and went to an opening night showing of 300 upon which we all stormed out wanting to fight the Persians and "dine in hell!!"

I returned recharged and tan. Feeling emotionally awakened once again. I've not been the same since. And now, with a night to myself because I'm a hermit in this city, and the friends that I did have plans with canceled, I'm dreaming of going West. Of reawakening that love and that joy again. Of being on the far side of the US in a land that is just as much a foreign country as London is to this icy Midwestern city.