Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pacific NW, Sarah Style

Spent a week in Seattle, San Juan Island, and Vancouver with my two best friends (Sarah cubed unite again). Ocean, orcas, bald eagles, ziplines, kayaks, tandem bicycles, good food, good wine, good conversation. Life is happy :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

LA can be okay: presenting Exhibit A

my favorite place to bike

Cultural excursion with the roommie

Disneyland play dates

friends and drinks 

So-cal weddings (Carlsbad)

reunions at said So-cal wedding (Oceanside)

run then relax (at least until the parking meter runs out)

LACMA artsy time

Kubrick special exhibit 

A few miles/laps closer to happy...

Perhaps my biggest adventure this month was signing up for a triathlon in August. This has forced me to spend a lot of time swimming, biking, and running in order to be prepared. Through these activities, I have spent hours exercising along the beach, in my neighborhood, and at the community pool. I can’t help but admit that I’ve seen a more appealing side of LA through these endeavors.  

In February I moved to Hawthorne. I now live about 3 miles from the ocean and I have definitely taken advantage of that the last few weeks. There are both biking and running paths that stretch from Playa Del Rey to Redondo Beach and I frequent both. The ocean offers escape from the cement people-packed chaos of LA. It also has some pretty great views (of both the coast and of shirtless volleyball players) as I log my biking/running miles. I’ve even managed to coerce some of my friends who rarely frequent the South Bay to join me on training runs. The beach makes a pretty compelling carrot. A new friend from church joined me on a bike ride this week. All-in-all, beachside workouts are an amazing part of my LA life.

I also have used my current athletic obsession as an excuse to cross train. I played in a meetup group soccer match last week and was thrilled to discover not all my skills were completely gone. Plus I met some new people and hopefully will continue to get to know them as I become more of a regular. I also went paddle boarding for the first time in Newport Beach with a good friend and her brothers (I cannot boast of ANY skills in that arena; I may or may not have run into a dock). A few weeks ago I also hiked in the Malibu hills with my roommate and a friend in our program—a nice reminder that there are still unpopulated areas just a bit outside the city.

Finally, on the note of athletics, I am grateful for the running community that I am slowly finding here. My roommate is an avid runner, so she and I can periodically train together. I have another running buddy in the neighborhood that joins us for midweek runs.

Magazines always proclaim that physical fitness promotes happiness. I can definitely say that my athletic endeavors the past few weeks have helped make my attitude towards life and towards this city a little bit brighter.

Learning to Like LA

I think my post 6 months ago was a plea with myself to clamber out of my pit of culture shock and start living. However, in reality the six months since that last post have been just as challenging as the first six months in this country. It was hard to find the time or energy to write.

It has been a year since I moved back to the US. In many ways, this year has flown by. When I think back upon my departure from Uganda, it feels like yesterday. And yet, this year has been one obstacle after the next in an often-lonely journey to understand academia, Los Angeles, and the US. While this year has been tough, I have learned a lot about each realm: I’ve networked to find jobs in a totally broke  and overstretched (financially) UC system, I’ve learned the back-routes to escape the 405 when there’s an accident (or 4) on my way to school, I’ve watched enough television to understand 1/30 pop references (though still don’t ask me who the celebrity is sitting at the table next to me), I’ve found a roommate who helps keep me balanced and has patience with my wild African critters and all their strange issues, I know my neighbors to the degree that I inform them when I am travelling. Basically, learning new cultures is hard work and life in LA has felt very foreign at many points in time. However, bit by bit I am understanding things better.

After surviving a completely chaotic spring quarter, I made a promise to myself: this summer, while I have a more flexible schedule (I am doing independent research), I am going to be intentional about learning to like LA. So, with that, I also hope to re-start my blogging for fun. I can’t promise it will stick, but here’s to trying.