Thursday, September 24, 2015

Let's go California

I'm really going. I'm thrilled! I still can't believe it. I never expected this could become reality. So many things had to come together!!
We couldn't go to Greece this summer. As a consequence I still have two weeks of vacation from my job.
My sister and her husband have friends in Sacramento - who have an empty house where Uschi and Billy passed the last two winters - and there's room for us.
They have invited me before, but I had neither the money nor unused vacation days. And my husband would never enter an airplane.
My niece is working as an air hostess - for just one year. That means cheap tickets and she'll have the same days off like me and can take me with her (I have to be accompanied by her to get the cheap ticket) and a friend of hers will join us.

I take it as a gift from my heavenly father!!!

What do I expect?

Because of all the movies, TV-shows, songs and books I've got an idea, an image in my head. Now I will at least partly be able to compare cliché and reality.

There'll be so many new experiences, starting with the long-distance flight. How will I cope without cigarettes for 12 hours?? What about the famous jet lag?

Vacation without my family - that's new. Ok, they are family, but it's not the same.

The women's trip, four women four days on the road.....That'll be fun!

Of course  I absolutely have to put a foot if not more into the Pacific. I doubt I'll ever again have the opportunity.

Eight more days to wait and then....

California, I'm coming!


  1. I hope you're not too disappointed by the US. The media selects a tiny sliver of our melting pot society and blares it over the news 24/7. The reality is, except for the crazy drivers, life is pretty much just like everywhere else. Internet access will suck, you might be shocked how much it sucks given we 'invented' the Internet, but such is the price of effective monopolies. One thing I have heard a lot of people talk about is how damn big the place is. I am in the north east where things are relatively close together, but once my father and I were flying to south Texas and had a stopover in northern Texas. We thought to rent a car and drive the rest of the way, after all, it was just a couple of inches on the map. Fortunately we figured out how many miles those inches were and saves ourselves over 8 hours of driving!

    The Midwest is wide open and there really are lots and lots (and lots) of farms that are larger than a square mile (2.5 square kilometers). It is indeed true that in some places you can drive _all day_ and see nothing but corn. Also because of the size we have all sorts of crazy weather because part of the country is practically in the tropics and another part is right against Canada.

    People have accents so broad that it can be impossible for someone raised in one part of the country to understand people talking quickly in another part of the country. Culture also changes dramatically from one end to the other, though over the last 20 years TV and the Internet have homogenized that somewhat. California has the reputation of being made up of bleeding heart liberals but the reality is once you get away from certain sections of San Francisco the makeup of the populous really isn’t different from anywhere else. The violence that is on the news all the time is actually that way because it is relatively rare, except in a few areas. The locals will know exactly where those areas are, heed their advice on avoiding them. Sometimes the area is perfectly safe during the day and only becomes problematic at night, sometimes you need to avoid it all the time.

    Bring some nicotine patches or lozenges for the trip to deal with cravings, though some airports have designated smoking areas they are hard to find and often tucked away in inconvenient corners. Most of the country is non-smoking in public and even a lot of apartments/condos are turning non-smoking inside as well. A few places have even made smoking outside a huge pain in the ass as well, so have alternatives in place.

    Jet lag is certainly a thing. We travel occasionally to the Philippines which is exactly 12 hours difference. If you can, try to nap on the plane to bring yourself into synch with the target time zone (going and coming). Don’t try and avoid napping in the afternoons, but try, really hard, to get up after an hour or so. Think about things to do when you are wide awake at 2 AM. For us it takes about a week to get synched with the new time zone (we generally travel at least 3 weeks when we make the trip) and yes, it takes that long to ‘unsynch’ when we get back, so factor that in as well. I generally make sure I have at least one day off after I get back from such a trip to recover from the process, though that might be moot for you.

    Have a great time and be sure to wave as you go overhead!