The journey across southern California was beyond my expectations. From the weather difference and freshly laid eggs for breakfast to the personalities of those who surround me, California has definitely left a big impression on me. Before I left for vacation I expected California to be the good life and believed people there had better lifestyles than in New York City. From pictures and television, the glamour and relaxing beaches seemed unbelievably fun and, in my mind, non-existing in New York. I learned through my experiences, however, my assumptions were not the way I imagined.
One day after another I traveled from rural life to the suburban and city life in southern California. Up by Mountain Center is where my aunt and uncle live. What fascinated me was how the morning and nights were at least ten degrees cooler than the mid-days. Mosquitoes and cockroaches do not live up there because mosquitoes cannot survive in high altitudes and cockroaches have enough to live off of down below. New York, however, has many mosquitoes and a lifetime supply of cockroaches. What was most interesting was the rattlesnake I encountered on my horseback riding trip. Though the rattlesnake rattled, it was just scared and did not mean any harm unless I bothered it. Up in the mountains, aromas of pine trees spread like wildfire. The long and winding curved roads leading up and down the mountains seem to go on forever, but at the end of the day, the sunset was the most extraordinary thing I have ever seen along with the sky lit stars of the night.
As I slowly made my way down around Huntington Beach, San Diego, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, and Los Angeles, I realized the traffic grew. The beaches were amazingly blue and surfing was a thrill to watch. The friendly strangers I bumped into along the way were very kind. The high schools are big on mascots and their sports fields are twice the size of those in New York. Going from one class to another usually involves walking outdoors. Also juniors and seniors are allowed to leave the premises for lunch which is not allowed in New York public schools. The big picture seemed great, but I realized that there wasn’t much New York missed out on. The traffic in the city areas in California was just as bad as New York traffic. Though the age to get a drivers’ license is two years younger than in New York, the insurance doesn’t drop a penny. There are luxury places and bad neighborhoods in both California and New York.
It seems as though before the trip I compared the whole state of California to only New York City. What I did not think about was the other parts of New York like Long Island and upstate. I realized many things such as theme parks and outlets were not just in California, but in different areas of New York I haven’t been to. There are few things in California that are not in New York at all, but just because I’ve never seen them in New York, it doesn’t mean they’re not here. The one thing that’s worth missing is the blue water of the Pacific Ocean. Through the beauties of the great California and its’ downsides, I learned New York is not as bad as I pictured it to be. Who knew my small vacation can change the way I view my home state.
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