Amurrican Gurrl

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Okay that photo is not completely related to the topic of this post, but I thought that it was funny…

Sometimes, I like to pretend like I’m this global citizen- I mean, hello, I’ve lived and traveled in Europe, I’ve been to India, I read Al Jazeera for my news, and I can conversationally speak another language. Look at me. Yet, I am not immune to my own cultural upbringing and have noticed some particularly American behaviors in which I partake.

For example, I am currently eating scrambled eggs at 3:50 P.M. and writing this at the same time. Not only am I multitasking- a creation of the fast-paced American lifestyle- but I am doing to worst type of multitasking at all: eating and doing something else at the same time. Hell, eating and (sort of, does this count as work?) working simultaneously. While people in a lot of other countries actually sit down and have proper meals with their families, I regularly eat whilst writing, driving, cleaning, or getting ready for the day or to go out. I don’t always view mealtime as a way to relax and reconnect with my family- I too often see it as something to get over with so that I can accomplish more things. I also eat at really strange times of the day, such as now, and I eat breakfast foods at non-breakfast times. I remember regularly eating eggs at 5:00 PM in Paris and my host family thinking that I was really bizarre. Okay, that might be a bizarre thing to do in America as well…

I also drive everywhere, seeing as my attempts at biking in America are very stress-inducing. Sometimes, I drive places that are a few blocks away from my house. Actually, I do that all the time. When I lived in Paris and even Seattle, I didn’t have a car and subsequently just walked or took public transportation everywhere. In those places, there was infrastructure and a culture that made a car-free life, for the most part, effortless (totally effortless in Paris, doable in Seattle). I live in a culture of cars now however, so I drive. Not driving is hard, man!

Finally, I don’t know how many kilos I weigh, I drink hazelnut iced coffees at work every day (in Europe coffee comes in one of two formats: a shot of espresso or a cappuccino), I don’t put milk in my English Breakfast tea, I call it a “craype” and pronounce Ximeno Street “eggs-em-in-oh,” and I’ve been told that I may or may not talk like a Valley Girl…

At least I don’t shop at Wal-Mart or eat at McDonald’s? Fuck, I had McDonald’s fries last night… that I bought from the drive-thru and then ate in the car on my way home… they’re just so damn good!

I Love Tacos

I left behind Seattle for good. I just watched the sunset 30,000 feet in the air- pale yellow fading into orange, fading into a thin gray cloud, and finally pink as bright as lava descending into a flat plane of white, puffy clouds. Once we dip below the clouds, nighttime falls. The airplane then begins its descent along the coastline. A grid of orange lights and lines dots every speck of land to the east; the wide Pacific Ocean ebbs and flows on the west. As we descend further, I can make out the 405 by its signature unmoving lines of red lights on the right and white lights on the left. 

I love it.

I love the 405. I love the (over)population. I love the shitty suburban cities that sprawled away from Los Angeles. I love the lack of trees and abundance of electricity- palm trees are good enough for me. I love the dirt, the grit. 

I love the streets in Long Beach that are “nuts and fruits” (the ones to avoid, according to some guy). I love when the storefronts aren’t in English. I love being surrounded by people who come from all over the world and/or whose families might look and act quite different from mine- yet in Long Beach we find commonality. It is a city in which cultures mishmash. 

I don’t love poverty, but I love having grown up somewhere unsheltered. 

I love tacos.

I don’t care that Seattle tops lists of best places to live, or that it’s so clean or environmental or whatever. Lists and methodical studies don’t capture a city’s heart, or my own, and Southern Californians are environmental in our own way.  

The plane lands smoothly into the Long Beach airport- my favorite airport, well, ever. I’m home. 

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(Ocean Blvd. in Long Beach)