I have a longterm, distant and special relationship with America. Almost a decade since my last visit and I was back in the golden, postcard city. Like my previous visits, I couldn’t help but gawp at how big and widely spread everything was. My inner child wouldn’t stop pointing at the large portions of pretty much everything, especially chocolate. I was in the breeding ground for everything big.
Thankfully, my aunties place is located in the suburbs, an hours drive away from San Francisco. Every time I visited I made my heartfelt thoughts for the suburban life loud and clear. Psst, I love you London. Being away from the concrete city, I was more than happy to call this place my home for two short weeks. I took quite well to California and all its natural habitats; bright blue skies, tall palm trees, mountain backdrops, quiet open spaces and waking up to the sight of sunlight.
Once my jet lag was over, I made myself at home, by taking a stroll around the neighbourhood, navigating my way through wide, steep streets. While every other resident got into their cars, I was the loner walking the roads, enjoying the autumn heat. Yes, there’s a tourist in town. However, I did lose count on the number of smiles and greetings I received from friendly neighbours.
From my very first visit, I remembered a trail at the end of my aunties road that led to a couple of mini-mountains. Bear in mind wherever the houses stopped a trail started. I packed my bags well for the hiking occasion, basically, all I needed was my gym gear and no other mountain equipment. Every morning I made it my routine to go for a vertical hike, the Californian equivalent of “going for a walk”. I swapped the inclining of treadmills for walking up actual mountains. However, after multiple tries, I didn’t make it up to the top of the mountain. No amount of flat walking could’ve gotten me used to that. I was always out of breath more than halfway up. Which mind you is an achievement in itself, plus the panoramic views were worth all the effort.
On the second day, I made my very first visit to the local drugstore/ supermarket, Target. Here I found everything I needed and more. Noting how big the place was, I couldn’t stop commenting on the widespread aisles. I was pleased with their beauty section, topped up on a few amazing products that are only sold in America (sadly). I Wasn’t surprised by the meagre chocolate selection. This is what America falls short on, so I guess we’re even. The novelty section was anything but small. There were plenty of Christmas decors for pretty much every single room in the house, including the bathroom. One thing I learnt from my trip to Target is just how much the locals enjoy their themed holidays.
On day 3 we made a short visit to walnut creek. This posh outdoors shopping mall had a Sephora, the only American store I looked forward to visiting. Hello, beauty. I spent the whole time in Sephora while my family sat at Starbucks sipping on hot refreshments. As a newbie to the store, I explored and scanned every single product. I gave myself a reasonable Sephora worthy spending budget. Which may have been seen as a lot to some and not enough to others. However, I was more than happy to get my handful of products ringed-up and bagged-up.
Day 4 and 5 were spent relaxing in the garden. Like every other household, my auntie has a couple of fruit trees growing in her backyard. I apple picked every morning, juiced out the fruit by lunch. Living up to my healthy lifestyle of having organic food, from tree to glass.