Sweet Home California

(I’m aware that isn’t actually the title of the song before anyone tries to be a smart arse and correct me.)

‘I’ll give you an update in a couple of days’… Err, a couple of days in the USA actually means a week? I’m sitting in my room right now having just returned from the supermarket, soaked through from biking in the rain. Yep- SOAKED THROUGH. I figured I may as well update y’all on life while I’m drying off (plus hopefully some reflection will help me remember why I moved to California only to sit looking out at slightly warmer rain).

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Note that those jeans are usually a MUCH lighter shade of blue! After arriving on Thursday I met my new Swedish flatmate, mumbled something incoherent about how tired I was/how super exciting it was to meet him then crashed out pretty quickly using my jumper as a pillow. Didn’t wake up too early, unpacked then walked to Safeway. WALKED. It was a 15 minute walk each way, 30 degrees outside and I ended up carrying quite a lot of stuff. What a chump. Needless to say when I arrived back at the flat I wasn’t feeling quite so fresh! I then went to campus with my British flatmate. Man that place is HUGE, it takes about half an hour to walk across the campus. Parts of it also smell strongly of cow. Got my Aggie card:

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and then sat outside basking in the glorious sunlight with a smoothie feeling pretty damn cool. I hadn’t felt quite as cool ordering it though, turns out there are A LOT of options when you order a smoothie.

On the Saturday I had a very, very American day, UC Davis were playing their first home football game and there was a tailgating event beforehand with food trucks, live music, cheerleaders, a marching band… If you’ve seen it in an American film chances are it happened. I had a nutritious pre-game snack

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and listened to a local band play (disclaimer- this post isn’t actually sponsored by Diet Coke). I actually ended up really enjoying them and bought their CD once they’d finished. They gave me two CDs for $5 rather than one for $10 because I promised to introduce them to the UK, so everyone reading go check out HERO’S LAST MISSION. We sat in the ‘Aggie Pack’ section of the bleachers (The Aggie Pack is the largest student spirit organisation in the nation) and tried to follow their chanting/jumping/thrusting/jeering/arm waving. There were people who had painted their whole bodies blue- that’s serious commitment.

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I use the term ‘follow’ very loosely though as I didn’t have a clue what was going on for most of the game. All I know is that everyone was VERY enthusiastic and it was a lot of fun (and we lost.. let’s not dwell on that though). Ended up having to walk the two miles back to the apartment and I had a bowl of porridge before bed- I felt the need to negate some of that Americanness.

Grocery stores are ridiculous over here- the amount of choice is INSANE. Why would I want a choice of forty different types of totilla? Before I came here I thought there was just brown, white and seeded but I was so wrong (and clearly uncultured). Eating out is amazing though, the portion sizes are incredible (just as well I’m cycling everywhere!) and I’ve already had my first ‘fro-yo’ experience (I got shot down by an American the other day for calling it ‘frozen yoghurt’. The same American also cast me aside when I told him I’ve never actually seen ‘Braveheart’. Dude- I LIVE Braveheart. Kind of.) and frozen yoghurt is my favourite thing ever. Well, the toppings you can pile on top are my favourite things ever.

Orientation was looong, we had a lot of talks from various different people about various different serious matters and it didn’t help that I had a major sugar crash halfway through the morning- they had provided us with breakfast and one of the options was a glazed scone. Apparently a sugar based baked product isn’t enough here, you have to throw some frosting on that bad boy too. On the plus side though I got to meet a lot of other exchange students (no other Scots yet, though rumour has it there is one floating around, I’m not yet sure how to hunt down my kinsman), though I might have lost some cool points when we went bowling afterwards. I cannot bowl for shit. My worst streak was knocking down three pins in nine goes, you don’t need to be doing a maths degree to know that is impressively awful.

I got a bike! I named it ginger! Everyone in Davis cycles, apparently there are more bikes than people. It’s brilliant to have but my poor tush isn’t used to it so after cycling about 20 miles in 48 hours it hurt to walk/move at all. One of the guys working at the bike store couldn’t understand what I was saying when I was trying to tell him my name so I was standing brainstorming how best to explain how to say it. Some people can use cool celebrities, famous sports people, politicians… me? I have to go with ‘Y’know like Princess Fiona from Shrek’. The ogre.

I’m hoping to go and enjoy another football game this afternoon, but this time in the torrential rain. Oh well- GO AGGIES!

Laters losers.

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2 thoughts on “Sweet Home California

  1. Oh man, you need to post more often – there’s too many things to reply to and I don’t know where to start! :p
    I’m proud of you for getting a bike so quickly after arriving! It gets less exhausting, I promise! I know that feeling of getting soaked from rain cycling oh so well though… Is it named ginger like the hair colour or like the delicious root vegetable? Either way it’s a v cool name for a bike :) My fave shop from my stay in California is Trader Joe’s, it’s a super lovely place, so you should find if there’s one in Davis :) What is Aggie? Is that the programme through which you’re doing this year abroad? Aw man, my first experience of American football was my firsts at in PE class, no one explained the rules and we just started playing :/ Glad you’re making friends already! Post more often though! :p

    • Hah, I realised when I was writing it that I had A LOT of stuff to cover! Hopefully when things calm down I’ll be able to post more/won’t have as much to post about because I’ll be in the library.. The bike is a kind of burnt orange colour so it’s reminiscent of ginger hair- just trying to bring a bit of Scotland to the USA! I need to try Trader Joes! There’s one quite near campus and I’ve heard good things about it. Will get on that soon and let you know how it goes. I probably should have clarified- ‘Aggies’ is the collective name for UC Davis student so I’m an Aggie for the year! Aw man sorry your football experience has been so rough! I’m really enjoying it so far, though we did lose 10-41 today which was pretty brutal.. Hope glasgow is treating you well (and thanks for being such a top commenter)!

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