The City

If you’re not careful, the city will swallow you whole

nyc1

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Enveloped.”

Advertisements

Summer of Shakespeare

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves”

– William Shakespeare

LD1

The English major in me jumped at the chance to study the pinnacle of literary royalty, William Shakespeare, the summer of my junior year at UCLA.  Now, I love literature but I’ll admit that Shakespeare can get a little daunting, especially when you’ve been bombarded with his plays since freshman year of high school.  I decided that since it was a requirement for my English degree and there was no way of getting out of it, I might as well go all out and make it fun, right?  Lucky for me, UCLA offers a six week study abroad program that covers the 2 semester Shakespeare requirement. I found myself splitting 6 weeks in 2009 travelling between London and Stratford Upon Avon studying and watching plays on world renowned stages.

strat6

strat4

strat2

strat5

I often reflect back on my time in England and I believe that it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.  It is so important for young Americans to travel outside of the United States and experience cultures they’ve studied in their history books.  Going to a university like UCLA, I felt blessed to be able to walk around campus and call it my own but I will always remember my days in the UK as the best of my college career.  Not only did I get to study a literary giant on his home turf, but I was able to understand where American culture has it’s roots.

London was amazing, a brilliant place for a young American to spend her summer months.  The weather is mild with the occasional summer drizzle and light showers.  Going into the program I knew only a handful of other English majors but we soon formed bonds and became a tight group, often dining together and adventuring into London or congregating in the Stratford McDonalds to use the precious internet connection to Skype home.  Stratford Upon Avon is a beautiful and tiny town.  We spent two weeks at the Holiday Inn and after the first week we were out of new things to do.  Coming from Los Angeles I had never spent so much time in a small area with only one major street and few shops.  It was a nice change to be surrounded by the greenest greenery I had ever seen and an actual river flowing through town.  I would take walks by myself through town, visiting the shops and of course stopping in at Shakespeare’s home. However, the American in me was thanking the Lord they had a Starbucks!

The highlight of the trip was watching two of my favorite plays, As You Like It and Romeo and Juliet  in THE Globe Theatre. Standing in the pit in front of the stage all I could think was “I’m actually here. I’m standing in the Globe Theatre.”  I’ll never forget or be able to describe the feeling of awe that settled in as I watched the players act.  It even started raining halfway through one of the performances, slowly soaking my hair and shoes.  The crowd was not deterred at all and simply dawned plastic parkas and continued to watch.  Experiencing performances at the Globe and in the famed theatre district and watching stars like Jude Law perform Hamlet is something I will look back on in years to come and thank my lucky stars I was brave enough to hop on a plane and fly away.

ldl

strat1

lda

LD3

The Globe Theatre

lds

Lunch on the steps of St. Paul’s

LD4

As You Like It during a rainstorm

ldk

LD6

ldf

Brooklyn To Manhattan Beach: Grimaldi’s On the West Coast

In my family, it has become a tradition of sorts that every visit to New York must include a trip to Grimaldi’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn. My aunt took me during my first visit to the city nearly 9 years ago.  I’ve been back 5 times since and it remains one of the highlights of any trip.

On our last visit, the owner told my boyfriend and I that they recently opened a location in El Segundo, California.  Naturally we were stoked to get home and try it out.  This weekend we finally made that dream a reality and travelled the short 30 minutes down the 405 to reminisce in our tantalizing memories. As I was sitting in the El Segundo location, it was still as delicious as I remember but I realized the atmosphere of the Brooklyn location is a reason to visit in itself.

gimmys

Grimaldi’s Brooklyn Location

Grimaldi's El Segundo Location

Grimaldi’s El Segundo Location

Interior Grimaldi's, El Segundo

Interior Grimaldi’s, El Segundo

The El Segundo location is beautiful but it has lost it’s New York attitude to the California way of life.  The building modern and virtually identical to the multitude of surrounding restaurant chains.  The interior is chic and modern, almost nothing like it’s Brooklyn counterpart.  Aside from pictures of New York scenes hung on the wall, you might forget Grimaldi’s authentic beginnings.

I’m still grateful that I don’t have to travel across the country to eat some delicious pizza but at the same time it makes me long for the beautiful brick building and Brooklyn architecture of the original.  Give me the line stretching around the block in rain or shine. Give me the bossy, slightly scary ancient bouncer who could probably make me cry with one look.  Take me back to Brooklyn!

White Pizza with Sausage and Black Olives

White Pizza with Sausage and Black Olives

Two is Always Better Than One

Two is Always Better Than One

Down On the West Coast

California has the best weather on the planet. Yes, I am a Cali native and growing up here gives me automatic bias but I have travelled to a few parts of the world and what that has taught me is: you can’t beat California for weather. Mostly sunny year around, mild winters and a place where you can try literally any outdoor sport you can think of.  I feel blessed to have been able to call this place home for the past 27 years but to be honest, I do day dream about leaving it all behind and hopping a train to the East Coast.

After High School Graduation, my aunt took my cousins and I to New York City for the first time.  I instantly fell in love with the concrete jungle and every way it was different from laid back California.  It’s difficult to put into words the way New York engulfs you in the rapid buzz of the city.  The energy coming from it’s millions of inhabitants and tourists is palpable.  The vibration from the hustle of every day life was shocking and exhilarating; I couldn’t get enough of it. Los Angeles has it’s sky scrapers but I had never see so many reaching high to the heavens.  It was a stark contrast to the “Socal so chill” world I come from.  My love affair with  Manhattan had begun.

Since then I have been back to NYC 4 times.  Once during every season so I might get a better understanding of life in the big city.  My favorite by far is Fall. My last trip this past November was special, it was the first time I had gone tot the city with my boyfriend.  He and I have been together for 3 years.  We often look at each other and say ” man I can’t believe I found another weirdo to love.”  He fell in love with the city just as I knew he would.  Watching him take in the grandeur of NYC was amazing because it made me feel like it was my first time again.

Washington Square Park in the fall #nyc #newyorkcity #vsco #citylove

A post shared by Jade Arvizu (@jaybzoo) on

Now that we are back in good ol’ Cali, we find ourselves missing the city.  From time to time, we talk about moving there after he gets his BA and I get my MA.  We’ve come to the point where we agree that we must leave California, if only for a year or so to spread our wings and culture ourselves a bit more.  The city calls to part of me, the part that longs for excitement and adversity.  I can’t think of anything more adverse than a Cali girl trying to survive her first New York winter.  Bring it on!