Well it’s only been a few days since Jackie gave a brief summary of my first few busy days back in California, and I’m already on the plane back to Sydney ๐Ÿ™ I’ve had an absolutely wonderful time, and am very sad to be saying good-bye – yet again – to California, my friends here, and most importantly, Jackie.

Before I get in to all the excitement of the trip, I’ll back up a little bit to mention that it was my birthday recently (March 28th, but you all knew that ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). I didn’t do anything big, but had a great dinner at L’Incontro, an Italian restaurant in North Sydney that is run my a friend of mine, Sara’s, family. It was a delicious dinner with family and friends, followed by some limoncello courtesy of Sara! Unfortunately, Dad was away travelling and missed it, but I’ve got him back by being away for his birthday too ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now, on to the rest of my trip. Jackie left off with Lake Tahoe. After 2 lovely nights there with John and Shirley, we headed off to Berkeley to spend a night with Jackie’s grand parents there. They treated us to lunch when we arrived, after which Jackie and I decided to go for a quick stroll – which somehow lasted 3 hours – all around Berkeley – Telegraph Ave, Campus, the hills. We really got around! The campus certainly has a different atmosphere to UCSB, with crazy activist people everywhere, and a severe lack of blondes! I felt like we stood out in the crowd. Jackie’s grand parents then prepared us a delicious, but huge, dinner of crab. Yum, Yum!

The next morning, we headed into San Francisco where we had a hotel room right in the middle of the city by Union Square. For added excitement, and to avoid tolls and traffic, we picked up a lady who was commuting to the city at the standard spot in Berkeley where you can fill your car to drive in car pool lanes. This had the added benefit of providing us with someone who knew how to find the highway and the hotel so we weren’t lost. Although the day started off rainy, it quickly cleared up and we had a great day shopping in Union Square, eating lunch at Citizen Cake, shopping some more, riding the old F line street cars, wondering through Chinatown and around the ferry building and just generally seeing the city. We finished off the day with a fusion Japanese dinner and some cocktails (perhaps more than we had initially intended on drinking) followed by a beer at an Irish pub. Unfortunately, our friend Kate who was in Cambridge with Jackie was away for a job interview, so we missed her. Also, schedules didn’t work out and we didn’t manage to catch up with Susie who lives in Mountain View. Luckily Jackie and I have booked round the world tickets for the end of the year which bring us back through in January.

Thursday afternoon we got back in to Isla Vista, and it has been so much fun. Tom, who was my room mate when I was on exchange was also staying for the weekend, so there was a lot of reminiscing about our exchange, lying on the beach and remembering how much fun we’d had. Thursday night we went downtown and ran in to quite a few people we knew. I caught up with a lot of the people who I’d met in Cambridge, as well as friends from UCSB. Friday morning we were feeling a little rough, and Jackie unfortunately had to go in to work for a few hours. Tom and I had a quiet morning strolling around drinking red bull and eating bagels, before having lunch with a friend of ours, Eddie, and spending the afternoon on the beach, and catching up with Whitney, Isabella, Caitlin and Kelsey.

Friday night we started off with some hilarious drinking games at Jackie’s place with her room mates – Ashley, Jess and Sami, as well as Tom. We even played catch phrase which I haven’t played since I was last in SB. As always there was a party to go to, where it turned out that we knew a lot of people, and me and Tom quickly knew everyone else too, such as Eugene, who we thought was called ‘you drink’. Tom even got acquainted with a bush that he decided to jump in to (see the photo!). It was fun to be out in IV after so long!

Today, Jackie and I drove back down to LA, had a little while in old town Pasadena, and then spent the evening shopping in Santa Monica, having a beer at an English pub, where they sold Vegemite and Tim Tams, and had a ‘ye olde atm’ ๐Ÿ™‚ We also had a great Italian dinner on 3rd Street (thanks Bonnie!) before making the sad trip to LAX. It really is an absolutely awful airport! At the terminal that I was flying out of, there was not a single shop before security so we had to walk to another terminal to some crappy food court just to sit until I needed to go through security. Then when I did actually get through the flight was delayed.

It was really sad to say good-bye to Jackie, and California after such a fun trip. Luckily Jackie will be in Sydney in 2 months because she is coming to do grad school – I can’t wait. Anyway, if you made it this far through the blog, well done, since I seem to have written a lot. I guess it’s cause there isn’t anything else to do on a plane! I should get some sleep though, since when I get in to Sydney I am going straight to uni for a mid session exam!

Have a look at all the photos from the trip!

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