Like many International Students, I had begun thinking about where to spend winter break numerous months in advance. During the break, the residences are closed; thus, we have to find a place to stay. Last winter Barbara and I spent Christmas with Katie, our roommate, and her family. We visited friends, played outside, baked cookies, watched movies, and went for walks. I wrote a blog about that holiday, which you can find here.
This year, my brother, Blin, invited me to California, where he has been living for the past five years. Blin finished high school in San Francisco and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue his University education. He has constantly amazed me with pictures in California, from beautiful sunsets and golden beaches, to skyscrapers and tall bridges.
In addition, reading and hearing about warm the weather in Southern California made me want to visit the state even more.
A few days before leaving I was almost done with packing, since I had been preparing for this vacation well in advance. I could not believe that in a few days I would be able to see my brother, my dad whom was visiting all the days from Europe, and my brother’s girlfriend, Sarah.
I left a day after the fourth block was over, which was good because I had some spare time to relax, hang out with friends, and do some last minute preparations. I flew straight from Vancouver to Lo Angeles, which I found to be a very short trip. That could be because most of the time I am on a plane is to fly internationally, which usually requires around 2 days of travelling and a minimum of three layovers. Kosovo is far!
When the airplane landed I immediately informed my brother that I was in California, and within a few minutes, we met outside the airport building. Seeing my brother, who is only a year older than me, was very emotional but also heart warming. I was very excited to be spending the next 14 days travelling with him.
On Friday, my dad finally made it after many consecutive days of travelling. Even though, he was exhausted, he kept on smiling and hugging us. It was his first time in North America, and I could see in his eyes the amazement because of the tall buildings and huge freeways.
The very first thing we did on the weekend was visit Las Vegas. We only stayed there for one night, but that was enough time to explore the area, have dinner together, and watch tall fountains that moved the direction of the water based on the song being played. It was beautiful.
On Monday, we visited Santa Monica. We went through different stores, walked on the pier, and then showed our dad famous stores selling products such as Apple and Tesla cars. The most excited event that evening was meeting my roommate Elli and her mom, and introducing them to my family. I was really excited that our families met, since they live so far from each other.
On Wednesday, we drove to San Francisco where we spent five days. I remember watching moves that were filmed there, which showed the steep hills and cable cars. We also went to see the Golden Gate Bridge. My dad and I always loved watching documentaries together in Discovery Channel, and one of our all time favourites is the story of this bridge. Watching it live, and being able to walk and drive through it was quite spectacular.
On the weekend, we went skiing in a ski resort called Sugar Bowl (I know, funny name!), near the North shore of Lake Tahoe. It was sunny the whole day, which made the mountains look even more stunning. I had started skiing when I was very young but due to travelling and living abroad (and a lack of money), I had not been able to ski for the past five years. Returning to this sport, allowed me to remember how much I enjoyed it in the first place. I cannot wait to go skiing in Whistler one day!
We came back on Monday, and then proceeded on to exploring more the surrounding area of Los Angeles, including Hollywood and Santa Barbara. Dad and I were continuously impressed by the size of the houses, the expensive stores, and the tall buildings.
Saturday, the day for me to return to Canada, came faster than expected. While I was sad to leave California, my family, and the warm weather, I was very excited to come back to Quest to see my friends and start Question Block.
This was such a fun “winter” holiday, and I feel very thankful to have been able to explore all these places. I cannot wait for more adventures!