Summer in California

Every summer, I hibernate. It's a ritual I religiously follow, especially after I moved to Los Angeles, a way of putting down the weight of all that goes by in Fall and Spring. Summer offers me two wonderful months of just being with myself. It provides a way to reenergize, restore calmness, and re-find myself. This summer was not much different. I hibernated and ruminated. Mulling over a couple of things while making a meal or two can be exhilaratingly liberating. It's a liberty I don't often find in my otherwise busy PhD routine. During summer, there is no real need to socialize. This frees up my mind to wander sporadically, which is otherwise cluttered with conversations and useless, troublesome worries.

Summer is also the perfect time to enjoy some good Californian and Italian wine. This summer is dedicated to Bella Sera. She is a beauty! The Bella Sera Pinot Grigio floats down your throat with ease. The grapes come from the Veneto region of Northeast Italy. The wine is crisp and refreshing with citrus aromas and flavors of ripe apple and pear. So flavorful and pairs well with pastas, fresh vegetables, and chicken. Moreover, I never thought there was something called budget wine, till I met Bella. It’s definitely the best under $10 wine you can pick!

Traveling is an essential part of summer, especially the Californian summer! This summer I did a road trip with a couple of friends. We decided to drive along the Pacific Coast Highway, from Los Angeles all the way up to San Francisco with pit stops in Solvang, Carmel, and Monterey.

Solvang is a quaint Danish town in Santa Barbara county. The drive to Solvang is beautiful on a perfect summer day. The white cumulous nimbus clouds hang over the brownish green dunes and hills. Cows graze along the fields and the bright sun looks over the horizon shining in all its glory. This is where you want to lose yourself. As a dear friend of mine would say, go lie down on the green fields, read a book, and take a nap under the vastness of the universe. To commune with nature as the Pantheists so delightfully wrote about in their Romantic verses is bliss. In todays busy world not many of us are lucky enough to take time off for such a rediscovery.


After reenergizing ourselves with some pancakes and sleep, we left for the longest leg of our journey- from Solvang to Carmel through San Louis Obispo country and Big Sur. The beauty of the Pacific cannot be described in words. The California 1 a.k.a the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is one of the most scenic routes to travel upon. For countless miles, you drive along the PCH overlooking the majestic Pacific. She lies in all her azure elegance. Yet another way of ruminating and rediscovering myself.


After hours of driving, we finally reached Big Sur. The 90 miles of Central California coastline known as Big Sur, midway between Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara, extending inland to the abruptly rising Santa Lucia Mountains, has inspired writings by Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac, photographs by Ansel Adams and music from sources as varied as John Adams and the Beach Boys. The magnificence of this place moves you. We got caught in a traffic jam induced by an accident and therefore had all the time to soak in the true brilliance. When we finally reached Carmel, it was evening.


Carmel is a small beach town in Central California. We hogged on some Mediterranean food and then drove to our destination for the night, Pacific Grove. The next day morning, we got ourselves some bikes and we biked along the PCH- from Pacific Grove to Asilomar state beach. The weather was exquisite. To bike along the water and truly take in the fresh air was truly breathtaking.


The road trip ended with our final leg to San Francisco where the highlight was kite flying! On our way back, all of us though tired felt a sense of rediscovery. To truly feel alive, you need to go out and breathe the air, feel one with nature.


Summer has almost come to an end, but I’m now geared up for the next school season. Fall and Spring will feel much lighter now that the batteries have been recharged. Though of course,  I can’t help wait for the next summer already ;)

The drive

The warmth of the air rubbing against their pain-stricken faces did not stop them from speeding down the freeway carefree, like furtive lovers away to a hideout. She looked at him longingly. Age did not show on his face, yet there was something about him so distant as if he had lived 200 years and he continued to tell the tradition. He was a careful driver, forever cautious at the wheel. She could see the strained muscles at the nape of his neck, the tight clench of his fists at the steering wheel. She paused for a moment before she turned to gaze out of the window. There are moments and when they are lost you wait for them to come back much alike waiting for cherry blossoms to bloom. Cranberries played at the backdrop, it was one of the CDs they kept listening to. They hummed along. It would take them another hour to reach their destination. In that one hour they would travel time, travel the boundaries mediated by time and space, go beyond words, traverse finite feelings and myriad beings. There would be moments when he would become her and she would become him and both of them become no more.