As luck would have it, we arrived in Pasadena at the moment in which an 'Arctic front' hit SoCal. It is FREEZING! I was expecting weather warmer than Sicily, after all, one never needs a winter coat in SoCal, at least that's what I remember from my childhood here. How wrong I was! All I can say is that it is really really cold.
Despite my numb fingers and toes, the trip has been successful so far in that it is less about having adventures and more about spending quality time with family. To be honest, the voyage here, combined with a longer than normal period of sleep deprivation due to a jet-lagged toddler, has provided plenty of adventure for me. In the meantime, we have had several excursions to parks, riding stables, indoor playgrounds, shopping malls, children's museums, friend's and relatives' houses, and one marvelous dim sum feast in Chinatown, with the main purpose of letting the Italian family spend time with cousins and sisters and brothers and parents.
And along the way I have been soaking up the SoCal vibe. I do love coming home after having been away for a long time and taking in all those first impressions of things once familiar with a foreigner's eye: tall palm trees lining long winding boulevards, big open sky, suburban neighborhoods with early 20th century houses, perfect lawns, WIDE freeways that make me feel small, distant views of downtown LA's skyline, rambling oak trees, the rugged nature seen in canyons and hill tops and the San Gabriel mountains, Spanish-style architecture, VW buses, grungy teenagers, spicy salsa, perfect avocados, DIVERSITY.
And we do have one adventure planned--a road trip down to San Diego, just the three of us--to enjoy one of our favorite Californian cities with the promising forecast of improved weather conditions!
(P.S. the weather was beautiful and we loved San Diego, especially the bungalow we slept in with the sandy shores of Mission Bay right outside our door, as well as jaunts to favorite fish taco haunts in Ocean Beach, the San Diego zoo, the aquarium and numerous beaches. The photo tells all).
(P.P.S. New Year's Eve was also incredibly fun. Pasadena is the home of the Rose Parade and my parents happen to live right along the parade route where teens and families in the thousands camp out for a street party. We took advantage of this proximity and walked the street at midnight to view the beautiful flower covered floats lined up pre-parade and then saw them in full animation on New Year's Day along with the marching bands and horse troupes in full regalia. This is Americana at its best!)
(P.P.P.S. I do not recommend traveling anywhere that requires taking 3 planes or entering a time zone with more than 3 hours of difference with a toddler. Make them come to you! Having said that, I am counting on my selective memory to erase the painful moments of the voyage so that in a few months time I will have completely forgotten my own recommendation and can naively start planning our next adventure!)