I hardly know where to start.
I’m finally in bed at the Santa Barbara Hostel; a lovely place compared to the dumpy hotels in the area, a fact which surprised me. How often are the hostels better than the hotels? This place is spacious and colorful, with bright blue doors and huge world maps painted on the walls. The guy at the front counter is darling and overwhelmed, it’s been a busy day and customers keep showing up late into the night. He’s a student at SBSU and really just wants to sleep, but the Santa Barbara music festival is this week so he’s been up the last couple nights helping the drunk partiers back into their bunkbeds.
I have the strange feeling Mark and I are the only Americans here (besides Jared the front-counter student). I’m surrounded by blonds speaking German and Dutch, and olive-skinned Italians, Spanish and an eclectic mix of other Mediterraneans. Its weird not hearing English in the hallways and bathrooms, but I’ll admit, I really love it. It feels as though I’m in Europe...without the hefty plane ticket.
We’re sleeping in a 12-bed co-ed bunkroom and I’m pretty certain I’m the only girl. There’s an Adrian above me, a Ryun beside me, two asian guys snoring quietly in the corner, Mark is kitty-corner on the left and there’s a Persian man who’s staring at the pile of suitcases and shoes in the middle of the room. The rest of our roommates have gone barhopping - I guess nearly all the hostel guests left for a grand night on the town to enjoy the cheap beers and lively music. What a town! I feel as though I could stay here for weeks and still find something new to see and do.
Speaking of new things to see and do, what an amazing last couple of days we’ve had! Last night we stayed with the other Farrells in Morro Bay and had a great time exploring downtown Morro Bay, watching the sun set over “the rock” (an ancient volcanic plug that towers over the little town), laughing together, and then getting up at the crack of dawn to walk to a little cafe for coffee and time to visit. It was a beautiful time in a beautiful town. Mark and I lingered as long as we could - it’s hard to say goodbye to cousins you love - but eventually waved goodbye as we drove back down Bonita St back to our familiar Hwy 1. It only took us about an hour before we arrived in Arroyo Grande where we knew Harry Potter would be playing in 3D and - get this! - we had coupons so it only cost us a grand total of $2.19! We laughed, we cried, we squirmed in our seats, and thoroughly loved the movie...even though both of us had seen it before and knew what to expect. What a great ending to a mesmerizing series. We set off again en route to Santa Barbara, but had to stop in Ostrich Land and Solvang on the way. We fed the ostriches, played with the ostrich chicks (shh, don’t tell!), and walked the quaint, beautiful streets of Solvang for hours. Once again, I felt as though I had been transported to Europe as I walked by windmills, rustic barns fashioned according to traditional dutch architecture, the Hans Christian Anderson museum, and streets lined with scandinavian flags. Who knew there was a little Denmark in California?
We finally pulled into Santa Barbara, but before we found our hostel, I detoured and took a tour of UC Santa Barbara. Though not the school I’ll be attending, I was accepted and they still e-mail me asking me to please come....so it was surreal and rather fun to drive through the gorgeous campus and think of how life could have been. How weird to think this could have been “my” town. I’m still 100% in love with UCSD and beyond excited to be there, it’s just amusing to think about the possibilities.
My bed is comfy and my eyes are threatening to close on me any second. There are girls outside my door who’ve returned early, though quite drunk, from their adventures downtown. I smile as they try to explain geography to each other on the giant acrylic map in the hallway outside our room. Another blond guy came into the room and added his suitcase to the growing pile in the middle of our room...this is definitely a guy’s room. He’s already falling asleep and mumbling something in what? Dutch? German? I can’t really tell the difference.
Tomorrow Mark and I plan on getting up early to pack up, eat breakfast, and get on the road by 9am so we can get to Huntington a little early. We’re both super excited to be there...though this trip has been incredibly exciting nearly every moment. I never know what exactly to expect and I see something new and beautiful constantly. It exhilarating and I’m addicted to life.
This is perfect.