Venturing into the Great Unknown

I’ve now lived in SoCal for nine months and before the last two weekends, I have managed to avoid spending too much time north of Camp Pendleton. I say all the time that I’m not a city or traffic person, which pretty much guarantees (in my mind) that I won’t enjoy LA. But there are a few things that will draw me into the great unknown: friends, family, or sporting events… And I had all three planned so up I went!

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The first weekend, I drove up on Saturday and met my friends Jen and Jenny for brunch. We split a pecan-crusted French toast and a spinach omelette. Both were so good! Later that night for dinner we had calamari and fish sandwiches with churros for dessert! Not going to lie, LA gets my stamp of approval for food… or Santa Monica does at least! I also got a mini tour of that region while we cruised around and really liked it. I’ll definitely have to visit again when I have a little more time. I stayed up there with Jenny and her roommate Erin Saturday night, which was super nice!

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But the real reason I was there, and the main thing I did, was go to the NCAA Gymnastics Championships! I love college gymnastics for obvious reasons, but also because it is really all about the team. Prelims had been on Friday and six teams were competing on Saturday: Oklahoma, Alabama, Florida, UCLA, Georgia, and LSU. The competition was held at UCLA, and it was really cool to see the campus on the way in. Jenny went with me and I loved every minute of the meet. Scoring was REALLY close and all teams were within a point! Spoiler alert: Florida came back to win in the final rotation over Oklahoma and two-time defending champions Alabama.

It certainly helped that Florida has a former Olympian, Bridget Sloan, on their team. She was on the silver medal team in 2008 and is a 20-year-old freshman. It will be interesting to see how many years she actually competes for them. Sunday I went back for the individual finals, which is also really fun to see because the main pressure is off and these are the top gymnasts on each event in the country. Pretty incredible gymnastics! Oh, and did I mention I had front row seats for the whole thing? Amazing! I’m already planning to head to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for next year’s meet. Especially since it’s in the heart of SEC country where four of the final teams are from. No pressure there!

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This past weekend I found myself cruising up the 5 again, this time to a southern suburb of LA: Anaheim. Brother was chaperoning his marketing students at the DECA national conference and invited me up for dinner. Our “cousin” Jeannie met us for dinner at Bruxie in Orange, which was really good! It’s a walk-up restaurant that features gourmet waffle sandwiches. My turkey, Provo, egg, and pesto was delicious and we sat at picnic tables in the gorgeous evening weather. It was great to be able to catch up with both of them and even though I only got to see them for a couple of hours, it was worth it! Before dinner Brother and I walked around a really nice park to further enjoy the weather. And I absolutely had my sunroof open on the drive. Can’t wait to explore the northern region of SoCal a little more in the future!

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