Category Archives: Way of Life

Experience the Californian way of life through foreign eyes

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Tiburon Classic Automobile Show [Photos]

I spent the Father’s Day weekend in the beautiful town of Tiburon, California. My father wasn’t here. We had celebrated his day back in May (that’s when Spaniards do it) and I was going to spend just another regular weekend… but came across this Classic Automobiles Show.

I don’t have a lot to say about the photos… I just hope you enjoy them, as I did.

Tiburon Classic Vehicles Exhibition

1902 Prescott

Tiburon Classic Vehicles Exhibition

1918 Pierce Arrow Model: Touring

Tiburon Classic Vehicles Exhibition

1932 Buick

Tiburon Classic Vehicles Exhibition

This one had a small fan next to the steering wheel!

Tiburon Classic Vehicles Exhibition

1959 Nash. My favorite!

Tiburon Classic Vehicles Exhibition

Mercedes Benz

Tiburon Classic Vehicles Exhibition

1963 Fiat

Love all races and ethnicities

Stop Asking About My Race

Dear Americans,

Please, stop asking me about my race. I don’t like to include that kind of information in any form because I find it to be intrusive and annoying… not to say offensive. I never know how to identify myself and I don’t know what “race” or “ethnicity” or whatever you want to call it I am, because I’ve never before thought of myself as being part of any racial or ethnic group other than the human one.

I honestly think I can’t identify myself on any of those classifications because they don’t make any sense. You can ask me what’s my home country or even what’s my parents’ home country… but please, don’t make me check a box to specify my race.

Let me clarify this. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, you can identify yourself as white; black; of Hispanic/Latino/Spanish origin; American Indian/Alaska Native; Asian; Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander or some other race or origin.

US Census 2010 Form Race

US Census 2010 Form Race (via commons.wikimedia.org)

Does this classification make any sense in the 21st century? Not at all. That’s what I think.

What’s the factor that determines your race or your ethnicity?

Is it your skin color? Is it your culture? Is it your country of origin? Is it your ancestors’ origin?

According to Wikipedia, for nearly three centuries race was defined by a person’s appearance, his social circle (how he lived), and his known non-White ancestry, while ethnicity refers to a social group of people who identify with each other based on common ancestral, social, cultural, or national experience.

Again, does this classification makes any sense on 2014? Come on, people… let’s be realist.

We live in a diverse, multicultural world. People move every day from one country to another, just as they’ve been doing since the beginning of the world. We are all influenced by other cultures and we are all thankfully mixed. Why then that obsession to separate people in different groups?

Whatever the purpose of your classification is, call me what you want. I don’t feel this or that. Next time someone ask me to identify my race in a form, I’ll say “chihuahua”.

What do you think? Do you have a different point of view? Let me know in the comments below!

California Desert Road

15 Rules to Become a True Californian

If you want to become a true Californian, you need to follow some basic rules:

  1. Buy a car. A big one. Replace the regular wheels with truck wheels. If you don’t have a car yet, you must buy one immediately, because… if you don’t have a car, how THE HELL do you get around?
  2. You should master the art of making BBQs. If you want to socialize, you’d better learn how to turn on the grill.

    California BBQ Barbeque

    BBQ Boy (via flic.kr)

  3. When driving, follow your own rules. Traffic code?  Rules of the road? What is that?
  4. You must have a Mac, iPhone, iPad or any other Apple product. They pair well with to-go coffee cups.
  5. You should drink anything out of these jars:California Mason Jar
  6. Join some kind of trendy diet plan and remember to always eat organic.  Otherwise…
  7. Do not freak out if you see someone grocery shopping in their pajamas. Remember:  do not judge people by the way they dress.
  8. Try all kinds of exotic food and then write reviews about your “dining experience”. The weirdest, the better.
  9. Get a job. Are you working? So, what do you do for a living?
  10. Buy a pair of yoga pants and start exercising. Run, run as far as you can because you want to be healthy.California Fitness
  11. Buy a huge flat TV screen. Hang it on a wall. Yeeeah.
  12. Do not ever admit your weaknesses. Brand yourself.
  13. Pretend you are an “artist”. If you don’t fit into this category, you must be a project manager… or a data scientist.
  14. Use an app to book a spot at the best local restaurant. Use an app to pay for the meal. Use an app to find where you parked your car. Use an app to find your way home. Everything is better if there’s an APP for that.
  15. Invest in stocks. At least, discuss about it. How are the Tesla guys doing?
  16. Don’t take this list too seriously. You’d better go and have a talk with some neighbor. That will be more fair.
Grocery Store Candies and more

Going to the Grocery Store: Supersized Food

I’ll never forget the first time I went grocery shopping in America. Everything looked super-sized to me; ridiculously big compared to what I used to buy in Europe. There were gallons (~3.8 liters) of almost any kind of liquid and offers like: “Buy 10 and get a discount”. Wait… who wants to buy 10 stuff, all at once, unless they are in a Costco? I noticed that many products were just available in big quantities and that the prices were “big” too, which annoyed me at first.

“Are these supermarkets made for people like me?” That would be one of my angry thoughts every time I went into the grocery store. “What happen with the singles in this country? Where do they buy regular-sized packages?”.  I was too worried about wasting food. I don’t mean small sizes aren’t available; of course they are, but they are pretty much an exception.

Now that I’m getting used to it and starting to enjoy the shopping experience, I wanted to share with you the pictures of some of the products that got my attention at the grocery store during my first visits. Don’t take it too seriously… it’s just for fun (especially for my European friends).

Grocery Store Pastries

I love cookies

Eating about forty cookies per box (I don’t know how many they are exactly) takes its time.

Grocery Store Chips

Not sure if I should take the party size or the fiesta size… (via livincalifornia.com)

The potato and tortilla chips are my favorites. You’ve got the party size, the fiesta size, the grande size, the family size, the king size… Isn’t there a SuperDuper yet?

Grocery Store Milk Gallons

A little bit of milk (via livincalifornia.com)

There you go. Milk for everyone. This round is on me.

Grocery Store Barbecue Sauce

This sauce is THE BOSS (via livincalifornia.com)

Put some sauce on my steak, baby.

Grocery Store Candies and more

Me and my friend freaking out (via livincalifornia.com)

How many different candy brands can you find just in a regular drug store?  I challenge you to count them all.

What do you think of my grocery store experience? Am I being too dramatic? How was your experience shopping in another country? Leave your comments!

Little Talk in Los Angeles

Arriving in Los Angeles: Story of an Adventure

Arriving in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Downtown (via flic.kr)

Arriving in Los Angeles from a city more than 5 miles away, even in today’s globalized world, may still be an adventure. I came from Europe ready to study and enjoy the stay… and I certainly did it. The proof is that I’m still here, livin’ California.

But… What were some of the (small) things that surprised me at first?These are some of the details I remember of my first days adjusting to my new life:

The Bus Bell Cord

I thought bus bell cords were a thing of the past, a extinct species that only our parents’ generation could have sometime used to request stop… but it turns out that they are still around. Many buses in Los Angeles (not to mention San Francisco) are still equipped with this “ultra-modern” technology.

The Trash Room

“So, the door next to mine is not my neighbor?” No, it wasn’t.  It was the trash room and was there to make my life much more easier. No more crossing the street during the winter wearing a coat to hide my pajamas. Just a few steps and… work done!

The Carpets

I don’t like carpets. In fact, I hate carpets covering the whole floor because I find them ugly and easy to get dirty. I’m sure they have pros and cons, but I just see the cons. I’ve moved a few times since I found my first apartment in L.A, but carpets seem to be a pretty common characteristic in some Californian houses. Why?!?!

Little Talk in Los Angeles

English Conversation (via flic.kr)

Talking to Strangers

Not everyone that approach you in the street for no reason is a crazy person or someone looking for spare change. Some people just like to talk… (seriously) and that may be good to practice a little bit of English.

The Hotels Converted to Apartments

The first time I entered my building I get shocked. The apartments were just normal apartments, but  the lobby looked like an actual hotel reception with those high ceilings, rococo chaises and… a piano! Just in my area there were a few buildings like that: “The Bryson”, “The Wilshire Royal”, “The Talmadge”, “The Gaylord”… and so on. I feel I’m missing some important (and interesting) part of  L.A’s History.

The Skyscrapers

Okay, we have skyscrapers in Europe too, but that doesn’t make the L.A urban landscape less impressive. Every time I visit any American city’s financial district I feel like I was playing again that board game I used to play when I was little: the “Hotel” (or “Hotels” as you may call it), a sort of Monopoly.

The Bus Drivers

Bus drivers deserve their own post. They are not just the employees that drive you to your place, they are the people you say “Thank you!” when you get off of the bus, the ones that scream to people to squeeze a bit more, the ones that announce the next stop with a weary unintelligible voice and the ones that, as if they were in a raffle, pick the megaphone to announce the weather or make a joke when they are in a good mood. I love bus drivers, I’m tired of Madrid automatic recordings.

As you can see, arriving in Los Angeles for the first time may be sort of an adventure where one has to discover the little treasures that the city hides.

What are some of the things that you like/dislike of L.A? I’m sure there are a lot of things that I forgot to mention!