,Despite the never ending deadlines and looming prospect of finals, I managed to put it all aside, for the most part, and have an amazing Thanksgiving weekend.
Holly Whitby and her friends from Colorado State University, Holly and Sophia came and stayed here in Utah in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. I had a lot planned for whilst they were here and managed to tire them out everyday!
On the Saturday they arrived, I had a jam packed day. First we had a football game, Utah vs UCLA which I couldn’t miss and then an interview for an Internship later on in the day. (ps. I was offered the internship and will be doing it for credit next semester. So excited to the opportunity!) The girls were able to find stuff to do though and by the time I met them in the city, they had already done some exploring of Salt Lake. We visited the Temple and City Creek and I think they were suitably impressed with the city!
One request the girls had was to go skiing. Luckily the resort opened the weekend before and therefore we were able to go! Although Holly and Sophia had never skied before they picked it up great and were skiing like pro’s by the end of the day. Was so good to be back on the slopes and I can’t wait to get up there more often as a season progresses. Good thing I have a season pass to encourage me to take time out to hit the slopes!
I also took them to Park City which, although very cold, was definitely worth the visit again. Unfortunately, we were in between seasons and therefore little was going on unlike when I last visited in the summer.
I also took them to visit East High School, where High School Musical was filmed. Although I had passed it plenty of times, I had yet to go into it, but it was exactly like it was in the movies. The girls said it was the best moment of their life and I have to agree with them. They even had Sharpay’s locker there still! I also took them to Huntsman Center, the University of Utah’s basketball stadium, where part of HSM 2 was filmed. I think how close the Uni is to where Zac Efron once stood was most impressive!!!
It was great to have the girls come to stay and I loved showing them around Salt Lake and Utah. Big shout out to them for successfully sleeping on the couch, armchair and floor for multiple nights!
On Wednesday, after a hectic day of assignments and group presentations, I was on my way to North California, the two Holly’s close behind to spend Thanksgiving with Anna’s wonderful family. Her family were absolutely amazing and I felt spoilt from start to finish.
My first real Thanksgiving was just what I was hoping it would be. A relaxed day spent with family and lots of food. And what would a holiday be without a walk? We walked around the Dish, a landmark in Palo Alto, and from the top had a great view of the whole bay area including San Francisco.
Anna’s family put on an amazing Thanksgiving dinner and it was all fantastic, I would definitely be down to eat Thanksgiving dinner again! Needless to say I felt extremely stuffed by the end of the night!
^^^^ Yum ^^^^
After a relaxing day, we then went on a whistle stop tour of San Fran and the bay area which took place over the weekend.
Our first stop was Pier 39 and the downtown area of San Fran. Because of it being Black Friday the streets were the busiest I’ve ever seen of a city but we managed to make our way from point A to B somehow! We saw the classic things you need to see in San Francisco such as the trams, the Sea Lions, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge. We even had our first experience of In and Out but I have to say I wasn’t that impressed. Definitely been hyped up too much. We ended the day in Union Square where we watched the Christmas Lights turn on from the top of the Cheesecake Factory. The view was so pretty!
,The next day Anna’s family treated us to breakfast at the CliffHouse, a spot right by the ocean. The beach kinda reminded me and Holly of Swansea beach, and made us very nostalgic for home! The Cliffhouse was amazing and what made it even better were Pufftops. Basically, they were nearly the same as Yorkshire Puddings, and it was free refills. I was very happy We then went to Baker Beach which gave a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge and then onto the Bridge itself. It was amazing to stand on a landmark which is so far from home. For me, it made me realise how far away from home I really was, but also how amazing it was that I was there. This year has brought me so many amazing opportunities so far and can’t be thankful enough for those who helped make them.
We then went to Lombard Street, the classic street which winds down the hill. We underestimated the size of the hill that you need to go up to see it. Shout out to Anna’s Mum for driving us up there, if the car had been a manual I don’t we would have made it very far! It was fun to see though and something to tick off the bucketlist!
Anna’s sister, Elaina studied at the University of California, Santa Cruz and wanted us to see the town. The drive down was beautiful on Highway 1 as it went right besides the ocean, I definitely missed it after being landlocked for so long! Santa Cruz was a cool town and I wish we could have had more time to explore. However, we explored the Main Street and you could really feel the hippie vibe of the city. The University’s mascot is a Banana Slug, after a movement in the 1960’s sought to stop violence in sports and sport culture on campus. I couldn’t resist getting a hoodie to support the slugs! Elaina also introduced us to avocado fries, and I think I’m converted to the California diet. They were amazing and I will be dreaming about them for a long time to come.
The next day, the two Holly’s few back early to Denver, but as my flight was at 7pm I had another day to spend in California. We went to a Farmers Market in Palo Alto and then quickly visited Stanford. It was a very impressive university and since Utah is out of the Pac 12 Playoffs they are no longer our immediate rivals and therefore I can speak of them in a good light! We went up Stanford Tower and spent some time taking photos and taking in the view before I had to leave.
Going back to the airport was bittersweet. Although I knew I was going back to a overflowing workload, I had had an amazing Thanksgiving experience and visited a city I have always wanted to go to. Needless to say I am in love with California and can’t wait to return. There was a different vibe there, and although I love Utah it was quite refreshing to experience that.
Once again, a big thank you to Anna and her family for letting us stay for the Thanksgiving break. We had an amazing time and it was great to meet Anna’s family. They were so welcoming and I really felt part of the family for the weekend. I can’t wait to get back home for Christmas now for some much needed family time. Being in a family space really made me miss my own more than ever!
Heads up Mum and Dad, I’ve told Anna’s family they are welcome to ours any time, so if any American’s turn up at the door, don’t be too alarmed!
This has been a real highlight of my trip so far and I can’t wait to see what else I’ll get up to this year. For now though, I have two and a half weeks of work and finals before I can finally relax! Counting down the days!