Intriguing title right? You don’t quite know what I am going to say, but you might have a feint idea. Well, I am going to start with a story.
I lived with International students in Arroyo Vista this last summer. The majority of them were Italian, with a good handful from China, and there was a guy from Germany. My roommate was a 20 year old Italian named Giulio who was more American than most Americans. He played American football, wore USC apparel all day long, and he was constantly eating hamburgers and chicken. Basically, I got to know a few of the Italians very well, and we all became very good friends in the short six week span of summer session II.
As soon as they arrived in Irvine they started exploring. Some went to Vegas, some went to San Francisco, some even had a brief run in with Mexico. Being 20 years old and from norcal, I did not join in on the Vegas or San Francisco trips, but as I grew closer to them they started inviting me everywhere they wanted to go.
The beginning of it all was a Friday night. We were all watching tv, and I was going to head up to my room to sleep when they asked me if I wanted to go to Venice Beach in the morning. I initially replied, “Nah…I have so much work to do tomorrow.” They kept insisting, and after a few quick thoughts, I agreed to go. That day turned out to be one of the best days I have had in a long time. I went to a beach I had never been to before, I learned a few Italian words, and just had a genuinely good time.
Of course it didn’t stop there. I started showing them every beach I have ever been to, my roommate and I took a weekend trip to San Luis Obispo to visit some friends of mine, and we even went to the Grand Canyon! We drove 8 hours through the middle of the night and made it by the last drops of our canned Starbuck espressos to view one of the most wonderful sights of the natural world.
Sure I lost some sleep. Sure I turned my bank account into my personal “gas money” fund to travel to all of these places. But it was all worth it. The Italians opened my eyes to Irvine, California, and America! They made it their duty to see every single place that we as “Irvine-ians”, Californians, and Americans take for granted on a daily basis. Irvine and Southern California have A LOT to offer. Even if you have lived here all your life, I am sure that there is a secret hidden beach you have never seen, a hiking trail you have never traversed, or a slice of pizza that you have not tried.
So my advice to you, ladies and gentlemen, is to treat Irvine and your college careers like tourism, because there are wonders out there that we simply overlook.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust