I’ve just taken my third shower of the day. Now, that’s not entirely relevant to the title post, but context is always important. Let me explain: it’s hot here, very hot. It’s the kind of heat that turns the minimal physical exertion involved in pouring a bowl of Lucky Charms for breakfast (which are worryingly, quickly becoming a staple of my US diet) into a sweat-induced workout. Whilst you try to force that slightly questionable imagery out of your head, take a moment to allow Wikipedia enlighten you on Labor day, the first public, American holiday I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. Basically it’s a holiday to commemorate and appreciate those that work. An incongruent concept, I know. To me it personifies the ironic, self-gratification that stereotypically seeps through American culture, as it seems that the long three-day weekend, that falls on the first Monday of each September, is filled with anything but work-related activities. Not that I’m complaining.
My first Labor Day weekend (fortunately a four day affair, due to junior and senior students typically having no college classes on Fridays) was most noticeably spent at the family home of our American flatmate, as we were invited to celebrate her Great-Auntie’s 50th wedding anniversary. Fairly unsure of what to expect, the three of us Brits that attended were welcomed with typically American generosity and even more typically American food. When we were told it was going to be a BBQ, I imagined a few burgers, a couple of hotdogs, possibly some chicken wings. Man, was I wrong. It turns out that one of their family’s uncles has recently started BBQ-ing competitively (seriously, they do everything in America) and so was trying out his newest purchase.
No, that’s not a train engine, that’s a BBQ…apparently. The food was amazing and seemingly never-ending. The only thing there was more of, was beer. I’m still trying to get used to the fact that everything is bigger over here, especially the food. This idea is particularly prominent in California, which holds the largest population in America and amazingly has the 12th largest economy in the world, which is remarkable considering it is only a state. Though, as I learn more about the state itself I’m beginning to understand that to label it simply a ‘state’ is perhaps doing California a disservice. I’m only into my second week of Uni, yet having taken classes on California History and California Culture, it is apparent that you could class it almost as a stand-alone sovereign state, due to the racial diversity, political independence and topographical variety to be encountered here. Thus, although I look forward to exploring the whole of the United States this year, I’ve got a job on my hands exploring California first. Wish me luck.