Vanessa | California Dreaming

by Au Pair in America

California – the place to go for all those of you who are craving some sunshine half way through winter. At least that’s what Au Pair in America blogger Vanessa would recommend!

Vanessa in front of the infamous pink wall on Melrose Avenue, LA, California!

The infamous pink wall on Melrose Avenue, LA, California!

On December 26th my host dad was so kind to drive me to the airport in the middle of the night so I could hop on a plane to California! My friends Nele and Franzi were already there waiting for me. I joined them after a five hour long flight. With my suitcase and my bag we headed right to our first stop: In N’ Out Burger! As we enjoyed our delicious burgers, we watched the planes at LAX come and go.

We had previously decided to stay at an Airbnb. Right after we arrived, we stocked up on food and some other essentials, as we had a lot planned for the next couple of days. The first thing on our list: Melrose Avenue! Some of you might recognize the “pink wall”, one of the many artsy walls that this Avenue is famous for. If you ever find yourself on Melrose Avenue, I recommend paying the “CARRERA Cafè” a visit! Great coffee & great food.

Vanessa and her two friends Franzi and Nele in front of another Melrose Avenue wall that says "Girls Tour".

Girls (on Melrose Avenue) tour!


we took a bus to the most famous zip code in California: Beverly Hills 90210! I can now officially say that I’ve walked down Rodeo Drive. Unfortunately though, I couldn’t really afford to actually buy anything. But that’s beside the point, as even just going for a stroll there made it unforgettable! If you are wondering how we got around: we bought a week-pass for only 25$. You’re good to use the metro and almost every bus with this card. Public transport is really convenient in Los Angeles, especially when you don’t want to spend all your money on an Uber or a taxi.

Beverly Hills Sign

Beverly Hills!

Want to guess what the best part of that day was? We got to see Jennifer Lopez! Well, *almost. We could tell that she was shopping at a store as her car was parked right in front of it. And so we decided to wait, hoping that she would come out. We waited for about an hour with hundreds of other people. But unfortunately she escaped through the back door. Even though we didn’t get to see her, it was really exciting to know that she was just a few steps away from us. So all in all I’d say: The first day was a success!


Vanessa enjoying the breathtaking view from the Sunset Cliffs!

The breathtaking view from the Sunset Cliffs!

on Thursday morning as we had to catch a bus to San Diego! The first impression of San Diego was a little disappointing though. The bus stop was in the middle of nowhere and it looked really… shabby. But (unsurprisingly) lunch made everything better! So afterwards we decided to walk to Balboa Park. We bought some ice-cream, the sun was shining down on us, it felt like a completely different world! Right before sunset, we hopped on an Uber to get to our next destination: The Sunset Cliffs! As soon as I got out of the car, I was stunned that any place in this world can be so beautiful. We were literally standing on some cliffs, surrounded by palm trees. The sun was setting right in front of us, the ocean singing below us. With the sound of the waves crashing against the cliffs, believe me when I say that it was magical! It was the perfect way to end our day.

Vanessa standing on OUE Skydeck, in front of some painted on angel wings.

OUE Skydeck shenanigans

Back in LA we decided to go to (downtown) to enjoy some lunch at Urth Cafè. Afterwards we headed over to the OUE Skydeck to get a 360 degree view over Los Angeles. We watched as the sun was setting over this beautiful city. It was BEAUTIFUL. The tickets were a little bit expensive, but totally worth it. In the evening, we went to watch Pitch Perfect 3. On Saturday morning we took a bus to the Griffith Observatory where our long hike to the infamous Hollywood Sign began. It took us two hours in total, but finally made it. We were so close to the sign that you usually only get to see in movies. We took so many amazing pictures – especially on the way back, just when the sun started to set. You probably tell already by now, but we got to see A LOT of breathtaking sunsets in California.

Vanessa standing in front of the back side of the infamous Hollywood Sign

Hollywood: behind the scenes!


wasn’t like any other day, as it was New Years Eve! We spent our day at The Grove. In the afternoon we made sure to call our parents back home in Germany to wish them a Happy New Year. It was weird knowing that our family and friends were already celebrating 2018 while we still had nine hours to go. Our next stop was the LACMA Museum. But let me be completely honest with you. We didn’t really visit the museum itself. We just went there for the sake of taking some pictures with the infamous lanterns! Unfortunately we couldn’t find a U-21 place where we could celebrate the New Year… But we made the best out of it and celebrated in our apartment with some more In ‘N Our burgers!

Vanessa taking a pictures with the LACMA Museum lanterns

LACMA Museum lanterns – check!

My friend Nele flew home early in the morning, and so Franzi and I had a few hours left in sunny California. We had breakfast in West Hollywood at “Joey’s Cafè“. I can definitely recommend going there! We spent the rest of our day at Venice Beach and Santa Monica Pier before we had to head to LAX ourselves. It was freezing when I landed in D.C., which immediately made me want to get back on that plane! In all honesty though, I had an amazing and unforgettable time in the city of Angels. One day, I will definitely come back to California.

Vanessa and her two friends standing on a rock by the beach, overlooking the ocean.

A girls trip to the beach!


was my next travel destination. Just a week after I came home, I got to visit a friend of mine in the big apple. We spent half of our day at the “Black Tap” restaurant. It was too cold to do anything else! It was so nice to see my friend again, but I’ve never been this cold before. Another exciting thing that happened was the Womens’ March in Washington D.C.. I got to march with my friends and many other women as well as men. I have never been to a protest before, and I still can’t believe how many people came together to fight for human rights.

Vanessa and her friends at the Women's March in DC!

Women’s March in DC!

I’ve made amazing memories over the last couple of weeks, especially in California. But I also felt a little “down” this January. All of the sudden, I would get really emotional, I would start missing my family and friends back home and yes, at times I even wondered: “Why am I doing this here?” The “culture shock” that pretty much all au pairs experience during their year had finally caught up with me. I just want to tell you that even if we want all 365 of this year to be perfect, not all of them are going to be. Of course not! But you know what? That’s totally okay. And it’s important to allow yourself to be emotional or sad for a bit every now and then. Because that’s what helps you grow as a person. So let me end this blog post on a positive note by saying that I’m celebrating 6 months in the States this week. And I can’t wait for another 6 months of au pair adventures!

If you haven’t read any of Vanessa’s previous blog posts yet, make sure to click here and here to go check them out!

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