Monday, March 17, 2008

Chill'n in Chico

I must admit, I am not all that geographically savvy. Too often I overhear people talk about small towns in Northern California that I have never heard of, but instead of looking it up, or expanding my knowledge of the diverse communities we have here in Cali… I just brush it off and forget about it. Chico, for instance, was one of those college towns I had heard about while I was in high school. Party school! That was the first thing that came to mind when Anna mentioned she lived there and was getting her masters. After spending some time there myself, I was hoping to discover that the rumors were overly exaggerated. To my dismay, unfortunately, the stories and rumors ended up being an understatement of the truth. It is quite an interesting town, but that is not to say it doesn’t have some good qualities as well. There are a lot of tress, and if the haze does clear out of the valley, it can be sometimes beautiful. All you have to do is look past the drunken college kid puking in the bushes.

Anna is in one of the masters programs, and she by no means could be classified as meeting the normal expectations of a grad student... in Chico or otherwise. Not only is she a good student, but she has also taken on more responsibilities outside of what the curriculum requires of her. One responsibility is to design a website for the community to go to give feed back and check the status of a community project her class is involved in. This not only required more of her time than what the curriculum accounted for, but it also required her to learn new software. She took to Dreamweaver like a fish to water… what a girl. Anyway, I am once again off topic. Anna’s curriculum consists of a wide variety of classes this year; she is in an orientation class, and is also taking a yoga class. Keep in mind that she also has a full load of required classes for her masters program. She plans on finishing up by the fall, so obviously there is no screwing around here. She also works as a T/A… maybe this article should have been about her. Anyway, she is taking a class that as part of the curriculum; it requires the students to go on multiple field trips around the campus and around the town. It was this “trip around town”, that exposed me to the wonders in the outskirts of Chico. These field trips normally reflect the dynamic geological differences between the valley and the mountains that make upon the landscape of the city. (See above)

First off, this was no small jaunt around the town; the requirements for these field trips are quite lengthy, almost intolerable.
(This is Anna's Teacher... this shot was not intentional...
However it came out kind of cool. You are actually looking
at him directly on, not his shadow, neat lighting eh?)
I honestly wondered how a teacher expected an entire class to fulfill the obligations, 4 field trips are mandatory to pass the class. Most of the kids where still waking up and it was almost noon. The shot below is one of the stops in the mountains... hence the snow. So far I have only been on one of these. This particular trip that I went on ended up being almost 160 miles. Keep in mind; it is a 170 miles from Chico to where I live in Concord. Also bear in mind that the trip takes me about 2.25 hours… going very fast, which you could not do on this particular field trip... or anytime I guess. Needless to say, the day was shot completing this requirement. The day was not wasted, by no means. There were a lot of things to see, and a lot of scenery to be viewed.What I didn’t realize was how close the mountains were to Chico, it actually is surrounded on both sides. What surprised me the most was, there be snow in “dem dar hills”.Once we got above the smog level, the scenery and view becomes very beautiful. I never would have guessed that Chico had a softer side, a side of beauty… now that I think about it; I don’t think Chico encompasses the hills, but you get my point.
(This shot is reflects the valley facing East, Chico in directly in front of you)
Chico does have its "rustic" charm as well, and I was not all that surprised to find remnants of it through out my journey. (Note, all cities have there problems with pollution, and guns.)
(This is a road sign in the remote hills of the valley,
note the bullet hole blown through the metal sign in the picture above.)
("Man is in the forest Bambie")
Overall, Chico is not so bad, it is in the middle of now where, and if you need to get to an airport, you’re driving for 2 hours to Sac. The town is growing; it has all the luxuries of home, plenty of fast food, lots of malls, and it’s very own Movie Theater. It does have an Olive Garden… Very
Nice! Though I might be exposing my pallets lack of culinary refinement, I love this place, and sadly the closet one to me is 45 minutes. Here that Olive Garden, do some demographic research and plant one back in the East Bay… preferably Concord. The town also has its unique color, and I mean this in a good way, there is defiantly something there that can not be found in the bay area. A slower, more quite way of living. The affordable housing is also a plus. Lots of nice people, Anna’s ward is full of great people, and everyone I meet seems to feel the same about Chico, they love it! All in all, I would have to say that it might not be a vacation destination, but it does have a local charm all its own.On the other hand, I might not be a non biased person to judge it anymore; it is where Anna lives so of course it holds a special place in my heart. Not to mention she threatened me if I spoke ill about it.
Cheers Chico.

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