Cuentos, Los Angeles

Sunny California

Hail in LA

My mom didn’t watch much TV when I was growing up. In fact, I rarely saw her just sitting around doing nothing.

“No real work is done when you’re sitting,” she’d remind me as I’d take a seat while folding laundry.

Still, she did turn on the TV for background noise when she ironed. Most of the times it was the afternoon newscast. That was practical. She could get an update on rush hour traffic and know when to expect my dad and get the weather forecast.

In listening to these newscasts, I mistook the anchors’ “Southern California” for “sunny California.” This made much more sense to a kid growing up in the drought years as Tony! Toni! Tone! sang “It Never Rains (In Southern California)”.

I write all this to give you an idea of why I’d complain after four straight days of rain during dinner with my advisor and fellow grad students.

While my fellow advisees — tired of sloshing around campus, traffic and taking the bus in the rain — felt my pain, my advisor did not.

“You need to leave California, Cindy.”

She had just returned from a work trip to Michigan and surely some rain and lows in the 40s were little to complain about.

I pouted.

“I know you don’t want to, but you’re going to need to, especially when you start looking for a job. There are no jobs here,” she said matter-of-factly to the other PhDs in training.

I nodded, not because I felt like I had to agree with my advisor (and boss), but because she was right. I’ve been in LA all my life. Even when I had the chance to leave for school five years ago, I opted to stay at my familiar campus because it presented the best opportunities. I’m glad I stayed too. Unfortunately, by the time I get around to graduating, higher education in California will likely still be suffering and other states will offer better opportunities. I’m not unwilling to relocate. I’m just not enthusiastic about it.

I like my mild, sunny winters. I don’t want to deal with cold, rain and more than five days without sunshine.

Now you see why I’m in no rush to finish the PhD?


6 thoughts on “Sunny California

  1. hmmm…. i think agree more with your mom (‘no real work is done when your sitting’ unless of course we are reading and writing)and not the other advise (that is not to say that your advisor is not right). We have to believe that we can make phds work in LA or in Califas…chale with outsourcing Chicano scholors to other states. Although we are needed everywhere we are need most in our home towns. Adelante Sister!!

  2. I think that it depends on what you want to do with your life. At some point, higher education will become a bigger priority in this state (CA), but maybe you aren’t inclined to be a full time researcher or maybe you will want to use your degree(s) in other ways. You could become an administrator, you could work in the community colleges, you could work for an elected or become a consultant. But if you want a tenure track faculty position, what your advisor said is more applicable.

  3. Trust me there is no place, weather wise, like California. I was born and raised and for the last 3 years have been living in Portland, OR. Talk about rain! The rainy season starts in October and ends roughly in June. But Spring and Summer are amazing! Fall, despite the rain, is beautiful…so many colors! I think it’s good to leave your hometown, for various reasons, even if it’s only for a few years.

  4. Other friends have been told the same thing about moving out of Cali for the resume to look great and then come back. Some who have left HATE IT, but can’t come back because there are no jobs.
    It totally depends on what you want to do. There is a lot to be done around here. Just need to get out there and see all the changes, find one you agree with and jump in.

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