Musings of an Englishman who literally quit his life in Devon in mid-2012 to move to Tijuana to love a girl.
They ended up in San Diego where he became a TV anchorman (yes really...), they got married, and now they're living in England together.
Simple as that really.
Follow your heart, who knows where it will lead.

Crazy. Beautiful. Madness.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Fright Night


YOU know that horrible moment when you turn up at a party only to realise that you ‘didn’t get the memo’ regarding dress-code?
Yeh… THAT.
That was last night.
Picture the scene… Jacks and I walk past the man bizarrely dressed as Cleopatra in the apartment complex hallway, past the pumpkins and cobwebs laid out on the furniture, and enter the lift (sorry elevator) to head upstairs to the party.
We get to the apartment, I knock on the door, and the hostess answers.
“What are you guys supposed to be…?” she asks as she eyes Jacks and I up and down noting our almost-matching black leather jackets.
“Dead bikers…?!”
There she stands in blonde wig, moustache, vest and jean hot pants (she was Seann William Scott’s character from Old School with her boyfriend made up as Will Ferrell as ‘Frank The Tank’ – complete with dart in his neck).
Awkward…
You see earlier this week the party hostess – who is also one of the U-T TV hosts – asked if Jacks and I wanted to come to a party at her and her boyfriends’ apartment.
“Is it fancy dress?” I remember asking.
“No… it’s not fancy dress at all,” she replied.
Of course, I now realize that ‘fancy dress’ isn’t the ‘fancy dress’ that us Brits know, and refer to.
‘Fancy dress’ in the U.S. refers to ‘fancy’ dress – as in smart wear like a tuxedo.
What I should have asked is it ‘costume?’ – because that’s how they refer to our ‘fancy dress’ here in the great U S of A.
Epic fail.
Just to add to the hilarity, when we woke up yesterday on the morning of the party I suggested we go to a fancy dress shop and grab some fake blood and vampire teeth – but then backtracked thinking that we’d be the “odd ones out”.
“How stupid would we look if we rocked up all dressed up and no-one else was…?” I pondered.
*face palm*
So anyway, there we found ourselves, surrounded by dozens of excited costumed party people.
Talk about odd ones out.

Odd one out...

Doh!

Even another guy from work, who didn't really make an effort, still wore a T-shirt with skulls on just to fit in.
Yep, we’re still just as lost in translation as we ever have been here in San Diego. And I can’t even rely on my wife to help out as she’s just as lost as me in the language.
Oh well, it gives me something to write about.
And it gives you all something to laugh about… albeit at my/our own expense.
Tsk.

Fancy dress or night my wife still looks amazing

If there's one thing more scary than Halloween itself, it's the American fascination with it.
It was a pretty strange sight to be stood in the supermarket aisle next to the Phantom of the Opera, and his witch girlfriend.

Even the Phantom of the Opera has to shop right?

It was another weird moment to be stood outside checking my emails, only to be asked for a light by a mummy fully-dressed head to toe in bandages.
Even pets here can’t escape the madness.

Pet cemetery
Clearly not amused

Sure, as a student I dressed up as a vampire or zombie and went to parties in the UK but here… well, it’s another level.
Jacks and I are gearing up for the army invasion of sweet-toothed trick-or-treaters expected on the 31st.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of it.
Someone told us last night that after New Year’s Eve, Halloween is the biggest fancy dress, sorry… ‘costume’ night of the year.
And who needs an excuse for a party right?
I just can’t get my head around it just yet.
The premise of Halloween is ghouls and ghosts right? As in ‘All Hallows’ Eve?’
It’ just that Halloween just doesn’t seem scary when you’re living in a place which is so ‘new’.
I joke to people that I have cutlery at home which is older than San Diego.
It seems that Hollywood has made Halloween the big deal it is here.
Some of the weirdo tramps who shout random things at you on the train are the scariest thing about this place.
Downtown’s ‘Haunted Hotel’…? Give me a break. The d├ęcor appears to be the scariest thing about it. That, and the price of admission.
Pumpkins are synonymous with the autumn or ‘Fall’ in the U.S.
It seems that you can’t go anywhere at the minute without seeing them.

Pumpkin patch

Outside most stores here there seems to be a stand selling pumpkins or other weird vegetable/fruit thing which looks like it was grown on Mars.

Space fruit?

Yep, your guess is as good as mine...

Starbucks are also serving ‘pumpkin lattes’, which I just can’t bring myself to try.
Are they on sale in the UK too?
Halloween of course falls at the end of October – a time of year when, back at home in the UK, I’ve packed away all the shorts and T-shirts and unpacked the hoodies and jumpers.
However here, even the coolest day yet in San Diego has felt like a pleasant English summer day.
But all I hear from people here is how “cold” it is.
One colleague told me last week she was “so cold” she had the heater on all night.
That’s when the temperature didn’t actually drop below 54 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Centigrade).
I’m still parading around town wearing shorts and T-shirts like I would in the height of summer in Cornwall.
And there I am passing people wearing full-on North Face coats complete with hats and scarves.
Weird.
You know it takes time to settle into a new place and I guess we’re still finding our feet – even after six months.
Next year you can be sure that we won’t make the same mistake again of not dressing up for Halloween.
We’re planning it now.
Be afraid… be very… afraid.

@tristan_nichols




Saturday, 19 October 2013

California cool


YOU know… for as long as I care to remember, I’ve considered myself ‘cool’.
I really have.
When I was younger I had long hair, and I actually thought I was Kurt Cobain.
And as I’ve grown older I’ve felt I’ve maintained that hip stance.
I’ve played guitar since my early teens, I’ve always liked good music and movies, I’ve hung out with other ‘cool’ people, and I like to think I still dress well, um, ‘cool’.
I even think my parents – my dad being a huge blues fan – are pretty up there too.
But any belief I had in all that has faded like old fat kipper ties in the wardrobe during the last few weeks as Jacks and I have explored San Diego, and indeed California.
In the last few weeks we’ve met ‘cool’.
And his/her name is Chad… Arthur… Roxy… or something even cool-sounding.
These guys… they’re ‘hipsters’.
They’re the epitome of cool and hip, or whatever you call it in this age.
They have at least a couple of tattoos, androgynous hair styles and they boast the finest groomed moustaches or beards a man could cultivate.
They wear colourful Ray Ban sunglasses with thrift store purchased skinny jeans and faded t-shirts or lumberjack-style shirts. And they all seem so thin and pale even their fatigued figures seem fashionable.


Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE also seems to naturally be in a band.
The girl who served us a slice of pizza in Golden Hills, SD, was in a band; the kid with the skateboard was in a band, and of course the girl smoking on the sidewalk (pavement) walking the dog in North Park was in a band.
It’s much like how everyone in London seems to work in PR.
“Who are these people?!” I asked a friend during the recent Golden Hills Street Fest we attended.
“Hipsters…” she replied.
“… Californian, hipsters.”
The one and only thing which seems to make me cool and interesting to others is my English accent – but even then people seem to think I’m Australian.
Sadly, I can’t compete - no matter how hard I try...

Fail

Oh well.
When did everyone become so bloody cool? Was I asleep? Was I not paying attention? Was I in TIJUANA?!
I’ve seen a few of what I’d call ‘hipsters’ before in England– or at least people who thought they were hipsters – but here is where they seem to live and breed.
Even their pets are cool, and they could quite believably also be in a band.
So yes, Jacks and I have been out exploring San Diego, and meeting people.
It takes time to get to grips with new surroundings. And of course to meet people you’d call ‘friends’.
Where’ve I been? Where did the blog updates go…?
Well, we got married.

Ay caramba

And then we went on our honeymoon.

Life's a beach

There, that’s a good excuse right?
Without boring you all too much, our wedding was pretty much perfect.
There was no fear of it ever raining on our wedding day here in San Diego because, well, it just doesn’t really rain here.
It was a short and simple affair carried out under bluebird skies among the company of new friends and family.
The ceremony completed the amazing fairy-tale story which we’ve been living for the past 18 months.
And then we buggered off to Fiji to spend time on a near-deserted island for a couple of weeks.
Note: Isn’t it funny that within 30 seconds of being married people begin to ask you about babies?!
Sheesh… yes everything’s happened in a very short space of time but hey, give us a break!
Aside from all that I’ve come back to work on the most exciting and amazing project of my career.
The hugely talented Alejandra Cerball and I now co-anchor U-T TV’s U-T San Diego News from Monday to Friday.

News team assemble

It’s a new hour-long prime-time show which airs from 5pm (1am GMT) and then re-airs at 7pm (3am GMT) on U.S. cable and online.
If you want to see it, tune into Cox 114 or AT&T 17/1017 on U.S. cable, or watch it live online at www.utsandiego.com/tv/.

On air

So there you go.
I’m an anchorman in San Diego… and no, my apartment doesn’t smell like rich mahogany.

@tristan_nichols