The New Year is here and that means another Rose Parade! I was especially excited about Pasadena's annual festivities this year because my Trojans were selected to play in the Rose Bowl game this year!
I was driving back to the Inland Empire on Sunday evening, New Year's Day, ready to start the second semester of med school when my roommate invited me to go with her family to the Rose Bowl the next day since they had an extra ticket. I knew I really wanted to go since I had never been before, but I also knew I had a mandatory class at 1pm that day. However, knowing that another moment like this may not come around again any time soon, I decided to go for it and pray I make it back to class on time.
My roommate and her family were staying in a house right on the parade route so I drove out there to meet them. Getting to the house was a nightmare. It took me about 25 minutes to drive to Pasadena since I was going late at night, but it took me nearly two hours to actually get to the house! With the house being on the parade route a lot of the streets were shut down by the time I got there, and they were only letting people through with special passes. The security people working the roads were extremely unhelpful the majority of the time. After my roommate came from the house to meet me on the street and with a little coaxing of one of the security guards we were finally let through!
The house itself was really interesting. It was very old and low-key creepy. It was great meeting up with my roommate's family members who were already settled in. I explored the house a bit, and headed to bed in anticipation of a very early morning. Unfortunately being on the parade route meant having all of the bands across the nation right outside our windows in the wee hours of the night.
The next morning we all got ready and had some home-cooked breakfast. We all rode over to the part of the parade route where we had seats. We got there in enough time to grab some coffee and walk the streets of Pasadena for a bit before bundling up underneath some blankets. The weather unfortunately was pretty cold, cloudy, and misty that morning but not enough to ruin the experience. Our seats were pretty far down in the parade route so we started seeing floats about an hour after the parade had started. The floats were absolutely incredible! The level of detail and art that went into creating each and every one is astonishing to think about. I enjoyed just marveling at each piece of work, one after the next. Some of my favorites included Lucy Pret which featured adorable dogs surfing across a stream of water, The Bachelor float, the USC Trojans float (of course ;)), my absolute favorite was the Netflix float designed around Le Petit Prince! [Side note: I read the book in French class when I was in high school so I was super excited when Netflix came out with a movie version! I highly recommend it!]
All in all it was an excellent parade! Once it was over we clamored through the crowds back to the cars and rode in traffic all the way back to the creepy house. As soon as we got back I hopped in my car and headed out. With time to spare, I made it to class on time! Woot! Once class was over I went straight to sports bar near campus to catch the rest of the Rose Bowl game. IT. WAS. EPIC. That game was one of the most thrilling USC games I have seen in my time, and it was the perfect exclamation mark on a great rose-filled day :)