V is for…
The Vasona Lake County Park is one of the most popular parks in the South Bay. It is located in Los Gatos and part of the Santa Clara County Parkssystem. The 152-acres park surrounds Vasona Reservoir which was formed by damming Los Gatos Creek. The lake is host to non-power recreatianol boating and at the little marina you can rent pedal boats and SUP boards. The park is also home to the Youth Science Institute, several picnic pavilions, and lots of hiking and biking trails. I run a lot on the Los Gatos Creek Trail, which passes through Vasona Park. There is a free concert series every Saturday in June and July called Vasona Vibrations and during the holidays the park hosts the “Fantasy of Lights”. I heard the walk through is much better than the drive through. The Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad and W.E. “Bill” Mason Carousel is actually located in the Oak Meadow Park, but I always consider it Vasona anyway. It’s a great place to take the kids.
Venice Beach is a residential, commercial and recreational beachfront neighborhood on the Westside of the Californian city of Los Angeles. Venice is first of all famous for its beach, boardwalk and “Muscle Beach” where many people, not only Arnold Schwarzenegger, got discovered. But a very beautiful part of this neighborhood are the Venice Canals. Tucked between the grimy Boardwalk and the posh Abbot Kinney, the canals offer a completely different side of Venice. Take a stroll or a walking tour through these three canal-lined blocks—hence the name, Venice—and you’ll discover an idyllic scene: arching pedestrian bridges, charming beach houses, bunches of ducklings and the occasional paddle boarding dog. There are no boat rentals, but you can bring your own non-motorized vessel to explore this gem on water level (enter via the launch ramp at Venice Boulevard).
There are 76 different kind of visa categories in the United States, at least that what I’ve counted on the official Directory of Visa Categories of the of the U.S. Department of State. Wikipedia even says that there are 185 different kind of visas. Anyway, over the course of eight and a half years, I had two different visas: a J and a H-4. In order to apply for and to maintain my visa statuses, I had to pay the Consulate of the United States in Frankfurt four visits that took each half a day and where people are treated like potential criminals. Now we finally received the Green Card and this charade is over. It’s insane and it is definitely not gonna get better soon. Despite its terrible visa procedures, I’m thankful to this place where people welcomed me with open arms, treated me and my family like their own and where we’ve been living a wonderful life.