By Dana Driskill, SDFP Intern
Despite living only 60 miles north of San Diego for most of my life, I must admit that I feel like more like a tourist here than in Chicago where I’ve come to call home for the last two years. My name is Dana, and I’m a journalism and political science student at Northwestern University, spending the remaining weeks of my summer as an intern for the San Diego Free Press before I enter my third year of college. Before Chicago, I lived in the Murrieta/Temecula area, a stone’s throw north of the San Diego county line and right next to the Pechanga Indian Reservation.
My previous perception of San Diego is colored by my limited childhood and early adolescence experiences before graduating high school. When I hear San Diego, I think of Coronado’s endless white beaches, of Jason Mraz, of the Gaslamp District, of avocados and mouthwatering Mexican food, of Comic Con, of ill fated Padres games, and of my soccer playing years. What doesn’t come to mind, and what I’ve come to find out through a little exploration and the guidance of Google Maps, is that San Diego, like Chicago, is made up of dozens of communities with their own distinct attitude and history.
Driving along El Cajon Boulevard Tuesday, what I found most striking about City Heights is the absence of chain restaurants and stores. All my life, I’ve lived in areas where a Starbucks or McDonalds is on every street corner. Here, the main streets are lined with mom and pop shops, catering to every food taste and craving imaginable, from impossible to pronounce Vietnamese specialties to more familiar taquerillas and supermercados. The abundance of different cultures present in City Heights can best be exemplified by a Methodist Church that offers services in English, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Spanish. [Read more…]