Those Two Weeks in Los Angeles
Hi! Hello! Hola! (According to DuoLingo, I am currently 12% fluent in Spanish so I'm trying to use it as much as possible.) Happy New Year! Oh wait, what? January is almost passed? How?! Well, in my timing that's ok. It only took me three weeks into the year to complete my new year's resolutions. I'd say I'm just right on track to complete all my January goals by starting the last week of January.
Well, it's been a crazy couple months. I guess it's been that long since I last wrote. But in good ways. I have so much content to share, but lots of things I'm focusing on right now. So in due time.
I'm currently back in Tennessee. Watching some ladybugs crawling on my window screen. (I thought ladybugs were lucky (my Nana told me so anyways) until they became creepy by showing up in mass amounts in the fall. Since winter came, I find less in my room, but they appear to not go into complete hibernation and I'll still find them crawling on my wall.)
Oh, and I'm sick again. I've been sick once each month since I moved to Tennessee. I could go to a doctor or something, but I'm guessing they would tell me that I need to eat less of the bad sugar (chocolate) and eat more fruit and take more Vitamin C. All of which I know, and have now started instituting. Because sick days are not fun when you're not being paid for them, and I've got new year's resolutions to accomplish!
As for life sharing moments: first off, over Christmas and New Year's, I was in Los Angeles. It went by so so quickly. Every day was filled with people, animals, and making things happen. Like finishing all my Christmas shopping and wrapping on Christmas Eve. (Notice a pattern here? New Year's resolution numero uno: prepare in high advance.) That was a little stressful.
And turning 25. I am now a quarter of a century old. That's all I would like to say about officially confronting I am now in my mid-twenties. I have to say, It's been good to me so far though.
Here's a little photo diary of my two weeks back at home:
The dogs. That's Tater Tot above, being slightly promiscuous. Or just wanting attention. Toby, the other cute one not pictured, still remembers me too.
The first couple days back, I was — you guessed it? — sick. So I took it easy. I went to the beach with my friend Amanda who had flown with me from Nashville to Los Angeles. It was a different kind of sick than the monthly dose I was used to — this was stomach flu sick. Throwing up from midnight to six in the morning the day of my flight sick.
I was seriously considering looking into flight alternatives. But it all worked out. Luckily there was no throwing up on the plane. And Amanda was an angel being there for me during the night and always asking if I was ok or needed anything as we went through the airport. It was honestly such a blessing to have someone going back with me.
When we went to the beach I thought it would be warm. At least warmer than Nashville. I should have listened when my mom said it's winter and I really should bring a jacket. But I didn't. #momisalwaysright So Amanda and I grabbed a quick lunch and a quick look at the sand and water, and headed for the warmer car.
I visited my "old" (more like young and fun!) co-workers in Santa Monica. We ordered my favorite Grey Block Pizza Pizza Salad. It doesn't look the most appetizing based on the photo above, but OH MY GOODNESS IT'S GOOD.
And Gina brought her almost two year old daughter Desi aka my best friend, who literally ran to me with open arms when she saw me and let me pick her up. It was straight out of a scene in some wonderful reunion movie. The last time Desi and I hung out (before I left) she played hard to get for awhile and I gave her time to help her know I was her best friend and not some complete uncool weirdo. (BTW — Desi is one to look out for. She has better clothes/style than I do, mostly thanks to Gina, but still.)
Above is the presents. All finished. And ready to deliver.
And then Christmas came! And my birthday too.
It was glorious really. My brother's girlfriend of about ten years was there in the morning and we all did the tradition of opening stockings first, then presents, with Christmas music in the background.
Jen, my best friend since I was about five who lives across the street, came over with her mom/my second mom Ann, and we exchanged gifts. And then I went over there for some quiche (because at this point, all I've eaten are sugar cookies and chocolate — I am not complaining though). There's only been one year this hasn't happened since I can remember and that was a couple years ago when Jen was in Colorado. Otherwise, we stick to tradition. #traditionalists
Other friends come and go throughout the day, and it's one of the best parts is to see who I get to see. Because that's not really tradition, that's surprise. As I've gotten older, I get to see more friends. Although Christmas is a family day, a lot of people seem to celebrate most of it in the morning and have the rest of the day free. And since I was about 16 or 17, and my friends got cars or could drive, they've come over to sing happy birthday and have cake, or just stop by for a bit.
Oh that cake. THE LOG CAKE. I've had that every year as well since I can remember except for one year. The celebration of my 18th year of life, my mom did not get the log cake. And I have remembered it ever since. It actually wasn't the biggest deal, but I just thought if we were going to have this cake every year, it would follow through to my 18th birthday celebration, and then we could have a different cake. But it was my surprise when the day of I realized there was no log cake. The sad reality that people in general preferred another cake — anything besides the rich chocolaty-ness of the log cake — did not make me feel much better.
So it continues to grace the table every year now. I'm over it the one year mishap. I think. I mean, I just remember that year very clearly.
I also loved that this year, I was able to be sung to with little "Happy Birthday" lights hanging above me, thanks to my friend Whitney. They were a nice added touch.
And at the end of the night, when things were wrapping up and a few friends were left hanging out, my friend AJ came by and brought Britt! Who I thought I was picking up at the airport the next morning. I was in complete shock because I really had no idea she was planning on coming early to be there on my birthday. It was the best.
Obviously, a great part of being home was the ocean. Morning walks/attempted runs on the beach had to happen, and did.
I could watch the ocean forever. It's constantly changing. Never the exact same. I thought I would miss it more being in Tennessee. But the peace the countryside gives me is about the same. I just love open space really. There is nothing quite like going under the ocean water though. I wasn't able to do that though this time around — it was a little too chilly.
One thing Britt and I wanted to do while she was here was go to the San Diego LDS Temple. It was beautiful too, not just for being a real live ice castle come to life, but since it was still around Christmas-time, there were lights placed around that started to light up as we were walking back to the car.
I had this whole plan to also go ice skating at the Hotel Del Coronado, but we were both exhausted. So we played rock, paper, scissors or something to decide if we wanted to push ourselves or not. To our great relief, the verdict was to eat and go home.
On a Monday night, Britt and I got some IN-N-OUT (a California classic), took it to the beach, sat on a lifeguard tower, and watched the sunset. With some seagulls.
It was the first opportunity I had had to really watch the sunset on the beach since I'd been home. And I loved every part of it.
We went to the Visitor's Center and saw the temple lights at the Los Angeles LDS Temple to finish Britt's last night off.
I made sure to go to the Original Pancake House for breakfast one morning. My entire life I thought this really was one of the original pancake houses, and that you couldn't really find a selection like this anywhere else.
And then I went to Utah after I visited Los Angeles, and found out that it's a chain, and they're also in Utah.
It's still my favorite chocolate milk and chocolate chip pancake combo around though.
The Tuesday that defined what I disliked about Los Angeles... on Brittney's final day, before her plane ride, we decided it would be fun to go see The Broad museum. We drove to downtown, parked at a lot that charged $20 for two hours or more and went to check out the wait (this is L.A.'s newest museum, and reservations were booked through March, so standby line was the only way to go). We observed that the line went to at least one corner of the city block.
After inquiring how long the wait was, we were told that it was estimated a one to two hour wait for each corner. Because we were curious, we went to see how many corners it was wrapped around. And determined that the line stretched around at least three before we said "goodbye" and figured out Plan B.
Luckily, I didn't have to pay the whole $20 as I left the parking lot. Unluckily, April was also meeting us and just got there as we were leaving.
Plan B turned out to be going to The Getty Center. Because it really was a beautiful day. And that seemed like a sure bet.
When we got there, I noticed some cars turning around. After puling into their parking lot, we were told that it was full and to please come back in about an hour. We know a sign when we get one. So we called off the plan to go to any museum that day (I'm guessing because it was a break day for everyone so traffic was not great, and everyone else wanted to go out and do something fun too). Instead, we drove to nearby Westwood and got some Diddy Riese. A college staple when I went to UCLA. Ice cream always makes things better.
On other days, April and I worked on our portfolios and personal projects in coffee shops or online. I personally loved the moment where this couple was showing their love behind us. April's face is priceless.
On the final day of the year, I went with my dad, his girlfriend Marian, and my boyfriend Matt (who came to Los Angeles from Nashville for a couple days!) to The Petersen Automotive Museum. I'm not a person with a lot of car knowledge — history, mechanical, design, or otherwise — so my expectations for enjoying this experience were more purely based on the understanding that my dad and Matt would really enjoy it. And it would be time well spent with all of them.
To my surprise, I actually learned a lot and enjoyed it way more than I expected. There were interactive parts to it, the design experience was neat and well thought through — my favorite part was the top floor that focused on the history of the cars.
After a long wait at Apple Pan for lunch/dinner, we made it back to Redondo Beach in time to watch the last sunset of 2015.
It was insanely beautiful.
Matt and I made dinner for some family and friends (mini pizzas using English Muffins!) before joining the hooligans above ;)
We sat by a fire, talked, and I was very intent on watching the ball drop in New York and counting down the seconds until the new year. And so it was done. With much enthusiasm and celebration. And a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Matt and I had an early start the next morning, so as much as partying the whole night through seemed fun, we were equally exhausted and ready to go to our beds. I feel like the idea of celebrating New Year's on another time zone like New York and then being in bed by 10pm LA time, seems like a better idea each year.
Matt and I started our morning with the beach. Obviously. There was no way he was leaving my hometown without doing so.
We journeyed then through the coast, up to Sacramento. We stopped along the way to feed emu's and ostriches, to blow bubbles and add our spit and gum to the already gross gum wall in San Luis Obispo, see the elephant seals (they're so BIG!), and watch the sunset.
Driving with him was so peaceful. For a good majority of the road trip, we turned off the music and just talked.
(Spoiler for tomorrow: the big coastal road trip I did two and a half years ago with my friend Kana will be posted for more details on where to stop along the way!)
I drove back home by taking the 5 pretty much the entire way down. Some people really don't like the 5 freeway because it's nothing but what's pictured above. But I kind of love it. It's just different than the sweeping ocean views. But it's still pretty.
It was weird to be home at first. This home anyways. Much like when I had come back from studying abroad in Rome, there was this slight feeling that things were the same, but different. My bedroom and everything in it was recognizable, but it felt like Nashville was kind of this dream, and I had this whole other life I had made up somewhere else, but I was back to where I was. Over time, I was able to piece them together. But initially I felt like I was floating a bit.
On my last night in Los Angeles, I went back to Redondo Beach to watch the sunset, and I had one last family dinner.
I had filled my days with so many good things, and although I didn't get to do everything I wanted, or see everyone I wanted to, especially wanting to spend more quality time with people, each day was really filled and it was good. I was especially grateful for the time I had to spend with my family, who almost all live in the Los Angeles area. I took it for granted how easy it was growing up to have dinners together. Living over 2,000 miles away with the nearest extended family in Ohio, it's definitely been a nice realization to understand how lucky I was to have grown up the way I did. And to come back home and be able to have those family dinners out of the blue and just because.
Los Angeles, I kind of miss you, and the people that reside there with you. But I'll be back again.
In the meantime, there's lots of memories to be shared.