November 8, 2011

The Fall Back Plan

I managed to exactly miss the best time change of the year in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.

With a departure from France the Monday before the European change, and returning to the Old World the day before the USA switch - yep, no gaining an hour for me. My head hurts even trying to think about how many hours I gained and lost via both time travels and missing changing clocks twice.

But my spontaneous trip back to California did what every good vacation does: helped me rest, made me laugh, and created memories.

I found out my sister had been interviewed by US Weekly about her meet-ups with Prince Harry - on an airplane stewardess' magazine, tens of thousands of feet above what was probably New Mexico. This is indeed a true story, and definitely down in the books as...wait for it...legendary!

In Santa Clarita I had time with two of my road-tripping friends with volleyball and food, so it was like camp all over again. I definitely send a huge thank-you to Liz for being my airport pick-up, visa chauffeur, and hotel for two nights.

Breakfast with my college coach, Kristine, was a hilarious time (her baby smashed a banana all over her pants somehow) and she has always been a positive female role model in my life. I still hear her coaching me when I play these days, probably because it's coaching in English. Our paths don't often cross as much anymore, so this was a very special time to have together - in addition, another thank-you for driving me to the bus station to hitch a ride to Bakersfield.

Bakersfield was super relaxing. I had a lot of time to rearrange our "storage space," adding new things and taking out others to bring back with me. Even after dumping most of our stuff out of our lives, after looking at what's left, I am convinced we will be getting rid of more of it when we return again this summer. I also had a great time with my parents (watching movies, eating out, sorting through junk) and my crazy old cat who just simply refuses to die.

"Give me candy-dy-dy-dy"
My dad drove me back to Santa Clarita for his Monday night class at Master's, where we rendezvoused with Lindsay for the epic TRICK-OR-TREAT. By epic, I mean, yes, we did secure a combined 277 pieces of candy, while only being told we were "too old" three times. But the best part of that night wasn't the candy; rather, it was when Lindsay was cracking the glow sticks into action and she broke one, sending hundreds of blue fluorescent specks all over me and the inside of her car. I was Ke$ha and in her car - so it was hysterical!

We spent the night in Santa Monica to be close to my visa pick-up, then spent the first of November like...LA tourists. Santa Monica Pier, 3rd Street Promenade, Diddy Riese, Hollywood Walk of Stars, Hollywood sign, etc. I am still amazed that in all that roundabout driving we did not get lost or take a wrong freeway.

Finally in San Diego, we went to Fabrison's, a French cafe downtown, where we ordered our usual: appetizer, salmon dinner crepe, and nutella and strawberries dessert crepe. After we finished and were extremely full, the waiter came by with...a complimentary chocolate ganache dessert. Maybe we looked too skinny?

Lindsay and I only had barely three days together, but they were jam-packed with good times and the crazy miniature dog that belongs to her roommate. Thank-you, Slim, for sharing your time with me on my impromptu adventure!

I got to see my cousin Diane and Aunt Lois, who both bestowed upon me gifts of which I was in need: scarves and an unnamed Christmas gift (multiple family members will be receiving, and yes, I keep secrets)! We had a blast shopping all day for the best attire to shop for: business clothes. We killed it at the outlets and Target, and another thank-you goes to Diane for getting me to my destination for the night at Marc's parents' house.

And to wrap up this long list of thank-yous, I must thank my gracious mother-in-law, Ingrid, for waking up early with me and driving me all the way to LAX for my return flight - and a fun stop at Starbucks!

As you can see, I relied entirely on the favor of the great people in my life for this trip. Most were family, and the rest I count just as good. When Marc and I were trying to piece together my quick trip, we had all these variables: cities, appointments, people who lived here and there, transportation, etc. And literally by the grace of God, and the graces of all the people mentioned here, every part fell into place to become an unbelievably wonderful trip.

I didn't gain that single elusive hour we all look forward to each autumn; I gained 12 days worth of hours with family and friends. I'll take that trade out any day.

(With a 100+ candy bonus, of course.)