We ended up with four days in LA between South America and Southeast Asia for a number of reasons – cheaper to buy two separate tickets than to try to fly between SA and SEA; would have had a layover in LA anyway, might as well see friends; give ourselves the chance to stock up on supplies and do things like see a doctor if necessary (it wasn’t, thankfully). We saw it as kind of a quick layover for our travels in general, but didn’t think too much else about it.
But it actually turned out to be one of our best trips thus far. It was wonderful being able to restock a bit – replenish and change our wardrobes for a new climate, stock up on toiletries and snacks, and fulfill our cravings for the things we’d been missing (namely: burritos, cheese, salad, bread, wine, beer, bourbon – it’s a good life). But more importantly we were able to have some great time with friends, fit in a quick trip back to Claremont, and eat a whole bunch of great burritos.
And our timing could not have been more perfect – our beautiful and talented friend Hayden is in the Los Angeles Master Chorale and we were already set to go to their performance of Brahms Requiem and The World in Flower at Walt Disney Concert Hall while we were in town … but four days beforehand, she was asked to do the soprano solo, which is a huge part (the kind where she sits up front before the orchestra, not even back with the rest of the chorale)! Her parents and some family friends flew in and a big group of friends and Pomona music faculty went to the performances over the two days, and we had a wonderful time celebrating her big and amazing performance and seeing so many people we love. This is the sort of thing we would have flown in to see if we were living elsewhere in the US, so it was amazing timing that we happened to be in town. (Hello, Hayden, I know you are reading this and I hope you don’t mind us telling you, and apparently now the rest of the world, how AMAZING YOU ARE!)
THEN (things get even better), on Monday, we and Nick and Hayden went for a stroll in Griffith Park, on what was undeniably the most beautiful day Los Angeles has ever experienced. We could see clear past the coastline to the horizon on the ocean; it was an absolutely clear and crisp and lovely day with a beautiful quality of light that I honestly can’t remember seeing more than a couple of times in my 10 years in Southern California. We were there for a reason, though only three of us knew it, and we had a bottle of champagne in my bag, though only the two of us knew it ….
YAY! We waited in the wings while Nick PROPOSED, then we celebrated. Again, our timing couldn’t have been more perfect – getting to share in the engagement of two of our best friends in the whole world!
But lest you think our whole life is about Nick and Hayden (we are kind of obsessed with them, but we try not to let it overshadow everything else), we did do one other thing that weekend – we drove out to Claremont, mainly for the purpose of going to Los Jarritos (Dos) and getting burritos, but also to run some errands and see some folks on campus. It was very strange, actually, in a way that I didn’t expect, to be back for the first time since we moved away. We drove by our old house and it looks pretty empty, which I realized when we saw it that I had kind of been hoping for, in a strange way. We went to campus and I felt so out of touch, after being there almost every day for the last 3.5 years before we left. We went to Some Crust and I didn’t recognize anyone working there (which says a lot about my need for a regular bakery/coffee shop experience). This makes it all sound kind of sad, but it wasn’t – well maybe a little, but not substantially. It actually felt kind of satisfying to feel so cut off from our previous life, since that’s kind of what we had been looking for in doing this trip.
Tuesday night we got on a plane for the longest journey yet – almost 36 hours to get to Bali, Indonesia, with an 11-hour layover in Seoul, South Korea. There will be more to come on all of that, and in present time we’re nearing the end of our time in Bali, then heading to Bangladesh via Bangkok. Much more to come!