Life, Travel

Visiting Los Angeles

I visited my sister (et. al.) in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago. It started as a vacation, but when I boarded my flight back, I felt, once again, like I was being pulled away from my home.

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My sister has been in Los Angeles for just over a year. I’m simultaneously used to it and “like whoa” about it. When talking about her week, it’ll often include L.A.-isms like her friend’s boss being some actor from “Lost”, her landlord being friends with Quentin Tarantino, having attended this or that premiere, or running into celebrities at coffee shops. It’s  bizarre that my sister lives a life where these things can happen.

Not to say her daily life is full of celebrity run-ins. Her day-to-day conversation is more often filled with mentions of getting stuck in traffic on the 101, finding more freelance design work, and moving from one cramped living situation to the next. However, these are L.A.-isms as well, which are, in their own way, fairly surreal too.

Both Kim and  a friend, Ariel, had just signed a new lease that week, and didn’t technically have their own place to stay, so the three of us got the cheapest hotel there was. When looking for the complimentary breakfast, it was so nondescript, Kim and I passed right by it. After asking where it was, we were told we could eat the packaged english muffins or danishes in our room or by the pool. Initially slightly put off, we toasted some english muffins, poured ourselves some coffee and ate and talked by the pool for an hour, and I wouldn’t have traded it for any $7.99 breakfast scramble anywhere.

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Kim and I walking down to breakfast.

Kim’s boyfriend’s brother was also flying in, from their home in New Zealand. He was able to spend an enviable two weeks there, to my 4 days. Also, about half of my close friends now live in Los Angeles, pursuing different careers in the entertainment industry. I was reunited with so many college friends, all at once, and meeting many new people, and it could only last for a few days. It was like starting a really good, anticipated, novel, and losing the book after only 30 pages.

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Catching up with amazing friends in Venice Beach.

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Hanging with the cool kids at Santa Monica Pier!

My first time in Los Angeles, years ago, Kim, another friend Satpreet, and I went to to a desert park scattered with Joshua Trees and had one of the most fun photoshoots I’d ever had!

Desert near Joshua Tree

I’ve loved Joshua Trees ever since, and was determined to go to Joshua Tree National Park. Our group shrunk and grew, and we were able to squeeze into one car for the 2.5 hour trip, leaving way later than intended, and getting there for a fantastic dusk, climbing the rocks, and sitting on top of the desert as the orange sky turned into some of the clearest stars I’d ever seen. It was so much better (and bigger!) than I thought it would be, so I’m definitely going back for a full day hike there next time I’m in California!

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The ‘gents.

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It was an excellent trip! I couldn’t have asked for a better collection of activities! Friends, barbecues, beaches, museums, architecture, landscape, hiking. It could have been improved only with length.

I left wishing Michigan could offer as much excitement, which is a shame, because I know it can, if I only looked. I did go on a hike a week before going to California, to a state park, which was a stark contrast to my hike a week later. It was beautiful, even more beautiful than this photo captured:

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Kensington State Park, Michigan

But California has Joshua Tree National Park.