And then, suddenly, it’s December, with Christmas less than two weeks out and 2016 calendars lining bins near the checkout stands. Disneyland’s holiday garb makes it even more magical, especially for Christmas-philes like me. Even “cool” Los Angeles radio stations play the occasional jingle bell rock.
One week in civilization and I’m taken down with a cold. Or maybe the last four months of cold finally worked its way into my lungs. Either way I slurped more than a box of tea in three days, and that was reusing tea bags. A day at Disneyland turned out to be the not-so-obvious cure. Since then we’ve climbed in Malibu Creek State Park, taken dance classes in Glendale, and pedaled through Griffith Park with Dad.
I don’t hate LA. I strongly dislike that 18 miles on the freeway takes an hour to drive anytime before 1am and after 3am. If 10 million of the 18.55 million people suddenly up and left this city, it would be quite nice. Actually it would be San Diego with more make up and lights. The thing that lures most people out here, the weather, consistently delivers. I may even have gotten sunburned last weekend walking along the boardwalk with Mom and Ken before the Chen family dinner.
The people (and a dog) keep me circling back into LA no matter where I call home. Dad and Elyse, of course, Ken and Elyse’s families, and friends from various chapters of life ebb and flow with the rush hour on a regular basis. Cody’s golden retriever hair attached itself to every article of clothing I own, and I know I’ll be crying in New Zealand when I no longer see it.
I’ve enjoyed these last couple weeks immensely, as we stretch our stomachs and our wallets. We scarfed up the best BBQ in LA with my friend David, who I used to race up the street when we ran x-country in high school. My friend Tara, who I serendipitously met on a plane five years ago, invited us to Indian food with her Mom and best friends. I’ve dragged Cody along on hikes with friends Kyle and Jesse, and met up with longtime mentor and friend Simon over yet another helping of Indian food. Still to come are hangouts with former roommates in college and mammoth, a cirque du soleil show with my folks, and a birthday surprise dinner with my former coach and track girls.
Merry Christmakwanzikah friends, and I hope to see you in 2016!