Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Whirlwind Weekend...

It’s back to work after a good weekend. Flying to L.A. is always interesting because of the time difference. You wouldn’t think that three hours makes that much difference but on a workday when you’ve been up since 6 a.m. EST and you don’t get to sleep until 3 a.m. PST, that’s a relatively long day. Nevertheless, it was worth every minute.

L.A. at Christmas has always seemed odd to me. At night, it doesn’t look that different than the Midwest, light-strewn trees and bushes everywhere, inflatable yard decorations glowing from within and neighbourhoods dressed up for the season. In daylight, it’s a different story. The trees are palm trees, lights tossed into them. The ground is green, the trees are leafy and full.

When I left Dayton to fly out for this trip, it was, literally, freezing. We had a windchill that made it feel like six degrees outside. The hike from the car park at the airport to the terminal was so cold that my ears numbed in the wind, even with my hood up. When I landed in L.A, it was a balmy 50 degrees. I used to consider that cold when I lived there. Now I know better.

Yet, it wasn’t all balmy. It was a very wet weekend, the type I used to long for when I lived in Southern California in which the raindrops pound against the windows, the wind sends waves of rain at you and the roads are wet and shining.

It made Disneyland interesting. The rain mostly held off although there were a couple of downpours. During the fireworks at night, the rain poured but we still stayed to watch. As the fireworks ended, so did the downpour but it was still too slick for the ‘snow’. This usually drifts out gently into the night air after the fireworks, bubbles so fine and tiny, they really do move like snowflakes on a breeze. Yet when it’s raining, these soap bubbles make the ground slippery so they have to hold off on making it snow. When I lived in L.A., I would have been sad about it, deprived of snow and longing for something that even just reminded me of it. Now, I get to go home to the real stuff, freezing cold as it is. There’s nothing I love more than a snow flurry around the holidays.

The rest of the trip was also wet. Going to an outdoor outlet mall was a little wet but still rewarding. It was nice to lay in the comfort of my friend’s room and enjoy the sound of the rain at night. Even if it was a wet weekend, it was well worth the trip.

It’s an interesting thing to do, reverse that which I used to do annually. Once upon a time, this time of year, I was counting down to hop on a plane to go back to the Midwest to visit. Now I’m heading back to L.A. for a visit and going back home to the Midwest.
I can’t say it isn’t a little surreal. Everything’s backwards: The airports, the flight routes, the time change. Yet no matter how much I miss my friends who live there, I can’t say I don’t regret the decision I made to move back to the Midwest. There are things I miss about Southern California. There is something rather nice about being able to walk outside, coatless, in the December air, go to the farmer’s market for fresh berries and eat them while walking on the Santa Monica pier without having to bundle up to fight the cold. Most of all, I miss the people who made it hard to leave in the first place. Yet, one thing I have learned is no matter how far apart you are, friends don’t really go anywhere.

Happy Monday.

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