Well, hello again dear readers! I have returned from my journey across that vast Atlantic sea, safe and sound, climbed back out of a sleepless void commonly known as ‘jet lag’ so that I am now managing to sleep 4 hours straight (yes, that is good for me) and here I am, back to my blog!
How are you all, how has life been here in blogging land? I hope you are all well? I feel like a stranger here as I realise that I am well and truly out of the loop, so this is where I jump right back in, sink or swim.
So, just how do I adequately describe what it was like to return to a place which was once my home for so long after an absence of 10 years? Should I mention the high jinks my friends and I got up to? Or the great American food I got to taste? Or the feel of that warming Californian sunshine beaming from a flawless, blue sky that never seems to run out, so welcome after the bitter cold British winter?
One important thing I must certainly write about is the immense kindness, generosity and hospitality shown to us by friends and family and how wonderful it was to be embraced and welcomed by them all, it as if we had never left. ‘Thank you’ seems so inadequate.
With that one exception, I could go on and mention what it was like for me to revisit my old homes where once I had lived with my young family. I would say that things haven’t really changed all that much and despite it not being generally very wise to ‘go back’ (or so ‘they’ say) I found that, in this case, it was a necessity, it was for peace of mind.
How would I describe what this was like? I texted my husband back in England (he of the curry sauce and chips) one evening and messaged this: “Saw my old houses. They are sad and empty without the essence of my young family in them. That time will never be again, it is a whisper in the wind, gone forever”. That is what I felt at that precise time. Every where I looked I caught fleeting glimpses, as in a dream, of people I have loved and lost and who are no more, of a time and a season in life that no longer exists.
Did this make me sad? Of course. wistful, certainly. Yet, these are all memories which are from the past and being able to blend them now, at last, into the present, has at long last enabled them to be put to rest, to make room for new memories which grow even as I type this. It is all part of life’s rich pattern about which I seem to frequently write.
Maybe I could write about one evening when my friends and I were driving along the coastal highway and decided to pull over into a layby which overlooked the wild coastline of central California, set alight as it was by the auburn fire of a glorious evening sunset. Adele’s ‘Set Fire to the Rain’ belted out from the car stereo and we sang along, then, in a brief moment of mad spontaneity, we all leapt out of the car and started dancing, joyous and free as the sun dipped ever lower behind us. A sharp wind caught our hair as it whipped across our faces and we delighted in the sheer freedom of that crazy moment.
However, I would then have to tell you that a man wearing a cowboy hat in a white truck pulled up near us, then crossed over to the other side of the road and looked as if he was filming us on his cell phone. We very quickly scarpered after that but if you happen to see anything on ‘You Tube’ that closely describes the above scene, you will know exactly what I’m talking about…
Or, you might like to hear that my daughter had the most wonderful time with her Dad and that one evening, having casually asked him if he could take her to Hollywood ‘just to look around’ (as you do), she found herself being given tickets inviting her to the ‘Red Carpet’ movie premier of ‘Oblivion’, whereupon she got to meet Tom Cruise, shake hands with him and get his autograph. Wow! But then that would be name dropping so I won’t mention it…
You might, however, like to hear about what the flights were like – thanks Air New Zealand btw, will definitely choose you again – but all to say about that would be that my daughter and I got to sit next to each other, just the two seats, near the loo, at the back, and so we were happy campers and not much to tell really.
Except there was just one small incident when we hit turbulence about an hour from LA and it seemed as if the plane dropped several thousand feet (I may be exaggerating here) and I spilt my G&T all over my blanket. Obviously I had to get another one – a G&T that is.
Compared to what I have experienced in years past, however, this was a minor incident. I travelled at least once a year during the time I lived in the States, when I would take my three children to England to visit family. Every time, no exception, at least one of them would be ill in some form or another. Once, we were descending and preparing to land but up until that point everything had been going oh so well. I should have known better.
On this particular occasion, bearing in mind that we were all strapped in with only about 20 minutes to go before touchdown, without any warning, my daughter suddenly vomited all down her front (even went into her shoes, sorry, too much detail perhaps?) and my younger son spouted a horrendous nosebleed, also all down his front. So you see, a touch of turbulence and a spilt G&T, in the grand scheme of things, is nothing to me. Bring it on…
So, that being said (or not, as the case may be) it dawned on me that you might like to see a few of my ‘holiday snaps’ taken during my travels between Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo. They are a bit of an eclectic mix, capturing my impression of ‘my California’. I hope you will enjoy them!
Thank you California – it’s been a blast!