Sunday, October 9, 2011

Going the Distance: My First Full Week in California!

Several weeks ago I took an entire week off of work for the very first time and went to visit Alex. This was the best decision I made in a LONG time! Normally my visits go by way too quickly and we are rushed to fit everything in, but having a whole week allowed to just relax and spend time together while also doing all sorts of fun things! Here are the highlights from my trip:

I arrived in Los Angeles bright and early Saturday morning. Alex had training for the outreach program he's involved in, so I took a nice long nap and relaxed until he was done. Later that afternoon, we went to a barbecue with Erik and Alaina, Alex's roommates. I learned to play ladder ball...has anyone else ever heard of this game? Apparently people play it at tailgates, but this was my first time playing. Basically, you have two ladder-like contraptions and small ropes with golf balls on the ends of them. You stand at opposite ends of an open area facing one of the ladders, then throw each rope and try to hook it onto one of the rungs of the ladder. The top rung is worth one point, the second one is two, and the bottom one is worth three. Once you've made your three attempts, one of your opponents next to you has their chance and tries to sling theirs onto the rungs for points, while also trying to knock yours off and reduce your points. You have another teammate and opponent on the other side who try to do the same thing with the ladder on your side of the "court." Hopefully that explaination wasn't too confusing, because it was really fun!
We also had some delicious food, and it was really nice to meet Erik and Alaina's friends. From there, we went to the LA Dodgers first one! The tickets were cheap, it was a nice night, the fans did the wave about 10 times in a row, and the Dodgers won! All in all, an excellent start to my trip.

I love Alex's church in California. I blogged about the first Sunday's sermon in my last post, so check it out if you haven't already. I think about it every day and need to keep repeating to myself, "Better than I deserve."
After church, we had a really yummy brunch with our friend Clayton and his girlfriend, Tala. Alex and I went to high school with Clayton and Alex played in a band with him, so it was great to catch up and also meet Tala. The last time I saw Clayton was when we both happened to be in the exact same museum in Paris in is crazy how small the world is!
After brunch, we headed up to USC because Alex played in a saxophone quartet for someone's doctoral recital. USC campus is so pretty, and I got to meet some of Alex's saxophone friends and hear him play. His awesome friend Ben took this picture of us that I really like!

Monday was a lazy day, which was just what I needed! Alex and I did some errands, and while he was in class, I worked out in his apartment gym. That evening we watched School of Rock, one of our favorite movies!

I spent a large portion of Tuesday taking it easy (which I was so thankful to do for a lot of this trip--I needed a break!), worked out again, and then cooked dinner for Alex. I made pork chops, asparagus, new potatoes, and sourdough bread. I still have a lot to learn, but I really enjoy cooking and baking, especially for him! : ) We ended the lovely evening by watching our favorite movie, I Love You Man. I can never watch it without Alex and am pretty sure we quote it daily.


Wednesday was an epic day! Alex and I crossed a major item off of our bucket list and went hiking! We went to Solstice Canyon in Malibu and hiked for several hours before deciding it was time to eat lunch. The weather was gorgeous, the views were incredible (as you can see from the pictures), and it felt like such an adventure. We had never done anything like that together and I loved it!

After meeting our exercise quota for the week, we had lunch at the Malibu Country Mall and saw a horror movie being filmed! We walked in the back of the shot and hung out there for a bit before we were asked to move. It was cool! We then took a stroll along Malibu Beach.
That evening, we went on a fun date--Barnes and Noble, one of our favorite places, and Indian food. It was delicious!

I relaxed and read a ton on Thursday. I love reading but hadn't been doing much of it because of "life" getting in the way. My trip allowed me to read again, and I've been making more time for it in the several weeks that I've been back home. Sometimes it just takes a little vacation to rejuvenate you!
Alex cooked for us that night. He made his amazing stir fry, and then we finished the evening with Jersey Shore and smores.


Alex and I hit up a different beach on this day that is just a few minutes from his apartment. It was gorgeous. I wish I could go to the beach all the time! There are all these homes/apartments right along the beach, and we were wondering just how much it costs to live there. If you're curious, too, we saw a sign that had an apartment (or maybe it was just part of apartment, who knows?) for rent for $3,000 per month...unreal!
We made Tex-mex that night and called it an early night because saturday was going to start bright and early..

Saturday was VERY epic! We woke up at 5:45 a.m. and got all dressed up for my childhood friend's wedding, then hit the road for San Diego! We stopped in Irvine at Cars and Coffee, which I've enjoyed attending in Dallas with Alex, and now we've been in California too. I think we should take some serious roadtrips and try to hit up others around the country too! ; )
From there, we drove the rest of the way to San Diego and made it to the naval base for the wedding. The ceremony was beautiful, right on the water, and Rachel looked gorgeous and so happy! It felt surreal to be there. Rachel and I were best friends as little girls, and her family moved to Michigan when we were 7, followed by California. We lost touch for a while, but had reconnected thanks to social media. I literally hadn't seen her in 16 years until her wedding day! Thank you, Rachel (now Mrs. Rosner!) and the Bourne family for including Alex and I in your special day!

After the wedding, we headed to Pasadena for dinner with Alex's community group. They were all so nice, and it was great to see the kind of support system he has there. We finished the day by stopping by a party in Beverly Hills, then finally headed home and crashed after our epic day!

My last day : (
We went to church again, and it was another great sermon...I want my next blog to be about it and how it applies to my life these days. I also met a former Horned Frog next to me, which was so cool! After church, it was time for lunch and then Alex dropped me off at the airport. It was so hard to leave him after a wonderful week together, but he will be home in a month and I feel so fortunate to have had all that time with him. An exciting thing happened while I was in the airport...Gerard Butler was on my flight back to Dallas! I was staring at him and was literally five feet away from him at the gate... I could have been a crazy fan and touched him, but I played it cool. Still wish I had gotten an autograph or photo, but oh well...celebrity sighting success!

Alex asked me what my favorite part of the week was, and as far as activities, it was definitely our hiking excursion. I felt so alive and got to marvel at God's beautiful creation. The best part of my visit, though, was just getting to essentially live with Alex for a week and everything that our days encompassed. I hope to never take him for granted, even the little things in our daily routines, because I know what it's like to be apart, and it's hard.

Looking forward to my next California trip!

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