Friday, July 1, 2016


I had anxiety about leaving Logan in order to go on this trip. She is still nursing, she's younger than when I first left Sloane, and this would be for several nights instead of just one - but the anxiety still caught me by surprise. I love any chance to travel so this nervousness felt uncharacteristic and I worried that I wouldn't be able to fully enjoy the trip. 

The best way I can describe the anxiety is to say that it is akin to being told that your left arm will stay behind at home while you travel and don't worry it will be totally fine, just enjoy yourself. That's how much your baby feels like a part of your physical being ! It's crazy. But I'm happy to report that my fears turned out to be totally unfounded, I had an amazing time, it turned out that Logan didn't get depressed and sad about me being away - Ken and Ken's mom (and Sloane!) did a great job taking care of her - and the reunion afterwards was incredibly sweet. 

The week before I left was madness. I worked 10 hour days, prepped all of Logan's food, left detailed instructions, packed and tried to wrap my mind around pumping all weekend while on the go (with a hand pump for the first time!). But as soon as I got to the airport, a calm settled over me. It was like slipping into a familiar old coat that brings with it a rush of smells and memories; I remembered I really love traveling.

I love how travel takes you out of the norm, how it alters your brain, heightens your senses and tinges everything with anticipation. There was an extra layer of newness because it was the first in a long while that I had traveled alone. There was no distractions, no babies to worry about, no worrying about everyone else. It was just me. 

And I felt creative. I tried to figure out why - was it the absence of children? Surely not, because they often fuel my creativity. I soon realized it's the lack of interruption. I was able to have several whole thoughts flesh out and I marveled at the space to stretch out all of my mind's limbs. Apparently my mind has limbs!

Am I going to be able to record everything here? Probably not. But I'll try my best, because I consider my travel complete once I've documented it. The reflection is part of the joy of it, just as the planning is. 

I specify here "west L.A." because Los Angeles is huge! My list of things I wanted to explore there was very long, so for the sake of time and sanity, and in order to maximize my enjoyment of what I could see, I decided to stay local to my Airbnb, which was in Westwood and roam around Santa Monica and Venice to the best of my abilities. Luckily, my very dear high school friend lived nearby and I got my wish of hanging out with her as much as possible. 

Here are a collection of the photos I took - both with my DSLR and iPhone. These photos are mostly all from Saturday, the second day I was there, and I'll do another post about Sunday's highlights. 

The photos above are from the Airbnb we stayed at - which was spectacular. The location was good, the space was wonderful and tasteful and best of all, the host was incredibly sweet. She was an older French woman who made me feel welcomed and comfortable, and instantly gave me a great impression of L.A. I took full advantage of her outdoor space and expresso machine, and I also took too many photos of all the plants in and outside of her building.

Let me just say a quick word about the flora here - it is incredible. I was mouth agape at two things during my visit: the weather and the glorious plants and flowers everywhere. They were so beautifully unique and plentiful. 

I mean, look at the front of my friends' building! That's what it looks like everywhere! 

Also, look at my friends! They make me so happy. That is my bosom friend Hilary and her beau, Alex, and they helped me love L.A. even more. 

Santa Monica is so fresh and clean. It's modern and soft and sunny and breezy. Is that a good enough way to describe it? While comparing it to NYC, my friend Hilary described Santa Monica as the West village and Venice Beach as the East village and that seems pretty spot on. 

We walked over to the farmer's market and all I have are these photos of oranges but it seems appropriate because I spent a lot of time at this stand, taste testing all 10 different kinds of citrus that they had out. I ended up getting oranges, peaches, lemon cucumbers and tomatoes at the market and it was all delicious. 

After the market, we went over to Pono Burger, ate in a fancy tin hut and I gobbled up a scrumptious wasabi inspired burger. 

This is my friend Janie who stayed at the Airbnb with me and became my travel buddy for the weekend. I haven't seen her in about 10 years and we got on as if no time had passed. She flew in all the way from Seoul and I am so glad she was able to be there.

We went to a collection of galleries after lunch called Bergamot Station, which is at a site that used to be a railroad station from 1875-1953. There was a great variety of art and we pranced about, just as happy to be there together as we were about seeing the art. We ended the afternoon with crazy good ice cream! As all summer afternoons should. 

And finally, the reason for my trip!! That afternoon, Janie and I drove out Studio 1342 to celebrate our friend Soonie getting married.  I have known Soonie and Janie since we were about 12 years old, when I moved to Korea from New Jersey and was just about to encounter a severe case of culture shock. We had all come from abroad - Janie from Australia and Soonie and I from the United States - and so our parents put us in a summer program that helped kids in our exact situation to adjust to the different culture and schools (good Lord, the schools). We bonded over being in a new country together, homesickness, as well as preteen angst/joy, and kept in touch over the years. It was awesome to be able to gather together for a wedding party. 

The ceremony was utterly unique. Both sides of the family stood in front of everyone and there were words shared about the bride and groom, blessings for their future, and then the bride and groom spoke to each other about their love for each other and hopes for their marriage. It was genuine and beautiful. 

I was honored to be at their wedding. They are wonderful, these two. They are smart and easy going, adventurous and funny - amazing combinations in an individual and in a marriage. 

A brief word about the food. They had these two amazing food trucks there - Kogi and a chicken and waffle truck (I can't remember the name!) and I stuffed myself silly. I was particularly impressed by the chicken and waffle sandwich - it may have been the best I have ever had!

The wedding venue was dreamy, the food and alcohol were aplenty and I loved being able to be there for a really special time for my friend.  

Congratulations Chris and Soonie!! Thank you for hosting a marvelous party and giving me such a wonderful reason to visit.

1 comment:

  1. i can imagine how refreshed you were after this trip while i am reading your blog.
    i am glad you enjoyed the trip so much.