I arrived in LAX on Monday night and pretty much crashed into bed then spent all of Tuesday with my family trying to adjust to Pacific time. LA is 8 hours behind London, so the adjustment wasn't easy and it never really took. I woke up at 5AM on most days I was there - yuck.
I had set Wednesday aside for running errands in Orange County, so I had to rent a car. I was actually pretty terrified of driving since I had spent the last year not driving at all and training myself to become accustomed to the British rules of the road. Thank goodness it turned out that adjusting back to American driving was a cinch. I made stops at the DMV (damn in-person renewal!), the dentist (because I'm still scared of British dentists), the tailor, the doctor, and the Target (Boots can't compete). Whew - suffice to say it was a busy day.
Thursday was a lot more mellow in terms of getting some running in during the day time and seeing my BFF Helen for dinner at Luna Park by mid-Wilshire. We both ordered pizzas, which were great, and I got lots of free refills on my diet Coke, which I no longer take for granted since living in the UK.
I had an appointment at the hair salon on Friday, which pretty much took all day (I have a lot of hair), and then Helen picked me up and we went for drinks at Pink Taco at Century City shopping center. We met up with two of her buddies and kicked it at the bar, and I munched on way too many free tortilla chips and salsa. I was pretty tired, so we headed back to her apartment and I fell asleep while we were watching through Practical Magic. It had been a while since we had a slumber party. =)
We woke up early the next day to have breakfast at Starbucks and then go hiking in Temescal Canyon. Although neither of us were familiar with the trails, we had lots of fun getting lost and it was nice because it wasn't too hot or sunny. We probably hiked around 4 miles, and we would holler "Rattlesnake!" at each other when we wanted to speed up.
Fortunately, we didn't see any rattlesnakes, and we headed to the farmer's market at Santa Monica Promenade where we ate the most delicious strawberries I've ever eaten. I also got a chance to check out the new Santa Monica Place, and we did a little bit of shopping despite being gross and sweaty and dirty and still in our hiking clothes. It's good that no one in LA bats an eyelash at this kind of stuff.
I had to go back to Hugo Boss the next day to exchange the sizes for J's gift, and Helen volunteered to take me to the mall again. We had lunch at a Japanese restaurant, and then we harassed the Hugo Boss assistant some more. More fun! I had to say goodbye to Helen since I had to meet my friend Nancy at her apartment where we were going to carpool together to our friend Dan's wedding! I was pretty happy to also have a hot redhead for my date. =)
The wedding was around 4ish, and it was absolutely beautiful. It was at the Bel Air Bay Club, and the wedding was on a bluff overlooking the ocean. Gorgeous!
I was due to fly back on Monday afternoon, and I hadn't had a chance to see one of my other close friends so she volunteered to drive me to the airport. Luckily, we had time for a quick stop at the In-n-Out by the airport, and we did a very quick catch-up before I had to hightail it to the airport to make my flight. It wasn't nearly enough time spent with her, so we'll definitely do a proper hang out session on my next visit.
It's good to be back, but at the same time, it's hard to realize all over again that my family and friends all live on a different continent. I didn't realize how much I missed them until I was back in London riding the Heathrow Express into central London and thought to myself that they're all looking at a completely different landscape at a different time of day. Life goes on there as life goes on here, and I'm missing it. But London is home now, and it's always good to be back home.