Friday, December 14, 2012, a day of heartbreak for everyone, also happened to be a milestone day for me. I took off on my first trip away from my daughter, who will be three next month. I went to Los Angeles, a 2.5 hour flight south. I went because my husband was working down there and I missed him and we needed, as he calls it, “momma-daddy time.” I went because I had a free ticket to California and dear friends waiting. I went because something in LA calls to me like a siren. All mermaid-like and provocative.
This was my second trip to the City of Angels this year. The first time, in February, my path crossed with Britney Spears, I watched a girl lounge in a glass box, I frolicked with my little one on the beach, and I sat at the same table as Mischa Barton. A combination inconceivable in any other city. That’s how it is in LA.
Though Seattle encompasses much of who I am, I am a descendant of the Greater Los Angeles area. As a child, California visits highlighted my existence. We flew down two or four times per year. I remember myself well, peaking out the window of my grandparents’ car, eager to glimpse my first palm tree. I dreamt of living in Pacific Palisades, alongside the ocean and fashionable people and movie stars, where my mother grew up and my grandparents lived. Then, I wanted to live in Santa Barbara, amongst beaches and eucalyptus trees and mission bells, where my other grandparents lived. I believed myself to be a California Girl at heart.
Something said last weekend (by an LA transplant I met) resonated with me: if you’re bored in LA, it’s because you’re boring. With so many interesting people posted up in one corner of the sphere, loneliness should never be a problem. Just go outside and listen to the crazies spouting the gospel and disrupting the peace. Take a walk along the ocean and feel the sand between your toes. Go to the Promenade and have a tea leaf reading. Hear the music, it’s everywhere.
Many people in LA are actively trying to stand out and so the city is like one great show. Art, in its infinite forms, exists everywhere. On Abbot Kinney Road in Venice, every shop, cafe and restaurant is curated with incredible detail and thought. Like The Tasting Room. From the vintage plates (mismatched) to the names of the cocktails (Gentlemen’s Breakfast, English Garden, Baby Bird) to the giant piece of art on the chalkboard walls (depicting a crowd of people and their thought bubbles, not unlike the crowd in the bar), this restaurant bleeds creativity. But its greatest assets are communal tables and the strangers who aren’t afraid to have dinner together.
The Californian quest for beauty has transformed into an inward journey for true health and the manifestation of inner beauty. The secret is out: healthy and happy people are beautiful people. Raw and vegan restaurants sit beside farm-to-table restaurants, across from organic juice bars. In Santa Monica, yoga and fitness studios abound. Seriously. It’s like coffee in Seattle. At Cafe Gratitude in Venice, they even quote Hippocrates on the menu, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” and they offer elixirs with names like I AM RENEWED and I AM SUCCULENT. They serve cooked specialties called I AM HUMBLE and I AM WHOLE. Their smoothies and raw specialities are a celebration: I AM HAPPY, I AM LIBERATED, I AM ENERGIZED, I AM GRACE.
Leaving my daughter for 48 hours was tough (this is another post), especially since I learned about the tragedy in Connecticut minutes before my plane took off and all I wanted to do was hold her in my arms and smell her skin. I did not sleep easily while I was gone, thinking about all of the ways a child can leave us, and all of the reasons they are so precious.
Yet the jaunt turned out lovely; exactly what I needed during this time in my life. Suddenly I am feeling all of these things at once…RENEWED, SUCCULENT, HUMBLE, WHOLE, HAPPY, LIBERATED, ENERGIZED, GRACE. And most of all, GRATITUDE.
I only had 1.5 days in LA and they were packed with meetings and *alone time* with James. I did not get to see everyone I wanted to see, nor did I do everything I wanted to do. Such is life.