sunny California

sunny California

I’ve been wanting to write about our California trip that we took last February. Hopefully, I still remember it! :-) I was 9 weeks pregnant at the time. In retrospect, that alone made the trip HORRIBLE. I will try to never fly during my first trimester again! Also, the 5 straight days of rain made the trip disappointing. So now it’s a running joke in our family that it always rains in California.

Paul’s dad grew up in California, and Paul and his family lived on an air force base nearby until Paul was 9, when his family moved to Germany (and on to Massachusetts when Paul was 10). Paul has very fond memories of California, and all his family on his dad’s side still live out there – aunts, uncles, grandparents. None of them came to our wedding so this was my first time meeting them all!

So brief recap, and a few pictures. You can see all my pictures here. Since this post is so long, I broke it up, so click on “more” to read the whole thing.

We left Atlanta on Sunday, February 1st. It was a 5 hour direct flight, which I was nervous about. I felt horrible as was usual. Our flight left Atlanta at 10am and arrived at 3pm Atlanta time. As we were in line to board, I found out that they didn’t serve food on the flight! I panicked but couldn’t do anything about it at that point. I had brought a book of logic puzzles but couldn’t focus, so I spent most of the flight trying to sleep. I took the prescription anti-nausea med that the doc had given me, and wore the sea bands which helped on the flight (though they didn’t help any other time). I slept a good portion, which was good because when I was awake I sat there with the barf bag expecting everything to come up any minute. Paul was very kind and let me have his little package of biscotti that we got on the flight to help with my hunger. I mentally wrote a post on how I hate flying; how it’s nothing like it was in the 80s and 90s when I was a kid. I had a little picture book that said “Flying is fun!” (we flew a lot when I was growing up). I decided to title my post to say “Flying is NOT fun” and decided that I would drive whenever possible. Man, Paul needs a medal for putting up with me during that trip!

We arrived in California, shed our winter clothes, rented a car, and found some lunch – which I was promptly not hungry for. (Figures.) We had decided to buy a GPS unit before we left Atlanta because it was cheaper than renting one with the car. That little TomTom that we got was SO helpful on the trip! It also became a joking thing throughout the trip… “Oh! You missed the exit! TomTom is very mad at you now!”

We drove through Los Angeles to Paul’s aunt’s house, where we were staying. She lives in San Bernardino which is at the edge of metro LA over by the mountains (Los Angeles is in a valley, surrounded by mountains and ocean). I thought the mountains were just beautiful and I took lots of pictures. :-)

We spent the day on Monday taking it easy, getting adjusted to the time difference, and meeting relatives. It was beautiful and sunny that day, though extremely windy (apparently common for the San Bernardino valley). We went over to Paul’s grandparents’ house and met them. It was a nice, relaxing day.

We decided to go to the deserts of California on Tuesday, so Paul picked Palm Springs. I actually was very much reminded of Peru! Or rather, the parts of Peru that got occasional rain. We also saw a bunch of windmills – wind farms, that took advantage of the Santa Ana winds that come through that area.
Wind farm

Palm Springs is a little community in the desert, known for being a sort of resort for many famous people over the years. It’s also known for its Bauhaus-style architecture – a movement in the mid 1900’s that stressed function over form (practicality over beauty), thus producing the style that we recognize as modern (clean, straight lines and geometric patterns). I found this incredibly interesting and perhaps was my favorite part of Palm Springs because of all the art classes I took in college where we studied this movement. (And, I probably just lost half my readers. :-))

Palm Springs

We walked around Palm Springs all day. We stopped at one little store (I had to get a keychain for my collection!) where the guy was trying to impress me by how little rain they got. I was tempted to tell him all about where I grew up, where I didn’t see rain once in 9 years, but I decided not to be mean. Besides, after the rest of my trip, I don’t believe him. :-)

Towards the late afternoon, we decided to go check out a nearby skylift that takes you to a park on the top of a mountain. We were going to do it, but it was a little on the expensive side and we just weren’t prepared for that. I was also having a lot of trouble with the altitude, and wishing I had some coca tea! We got in the car and headed home.

We didn’t know that it was our last day of sunshine. We had seen the desert, so we decided to go the opposite direction and see the beaches! We just drove toward the coast and ended up in Newport Beach. We found a state park, called Crystal Cove State Park, and spent a few hours exploring the beach and tide pools. It was really cool! And was a perfect day for it. It was really fun, and I got some great pictures.

Coast line

Beach sky

I grew up along the Pacific Ocean, so it wasn’t my first time seeing it, but it was my first time to the California coast in my memory. I also enjoyed being in Orange County. I called my mom and said, “Guess what! I’m in Orange County!” My mom, who lives in Orlando, said, “Well what do you know, I’m in Orange County too! Come on over!”

We had In-N-Out for dinner, yum yum! I enjoyed that very much. All total, I think we ate at In-N-Out about 5 times while we were out in California. Because I felt so sick most of the time, it was really hard for me to get excited about food, but I did enjoy me some burgers and fries.

Because we were (somewhat) in the area, Paul wanted to go visit the campus of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa (the original Calvary Chapel church, founded by Chuck Smith). This is the church that produced the Psalty, for those of you who grew up listening to the singing songbook like I did. We decided to stay in the area until after rush hour, and hung around a nearby Ikea which was fun, too.

Thursday dawned cloudy and rainy, and so we decided it was a good time to spend the day visiting some of my friends. First we saw a friend from Peru I hadn’t seen since I left there. Her parents were missionaries too, and she was one of my first friends when I moved to Lima at age 9. It was so much fun to see her and catch up on everything! She took us to her favorite Mexican restaurant – which Paul especially loved – and then we tried to drive along the Pacific Coast Highway but it was so cloudy from the rain that we couldn’t even see the ocean. It was fun to spend time with her, though. She lives in Torrance, and she absolutely loves where she lives and it was fun to have her show us all the places she loves.

Kaitlyn and I

For dinner, we drove out to La Habra to visit Shannon! Shannon was my prayer partner when we both lived in Gerig at Taylor, and she later became my PA (similar to an RA). I hadn’t seen her since she left Taylor, and it was fun to catch up and meet her baby Josiah! He was about 6 weeks old and we got a chance to talk about pregnancy and babies, which was nice for me. We had a nice dinner with her, and then we went home.

Oh and also we discovered that people aren’t kidding when they say that rush hour starts at 3pm. We didn’t believe it until we got stuck in it! Here in Atlanta, rush hour really doesn’t start until 4pm, so I was surprised to see it so bad so early.

Day #2 of rain. I think we tried to visit Hollywood anyways. I got to see the famous sign! But that was about it. We drove down Sunset Boulevard and looked out the windows, but trying to find parking and getting out in the rain was more hassle that it was worth. I didn’t get to see the Walk of Fame. :-( I didn’t take ANY pictures because I just couldn’t get the camera to cooperate through the car window and rain. We drove through Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, and all those ritzy neighborhoods, and ended up at the coast in Santa Monica. We got out there, found free parking at a Macy’s going out of business, and wandered around a bit. It was nice to be out of the car and out of the rain! I remember Paul kept asking me if I was hungry, but of course I was never hungry I just wanted to throw up, and finally I told him just to stop and eat anyways and not worry about me. I got a headache that night and went to bed not feeling well.

Day #3 of rain. I woke up in the morning with my usual first-trimester headache, and throwing up. I stayed in bed all day, and poor Paul entertained himself while not going too far away. We watched TV and by the evening I felt better. I don’t think we even left the house this day. But no matter, because it was raining. And there really wasn’t much to see.

Day #4 of rain (you thought I was kidding about all the rain!). We drove down to Riverside to Paul’s old church from when he lived in California, Harvest Christian Fellowship. It’s a really big church – membership at 15,000, Wikipedia tells me. Fortunately, we managed to find a seat in the sanctuary because their overflow is outside! This church meant a lot to Paul and his family when they lived in California, because his parents were fairly new believers and the church helped them grow a lot. Paul enjoyed walking around afterward and seeing the church he attended for 9 years. :-) After church, we visited friends of Paul’s, whom I enjoyed getting to know. And, at some point during our trip, we went out to where Paul’s mom was stationed, March Air Force Base. I can’t remember which day we did that so I’ll stick it here. :-) The base housing where Paul’s family lived is no longer there – they now use it for training purposes. A lot of the buildings on base were unused, which made Paul sad. We spotted the old theater, an old rec center, an old pizza place, all places that Paul remembered. I asked him if he wanted to take any pictures but he said he’d rather remember it from his childhood, when the whole place was alive and not all boarded up.

Day #5 of rain. By today, I was getting very frustrated because I knew it was our last day in California and now I wouldn’t get to see all the things I wanted to see. I was very mad at California and probably in a bad mood. One of the things I had really wanted to see was the mountains (which now looked like this, thanks to the rain). We drove up to Big Bear and tried to get off the highway, but snow chains were required on the cars and since we were in a rental we obviously didn’t have snow chains, nor did we want to take any chances. :-) But we got to see snow! I enjoyed that. So, one good thing about the rain… in the altitude it turned into snow. We kept driving and saw signs that said “Historic Route 66“. That intrigued me, so I convinced Paul to follow Historic Route 66. We passed a museum that said it was free on Mondays, so we decided to stop and check it out. It was all about the history of Route 66 – specifically, the California part of it. It was so interesting! Probably another of my favorite parts of California. I told Paul, someday I want to take a road trip with our kids and drive it. They had an old camper that people used to use, which I found fascinating. They also had old cars, old gas pumps, lots of old signs, and even a replica outhouse. We probably spent a good hour or two in the museum, learning all about Route 66.

I forgot to bring my camera this day, which was a shame because I would have loved to get some pictures of the snow and the mountains and the museum. A few times the rain would let up, and we would have been able to hop out and get pictures. Ah well. We said our goodbyes to Paul’s relatives Monday night because we were leaving the next morning.

Paul and I with his aunt and uncle

Tuesday dawned bright and beautiful! Not a cloud in the sky! Figures. We had spent Monday night at a hotel near the airport, and rose early to catch our flight. The problem was… I had gotten the flight time wrong, and instead of 1pm like it was, I thought it was 10am. So we arrived at the airport at 8 only to discover we were waaay early. It would have been okay we were just really tired and I was feeling very sick (surprise!). We managed, and I spent the entire 5 hours in the airport panicking about the flight. I knew it was going to be bad again, and I was SO tired of being sick, and I didn’t want to get on that plane and feel even more nauseous and be stuck on the plane for 5 hours. We brought food this time, but that didn’t comfort me. I skipped breakfast and lunch, and finally Paul told me that I needed to get something. I wandered around the airport quite a bit, and finally found a bakery place where I got a toasted bagel with cream cheese. Let me tell you, that was a piece of heaven. It was the best thing I had ever eaten, it stayed down in my stomach, and for some reason it really calmed me. The flight was okay; I managed to survive. Getting on the train in Atlanta to come back was another story – that was the worst part of the trip, but it was sooo good to get home!

Leaving California

So all in all… not the ideal trip. Mostly, because I was sick. Also, because of the rain. I was grumpy and hormonal, and annoyed at the rain. I was also not myself and so I felt bad that Paul’s relatives have seen only that part of me. I suppose I’ll make it back to California sometime, but the only motivation for me is seeing relatives. :-) I can get rain and good weather in Florida, without having to fly anywhere. :-) I’m an east coast girl, through and through.

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