1. There IS a price to pay for getting a cheap plane ticket. In my case, it was two painful stopovers. We had to go down in each airport and check in with immigration twice. On the second stopover, we even had to claim our baggage and check it in again. Oh, and our plane arrived in LA at the ungodly hour of 4 am!
2. Layer, layer, layer! While it’s nice and sunny, I need to bring a sweater and coat wherever I go. If I stand in the sun, I’m warm and happy. If I’m in the shade, I freeze. I’m not used to the weather! But I have to say, spring is beautiful.
3. You can never go wrong with Chocnut, Curly Tops, and Flat Tops. I couldn’t figure out what to bring for my college best friend, Linnet, so I just opted to bring her these chocolatey goodies from our homeland. On my first night here, Linnet and her boyfriend James dropped by to say hello and have dinner, and Linnet shrieked for joy when she saw the treats I brought for her. Can’t go wrong with those three! By the way, I was so happy to see Linnet again! Linnet and Lizette, together again. Haha.
4. Museum trips are fun with friends. I’m not the biggest fan of museums, and in the past, I would go by myself (school field trips not counted). The other day, my friends Joe and Carla (who coincidentally were also visiting L.A.) came by to pick me up so I could join them for a trip to the Getty Center. I passed it on the freeway once before and I thought it looked pretty, so I always wanted to go there. The place was architecturally beautiful, and the collections were really nice too. We had a lot of fun gawking at the beautiful paintings and the illuminated medieval manuscripts. They also had a special Leonardo da Vinci collection on display this season which was super awesome. Of course, my personal favorite was the garden filled with spring blooms. I took a lot of photos! I loved hanging out with Carla and Joe (and Carla’s tito and niece) because we had a lot of silly fun. Good times!
5. Do not go on the freeway with a near empty tank of gas, especially if you don’t know where you’re going! Yesterday, a good friend of mine, TJ, drove up from San Diego to pick me up at home so we could catch up with each other and meet up with our other friends, Ryan and Moina. It was a 2-hour drive from San Diego…is he a great friend, or what?! After a delicious In-and-Out + Pinkberry meal, we headed for the freeway to meet up with Ryan and Moina in Pasadena. Their text message said “118 east, 5 North, 110 North…” So TJ and I were happily chatting away, he pointed out Six Flags Magic Mountain on our left, and then he said, “Um, Liz…can you call Moina? Because I don’t remember their place being this far…” As it turns out, they gave us the wrong directions, and we were supposed to be on 5 South, not 5 North! The bad news was we had just passed a sign that said the next exit was 6 miles away. And it gets worse…TJ’s gas tank was running on empty. Joyride! So as not to panic, I tried to make him laugh, and reassured him that I actually really wanted to go on a road trip through the beautiful hills and see the lakes, so I was actually having a great time. Haha. And I’m not stranger to random trips and detours (right, Carisse?). Anyway, long story short, we finally found a gas station 3 exits (and A LOT of miles away), and then we finally got to go back south, and made it to Pasadena right on time. What an adventure! And it was worth the trip, if only to get the good news that Ryan and Moina have a baby on the way! :)
6. There ain’t nothing like the real thing. Cold Stone Creamery is awesome! Thanks to Ryan’s brother Johnathan, I had my first taste of this famous American ice cream treat. YUMMY.
7. Kids make my heart melt no matter where I am in the world. I already miss my nephews terribly, but the kids around me over here are pretty awesome too. I’ve been spending time with my stepnephews (I don’t know if I should call them that…somewhere on the web in says I should call them first stepcousins once removed…I don’t get that) and they crack me up. Apart from the fact that they’re talkative and they say a lot of funny stuff, they’re also very sweet. I share a bathroom with them and their parents, and the other night, I walked over to the bathroom, only to see that someone was using it. Jared–the younger one (he’s 7)–saw that I wanted to use the bathroom and asked me why. I said I needed to brush my teeth. I went back to my room, then 10 minutes later, he came running and said, “Tita Lizette! My mom’s done with the bathroom already! And I set your toothbrush!” I wondered what he meant by that, and when I got to the bathroom, I saw that he laid out my toothbrush neatly with a nice line of toothpaste already on it. So sweet!
8. Friends and family are awesome. I’ve known this for a long time already, but it’s always good to remember!
9. Exercise is a MUST. It’s tough not to gain weight while you’re in the USA! The servings are HUGE (even the half orders are difficult for me to finish), and my tita cooks delicious food all the time and it’s hard to say no to her. So I’ve been doing my best to keep running. The first day I ran, I had a difficult time breathing because I wasn’t used to the cold air. Yesterday, I was able to run almost 4k. Yahoo! I’m looking forward to running in Irvine this coming week!
10. In real life, the iPad is gorgeous. Enough said. :)
Today I’m off to Irvine for the week to meet some relatives I’ve never met and to attend the Catalyst West Labs and the Catalyst West Coast conference. Between meeting my relatives, watching my favorite speakers, and visiting some church campuses I’ve always wanted to go to (hello, Saddleback!), I know this Irvine trip is definitely going to be one of the highlights of my summer! I am beyond blessed. Thank you Lord! :)