Friday, January 7, 2011

People (Road Trip Part 1)

Nathaniel and I hit the road last Thursday for California. The weather was a little crazy as we drove through New Mexico. I'm talkin' dust storms, crazy winds, tumble weeds, fog, rain and snow, but all in all not a bad twelve hours.

Tumble weeds and ice stuck in our car.

We were happy to spend the night in Phoenix Thursday night at my Uncle Hal and Aunt Nancy's. We spent the evening visiting and laughing over a taco dinner. Not much beats staying in a home with family, and I was so grateful to not be staying in a sterile hotel. Nancy even woke up early to make us an egg breakfast, and I think she had as much fun as we did. I felt so satisfied after our night visit with them, I could have made the twelve hour drive back to Lubbock without any problems, which of course, had me all the more excited for the rest of our vacation.

Two of my cousins, Kim and Terry, and my Aunt Nancy...see why I like them so much?

 Friday morning we loaded up in the car, and headed for Long Beach, CA. Nathaniel served a two year mission for the LDS church there a few years ago, and has been dying to go back. Seeing as how we were driving to Sacramento, we decided a stop in Long Beach for the weekend was a must.

We drove around a lot (Nathaniel reminiscing of his service as a missionary as he pointed out different land marks), visited with a lot of wonderful people, ate a ton of home cooked food, and of course, we did some classic touristy things, as well.

Enjoying the view at Signal Hill.

Huntington Beach
 At Sgt. Pepper's Dueling Pianos...a bar where two different pianist "battle" back and forth. Audience members request a song by paying five dollars, if someone wishes to stop the current song or hear a new song, they simply outbid the original five dollars with a new song -- it can get pretty funny with two groups bantering back and forth. We had a blast.

 In front of "It's a Small World," riding Splash Mountain and "honorary bugs" at Disneyland.

 As much fun as I had being a tourist, I loved meeting all the people I had heard so many stories about from Nathaniel.

Like this guy, Mike, who Nathaniel had the pleasure of teaching and getting to know. Mike likes pro-wrestling and Mexican food. So, we ate Mexican food while the boys talked about wrestling, all while the Mexican cooked yelled "Miiiichael," repeatedly.

Mike getting yelled at...he likes Mexican food and the Mexican cook likes him back.

Nathaniel wanted to visit with a family he had taught, but wasn't sure if they still lived in the same apartment. We went to the apartment complex, Nathaniel knocked on a door, and a woman popped her head out the window, disappeared, then reappeared to tell Nathaniel to go away. As Nathaniel was asking if the woman knew the family, a little boy started yelling at Nathaniel, "Elder! Elder!" Nathaniel turned around to see the little boy of the family. The boy told Nathaniel he remembered him, and repeated several times how much he missed Nathaniel. The boy then excitedly showed Nathaniel where the family currently lives. Surely, one of God's tender mercies.

The little boy leading the way...
We went to dinner on Saturday night with one of my childhood best friends who literally just moved down to LA. Dana and I have been best buds since fifth grade, and have a million fun memories we can add Sgt. Pepper's to the list.

Dana and me at Sgt. Pepper's
The biggest thing I've come to appreciate in this last week, it doesn't matter how much money you have, how many places you've traveled, or how well educated you are -- it all means nothing if you walk away without a friendship. I feel grateful to know so many beautiful, interesting people who have impacted my life. There's a lot of people I may never talk to again, but I had the opportunity to share a moment of laughter with them. There's others I feel like I know because I've heard so many stories about them, and that's the only thing we'll ever share...someone else's common memory. And then, there's the friendships I will have for life. But no matter how I cut it, I'm not an island -- I'm an individual intricately connected to others through simple and complex relationships. I don't stand alone. And more than likely, neither do the rest of us.

Happy New Year -- here's to a year of simple joys and adventures, but above everything -- friendships.



alyssa said...

I think you have the prettiest smile. Congratulations.

Hannah said...

bahaha! Thanks, Alyssa!

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