Wednesday, February 12, 2014

ca travelogue part four: the original ca family

When we moved to CA in 2007, Ryan and I were both stepping into new territory. Neither of us had never lived far away from home before (other than Ryan on his mission in Hong Kong) and we were just unsure of what was in store for us. 

Luckily, great things were in store in the form of incredible friends who, over the course of the next nearly five years, became family. Our first family away from family. Families who we spent Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years Eve with. Families who let us cry on their shoulders when we had no idea what was going on with Leah. Friends who got me through my first marathon (and so so many training miles before). Families and friends we went to church with, taught piano to, had girls nights out with.

And to be honest, two and a half years is way too long to go without seeing some of these incredible people. It makes my heart hurt sometimes to think that things can't just be the same as they once were. But, although things have changed, it was so wonderful to walk into a room full of people I know and love like no time has passed at all. 

I got to Jeff and Sarah's house late Saturday night. Like really late. And they still stayed up even later to chat the night away. They're the best.

Sunday morning, we got dressed and ready for church. As I entered the chapel I used to frequent every Sunday, I was overwhelmed with love for this California family of mine. I received such a warm welcome and even a "welcome home" from a number of people. And that's what it felt like! Home! It happened to be a stake conference, so the actual Sunday services were a bit different than usual, but it was an incredible meeting and I was so glad to see so many wonderful faces all at once. Little Mr. Tyler McPhie walked down the aisle to get a drink at one point about an hour into the meeting (I hadn't seen him yet) and I nearly jumped out of my seat to give him a giant hug. I abstained, don't worry. 

After church, we had a delicious dinner with Jeff and Sarah, Scott and Rachel McPhie and Ben Thomander and all their kids. We were all laughing so hard tears were streaming down my face. At one point, I was so incredibly happy inside that I just had to call Ryan so he could be a small part of it. I think it made him even more sad to be missing out, but that was definitely not my intention! It was just a perfect afternoon with some truly incredible friends. 

Monday morning I decided to head out on my beloved Stevens Creek Trail for a long run. I had avoided 14 miles a few days prior, but felt like this was a great opportunity to get a long run in on a great trail. I ran from Sarah's house 3 miles to the trail where I met up with Jaimi, a dear friend and one of my old running partners. A lot has changed for Jaimi in the few years I've been gone, but it was so wonderful to talk with her just like we used to. Four miles flew right by and she had to go to work, so I finished the final six by myself. The weather was glorious. And the trees were flowering. And I was in a tank top.

I met three lovely piano moms (including one piano mom/student!) for lunch at a local restaurant and had a great hour catching up with all of them. They sure know how to make a girl feel good! They are incredible ladies and I'm so blessed to know each of them.

After lunch, I walked to a nail salon to get a pedicure with Sarah, which, by the way, is a perfect thing to do after a long run. The massage was incredible and my impending headache waned a bit. It didn't do much to settle my stomach ache, but it did wonders for the muscles.

After pedicures, I still wasn't feeling so well. We headed to Kathy's house where I saw Kathy and Tawni and their good lookin' kids. As I got out of Sarah's car, I really wasn't feeling well. So, I hung back for a moment, lost my cookies on the street outside of Kathy's house and then went in and had a great afternoon. Seriously, I felt so much better. I even got to buy some girl scout cookies!

After Kathy's, Sarah took me to BevMo to pick up some local "root brews" for Ryan. His favorite root beer is only sold in California, so I lovingly purchased, wrapped and packed six of them and brought them home to him in my luggage. I'm so nice. After my BevMo pitstop, I spent a few hours at my Tuck friend Andrea's house. It was fun to catch up with her after a few months away and see her new my old city! I love that our lives are intertwined like that now.

For dinner, Rachel organized a fabulous girl's night out at BJs (mmmm, pizookies!) where I was able to see so many dear friends! It was so great to eat, chat and catch up with all of these beautiful women! 

A few of them couldn't make it to dinner, but were able to come to Sarah's house after and I had so much fun spending my last few hours with them. 

Tuesday morning Sarah drove me to SFO, where I soon learned my flight was delayed. I spent some more quality time in the terminal and missed my connection in Chicago by seriously one minute. I ran to the gate and they had just closed the doors. So, I spent some more quality time in Chicago. They booked me on the flight leaving the next morning (um, no thanks!), but Ryan looked and said there was a flight later that night. So, I went back to check and sure enough, there was a spot! 

Though it was so great to see Ryan's face again, it was not great to see it holding my down NorthFace coat in frigid temperatures. I missed California already, rain and all. 

All in all, my California trip was amazingly perfect. I still can't believe I was lucky enough to escape for nearly a week and reconnect with so many dear friends from so many parts of my life. As I was on my final leg of the flight home, the flight attendant said, "Make sure your mask is secure before you assist others." Though there were no little ones by my side to assist, this particular trip gave me just what I needed to continue to assist those littles at home. It oxygenated me, gave me strength and filled my cup. I think I'll do it again soon.

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