About Me

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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

LA or Bust

This is a continuation of a previous blog in April "Should I stay or Go" about my youngest bro Matt's March wedding in LA. Skyping w/my folks it just seemed like me and Z would be missing out not to go to LA. Sure I had a crap experience with flying over an ocean for Andy's wedding, but I guess in the end Im a hopeful optimist or a sucker for punishment. Maybe a little of both.
Uncle David's

Great Grandma Bernice, Chino Hills

 The flight was from Kaohsiung to Tokyo and then on to LAX. This was right after the devastating earthquake and radioactivity scare/meltdown so my flight to Narita was empty. My row and the rows in front and behind were empty. Japan Airline was by far the cleanest plane Ive ever been on and the food was the absolute best. The miso soup alone was worth the trip, the tea was top. The wine was free. I wish I could of stayed with them to LAX. We had 3 hours to kill in Narita and spent most of the time in the kid playroom. The CNN footage of people standing in Depression Era lines trying to get out of Tokyo was not in my terminal. We took American Air to LAX, the plane was full. The crew was old, 40s + and not looking too great, but I had to hand it to them for not laying off female staff who looked like drag queens or should be pouring coffee in a diner in the middle of North Dakota. Finally, real people for once, I would not be the most haggard looking person on the plane.

Z was a nightmare. She could not get comfortable enough sleep so there was no way in hell she would let me sleep. She verbally abused me the whole time, “youre driving me crazy!” Where did you learn that I asked her later? I asked the stewardess for a small bottle of Merlot and whipped out a 10$ bill. She said, “oh we take credit card.” My shocked face immediately made her react and she said, “here its on me.” “Bless you!” I said in relief and just about drank from the bottle. I was her biggest fan the rest of the flight. Obviously she belonged to the sisterhood of mothers who understand.

Outside San Diego
Dad and Ed picked us up at the airport and we waited for some time for a shuttle bus to their hotel, then drove to Aunt Stella, which felt like my home in LA.  I have so many warm memories from that house. Whenever we made road trips to LA to see family, we always stayed there. The upstairs, the house in the back yard (use to be a play house now converted to an extra bedroom) has this nostalgic musty smell that I always associated with a kind of comfort, so nice to go back to that.

The missing element was Uncle Bob who lost his battle to cancer. When I left 3 years ago he was starting to waste away. I endured the gut wrenching video Stella made of his memorial and in the end he was an emaciated, skeleton version of his former self. Stella's story is hard to listen to. The hours of sleepless nights nursing him, all the natural cures that they had tried, she hoped until the end of his miraculous recovery. She is very matter of fact about some of the more unpleasant details. Now she in her self sacrificial fashion is taking care of a friend who is suffering from breast cancer. I was sleeping in the bed Uncle Bob died in, which didnt creep me out at all. In fact I was wearing his jeans the first 3 days I was in LA. My co-worker told me the weather was warm, so I brought all my best spring/summer clothes and it was flipping cold. I was stuck in Uncle Bob's favorite jeans until my Aunt Terry blessed me with a bag of assorted quality hand me downs (and a new purse).

 The first week was all spending time with my niece and extended relatives. I didnt get to see my other brothers until the last weekend, the weekend of the wedding. David and Terry was seriously cool and drove down to see us a few times that week. We had brunch at a fish and chips place with freshly caught fish in Little Tokyo. I bought my dress for the wedding at the Garment District for 10 bucks. It was a size or 2 too big, but I wasnt complaining. The weather really made it difficult to actually do alot of the things we wanted, rainy, cold, misterable grey skies, so un-sunny southern Cali. One of my personal highlights was hangin with my dear cousin Jonathan who was more like a brother. He was kickin it in the other house (what can I call it?) in Stella's backyard. Another dude had died there from cancer. Jonathan is a total rastafarian, kindred spirit, who is helpful and full of interesting stories. He was a paremedic who worked Hollywood parties, like Oscar and Emmy after parties and he has been in jail for 6 months and the things he saw and learned were intense and educational. "In jail everyone is so cool." He should write it all down. I enjoyed just soaking it all in. Aunt  Stella, along with her lush homemade cooking and huge servings, kept the wine supply ever flowing, so for those 2 weeks, I ate and drank like a queen. It was great to have folks watch Z and Emma while I could have adult conversations with wine, etc with Jonathan. I also got to hang with cousin Stephanie and her kids, she took us on a sunset walk, I needed the exercsie after her mom's wonderful cooking.

As for the wedding...Matt’s wedding was beautiful. His bride Carmel (who I adored from the first—unlike Cristi) was stunning. She has asked me to be a bridesmaid, but the dresses were 200US+ and Im just too “old” to be a bridesmaid. Im more of a woman than maiden. Z and Emma were little flower girls and in their element.

For  my LA photo album click here.
View from aunt Stella's house, East LA

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