Thursday, May 17, 2012

Letter to my Love and a photo diary.

You might want to make yourself a cup of tea, or maybe just sit on a nice comfortable chair because this post is long.

Deep breath. Here we go:

Dearest America,

You had me weak at my knees. You immediately lived up to previous expectations right from the moment we flew over Los Angeles on that beautiful, pink-sky morning that was April 6. I sat in sleepy awe, as we silently descended through the skies, only to touch down in LAX moments later. You captured my attention, just like the first time, with those distinctive, perky and most importantly - welcoming accents. I was 18, and I fell hard in love.

the moon en route to la

santa monica, la

There was something extraordinarily refreshing about starting my day on the other side of the world. I was reunited, and it felt good. You fed us, entertained us and dazzled us. Santa Monica, little slice of heaven, was the perfect cure to our jetlag. When we believed our eyes could no longer fight the battle of exhaustion, you were there to urge us to stay awake with your magnificent pier, clear skies, and burgers from Bubba Gump that tasted oh so good. Hell, you even delivered Usher. No complaints here. When our first day was closing in on us, we sat in the Los Angeles traffic en route to Malibu for dinner. I sat in the back of a yellow cab huddled between two girls fighting to stay awake, and pondered how it felt so normal to be here: to be at home one day, and driving along the coast of California the next. This very idea kept me awake the entire drive. How happy I was to be in California.

my first meal overseas

a strangely quiet lax at 7am

flying over new york

You continued to impress me, America, especially when we flew to New York on April 7. New York introduced itself to us in a relatively small airport room, where at 5pm there must have been at least 150-200 people crowed around 1 tiny conveyor belt that was supposed to deliver everyone’s everything. 20 minutes later and small children were whining, the light in the room was slowly starting to diminish and I was about ready to climb up the damn shoot and haul out my suitcase myself. The drive to Manhattan was as picturesque as you would dream it to be. Before departing to meet you, I had many dreams about New York and often also found myself daydreaming about where our apartment would be and what it would look like, oh and of course - how Times Square would look at night. There is one point in the drive over to Manhattan where you can literally see all the tall buildings lined up as if to say ‘yes we know, we are the best city in the world, welcome, welcome.’ And welcome you did. Your vibrant energy hit us like caffeine to blood. A waking shot to your body.

our street in ny

pizza at daniellos

times square on a saturday night

sutton place

the subway

the south tower memorial

Your highlights from this city included finding Grand Central station at 9pm on our first night. We had been walking on a side street one moment, and lifting our heads in awe at your beautiful ceilings and architecture the next. Times square at night, times square during the day, people everywhere, the subway, eateries everywhere, the beauty of Greenwich village and soho, Dean&Deluca, Broadway, the 9/11 memorial site, the shopping, fifth avenue, the elegant beauty of central park on an overcast and chilly day. And of course, the beautiful views from the Rockefeller Centre one evening. You gave me so much to see, and more importantly you acted as the most photogenic city I have ever seen.

on top of the rockefeller

empire state building

One of my favourite memories however, was ice-skating under a clear sun-setting sky at the Rockefeller centre. I could have sat down in the middle of the rink, with the crowd watching from every side and cried, for you had charmed me beyond belief, leaving me aching to stay. This was not, and would not be the last time you would almost reduce me to tears, America. You were good at that.

magic: grand central station

madame taussauds

central park

streetside flowers

rodeo drive, la

The love affair with the East Coast lasted 7 glorious days, and it wasn’t long before we were back in California. We spent days down at Disneyland, hopping from ride to ride. From there we drove further South to Dana Point where we would stay in a little home by the beach. We would cook, and relax, and read, and sleep and feel right at home. GPS was soon no longer needed to navigate to Gelson’s grocery store. Walking down aisle after aisle with a shopping cart and list, it really started to feel like living. There, we were no longer observers of how people lived in America, we were doing it ourselves. After 5 days, we packed our cases again and moved South again to Carlsbad, a small and pretty local town in San Diego county. There we would stay with friends, have dinner parties, baked potato night and see the Padres win against the Phillies in a baseball game at Petco Park. We would stand with our hands over our hearts throughout your national anthem and when the crowd of thousands sung together ‘God Bless America.’

lost and jetlagged at the beverly hilton, la

patiently awaiting dinner

graumans chinese theatre

newport harbour

carlsbad sunset

packed up
From Carlsbad we would drive 2 hours North to Palm Springs where you would impress us with desert filled land. Your warmth wrapped itself around us, sitting at a comfortable 35 degrees. Our last days were spent by the pool and walking along the ‘main strip’ looking for the best restaurants and checking out the cute little boutiques and shops. We would ride your aerial tramway 8000 feet into the sky, taking us to the top of a mountain where you could look out and see the Coachella Valley in all it’s beautiful glory. While our days among Palm Springs were short and warm, they were lovely. It was also here that I began to miss home. I am still unsure of whether Palm Springs somehow reminded me of home, or whether it had just been too long since I had slept in my own bed, but between the aching to stay, I also longed for familiarity. 

the beauty of palm springs

Our final stop, once again, was Los Angeles. Everything was drawing to a close. We ate beautiful dinners on our last two nights with the beautiful family friends we had fallen in love with. Our very last night in the city had us driving to the car rental office as the sun set. Our bags were packed for good and we had said goodbyes to both the people we loved and the final place we had stayed. As we drove it was so right for the sun to go down, like the closing of a curtain after a brilliant performance. And how brilliant it had been. I swore on that drive that I would be back to you, America. And I will be.

dropping the car off, hours before we left

I figured it out, I think. I love home, and I love you too. Maybe one day we will work out some agreement and you two will live harmoniously.

Till then, Adelaide it is.

All my love. 

la on the last night