Lately I’ve been taking stock of my places and my connection to those places. I have invariably loved the places I’ve lived – my parent’s home outside of Detroit, college in Ann Arbor, rural Ukraine, New York City, Seattle, New Delhi, Seattle again. Each exudes a unique energy and each is a part of my identity.
I also love discovering places I could live, and this is even more fun now that we are a little family. You, your dad, and I found this connection to place and culture in Sevilla when we were there in March (more on this in a future post). Los Angeles is one of those places for us, too.
I first started loving LA when one of my best friends, Michelle, moved there after college with her guy, Nick. They had a beautiful wedding on the coast and worked near the beach. Then your aunt Didi moved to West Hollywood and showed me the charms of Silver Lake and hiking Griffith Park. Your dad and I visited one January to drive Didi’s car from LA to Seattle after she had moved back east and on that trip fell for the Armenian food and the tacos. And when I was pregnant with you, we rented a funky, treehouse-like midcentury Airbnb in Silver Lake. We spent hours wandering around Griffith Observatory and the Getty Museum, and drove up the coast to Santa Barbara for a day.
LA was the first place we took you on vacation when you were seven months old. We stayed in Marina Del Rey at our friends Michelle and Nick’s apartment while they were gone and took you to a beach on the Pacific Ocean for the first time – you loved the sand! It was in LA that we started to learn how to travel with you. We spent a lot of time trying to feed you and get you to sleep in the apartment, which thankfully was comfortable with a beautiful balcony that we utilized heavily.
Last month we spent a long weekend in LA to chase the sun after a long, gray Seattle winter, have some family time, and visit Michelle and Nick and their six-month-old son. We spent our first two nights in Venice, where we were within walking distance to the gritty, gentrifying beach and, in the other direction, to California-posh Abbott Kinney. I loved taking an early morning walk with you the first day we were there. We sat down with egg and cheese sandwiches and people-watched at a local breakfast spot and then visited the playground on the beach. You noticed every bike that whizzed by, every homeless person rising for the day, every dog on a leash. Later that day we had a fun lunch with Michelle at her nearby Google office. (You love Michelle and insist that she holds you often.) We had our favorite Fala Bar falafel that night, and, to your extreme delight, we dipped you in the frigid ocean. On Saturday morning we got coffee from Blue Bottle on Abbott Kinney and sandwiches from the food truck parked outside. We chatted with the polished, stylish crowd also waiting for their food. You pointed to the dogs that walked by, shouting, “DAGH.” The morning was slow and sunny and happily ended at a flea market where I bought a pair of huaraches to match my mood.
We spent the rest of the weekend with Michelle and Nick and their (adorable) son at their home in Manhattan Beach. They had a lemon tree out front – you loved picking up the lemons in the yard! – and a succulent garden and beautiful red poppies out back. We walked the boardwalk with them and had a cookout and got to spend hours talking and catching up. The next day was Mother’s Day and Nick’s parents joined us, his mom giving us gorgeous arrangements from her flower and succulent garden. We all shared a delicious lunch on their back patio, and Michelle and I snuck away to a yoga class before we met you and the guys for dinner. We all left feeling rejuvenated and relaxed and grateful for the time with wonderful friends in such a beautiful place in the world.
We’ll be back soon.