weekend in LA
It’s not that the grass is always greener; yet, much as we love our Foreign Service lifestyle, there are certain things we miss about not being in the States. Topping the list is being far away from friends and family. In addition to rarely seeing the people we most love, we also miss many of their special occasions. Each year we spend abroad, our refrigerator fills up with birth announcements and invitations for missed weddings. This summer, one of S’s closest friends was getting married, and though it meant flying halfway around the world, much of it alone with Munchkin, S decided this was one wedding she shouldn’t miss.
It helped that this time bureaucracy was on S’s side. As a “hardship” post, serving in Chisinau entitles FSOs and their families to two R&Rs — government-funded round-trip plane tickets either to the United States or to a pre-determined rest point, typically in Europe. D used one of his R&R tickets to return home for Munchkin’s birth, but S’s travel was covered as a medical evacuation, which means that she and Munchkin each had an extra R&R ticket at their disposal.
S’s parents offered to watch the Munch while she flew to Los Angeles for the wedding, and though S hated the thought of being apart from him, she reluctantly agreed that this was the best course of action. Not only would it mean one less flight and a smaller time change for our already jet-lagged 4.5-month-old, but it would also enable the grandparents to spend some quality time with the little guy while S would be free to catch up with friends and enjoy the wedding festivities.
Last summer, we steered clear of LA on our California road trip. For all the fame and glamour associated with the city of angels, S had higher hopes for her inaugural visit. Still, she was not there to sightsee or rub elbows with the rich and famous. In addition to watching her friend tie the knot, S was treated to a mini reunion, catching up with the people she felt closest to from her high school.
Despite being relieved of her parenting responsibilities for the first time in four and a half month, S did not do much with her newfound freedom. Between not sleeping on the flights, the ten-hour time difference, and the habit of waking up everyday at dawn, S found herself falling asleep sitting upright by 10pm. Nonetheless, it was a novelty to be able to go out after sundown, even if just for dinner.
Despite LA’s smog and humidity, S tried to make the most of her short trip to the West Coast. She joined her high school friend for a morning jog; caught up with a college friend, who happened to live just three blocks from the bride-to-be; devoted a day to bachelorette activities; and soaked in the views and salty air of Malibu. The wedding itself took place at a lovely beach clubhouse. It was an understated, beautiful affair, and S feels incredibly fortunate to have shared in the celebration.
Editor’s Note: For the sake of historical accuracy, we have to admit that the wedding was mid-week, falling on the 3rd of July, but “mid-week in LA” sounds far less lyrically pleasing.