I remember in the fall of 2001 feeling so sick of Los Angeles. But now, being there feels almost like home despite the smog and slew of synthetically enhanced people. I suppose if I grew up in Phoenix, any visit would feel nostalgic. But I had one of the most perfect weekends. It's so nice to catch up with friends and not have any drama or get into fights because you normally get on each other's nerves.
Sunanda and her boyfriend, Rich, were the consummate hosts. Saturday afternoon, they willingly took me to The Grove. It's this shopping plaza between Beverly Hills and West Hollywood that tries to make you feel like you're in a little city. For those of you up North, think Santana Row but on a bigger, more crowded and somewhat hipper scale. They have a trolley that goes around and a fountain which spouts in rhythm with music (It's quite odd to see a fountain dance to Lionel Ritchie's "All Night Long") . The Grove has all the typical upscale shops. It's mostly a celeb-spotting place but I didn't see anyone. :(
Sat night, I got to see Sunanda's parents who made "Terry's chicken" for me. (There's a chicken dish they make really well. And they have it in their heads that I can't live without it which is sorta close to reality).
Sunday was my favorite part. I was lucky enough that my friends Brent, who lives really close to Sunanda and Rich, and Sandy were free. The four of them were nice enough to help me celebrate my birthday a little early. We ate lunch at Cafe Brasil while watching Holland lose to Portugal in the World Cup. Brent made me an awesome card and sent along some earrings that his wife, Rebecca, made. And I got a card from Sandy with a new shoulder bag from the Angry Little Asian Girl product line. Hopefully, when people see it, they won't think I have anger issues, hehe. How I got such generous friends, I'll never know. I capped off the day with a stroll along Venice Beach and dipping my feet in the ocean. I haven't been to the beach in soooo long. And it was nice and cool. I'll never take California weather for granted again!