Thursday, April 21, 2011

Coming full circle, down Venice Beach

Wrapping up my recent trip to Los Angeles, I took a physical trip down memory lane and also a new venture to parts of LA I had never been to before.

On Friday, hours after I had posted the last blog post, I made my trip to Inglewood to check out a potential apartment I could rent. I'd never been to Inglewood before and did not even know of Inglewood's semi-shady reputation. A kind woman who noticed me looking lost directed me to the right building and advised me to keep looking for other places in light of the money I'd be paying and what I'd be getting. (An honest third opinion!)

Afterwards, I drove on through what seems to be the heart of LA during rush hour up north to North Hollywood to audit a class at the Playhouse West. I ended up returning the next time to see a free improv show put on by Playhouse West students - and laughing a tremendous amount. I was glad my trip was worth it - good improv is hard to do, and I know this from personal experience. Apparently a concerned fellow auditor wanted to see me off to my car as she saw me walking about on my own, telling me about how she was staying at a motel with a bullet-proof window. I suppose I am used to going to events alone - but I should definitely take caution when walking on a street at night. As far as I know, North Hollywood isn't the most dangerous place in LA.

After the class, I made my way down to K-Town to meet a friend from college who will be leaving in a few days to teach in Italy. This friend of mine was always someone I admired for her ability to be friends with virtually everyone - from all different kinds of backgrounds and beliefs. She's one who knows how to keep in touch and have fun with her life. I do admire those who are naturally social butterflies and are always positive. A group of young men approached our table, which was sporting several beautiful ladies besides myself, and attempted to get to know us better. Ah, LA! Good effort, though.

File photo of me and my socialite friend Annie!

And so, my trip down memory lane began the next day when I headed back to UCLA/Westwood to visit another friend after checking out a second place (and getting honked at for driving too slowly). Seeing the closed down businesses made me feel a bit sad. Seeing the dorms and remembering the friends I'd be able to see all within a second years ago made me feel nostalgic. We had all lived so close together, we had all laughed and grown together - and now all of us were so far apart - maybe in Korea, Seattle, Washington D.C., Florida...all with different lives. UCLA left me with a lot of great memories, and for that, I'm glad. But as time passed, we all moved on. I did stop for some Diddy Riese for old times' sake though, with the cookies becoming all soggy and sticky from the ice cream.

Nostalgic view of dorms, taken by me years ago

Finally, I wrapped up my Sunday by driving down to Venice Beach with yet another old friend of mine. He'd driven from Pasadena to come see me, so it was only fair that I drove! Alas, there was an enormous amount of Sunday beach traffic - but we finally pulled into the lot by the beach. I love Venice Beach, for reasons I can't quite articulate. It may be touristy, but there's something about the air that I love. The first time I had gone there was as a sophomore in college with my dorm mates - the last time was some random time for no particular reason with a close girl friend of mine. My friend and I exchanged our recent life stories and I remarked that I thought it was so unpredictable where life would take us - and that I wouldn't have imagined the two of us meeting on Venice Beach at this point in time so many years later. I suppose this is both the beauty and challenge of life - one never knows how life plays out, where you'll be, who you'll meet, and who you still keep in touch with.

A picture I snapped at Venice three years ago

I'm thankful for the journey.


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