Harper and I left Nice on Sunday morning and flew through Munich to arrive later that extra long day in Los Angeles. We passed through customs, grabbed our bags and hopped on a bus to get our rental car. We were in a hurry to find In n’ Out Burger and then the Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Barbara. Since Mike was here last week, we had excellent directions yet I still managed to get lost and we never found the In n’ Out Burger. The Hotel Shangri-La is cool! We are talking 1939 art deco architecture on a bluff in Santa Monica overlooking the beach, the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Pier. Oh ya, and David Duchovny, aka Hank Moody, filmed an episode of Californication here. We were in our posh room by 9:30p.m., ordered room service and settled in for some sleep.
Sleep doesn’t come easy with a nine hour time change and we both woke up at about 4:00 a.m. Monday, got dressed, watched a little L.A. news and headed out in search of FedEX, Krispy Kreme, Walgreen’s and the French Consulate. Once again, thanking Mike for doing this the week before and giving me excellent instructions and directions, this was really easy. Harper was over the moon for Krispy Kreme, and I must admit I was too! The ease and convenience of doing things in the United States is something that I didn’t realize I missed, but as it turns out I do. While I enjoy the adventure of living in a foreign country and learning a new language, there is something to be said about being at home and just intuitively knowing how things work.
After fueling up on sugar and caffeine, we arrived at the consulate way ahead of schedule, sat outside the awkward main entrance on an alley and were the first to be seen at the consulate that day. I thought it was all pretty simple, but that probably has more to do with Mike going the week before and prepping me for what would occur. Harper and I were in and out (but no burger) quickly and headed back to Santa Monica and the hotel Shangri-La where my Mom was arriving from New Mexico. We hugged and dropped her luggage at our room then set out for a day of shopping, Target style!
Apparently there is no Target really anywhere close to Santa Monica or Pacific Palisades, but after some frightening driving on L.A.’s race track highways we spotted our destination and shopped for a few comforts of home that don’t exist in France. Huge bonus when we discovered a Qdoba in the same shopping center as the Target. My mouth began to tingle and salivate as I contemplated a Poblano Pesto burrito. How disappointed I was to learn that Qdoba has eliminated my favorite item from their menu! So I had to settle for something less, what a bummer that they got rid of possibly the best healthy-fast-food item ever!
I won’t drag you through each step of our salacious retail experience–suffice to say that we have not shopped in months and this was kind of fun–H&M, Forever 21, Crazy 8’s, Old Navy, Sephora, and Target, all topped off by a few pieces of See’s Candy. Dinner was much anticipated Mexican food and a margarita at La Sandia followed by early to bed at 8:00p.m.
Tuesday was another May grey day in L.A. but we didn’t care because we were going to Disneyland. Woo-hoo, Disneyland! We drove to Anaheim, parked and caught the shuttle to the magical front gates. Grandmother, mother and daughter all turned into kids, a little drizzle was no deterrent. We had so much fun, laughed so hard, and both Harper and my Mom did things that I never imagined they would–like Space Mountain. Gotta hand it to both of them, while I was about to puke, they took the ride in stride. Note to self: never going to do Space Mountain again. EVER. Splash Mountain on the other hand, we did twice. If you ever need to feel like a kid again and connect with your family, Disneyland is the place. And on the way home, we found an In n’ Out Burger and crossed that off our to-eat list.
Wednesday morning I was up early again and back at the French Consulate to pick-up the visa’s. I was done with that and back at the hotel by about 8:30a.m. When I think of all the months of stressing I did over this trip, over the visa, the time change, the flying with kids, it was all really a massive waste of time-the worrying that is. I guess the worrying was more related to our initial trip over here with the kids being sick, the inability to sleep, etc. Luckily, this trip erased all of those travel fears and helped us all get back to normal!
We spent the rest of Wednesday on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica starting with an absolutely dreamy farmer’s market. Wow! California has so much to offer and it was all here at the market. We even saw a movie star, Lauren Bowles, who plays Holly on True Blood. The day was filled with more shopping though we didn’t buy much, and I got a much needed haircut and highlight from Kyle at LuxeLab in Santa Monica. He’s pretty awesome.
Our last dinner was at Tender Greens right by the Shangri-La. We had organic salad’s with ingredients from the mornings farmer’s market. I highly recommend Tender Greens! After dinner we wandered the streets of the Third Street Promenade, , doing a little people watching and window shopping. At some point we wandered down to the beach and dipped our toes into the Pacific Ocean. From the Med to the Pacific and back again in just a few days, this time returning to France as legal residents!