Journal Entry # 50 - Road Entry#40 (LAX to Tel Aviv - 9:57pm EST (Local) - January 9, 2011)

Events, memories, and the Los Angeles Stinky Cheese Man….

I guess I am going to have to continue my travel writing about Charlotte, Tennesee, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas at a later time. I am currently on my flight to Israel from Los Angeles – beginning a new adventure. On my previous trip, I was working from my MacBook – and I wrote down all of my cliff notes from each day on the road on that computer. I want to write about that experience with those notes, which I don’t have with me on this trip to Israel. I am taking my older laptop with me to Israel – trusting that a 4 year old laptop can perform in similar fashion to my newer Mac.

I will now give an update for the 3 months that corresponds between the end of my United States / Canada summer trip and this Middle East winter trip.

I pretty much ran dry by the end of September. I flew from Houston to Los Angeles to begin living with my family in Los Angeles – starting to save up money for my next adventure. I had decided along the summer road that my next destination would be Central/South America – a chance for me to strengthen my Spanish and start contributing along the way doing volunteer programs or a English teaching experience.

I primarily moved in with my mom and step-dad, Paul, for these months. I would usually spend time with my Dad and step-mom, Dede, on the weekends. The time spent in both homes was new and different for me. I hadn’t lived in Los Angeles this way since 2004. I had reference in what I was getting myself into – but I had newer living experiences that shadowed my southern California past. Ultimately, what you need to know about me is that I have an overall negative perception of this southern California area due to my personal social and educational growth from puberty onwards. I am constantly trying to work on this perception and be aware of my negative attitude towards such a dynamic city.

Wow, I just got side-tracked from talking about family to talking about a city…

My intention while living in Los Angeles was to do as much as I could with my family – in order to make them happy. I had been gone in Oregon and on the road for so long that my consistent presence was missed (I felt it). From time to time, I would relieve myself of family time to enjoy personal moments with some old high school friends (Mark & David). And I met some new friends along the way (Justin, Paris, Megan G, Jaime, and Lindsey S from Bakersfield). I wisely chose to spend certain moments with my brother and his friends as well. Consequently, I came away with more positive social experiences than negative ones over the 3 month period. Furthermore, I still believe that southern California is only a destination and not a home.

I just checked my battery on this computer. I forgot that it drains quickly in comparison to my MacBook. Maybe I should have bought a new battery?

Since I don’t have as much time as I did with my MacBook, I list the highlights and work experiences from the past 3 months in chronological order…
A. Get a DJ job for the UCLA tailgate party against Washington State (SAE – Alpha Phi Tailgate Mixer).
B. Get a personal training job for Ani Darakjian. I start helping her loose weight for her LIFE and HEALTH – not just her wedding.
C. Work on multiple storage and garage consolidation projects. First for my Mom and Dad – then for their friends and their friends.
D. Support Benjamin Goldsmith and his stand-up comedy career. Go to every show I can on Sunset Blvd. at the Comedy Store.
E. Get a resident DJ gig at a Hollywood restaurant called Lucky Devil’s. I start to spin music that I enjoy listening to and not TOP 40 / POP / HIP HOP / MAINSTREAM. I was happy with the music, selections, and performances, but not the late night hours.
F. Watch college football games with Dad almost every Saturday. We watch Oregon have a fantastic undefeated season in reaching the national championship. We go to the USC – OREGON game at the LA Coliseum together on Halloween Eve.
G. Some of my Oregon friends come down to LA for the Duck-Trojan game and we have a great time together pre-game and post-game.
H. I dress up on Halloween night as “A Guy in a Bathrobe”. Using the robe I found in Stephanie and John’s hotel room 20 minutes before going out to a bar/lounge/club in the same hotel. There I see a guy dressed as the stinky cheese man from one of my favorite old children’s books. My favorite costume at this party.
I. Have a jolly Thanksgiving weekend in East Oakland with my uncle Bruce, aunt Joanne, and cousin Alex.
J. Get waited listed for Taglit Birthright trip to Israel once again.
K. Apply for a job with Backroads Active Travel Company (based out of Berkeley and Utah).
L. Whole-heartedly lose my fantasy football season.
M. Run all the time in preparation for the Phoenix Rock and Roll marathon.
N. Hypothetically start planning my time in Arizona for the BCS National Championship and the marathon.
O. Get an e-mail from Israel saying I have been accepted to travel to Israel on January 9th, 2011. I decide win or lose against the Beavers, I got to Israel. Gut-instinct “There is a better chance of the Ducks making another national title game than me getting a free flight half-way across the earth for a travel experience”. It took me about 30-45 minutes to make this decision.
P. Ducks win against the Beavers on a glorious night – putting them in the BCS game on January 10th, 2011.
Q. Drive to Las Vegas to pick up Ryan from the airport. He flew in from NYC for the holidays and wanted to go to the Las Vegas Bowl (Boise State vs. Utah) – his alma mater. Great time together as best friends and I go to Palm Desert for the rest of the holiday season week.
R. Spend quality family time with Ben, Dede, Dad and Ben’s friends in the desert. Got very mad during a game of scrabble on some rules that I was right about and that Dede and Ben didn’t understand. Retrospectively, I could have handled that better and tried to explain the rules without getting so furious and frustrated. We spent better times together in other places and played golf, went to the movies, and feasted. I know Dad enjoys the desert together and I love making him happy.
S. New Year’s Eve morning – my Mom and Paul officially got married in their living room. Mom’s friend John presided over the marriage and it was a beautiful day. Mom had so many flowers throughout the house and she was so happy! I cried and it was beautiful. I am so happy that they love each other so much.

A well documented and happy 2010!!!!
Let’s learn, improve, teach, contribute, and grow in 2011!!!

I love my life.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.