We made it! After 4 days of driving we arrived here in LA on Tuesday.
So let me tell you about our trip:
First off, I am SOOOOO glad we went through a moving company. Packing up everything was a pain but it was worth having all that other weight off our shoulders. Literally. This guy wrapped up my coffee table in a protective blanket and hoisted it over his shoulder and carried it to the truck. Dang, it always took us 2 people to carry that thing. Plus they had everything in the truck in about an hour. Normally it would take DH and I (and our parents) all day to pack it in a U-Haul. And I couldn't imagine DH or myself trying to drive a moving truck across the country. Thank you moving company.
Friday after the movers loaded everything up we spent the rest of the day cleaning, and then went out to eat with my family. My nephew was being silly and of course not understanding that his aunt and uncle were leaving. My little sister said a prayer for us and after she was done my nephew was all "Ca-li-FORN-yah?" He thought it was some silly word. So we're all telling him that aunt & uncle are going far far away to California for a long long time. "NO WAYYY! You can't go!" Then saying goodbye I said I wanted "all the hugs and all the kisses" from him. And he says "No! You have to cry!" That's because he always pretends to be mean to me when I want a hug and he says "No, I don't like you Aunt Ruth," then I pretend to cry and he gives me a hug. Believe me that I shed quite a few real tears this time.
Well Saturday morning after having some breakfast (McD's, bleh I know) we started the drive. But fortunately my big sister saved the day before we got too far. About 45 mins from her place she texted me and even though I hate it when people text/read texts while driving, thank God I decided to look at it. Because I had left my expensive new prescription glasses at her house and would be blind without my contacts if I didn't have my glasses. So we stopped at the next exit and her boyfriend and her drove out to bring me my glasses. *Whew!*
The rest of the day it rained and rained and rained all through the Texas panhandle and New Mexico. I was soooo tired and my eyes were so fatigued from trying to concentrate on the road through the rain all day. I'm so used to trading places with DH when we go driving and I was trying to figure out how to cope and stay awake. My little sis, who was used to driving from Nashville to OKC in one day, suggested those 5 hour energy drinks...Yeah it did NOTHING to keep me awake and alert except make me sick to my stomach. I eventually just had to convince DH I needed a power nap to rest my eyes for about 20 mins, and with that and some hot cappucino I was ready to go. I had originally planned that we should aim for Gallup, NM the first night, but we ended up just staying in Albuquerque. Which is a much nicer view and turns out was a better starting point for our next day's trip. (Guess I need to plan better).
Sunday we headed for Tucson, AZ to visit one of DH's friends he hadn't seen in 5 years. It rained a little bit off and on but not as much as the day before. The scary part though was when we were going west on the I-10 in New Mexico, and then for some reason the border patrol blocked off the highway, forcing everyone to take this little road south directly towards the border. I was like wtf is going on and where are they sending us??? My gps didn't even know where we were and kept showing me roads that didn't exist. But fortunately after 1 1/2 hours of wasted time, we got back to the I-10.
We got to Tucson and DH was really excited to see his friend. So after showering and freshening up at the hotel, we went to the friends place and his roommates cooked up some REALLY good Bangladeshi food. I mean DH cooks really good, but IMO his khichuri is nothing compared to how they made it, so he's got some learning to do. The food was really really delicious, but I knew we would regret eating so much before another long drive the next day.
Monday we left Tucson around 11 and headed to San Diego to stay with another good friend of ours. I checked how the weather would be and of course, it was extremely hot through Arizona. So I wore a tank top and hoochie shorts and was still burning up on the drive. And then when we drove through the mountains just inside of CA, the sign says to turn off the a/c to avoid engine over-heating (but don't avoid human over-heating :P When we finally got to San Diego I got out of the car....and was freezing! Ok maybe not freezing but this Okie is not used to 60 degree weather in July.
So on Tuesday we left San Diego around 11, stopped in San Clemente for lunch and then got to our apt here in LA. Of course it's only been a few days but I am really liking it so far. It's obviously much busier than OKC (duh) but somehow it feels "normal" to me. Now I'm going to give it a little more time before I update you and how the city has met my expectations, but first off I am going to say that driving here came so ridiculously easy to me that it almost put me to sleep and I needed to be stuck in bumper to bumper traffic to wake up (and driving in that is not as hard as I thought). I blame it on DH for trying to scare me into thinking I couldn't drive here after he visited the first time. ("People in Oklahoma can't drive. My friend wrecked both rental cars. You wouldn't know how to drive in LA.") Plus now that I've studied the map quite a bit, I realize that when we came here last year on vacation we were kinda dumb because we were staying in Anaheim and visited UCLA, Santa Monica pier, and Venice Beach on I think 3 different days (or at least there were 3 different driving trips....D'OH!) Now I know better. And I'M the one that has to keep telling DH that he needs to change lanes and watch what he's doing. So much for me not knowing how to drive.
So now we're trying to settle in but sometimes it still feels like only a vacation and I know we're acting like tourists lol. Like the first night after we were exhausted from driving and unloading the cars I was like "we need some In-n-Out" Yum. Then Wednesday after running some errands, we wanted to go to Pothead City Venice Beach. Now I would have just worn my normal clothes, but had a little problem getting some cleaning supplies at the store because I realized too late that the bottle of Drano I was holding was leaking.... So I wanted to go home and change out of my ruined clothes and then thought "Hmm, maybe I should wear this sexy beachy dress." Well that was a bad idea because I didn't have a jacket so I was FREEZING again, plus I had quite a few Marilyn Monroe moments.
Yesterday after we got our new fridge delivered, we went grocery shopping at 3 different places and I'm sure we looked like a couple of crazy happy fools astounded by low prices. Like "Whoa! Look how cheap these strawberries are! Whoa! Look how fresh these vegetables are! Whoa! Look how cheap these steaks are!" And DH is really excited that there's a halal meat grocery just down the street from us.
Ok can you tell we're excited about LA yet?
But I have to make one more mini-pitch for this great little restaurant we went to last night called Little Dhaka. It took us about an hour to drive there in heavy traffic but it was definitely worth it for REAL Bangladeshi food. DH said he heard a lot of good things about it. I read some reviews online and there were some "iffy" reviews, but mostly from people who only know Indian food and were disappointed that it's not the same. (A lot of people think the food should be similar because it's in the same geographic region, but the spices and method of cooking is totally different. Indian food typically uses a lot more yogurt and a lot more "sauce" per meat. Bangladeshi food uses different spices, a lot more onions, and you get much more meat or vegetable than gravy). Oh plus some reviewers complained about plastic silverware, but come on- you don't need silverware for this food-you just eat with your hands! Anyway, it's just a little place and also has a little market for South Asian groceries, but the guy at the counter was very nice and friendly and the food was awesome. DH said the whole place is just like back home. Well even though I don't know what "back home" is like, I guess I've been around Bangladeshi company enough that the place just felt comfortable and normal to me. And the food was just like real homemade Bangladeshi food. Definitely worth the drive out there.