There is something about being a transplant in a big city that makes a select few of one’s friendships very deep and meaningful. Since many of us don’t have family living in these cities, our friends become our surrogate local families. We spend holidays with them, they collect our mail when we are out of town, they are our emergency contacts, they watch our dogs, they know our house alarm codes and have spare keys to our front doors. I’ve been blessed with a large handful of these friends. The week before I left on my road trip was such a whirlwind of packing and planning that I regrettably wasn’t able to say goodbye to most of my Los Angeles “family” before leaving for almost 3 months. I hope they realize how much they mean to me, despite the fact that I wasn’t able to tell each of them in person. When Yoda and I reached the San Francisco Bay area I was reminded again how lucky I am. We arrived at my high school friend Aaron’s house in Oakland on Sunday night, dirty and tired after a night of camping in Big Sur.
Our mutual friend Jake met us there for dinner. As I made an immediate beeline for a much needed shower, Aaron performed his culinary magic in the kitchen while Jake gave Yoda some very appreciated play time. Yoda has missed his Uncle Jake!
As a thank you for the hospitality, I brought Aaron a bottle of V.Sattui Angelica, a mix of Muscat and 19 year-old pot-still Carneros brandy. It tastes like a fine bourbon and the 3 of us savored a glass over dessert.
The Angelica will keep for at least 3 weeks, so Aaron insisted I take it with me to share with all the friends I see on this leg of my trip.
On Monday Yoda and I headed to Marin County to visit my friend Eugenia, a former comrade in the film industry who worked up the courage years ago to move her family from, in her words, the vacuum of Los Angeles. She’s never looked back. I’m inspired!
After spending the after-noon writing my last blog post while sipping latte at the charming, warm and inviting Piccolo Teatro in Sausalito, Yoda and I headed back to San Francisco to spend the next night on Jake’s sofa in the Mission District. An impromptu dinner party ensued, the guests of which are all close friends of mine.
I can’t tell you how much joy it gave me to gather together 4 friends and see them all laughing, talking, and getting to know each other. As the 5 of us toasted with cups of my travelling bottle of Angelica (thank you Aaron for the suggestion!), I quietly felt my heart swell as I looked around the table. Here I am, jobless, homeless, broke, lost and confused, yet these friends still love and accept me. I don’t need the glamorous Hollywood job, fancy title or thick wallet in order to be accepted. They are here for me, supporting me on my crazy journey to find myself, opening their homes and sharing their food, and loving me just because I’m me. In this first week of travels, I realize that thought alone will probably be my favorite and most valuable lesson of the road.