Happy freaking birthday.
June of 2016 was one of the best and worst months I’ve had in quite some time. The month started with me leaving the job I held for the past five years which was closely followed by a big birthday of an age in which we will not speak of and then a small injury on my hand. Now I know that these 3 actions are clearly just first world problems but as they occurred simultaneously, it felt like being punched in the gut.
I tried to smile through it all and pretend like it was the best thing that could have happened to me but truly I just felt old. I felt old and tired. Actually I felt old, tired, and restless. Also let’s face it, I lean towards the dramatic so I used this opportunity to have a self-induced mid-life crisis. I highly recommend this by the way. Instead of waiting around for the urge to buy a sports car or do something stupid, just plan that shit out and enjoy the ride.
I did the only thing reasonable. I booked a trip. I understand that most folks like to head to the islands for an all-inclusive vacation or perhaps they feel immersing themselves in history is a good break. For me I knew I didn’t want that this time. I needed something different. I needed to reconnect with myself. Since I have been thinking about friendships a lot while writing my love letters to my friends, it seemed this was a great opportunity to visit some of my dearest friends from childhood.
I would like to add here that my amazing friends in Philly and the hubs organized the most perfect brunch for my b-day. Gina even got my favorite cake, “The Opera Cake” from Miel Patisserie. They are the reason I didn’t spend the day curled up in the fetal position with a wine IV. As you will soon discover, my friends rule.
Happy freaking birthday Tanya.
The idea for the trip actually came up a few months ago. I received an invitation to my friend Tanya’s 40th prom themed birthday celebration in Laguna Beach, California. As soon as it hit my inbox, I wanted to go. Like really wanted to go. As I was trying to figure out if I could swing it, I mentioned to Dave in Portland, Oregon that I was looking at flights. He suggested I stop in Portland as well.
I had been wanting to visit my west coast peeps for quite some time but because of various reasons – lack of funds, crazy schedules, life – I hadn’t been there yet. This by the way makes me a terrible friend because both Tanya and Dave moved to the west coast after college. If they didn’t take trips to Philly, I would never see them. Yeah I know, I suck. I’m working on it.
Anyway, sometime in the middle of May, I booked my flight. Anxiety was weighing on me because I knew June was going to be a tough month. It was almost impulsive. I got some not so great news and immediately went online and booked the first flight I saw. Now to be clear, I had already told Ccelli I was doing this and he was all for it. For one, he would have the house to himself for a while. Two, It would be quiet because you all know I’m a talker and three, he would head to the beach with his brother. So this was all a win win.
Flight is booked.
I emailed Tanya and Dave and told them I had booked my flight. I gave them the date I was arriving and that was about as much as I planned. I knew one thing, I would be at Tanya’s party my last night in Laguna Beach. Other than that, I was going to fly by the seat of my pants. I didn’t want to think, plan, or make decisions. I just wanted to eat, pray, and drink. Therefore I dubbed this trip the #EatPrayDrinkTour2016. By eating I meant that I wanted to try new delicious foods. Praying was really time for meditation and drinking well that one is pretty obvious isn’t it? I would be drinking copious amounts of alcohol in an effort to numb my feelings for a week.
I was instantly reminded that I have the coolest friends ever. Dave emailed to see if I preferred white or red wine and to find out my coffee preference. Tanya emailed and urged me to stay with her as opposed to a hotel. I mean they really stepped up in preparing me for the trip. Thank goodness because I did so little planning that when I arrived in Portland I said to Dave, “Did I even ask to stay with you? I don’t remember. If I didn’t, I hope it’s alright.” He knows me well enough to know I’m an airhead and was prepared for me to stay with him. Like I said, they are really great friends.
I had my prom dress for Tanya’s party, my carry-on expertly packed, and a full battery on my phone. I boarded in Philly and they checked my carry-on at the gate. I just don’t understand why they allow carry-ons and then end up checking them anyway. It drives me insane! Anyway, I had one layover in Phoenix. I had about 3 hours and my gate was close so I had some lunch and way too much sangria.
Thirty minutes before boarding I settled up my check and proceeded to my gate which turned out not to be as close as I thought. It was actually two terminals away. Thanks to customer service I learned that I needed to take a tram and then a shuttle to get there. Now let’s set the stage. It’s 100 degrees in Phoenix maybe more, I’m lost in the airport, and pretty much drunk. #EatPrayDrinkTour2016 was already in full effect. The trip was already exactly as it was supposed to be. I made it to the gate with moments to spare so all was good in the end.
Landing in Portland I had a sick feeling that my suitcase didn’t make it because the women who checked my bag was a little irritated with me. My inclination was correct and my luggage was lost. I wasn’t the only one though, a mother and son duo was suffering the same fate. Thank goodness I met them because they helped me and together we discovered our luggage was on the next flight from Philly. Poor Dave, he patiently waited outside till my luggage got there. The exhaustion of the month was catching up with me and I wanted to break down and cry. Walking out of the terminal, I saw Dave standing there so instead I just hugged him for a really long time.
Next time, learn why I fell in love with Portland and more specifically Portland’s wine. Then soon after find out why the folks of Laguna Beach are the some of the best people on earth.