Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What a Great Time

Our first trip back to the States after our first year in New Zealand was terrific.

Where to start....

I flew into LAX on July 1st (July 4th weekend). Getting thru Customs took almost 2 hours. But I had all the patience in the world at this point so it was fine. I could not get over how cranky most everyone else was. Eric was to to follow on the 7th.(using frequent flyer miles what a pain) Ok not a pain for him, he got to go Business Class!

I picked up our rental car. Yes, I needed to remember to drive on the “other” side of the roads once again. It was not that difficult actually, but I did keep hitting the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal when I was trying to indicate a turn. And I was happy to learn that Eric did the same when he got here.

I drove straight to see my brother and my niece and nephew -Casey and Tanner. They were certainly a sight for sore eyes. I miss them very much and it was great spending some time together. First In N Out burger-check and Pinkberry Yogurt double score!!

After that I drove to Pasadena where I was staying with Rich, my Uncle-in law. Great new Condo, it was like staying at a 5-star hotel.

I spent the next 12 days running around seeing as many friends and family as I could. It felt great seeing everyone and being able to share stories of our adventures in NZ. I drove more in those 12 days than I have driven in the entire year I have been in NZ. It was “hot” (90-100 F) and sunny and I loved it. I did not wear shoes the whole time. My feet were in complete shock. (yay flip flops)

I celebrated my Birthday with friends. It was the first time Eric and I have not been together – odd. We got to celebrated a few days later with him his Mom, Uncle and sister Sheila at a great steak place. Alas for those who know... I did not get to Benihana this year ;O(

I also got to see the Tim Burton Exhibit at LACMA which was really cool. -I was sorry I did not buy the Collectible Book but it was soooo big and I did not have the space or weight allowance to drag it back to NZ.

After LA, Eric and I flew up to Seattle.

It was great to see my parents and more family. Dad made his famous French Toast (heart attack on a plate) MMmmmmm it was sooo good. And more friends! And more good food.

We checked in on our house which was looking great. I was not sure what to expect after a year of someone else (a whole family with 3 kids) living in it. I spent a wee bit of time just staring at my shower – my extremely large, recently re-modeled, glass enclosed with dual showerheads shower... and I was crying on the inside. Ooohhhh I miss that shower. My shower in NZ – Is so small I can’t even bend over without touching the sides.

We discovered the AFK Tavern, a great bar/hangout for gamers and geeks! If you are in the Seattle area I highly recommend supporting this place. There should be more of them. I'd love to see the game community help promote and support it.

We also got to see the Avatar and Battlestar Galactica exhibits at the EMP -AND THEY HAD THE Daggit!!!! That made my day.

I then spent two days attending the IGDA Summit and Casual Connect for work, while Eric continued visiting with friends.

From Seattle we flew down to San Diego for Comic Con.

I really love this convention. Although I have to be honest and say that over the last 5 plus years, I have been very disappointed that I can no longer attend the panels that I want to. The situation with the lines is so out of control and I refuse to waste my time standing in lines for 2-6+ hours. So I spend my time mostly in the smaller panels and on the exhibit floor drooling over the amazingly cool stuff, buying some, discovering and meeting new artists and catching up with artists I have worked with, and old friends. I also had a few work related meetings.

I flew home on the Monday after Comic Con and Eric stayed another 5 days, visiting with family and friends in San Diego.

The time really flew by. But it was a good amount of time.

We are sorry that we did not get to see “everyone”, but summer can be a busy time for all. And some shopping did occur along the way as well. We arrived in LAX with 2 suitcases, Eric and I, and we came back with 4.

Take Aways:
We were pleasantly surprised that we were not as repulsed by the States as we feared

we might be. (Okay maybe still by the politics, medical and economic situations)

Seattle is still a beautiful city and we loved being back there with the crisp clean air and fresh smell of the evergreens.

And San Diego is still a great beach town with perfect weather.

Yes, you can live mostly on Mexican food, hamburgers and frozen yogurt for 3 weeks.

I hope I can do this all again next year!

Hugs to all,

Stacy & Eric

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