|Los Angeles in Winter|
Copyright Ghetty Image
In the morning, the employee wakes me up and tells me to pay. I grumble, "In an hour, ja? I'm still sleeping."
I had to come all the way from Dusseldorf from Munich because I changed my flight last minute. A direct flight opened up from Dusseldorf to Los Angeles. I'd rather take that then leaving from Frankfurt, going to Madrid, changing in New York, and then to Los Angeles.
Dusseldorf, as a city, didn't impress me. My heart was still in Munich. I spent my last day in Germany shopping for German Christmas Cake (Stollen), which has dried fruit and almond paste; chocolates; and Christmas cookies. In old town Dusseldorf, I saw everyone eating a fish soup with a glass of white wine.
I order it. I eat it outside in the winter air. It tastes good and warm and very hearty. I can see why everyone orders it. The wine pairs well with the soup. It's good.
Later, a friend of a friend, who is now my friend, named Henrik, picks me up from the hostel. He drives me to a super-mega-hype-fancy-modern supermarket in Germany. It's huge and clean and has really fresh and good and fancy foods. There are cafes and restaurants and bars inside. We eat in there and buy more Christmas food for gifts back for my friends in Los Angeles.
I buy my cat Jeh Pan some German treats too. I wonder if he'll like them.
One day, on my holiday, my mother calls, worried about Jeh Pan. He didn't come home one night. I tell her there's nothing I could do from Europe. I tell my younger brother to sort it out. But there's nothing he could do too.
But the next day, Jeh Pan comes home tired and exhausted. Jeh Pan didn't even want to eat.
A neighbor tells my mother that he was trying to catch a mouse for a very, very long time. He finally gave up and came home.
I'll have to tell him, when I come home, not to do that again. Perhaps, he thinks he's Santiago from The Old Man and the Sea, and that he needs to prove he's a great hunter. I'll have to tell him, though, he could hunt all he wants, as long as he doesn't worry my mother with his absence. He'll look at me, pretending not to understand. But I know he will.
Back to Henrik. Henrik and I catch up. He takes me to his place. I sleep there. Henrik takes me to the airport on Christmas Eve. He tells me to come back. It was good catching up with him.
I almost miss my flight to Los Angeles. American Airlines forgot to attach a ticket number to my reservation code. In other words, American Airlines made a technical mistake. I call them. I'm a bit panicky. If the lady on the line doesn't fix it in 15 minutes, I'm going to miss my flight.
I stay calm. I don't raise my voice. I just tell her I'm a bit upset because I won't be home for Christmas if it doesn't get fixed within the next 15 minutes. She takes 11 minutes to fix it.
I'm able to check in. I board. I get there right on time.
On the plane, I write to the CEO of American Airline, telling him I almost miss my flight. I request that he refund the last minute surcharges. I hope he does.
My flight is twelve hours. The food is good. It was nice and simple flight.
When I arrive to the airport, it takes me 30 minutes to get my baggage and clear customs. It takes me about two hours to get to El Monte Station. From there, my mother is waiting in my car.
She comes out and hugs me. She likes me in my winter clothes and my new German haircut, which I can't say I like too much.
She says, "You look good."
I say, "Look, I got a German haircut."
She looks at it and says, "It's German?"
I drive to Baldwin Park. I go to the garage. Jeh Pan is sleeping. I say to him, "Jeh Pan, I'm home."
He wakes up. Comes to me. I pick him up. I squeeze him. He meows. I drop him back on the floor. He walks to the kitchen.
I call my friend. They tell me to come to the Christmas Church service with them. I feel tired from not sleeping. I say, "Ok," nonetheless.
I drive there. We go to church. We eat dinner after.
I go home. I think about what I was supposed to learn from this trip. What was the point? But before I could think about it much more, I fall asleep. When I wake up, it'll be Christmas Day.
And that was how this winter's journey ended.
Merry Christmas everyone!