A couple weekends ago I went on a long weekend trip to Los Angeles to look at Loyola Marymount University, a school I am looking at to pursue an MFA in Television Screenwriting. To be sure I would like the program, the campus and the city that surrounds it, I figured the smart decision would be to take a trip and get a firsthand look at it all for myself.
I asked my friend Katie if she would want to come along and being the great friend and fun and adventurous person she is, she didn’t hesitate one bit. So we booked a long weekend getaway to sunny LA, strategically picked at the end of February, sure to still be cold in Buffalo.
We would be able to sneak away from snow and single digit temperatures for sun, sun, more sun and temperatures so warm you could choke.
We managed to pick a weekend of rain and a few torrential downpours and temperatures that had been a bit chillier than expected. Seeing as it rains only a handful of times a year in Los Angeles, our timing couldn’t have been more inopportune. But there were a few bright sides (a little ironic, no?) to the unexpected weather: (1) California was in a severe drought and really needed the rain, so the solution just came at my expense, no big deal (2) While I packed WAY too optimistically for a trip with shorts I never wore once, I managed to pack so light that I didn’t have to check a bag (3) it was still warmer than Buffalo.
But I think the greatest bright side of the whole trip was that we took advantage of the rain. We had so many shenanigans in the rain that I think we may have shared more laughs and created more memories than if we just had typical sunny LA.
I got to see Katie, nearly all 4’11” of her, taken out by a wave at Venice Beach, along with surfers jumping off the pier to get out past the waves.
I saw a man wipe out on Hollywood Boulevard because the sidewalk was so slippery (not that I completely laughed at someone else’s misfortune, he got up and kept going) and got so incredibly soaked in the process (see I got my share, too).
I saw such beauty when the fog crept around the hills of LA, only to burned away by the few momentary bursts of sunshine that made the city glow.
I got to stand on the Santa Monica Pier fearing for my life as the waves nearly crashed and wiped us away (They were unspeakably enormous).
I even took a moment to do a little dance in the rain the first day in Abbott-Kinney. At that point I was already wet, there was no escaping it, so why not just taking full advantage of it? So that is what I did.
Aside from the circumstances that were amped up from the rain, I got to explore a farmer’s market that had turned into Mardi Gras central, playing the best jazz music I’ve ever heard.
I got to see the set up for the Academy Awards, which as an aspiring writer was something that left me breathless and in complete awe. At that moment, I could feel the world stop. I was so full of dreams, hope and love that I thought I could burst right there on the red carpet.
And when the sun finally did come out on the last few hours of our trip, I appreciated it. I sat by the pool, even swimming a few laps to reconnect with the water that I have been separated from for half of a year. I grabbed my journal and wrote, taking in every moment from the four days we had been in Los Angeles, at a time when LA was not itself.
I really got to see a side to the city that most would not typically want to and I had one hell of a time in the process. It helped that I had a quirky sidekick in my friend Katie who would’ve kept me laughing in any situation – rain or shine.
And that was one of many lessons I took from my trip to Los Angeles: Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain. I would’ve loved sunny skies and 70 degree weather, but instead I learned to have fun in circumstances that were beyond my control.
When you can learn to just let go and laugh uncontrollably, to find the bright side on a cloudy and dreary day, when you can just make the best out of any situation that doesn’t go as planned, that is when you can experience true happiness because nothing will hold you back and nothing will tear you down.
Oh, and if you can find a sidekick, a friend, a significant other, a family member, anyone who can bring that side out of you, cherish them. Because of their presence, you will never forget the times when things didn’t line up how you envisioned, but you had the time of your life in spite of it. Who knew getting taken out by a wave at Venice Beach and getting soaked and nearly wiping out on Hollywood Boulevard will be the fondest memories of a weekend getaway to the west coast?