California Adventure Begins

Hard to beat this sunset view from near LAX.

Hard to beat this sunset view from near LAX.

While I’m still quite behind (which I learned today made my most recent post about Chicago confusing for people who knew I was in LA), at least I’m blogging from the same city I’m writing about. And that is Los Angeles, California. I grew up here and visit often, but this two-week trip before heading to San Francisco for pastry school will be my longest time spent in LA since the summer after college. And that was 20+ years ago!

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One Week in Chicago

What more American or Texan meal could I return to the US with than a big plate of BBQ brisket and pulled pork?

What more American or Texan meal could I return to the US with than a big plate of BBQ brisket and pulled pork?

It seems like forever ago that I was in Guatemala, and the same goes for Chicago – both before and after. I’ve been moving around so much since the end of June (Israel for ten days, six weeks in Bucktown, two weeks in Europe, a final week in Bucktown, then ten weeks in Guatemala) that nothing feels permanent. I land, I explore, I eat and I move on.

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And Then It Ends

The view from just outside our table at Friday's breakfast.

The view from just outside our table at Friday’s breakfast.

It’s very hard for me to sit here in Chicago and write about my last two days in Guatemala. I’m not even going to do much reflecting on the trip as a whole right now. I’ll save that for a future post. But suffice it to say, it’s hard to look at the pictures and not wish I were still there. I’m looking forward to my time here with friends and family, and the same in LA and then school in San Francisco. But a part of me is left behind in Antigua and I will need to get back there to feel whole again.

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Wrapping Up Work

The very French-bistro-esque atmosphere at Bistro Cinq.

The very French bistro-esque atmosphere at Bistro Cinq.

It was weird to go to work on my final Monday for a variety of reasons. The first was obvious – I was in the home stretch and everything was part of a countdown. The second was that, for whatever reason, despite moving literally across the street from Barbara’s house to the hotel, my brain kept thinking I was somewhere else – like in a different part of town, that it would take me longer to get to work, or otherwise modify my schedule. I’m not sure what the reason for this was, but it ended up persisting for a few days.

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Final Weekend

This little critter was just hanging out on my baking equipment before I packed it up.

This little critter was just hanging out on my baking equipment before I packed it up.

So amazing that my final weekend in Guatemala has come and gone. And as I write this, I’m down to just a few days before my early Saturday morning departure. But I did my best to make my last weekend a fun one, and I mostly succeeded.

I actually started Saturday by packing up my stuff and moving out of Barbara’s wonderful house. The hotel I found for my final week in town was just across the street, and it was easy to transport what I’d need and leave behind the stuff that wouldn’t be used during my stay.

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Nine Weeks Down

This past Thursday marked nine weeks in Guatemala, and I now have less than a week to go. The ticking clock has had a noticeable impact. For most of the first nine weeks, I treated my life here as that of a resident: shopping, cooking, running errands, going to work, and things of the like. I made my own breakfasts, lunches and many dinners. I had my schedule for working out at the gym and going on runs.

Some of the things I'll miss most: this weather, this view, DLG and great local coffee.

Some of the things I’ll miss most: this weather, this view, DLG and great local coffee.

But as the calendar flipped to December and I became much more aware of how little time I have left here, I began to take a little more of the tourist approach. I’ve stopped more often in the street to look up at the volcanoes on beautiful days, and savor their majesty. I’ve made sure to pull the lunch table out from underneath the overhang at the office, and sit in the sun while we eat. And I’ve been having more dinners out, as I tick a final few restaurants off the list.

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Thanksgiving Número Dos

One of the three stations where our smorgasbord was set up.

One of the three stations where our smorgasbord was set up.

One of the things that I missed most as Thanksgiving rolled around was my annual Friendsgiving. For the last three years, I hosted it at my condo in Chicago on the Saturday before Thanksgiving (before everyone left town) and it was always a slightly different mix of friends and family, with great food and lots of laughter and stories.

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