My husband had to go out of town for five days for a physics conference (fun!), and since I'm still laid up with my bum knee, I had to stay home. That was a bummer, because the conference was in Portland--a city I haven't been to yet but desperately want to visit. So many of my friends and family members have told me they think I'd love Portland--especially since many neighborhoods there maintain the vibrant mid-century modern architectural style that I love. So, since I couldn't go along, my mom and aunt decided to come to L.A. to keep me company and take me to my appointments. I still have to go to physical therapy twice a week, and there are many doctors appointments, too. I can't drive, and they thought it would be fun to chauffeur me around and get a mini California vacation.
It was so much fun seeing them. My aunt had never seen our new place, so it was fun showing her the "urban" life of Culver City--like the egret, blue heron, and cormorant that live in my backyard. It's like living in the wetlands--not the second largest city in the country. More like "A River Runs Through It" than "Boyz in the Hood." One of the best things about seeing my mom and aunt is that they love to shop, so they'll take me anywhere I want as long as there is something to buy. I'm not kidding that they shopped the gift shop at the carwash. Yes, the carwashes here have gift shops--and good ones, too, I might add. And, for some reason (and I'm not complaining here), they always want to buy me things. I scored a very cool pink polka-dotted dress (that my husband said looked like something Betty Draper would wear), a Marc Jacobs handbag and matching laptop case (!!!!!), a pair of sensible shoes (comfort shoes are still killing my fashion pride), and many dinners out. In addition, we stayed up late watching old movies (Gidget--Sandra Dee!), gossiping, laughing...just having a good time. And then they left.
I don't know what happened, but their departure was rough on me. I cried several times yesterday like a baby, and it's hard to understand why. It's always been hard for me when leaving Iowa to come back to L.A., and I'll get a little teary on the plane, but usually after several days of guests, I'm ready to have my place back to myself. Not so yesterday. And, all day today, I've had this hollow, empty feeling in the pit of my stomach. I miss my family and I miss Iowa. I start thinking that maybe being so far away from my family is a mistake, and that someday when they're gone, I'll regret that I moved so far away. Maybe this is just a part of growing older. Luckily, my friend Sara called to be my "Robo Wake-Up Call." She reminded me that there was nothing left for me in Waterloo, Iowa. That's probably true, but I still miss it. I don't look down on anyone who lives in Iowa--in fact, I'm jealous. I love the cold and snow. I love the heat, humidity, the storms. I miss the lightning bugs, being able to find a parking space at Target, and the way the stars look in the country--far from the city lights. Sara said she feels the same way after her family leaves--she's from Des Moines, so she knows the midwest, too. But, at the same time, she has her sister living in Phoenix, so she always has some family around. I'm an only child, and the closest things I have to siblings--my cousins--all live in Iowa with their families. I'm sad that I only get to see them a couple of times a year.
As with all homesickness, it will fade with time, I'm sure. That's one of the hard things about visiting family--whether here or there. It's so much fun while it's happening, but the withdrawal can be brutal. It's also hard to go from days packed with activities to being back in bed, staring at the TV.
I realize I need some kind of change. I feel down and unattractive in this stupid leg cage, so I'll do one of the few things I can think of right now as a pick-me-up. I'm going to blonde myself tomorrow. Something to feel like I've seen at least a peek of the summer sun.