The directions were very simple: I-5 north from San Diego, exit Glendale Boulevard, left on Maple, find a spot to park. Yet, as an extra hour ticked by, I wondered if Southern California traffic had indeed swallowed Danielle alive.
This meeting been 12 years in the making; I remember telling her about the Olympic torch passing my school for the 2002 Olympics. Now I was preparing to host her in my tiny studio apartment for two weeks while she “did California.” Unlike with my German pal, Eric, we’d never even communicated over the phone, let alone Skype. We were either going to get on smashingly, or destroy each other.
I can’t blame what happened on the Canadian goodies she brought, the Nanaimo bars, the real maple syrup, or even the Kinder Surprise. But despite the fact that we were conversing directly for the first time in twelve years, it really felt like we were just meeting up after a few weeks. In short, between adventures, I had a sister from another mister, and it was really cool.
Danielle traveled (and travels) hard-core. For instance, she did a day trip one Wednesday to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (total distance traveled: 544 miles), then immediately set off on another adventure the next morning. As I write this, she is just returning from a month in Africa followed by another month in Central America. Maybe I should get a job at a Canadian Walmart.
In any case, Danielle is one of those travelers I admire, and it was really amazing getting to show her around this state I’ve come to call home. She ate up the Hollywood Walk of Fame and showed me the piano staircase at Hollywood and Highland. She was amazed by the ocean, especially the tide pools, though we never saw a much-coveted starfish. And above all, she took photos of the food I cooked. Now that’s a way to flatter your host!
It’s magical to see a place for the first time, but after you live there a while, it’s easy to let that magic become mundane. That’s why I think it’s important to get to know people from other places. When you host someone and show them around the place where you live, you not only rediscover that magic through their eyes, but you also learn there is more to the place where you live than you may have realized.
What have you discovered lately about the place you call home?