Yes, that is exactly what we are doing. Counting the weeks, days, minutes almost until we actually board the plane and leave Los Angeles as a distant memory and begin the new, exciting next chapter in our lives. It is 5 1/2 weeks, 40 days, 960 hours or 57600 minutes to be exact. Do you think I might be just a little excited?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have enjoyed living in Los Angeles for the past 17 years. Most of the time at least. For those of you that know LA, you will commiserate with me when I talk about the traffic, no doubt. That I could happily have done without, but you cannot escape it, no matter where you live. Unless of course you happen to live right next to where you work but that is very unusual and most of us have quite lengthy commutes. But, by far the best aspect of living of Los Angeles has to be the weather. How can you complain at the near perfect year round temperatures, gorgeous blue sunny skies at least 360 days a year and knowing that the rest of the country is really envying you in February when the east coast is under several feet of snow and experiencing below freezing temperatures and you are walking around in a t-shirt, shorts and sandals? Life is good. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of rain days we have had this past year, now, that is not good for the water level but it was great to not have to wear wellingtons and take out the brolly. The Dordogne will be a big change as far as that is concerned. Stuart has already bought his Hunter boots and they are in the container making their way across the ocean as I write. I have not yet bought mine, maybe it is a subconscious effort to hang onto the sunny skies as long as possible.
I have been quite busy the last week so the time has not seemed to drag quite as much. I flew to Charlottesville, Virginia, for my daughter’s graduation at UVA. This was my first experience at a US graduation and boy, did I love it. It was so festive. There were two ceremonies on UVA’s historic lawn. The first was Friday, the valedictory exercises. The speaker was Ed Helms, comedian and actor, of “The Office” and “The Hangover”. As expected, the speech was hilarious. More than just entertaining, though, Helms’ speech is a welcome reminder of his tenure as a “Daily Show” correspondent. Punctuated with laughs throughout, he cleverly addresses the tough year these graduating UVA students have seen in their final year at college, as well as topics not specific to the UVA community like identity, pluralism, and challenging authorities, campus rape, policy brutality, traditions, and institutions. The cappella performance that closed it out was unexpected and a perfect ending. These were his final words as he broke into song.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the University of Virginia Class of 2015, each and every one of you has a vibrant, courageous soul, and a depth of power, creativity and wisdom you are only just beginning to tap into. That is your light. It is the light within you, and you have to let it shine because when you do, I promise, it will illuminate you, your family, your friends, your community, your country, and the entire world. Don’t let that light die. Every day wake up and say to yourself, ’This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.’”
You should absolutely watch the full thing, beginning to end, for yourself.
And that was only the beginning. My daughter and her housemates, 7 other girls, all members of the UVA ski and & snowboard team, put on a Chipotle beer and burritos evening for the parents. What fun meeting her friends and family. Saturday was the actual graduation. Having been warned that good seating is at a premium, I was at Starbucks before 7am to get my cappuccino and croissant and my 7:20, I had claimed my seats. As Nicole later said, you got the best in the house! Ah, the things a mother has to do. Walking the lawn is a UVA tradition and with over 2500 graduates, the students carry balloons to help their parents recognise them as the walk down the center aisle. It was so colorful and festive. Not at all, a dreary, boring and dull ceremony like the one I had many years ago at UCT in Cape Town. The afternoon we attended the two departmental diploma ceremonies for her two majors and then went back to her house where her dad, was hosting a champagne and hors d’oeuvres evening for all her friends and their families. Pommery champagne and pate, crudities, devilled eggs etc. – cannot go wrong with that. The day ended with a superb dinner at The Clifton Inn, a Relais & Chateaux property just outside town. Sunday, Nicole and I had brunch together at Basil, a mediterranean restaurant near her house and then I flew back to LA.
Quite a weekend!