Okay y’all. I’ve been here almost 2 months and the sparkly glitz and glamour of Hollywood is starting to lose its shine. The palm trees don’t seem so exotic, the Hollywood sign is still cool but it never goes anywhere, and the chance of seeing a movie star around the corner is kind of slim. And yet I still have wonderful moments where I see Gene Kelly’s star on the sidewalk or a beautiful sunset and think “I am living in California! Holy cow, how did this happen?”
So to help remind myself of the blessing it is to be here, I want to share some of the awesome things I have gotten to do just within the past 11 days of October. I can’t always be focused on solving homelessness! A girl’s gotta have some fun!
I can successfully navigate my way through downtown L.A. and even point out a few good restaurants. I can also find my way through Hollywood, East Hollywood, and the Figueroa Corridor (all places I work as you might guess).
The next day we went to our first Dodger’s game (but we hope to see many more). It was so nice to relax with my friends and not have to talk about work or other responsibilities.
I celebrated World Communion Sunday with the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. It's just kind of cool to say I have done that in a completely different part of the world now!
We had lunch at Homegirl Café and toured Homeboy Industries. It’s a place founded by a Catholic Priest, Father Gregory Boyle, who started hiring the gang members in his community to run a bakery and get them off the streets. It has grown into a huge operation with tattoo removal, rehab programs, employment services, legal services, and most importantly a well known safe haven for anyone looking to turn their lives around. I also recommend reading Father Greg’s book, Tattoos on the Heart. Freddi was our tour guide with an amazing story involving art, 20 years in prison, and now going on to get his masters degree.
Aunt Sheila came to visit! While technically on a work trip flying for Delta, my wonderful Aunt bought me some great wine and sushi. The love and comfort of having a family member nearby was complimentary with the visit.
We celebrated Sara’s birthday by sharing a cheesecake and letting her know how much we like having her around. Especially when she gives us an excuse to eat cake!
Those of us over 21 got to see a comedy show at a hipster-y bar called The Virgil. The drinks were great, the comedy was terrible. Cheers!
Last night on Saturday Matthew and Darcie graciously let us babysit their adorable daughters! We had a blast doing puzzles, eating pizza and wanting to go to sleep before 10 pm.
Today was national Coming Out Day which we proudly celebrated at Immanuel Presbyterian Church (PCUSA affiliated of course). It was a great service and we ended by all pouring a cup of colored sand around a unity candle to represent the wide spectrum of diversity we celebrate together.