The five service pups I've raised...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

So what have you been doing for 23 years?

A self timer shot using the tripod.
At the Beach Grass Cafe for dinner.
I believe one of life's treasures is reconnecting with friends.

I received the email this Monday past. Jan (pronounced "Yawn", whom I first met in Sweden in 1985) was able to get a flight to LAX (he's a pilot for Emirates Airlines and now lives in Dubai). Was I around? Could we hook up? Maybe enjoy a dinner to catch up?

I emailed him back YES! I have to work but will try to get off early. Can you come south? Take the Amtrak maybe, I could meet you in Oceanside? We swapped numbers and when he got to his hotel on Wednesday evening he phoned me. He had rented a car and was driving down.

Traffic was horrible (no surprise - LA at rush hour?) but he arrived at my door around 7:30pm. Oh my gosh - there he was! It had been 23 years. I last saw him in Cardiff in July 1986 when he visited me only a few months after I had moved here from Ohio. I was still living with Dad at hiss first Cardiff home (see blog from a few weeks back). And here Jan was 23 years later! Big hugs and smiles.

I popped a champagne bottle and we reminisced as we enjoyed the bubbly. Kerry dog welcomed him like a long lost friend although she of course had never met Jan. (aren't labs just so accepting and welcoming?) We laughed and looked at the old photos I had dug out, from over two decades ago. He caught me up like one can only do in person and told me about Katrina and the kids (Martin and Malin - son and daughter 19, 18 yrs old).

We laughed at remembered events of his first visit to Calif when we were both in our early 20's. I recalled his keen dream to be a pilot...he recalled a fortune he got when we went for Chinese back then. It said "your success will be determined by your efforts" and he said at the point he was in his life, that really stayed with him. The Top Gun movie was huge that summer and we went to the Miramar Air show. We watched the impressive Blue Angels...and now here Jan is flying jumbo jets = wide bodied 777s 15 hours over the north pole to arrive into LA. I have such respect for a person that has a dream and sets out to achieve it.

We went to the Beach Grass Cafe and enjoyed yummy seafood salads and Merlot. More talk, more catching up...our trip to Tijuana, and Rosarita, MX that summer for lobster...."no, no Mexico is not really a place you would want to visit these days", I shared with him.

He crashed in my spare room for the night and after her morning walk today, Kerry charged up the stairs to see if he was awake. Well his door was not latched and former service dog in training Kerry has the skills she needs to just push a door open with her nose -it's quite easy she always tells me with her want to keep me out? then all you have to do is close it tightly. ("really you humans!") I failed to share this vital info with Jan.

So she barged in and jumped up on the fold out bed doing circles all excited that our guest was still here, carrying his socks in her mouth as she must always carry something - a true retriever without doubt.

"Are you awake Jan?" Kerry wants to know.

We had limited time as Jan had to head back up to LA around lunch time. So after a bit of visiting over coffee we headed out to Pipes Cafe for some good, cheap surfer breakfasts and lattes.

Then I showed him Eagle's View, Dad's home now which he had never seen. Ooohing and ahhhing...
Some goofy photos with Kerry; shots of the lagoon; the pacific ocean; me, clothed in the jacuzzi tub (I'll have to post that one later as it's quite funny but its on his camera)....and then we cruised by Dad's old place waiting until someone went through the gate so we could follow in behind them.

Jan remembered exactly where Dad's former house was and what street to turn on...things stay with you when it's an adventure for sure. He kept remarking how gorgeous the area was. And of course it's October today and this is some of So. Calif's best weather -plus a Santa Ana arrived today so clear BLUE skies, sunny and warm!

It was fascinating to learn about his life in Dubai the past 7 years; learning about the nomads that still live in those parts, camel raising - VERY expensive and a huge indication of wealth; the fear of Iran's amassing nuclear weapons as Iran is only about 60 miles from Dubai; Jan's concern about his daughter who gets too much attention from the young Lebanese men....

I told him as interesting as it sounds, I prefer to trade him a stay in So. Cal at Dad's if Dad and I can come visit him and Katrina at their home in northern Sweden where during the summer it can stay light for the whole day. I have not been to Sweden for so long and I would love to visit there again. He said that sounded like a fair trade to him. LUCKY him, het gets 42 days vacation a year and free flights as an airline employee perk. Wow.

Getting a shot from Dad's driveway.

Jan and Kerry at Sunset Hill.

Our time went by much too quickly but how wonderful to see him again.

1 comment:

ann said...

Great story!

We had the same couch that you have in your spare room:-)