The three weeks I got to be home were nothing short of amazing. I want to share with you my top favorite parts of the trip. These are in chronological order:
1. My grandma. This very special 89 year old birthday girl was my excuse to visit home. My grandma is someone INCREDIBLY special to me. She has been one of my biggest supporters in life and I love her dearly. I flew out to Washington to spend a few days alone with her before we headed out to California together. I treasure her greatly.
2. My birthday breakfast with my mom, Nigel, Aviva and Jeremy. It's not every day that a girl turns 30. I met up with my family in Berkeley for breakfast on the morning of my birthday. It's not often that we get to spend time just the 5 of us. And it was so nice to see that as time goes on, I think my siblings and I get closer. I realize this may seem weird to say. But I know that some of my friends feel like they lose touch with their siblings as they get older. Granted I stopped living with my siblings when I was 12 and they were 9. So we haven't really lived as siblings for almost two decades, but I think that might be part of my surprise to find that the older we get, the more I really enjoy spending time with them. My sister is really unique, artistic, and smart. And she wants to make the world a better place. My brother is one of the sweetest and kindest men you can find. I feel really blessed that my brother and sister are so incredibly cool. Someday maybe I'll live up to the challenge of being their big sister.
4. Meeting Anderson! One of my favorite people in the world Annalisa has been my faithful friend since the days of jr. high. A visit with her is a MUST for any trip home. This visit was especially sweet since I got to meet her little son, Anderson. He is one of the happiest babies out there. No surprise since his parents rock. But still, great to see that he inherited it from them!
5. Ashlee and Andrew. Enough said. Oh, wait, maybe I should explain. You know those friends in life that you just know will always be part of your life? Those friendships that change your life? With too many stories to tell? And too many late night talks to remember? That my friends, is Ashlee. Out of all my friends, I think I have shared the most memories with her. She knows the university me, the Chile me, the happy me, the sad me, and probably the most scary, the crazy me.
Now, there comes a time in every single girls' friendship when one gets married and you wonder how the friendship will handle such a game changer. But I am happy to report that Ashlee's husband, Andrew is not only an incredible husband, but is one of my favorite people to visit anyways! He is honest and good. And my 48 hours with them was my special birthday treat. We packed in so many good conversations and fun moments that it feels like I was there for a week! Ashlee, Lord knows where our friendship has taken us (literally, New York? Chicago? Bariloche Argentina?!?). Now that we are both settling into "grown-up" lives, all I can say is that your friendship means the world to me. And I'll never forget our talks on the beach while eating Trader Joes. Nope, never!
So all in all, it was a wonderful time visiting "home". Until next year when my family uses my grandma's 90th birthday as an excuse to get me out there again...