Monday, January 6, 2014

Three Days with Grams

Hello Friends,

A very happy belated New Year to all! I have had an amazing past couple of days to kick off 2014. In addition to still having just under a week left of my winter vacation left (got to love the year-round school schedule!), my grandmother on my mom's side is visiting from Korea for roughly three months. I haven't seen her in at least five years, but I reckon in actuality, it's a lot closer to a decade. Since both of my parents work and my brother is gearing up to start school again, I thought it would be nice to spend some quality time with my grandmother and maybe help her fight some boredom while waiting for everyone else to come home.

Upon seeing her, my heart felt very heavy. Not to the mention the precipitation collecting in my eye sockets was rather difficult to conceal. It was evident that time had taken its toll on her as she had visibly aged much from the memory that I had of her when we were travelling around and exploring Cheju (or Jeju) Islands together the last time I was in Korea. It was quite sobering. I think sometimes I get lost in the every day bustle between my career, relationships, and hobbies. So much so that I often don't realize how much time has really passed. At least her hair was as jet black as I remembered it to be.

I immediately caught my grandmother's hobble as she walked up to hug me. My mom had told me awhile back that she had been in a car accident, but I had no idea that it had affected her mobility this much. It was a struggle for her to walk and it quickly became evident that all the fun things that I had planned were probably not going to all happen. So I scaled back the itinerary and we spent our first day at the Rose Float post-parade viewing and our second lovely day at the South Coast Botanic Garden. At the very last minute I decided to hang around for an extra day and took her to the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. So you got a grandmother visiting from out of town? State? Country? Or maybe she's right there. Here's my guide for a fulfilling 3 days of adventure.

Step #1
Take her to see some flowers. Chances are your grandmother likes flowers and depending on what season it is, the aroma can be intoxicating. Given the timing of my visit, I took my grandmother to the Rose Float Parade float viewing on Jan. 2. Contrary to my own assumptions, as visually stunning as the floats were, my olfactory system wasn't nearly as delighted. Which I guess when I give some more thought to makes sense since the flowers have begun their natural process of decay by this time. Regardless, it was my first time seeing the floats in person and they were just astounding! The colors, the creativity, the attention to detail... I'm always amazed with what people can create with our hands and a little imagination.

Step #2
Take her to a garden. Still running with the presumption that your grandmother likes flowers, take her to a botanical garden and explore and learn about your local flora together. We visited the South Coast Botanic Garden located up the Palos Verdes Peninsula and enjoyed a nice stroll through their Japanese Garden, Vegetable Garden, Children's Garden, Rose Garden, and Meadow. Fun fact, I overheard the lady at admissions telling a co-worker that some episodes of Dexter were filmed here. I Googled it when I got home and discovered that the cabin in the Everglades (Season 2) was in fact filmed here. I was an avid fan for the first four seasons so that was an unexpected bonus.

Step #3
Take her to a museum, preferably a historic one. I don't know what it is, but in my experience, I've noticed that grandmothers really like presidents and anything related to them. I remember when I was little my other grandmother gobbled up Clinton's autobiography like it was her last meal on Earth. So I did some research and stumbled upon the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda. In addition to various exhibitions, you can see Nixon's helicopter and birthplace (literally the bed he was born in!). Really fascinating stuff and a good brush up on some American history!

And there you have it! Go figure, my favorite thing about my entire little vacation with my grandmother was the way she held my hand each step of the way :).

As always, thank you so much for reading and do me a favor, give your grandmother a huge hug or kiss the next time you see her will ya!?

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