We checked into our hotel and enjoyed the luxury of not having to sleep on someone's couch in their living room. Our room boasted two nice queen sized beds and a mini fridge to house all of our groceries for the weekend. (Yes, we went grocery shopping so we could pack lunches and avoid extravagant amusement park priced meals.) After that it was off to Santa Monica Pier because if there's one thing we all don't get enough of in Utah it's the ocean!
(And just so everyone knows names here, starting with the picture on the left: that's me, Lori, Kristen (who will be referred to as "Leini" for the duration of this post, and Jodi. As you can see, it's one heck of a group of people to go on an adventure with.)
Despite the fact that the pier was also way overpriced, we had a blast there and even rode a roller coaster by the sea. (Granted it was a little baby roller coaster, but they let us ride it twice in a row so it slightly made up for it.) We walked along the water, but it was too dark to do much (and we didn't have swimsuits on.) Still, it was pretty fun since everything was all lit up. Walking along the pier just wouldn't have been the same without this guy and his violin. He created the perfect Pier-walking ambiance. After that we ended up exploring some streets that were decorated for Christmas (how easy it was to forget it's December when it was 75 degrees out.) We also found Santa Claus, but who has $40 to take a picture with him?! Not us, obviously. So here's a creeper shot Lori and I took.
When we went back to the hotel we decided to watch a movie together, so, naturally, pretty much everyone fell asleep.
Please ignore the fact that I can't make a decent 'serious face' to save my life...
Pretty much this was the best day ever because we went all over HP World and Universal and took full advantage of the Single Rider's Line. (Why doesn't everyone without kids use those lines? I mean, I'm grateful because then the lines are shorter for me, but still baffled.)
After a full day of goofing off and playing around in Universal we watched the special Christmas lights show in Hogsmeade before heading home. It's so wonderful!
(For those of you who haven't read Harry Potter yet, take a break from this blog, go read it, and then come back to finish. It's worth it. I promise.)
On Sunday, our last day, we enjoyed a lazy morning. (I'll never understand those people who have to pack their vacations with activities to the bursting point. Let's review some synonyms of vacation here: break, time off, recess, leave, etc. How can you possibly enjoy that when you're going, going, going?) Needless to say, I was obviously extremely grateful for these girls and their willingness to just enjoy a lazy Sunday morning with me in our hotel room where we didn't have any responsibilities or engagements and we could just chill and talk. We went to church at 11:30 a.m. and the ward was tiny! It sure gave us a whole new appreciation for our lives and having people our own age around to be friends with. (Another benefit of traveling: it really broadens your perspective and helps you be grateful.) We ended up going back to the pier on Sunday afternoon, but this time during the daylight. We got to play in the water, work on our video, see a spectacular sunset while riding the ferris wheel, and do all the things that we missed on Friday night. We even found another violin guy (they must just live there or something.)
After changing out of our sandy clothes, we went to downtown Disney for the rest of the night. It was fun to walk around and see everything (although a little weird since we didn't actually go to Disneyland.)
All in all, the weekend was just fun enough but not quite long enough. I'm grateful to have friends that will just pause their lives and go on adventures with me. If there's anything I've learned from being single it's that good friends make all the difference in life. That and I'm super grateful that I can sleep through the night every night.
Finally, here's the music video you've all been waiting for. (And if you haven't, then you should have been.)