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9/1/13: Stephane Arrives In California!

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Stephane’s welcome sign!

Now that I am safe and sound back in Israel, with a few days off of work because of the Jewish holiday Sukkot (love living in a Jewish country, lots of vacation time for holidays) I FINALLY have time to update the blog and post about my AMAZING month long vacation in California. When we last left off I was nearing the end of my time at home alone, and was a few days away from the arrival of my boyfriend, Stephane, who would be joining me in California for his first ever trip to the West Coast. On September 1st Stephane’s plane was due to arrive at LAX around 10am, so by 7 in the morning I was up and in the car on my way to collect him. However, due to, what I would call, extreme anxiousness and excitement, I forgot to check if his flight was on time before leaving Palm Springs, so after a 2 hour drive to LA I discovered his plane was 5 hours delayed, and I would have to wait at the airport until about 1:30pm… I arrived at around 9:15… OOPS! I decided to take a bit of a nap in my car (I was quite tired from waking up so early), run down the clock, and then position myself where he would be arriving with a BIG sign welcoming him to the states (see picture above). When he finally came down the escalator I could hardly contain my excitement! Just the feeling of having him in California with me was indescribable.

When we collected his luggage (including some very impressive presents for my family) we made our way back to the car and departed Los Angeles for good old Palm Springs! Luckily my mom planned ahead and packed us some delicious food for the return journey, because I’m not sure if Stephane was more tired or more hungry! When we arrived home I drove him through the city of Palm Springs, giving him a vehicular tour of the place I grew up, and then we made our way to MEET THE FAMILY! Stephane was very tired so the meet and greet was short, but at least he got to see everyone before he began his “recovery from jet lag”. My mom and grandmother were the first family members on the “meet and greet” tour, and they instantly fell in love with him. I haven’t seen my mom so excited to meet someone in a long time! Once Stephane saw how awesome and relaxed my mom and grandma were he was much more calm to meet everyone else! The next stop was to meet my dad and step mother at my father’s house. That meeting was a bit more stressful for Stephane since meeting the father is always a bit tense, however, my dad was nothing but welcoming, and within a few minutes the stress had passed (plus I think Stephane was too tired to be nervous which worked out very well!). The last stop on the tour was to meet my grandparents (dad’s parents), who were gracious enough to offer to host us for the three weeks. They have the most space, and flexible schedules, so it made the most sense for us to set up camp down at their house.

When we arrived at my grandparent’s complex Stephane was in awe of how pretty everything was. He was very unsure of how he would feel about California since his only exposure to the USA was a 2 week trip to NYC and Boston (two cities he really didn’t enjoy), but after only a few hours he felt so relaxed and comfortable, and started falling in love with my home state! The initial meeting with my grandparents when swimmingly well, and Stephane instantly connected with my grandfather. The two of them are very similar in many ways, so I knew they would have a very special connection. After proper introductions were made, Stephane finally had time to unpack, shower, eat and rest! Stephane arrived on a Monday, Rosh Hashana was on that first Wednesday, and we would be departing for a weekend in Berkeley on Friday, so we only had a few days to relax and acclimate. During those few days however, Stephane was shuttled from house to house to really get to know my family, and the amount of food this poor boy was subjected to could have literally fed a 3rd world country! In fact, during our whole trip he probably ate more food than he ever has eaten in his whole life! We had home cooked meals, he was introduced to new restaurants, and right before the high holidays, my mom gave him a little taste of his first Kosher style deli!!! He REALLY enjoyed that experience!

Stephane LOVING his BBQ roast beef sandwich

Look at that smile!

Look at that smile!

BIG BITE! The sandwich was bigger than he was

BIG BITE! The sandwich was bigger than he was

My family was also introduced to some new kinds of food as well thanks to Mr. Frenchy. When he unpacked his suitcase he revealed a lovely present he brought for my grandparents all the way from Paris, France! CHEESE! Every time Stephane, or a member of his family, goes to France they always bring back amazing assortments of cheese, and this time he brought some home to my family as a treat! He gave us a taste of France, and my grandparents kept him stocked in good, traditional American/Jewish food (i.e Bagels, locks, and cream cheese)!

Stephane's typical breakfast at my grandparents house. So yummy!

Stephane’s typical breakfast at my grandparents house. So yummy!

CHEESE!

CHEESE!

We also spent a lot of time partaking in a favorite past time of people who grow up in the desert where golf is a way of life; exploration in the golf cart! Stephane loved riding around really taking in desert life!

Paradise!

Paradise!

Stephane finally gets to drive!

Stephane finally gets to drive!

Enjoying the golf course!

Enjoying the golf course!

And last but not least, what trip to the pepper family would be complete without a present from mommy! My mom has impeccable taste, and also has never had a boy to shop for, so I know she was excited to spend some time picking out something really nice for Stephane! It was a bonus that he absolutely LOVED what she bought, it fit him perfectly, and after those first few days he was already an inducted member of the family! It was a great first few days, which would kick off a perfect month filled with excitement and adventure!

Stephane's new shirt from mommy!

Stephane’s new shirt from mommy!

Next post is our wonderful trip to Norther California! Berkeley, Emeryville, FOOTBALL, and so much more!

Stay tuned <3,

Jordana Simone

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