Rumspringa

*Disclaimer: this post may offend the Amish and people who enjoy eating at McDonalds or watching Jersey Shore.

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Before we left on our vacation to Los Angeles, John and I started calling the trip ‘Rumspringa.’ Have you ever seen Breaking Amish? Basically, Rumspringa is the Amish tradition where the young adults leave the community to go out and experience life prior to settling down and committing themselves to the Amish lifestyle. Seeing as we have a sort of Amish lifestyle going here (read: boring, repetitive, suburban, it’s killing us…no, not really. I’m kidding. help!), John and I saw our trip as a way to break free from our normal life and see what else is out there. Go crazy, if you will, before returning to our subdued life. Rumspringa!

And so it became our battle cry. But rather than find ourselves rolling out of bars and into tattoo parlors at midnight, we learned some things we didn’t expect at all. Below is a rough account of what we learned on our vacation:

  • My oldest child, who will hardly speak 2 words to me in person, will gladly tell me his life story via text message from 1000 miles away.

Early each morning we were greeted with “Hi,” followed by various discussions on everything from book themes to how he feels about becoming Vegan (he likes the idea but can never give up steak, he says). Throughout the day he would periodically check in to see what we were up to and I got to the point where I would automatically text him a photo at each new location. In the evenings, during our happy hour and after his dinner, we were guaranteed a FaceTime with him, and reluctantly he would include his siblings. So we never really had a chance to miss our kids. In fact, quite the reverse, I came back five days later feeling like I know one of my kids even better than before.

  • Los Angeles apparently has an ordinance against ugly people because the city is filled with beautiful people (or at least the parts we saw).

Granted, many of them are trying to become actors, so it makes sense. But it was actually hard to spot a person who was not attractive, and they can’t all be aspiring movie stars. And they’re not just thin and pretty, but honestly healthy looking. There were just as many Whole Foods groceries as there were Starbucks, and every restaurant we ate at referenced the organic nature of its offerings. Even more interesting were the number of gyms we passed on any given road. We only saw two McDonalds (one in Malibu and one in Calabasas), but we saw at least 15 gyms.

  • Meeting a movie star is not the highlight of a trip to Hollywood; Meeting twins that you recognize from Disney World IS a highlight.

I’ll try to make this story brief. So our movie star sightings went like this:

1) Went to The Grove for some lunch and to check out the Farmer’s Market (which was completely awesome), and while standing in front of the area where they film Entertainment Tonight, Mario Lopez (yes, Slater! for all you SBTB devotees), walks right by John and onto the set. We watched him and Maria (co-host) film for a few minutes and then we wandered off. Takeaways: Mario is much shorter in person, but also much cuter than I expected. John agreed.

2) We walked into our hotel’s bar to see Christopher Meloni (aka Detective Elliot Stabler on Law and Order SVU) casually having a drink at the bar. Takeaway: By sitting in the middle of 3 available bar stools, Christopher forced us to choose a table instead. Also he looked sort of drunk and unhappy. So basically he looked just like his former character on Law and Order.

Okay, so now the highlight. Earlier that day at the pool, when hotel management was seen giving a tour to what could only have been some sort of Boy Band, I happened to look up (just in case it was Harry Styles or something), and I see these twin ladies (about my age) that I immediately recognize. I ponder where I know them from, but with no luck. Meanwhile, beside me on his own cushy chair, jamming to his own headphones, John is having the same thought. Neither of us says a word to the other. (head phones, duh).

Later, after the Detective Stabler sighting, we are having our bourbon and talking and John and I start talking about the twins and how we both recognized them. So we’re laughing pretty hard and really wishing one of us had taken off our headphones and  asked them how we know them. Right then the twins walk into the bar! Of course I hopped right up and went over to give them a list of places we might know them from. It turns out they spend every October in Disney (for their birthday) and we had seen them in Epcot this past year. Cool! But then it also turns out they are completely awesome, and they own their own event planning agency in LA  and they do lots of charity type events with celebrities, and they gave me their business card and told me to stay in touch. They said, “Did you see us talking to that guy from Jersey Shore earlier when we were up at the pool?” Alas, I have no idea about Jersey Shore or whatever so I guess that was one more “celebrity” I saw and didn’t even realize it. At any rate, meeting the twins was a highlight!

Lots of other cool stuff happened on our trip, but if you’re still reading at this point, I feel like I owe it to you to stop. Also, most of it is of the “What happens in Vegas” variety. I’ll leave you with pictures I refused to post to Facebook. I try to keep an image of being normal there.

Here is a photo of my kids all dressed up for Easter mass with Nana and Opa, right before Thomas texted me for the tenth time that day.

Here is a photo of my kids all dressed up for Easter mass with Nana and Opa, right before Thomas texted me for the tenth time that day.

Here is me trying to get a glamour shot while riding in the convertible. Not possible.

Here is me trying to get a glamour shot while riding in the convertible. Not possible.

I took this photo at the Grove, while shoving a Red Velvet cupcake down my mouth. It was so delicious.

I took this photo at the Grove, while shoving a Red Velvet cupcake down my mouth. It was so delicious.

Another stunning self-portrait. I thought the camera on the phone was pointed the other way.

Another stunning self-portrait. I thought the camera on the phone was pointed the other way.

Taken in the Rainbow Room, right before the bartender told John "There's no reason to yell; I'm standing right here!" after he quietly said something to her.

Taken in the Rainbow Room, right before the bartender told John “There’s no reason to yell; I’m standing right here!” after he quietly said something to her.

RUMSPRINGA!

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2 responses to “Rumspringa

  1. Mary Johnson

    Christina —- I anticipate and then thoroughly relish your posts. I suspect you would be a joy to know. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

    Mary

    • Thank you! I write the posts for myself, but I really do love it when other people enjoy reading them. From what John has said about you, it would be a pleasure to know you as well. 🙂