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Thursday, December 16, 2010

54th - 56th Stops: Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, and Los Angeles, California

Justin and John
My first stop in Southern California was to see my brother and his family in Mission Viejo. We had a lovely visit in 80° weather and the sun. Justin took me to see a massive construction project he managed a couple years ago: Pelican Hill. This place is amazing, check out the website! Kudos Justin on a job well done! Thanks Justin and Bridget; it was great catching up with you and the kids.

Pelican Hill
Alisa from the Newport Beach Jaycees, whom I met a year ago in Tunisia at the world congress and happily saw again in Japan, was organizing a cocktail hour with other members and would host me on Tuesday night. Great turnout and surprising since there was a JCI member there on vacation from Antibes-Sophia Antipolis, right next to Nice! Thanks Alisa for organizing this event and to all who came out; it was a pleasure meeting you over drinks and dancing later on with the most motivated among you!

John with NP Jaycees: Alisa, Linda, and Tara
The next morning, I drove into LA to run an in-house Wordfast training. Despite the fact that my two trainees, Patricia and Michelangelo, were recovering from their company holiday party the night before (open bar!), they did a good job staying focused. I really enjoyed working with them and wish them the best of luck with Wordfast!

One more night in LA, this time downtown. Ron, one of my best friend’s uncles, offered to host me that night. I met Ron several years ago on one of the most amazing trips I’ve ever been on: a one-week cruise on a private yacht in the Bahamas. Ron had his own work holiday party to attend that evening, so I met up with an old friend from high school, Brian, who works in the on-line dating industry.

It’s funny how Facebook can help rekindle relationships. I wished Brian a happy birthday (thanks to a FB alert) a month or so ago, and one message led to another and we were soon meeting up in LA for dinner! Brian and his girlfriend, Katie, took me to fantastic gastropub where we engorged ourselves on truffle pasta, tuna carpaccio, and more succulent fare over the course of 3 hours. I think we actually closed the joint. Thanks again Brian and Katie for the splendid dinner. I’m really happy we got a chance to catch up and look forward to your visit in France!

Ron and John
Later that night and the next morning, I caught up with Ron. We even had time for a little Facebook lesson. Go Ron!

We went over to his work, TCW, an investment firm, for a tour and lunch in their dining room. Ron was in charge of the food services department for several years. We’re not talking Sodehxo, though. This is three-star gourmet dining for the staff to keep them in the company, meeting and exchanging with each other as opposed to going out to restaurants for lunch. Ron once told me that some people didn’t want to leave the company because they had no idea what they would do for lunch!

How do I turn on the TV?
And that wraps up the visit on the West Coast. Thanks again to Justin, Bridget, Alisa, Ron, Brian, Katie, and everyone else I had the chance to meet!

Next stop: Minnesota!

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