Having been home almost a month now (what?!), I felt it was about time I stopped sulking and manned up enough to write a post. However, after getting over the problem of denial, I found myself at another issue; I just don’t even know where to begin writing about the wonderful time we had in Newport Beach nor about the most amazing people we had the pleasure of sharing that time with.
Like we haven’t been lucky enough, James and I are very fortunate to have family spread across the globe, so our time in Orange County was spent with some of them. I’ve previously visited my Auntie Jo Jo and her family (and Pirate the dog) but it was a first for James. Their home in Newport Beach was opened to us as if it were also our home for the entire 2 months we spent in the USA. Whilst we road tripped here and there as I’ve written about previously, we used the Blanchard’s as a base to keep coming back to, to store some things, to frequent what became “our local eateries” and of course to get our fix of English tea.
Amongst the time we spent jetting off and exploring, we got to spend several happy weeks around Orange County. We visited Disneyland and Universal Studios with the family, James took a fishing trip and several visits to motorcycle dealerships as if they were a tourist attraction, we both did a lot of beach visiting and drinking and we spent a lot of time on bicycles in the sunshine.
Previous posts have shared the majority of our other US adventures, so it only seems write to dedicate the remainder of this one to the family that made the end to our trip so special and so memorable.
Jo and Bob allowed us to stay on an open ticket. More than that, we were fed pretty much constantly and given full access to whatever was in the cupboards (and beer fridge). We used their cars, their bikes, their bed and their pool. They took us all over to show us sights or to play taxi. We couldn’t have wanted anything more. The fact that they’re both a little crazy and a tonne of fun only added to how much we enjoyed staying with them.
Nikki and Jesse also played a huge part in making us feel welcome. Even if their way was by mimicking our accents or beating us in a ping pong tournament. They’re such great kids, and I can’t wait for the day they’re old enough to come on a flight of their own to visit us and we can be the ones responsible for the mischief!
Although I’ve always known of the Blanchard’s, I haven’t always seen them or got to know them well as they live on the other side of the world! I’m so glad that over the last 8 years we have been able to meet more frequently and make such incredible memories. I’ve also watched the kids grow and be completely different people every time we meet – each time more intelligent and yet more hilarious than the last. After spending so long with them this time round however, it really was awful to say goodbye. Made worse by the fact we had set out on our taxi ride to the airport and twenty minutes in James realised he had forgotten some rather important luggage so we had to go back and do it all again! I cried, of course, not unusual for me! Partly however because the ride to the airport was the last of our adventure and I was saddened and worried about our imminent return to the UK. Whilst that can come in another post, it goes without saying that neither me nor James could have hoped for a better end to our tour.
To Jo, Bob, Nikki and Jesse – thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you not just for having us, but letting us live with you and completely immerse ourselves in and totally intrude on your lives! Neither of us can wait already until we meet again – let’s hope it’s not too far in the future (especially for James and Pirate.. he misses him more than he would perhaps like me to mention!).