After our wedding, Kim & I had about another 6 days together – our first 6 days as a MARRIED couple – before he would be heading back to Europe and we wanted to make the best of them. And to us – this included spending time with family AND having a mini trip down memory lane of my California life.
Kim had heard me talk for months about all of my adventures over the past 7.5 years in San Diego and Los Angeles and I couldn’t wait to share some of it all with him.
But first, the morning after our wedding, we enjoy breakfast with some family (before they headed back to the East Coast), shot some more photos with our extraordinary friend/wedding planner, Melissa, and then headed off to Temucula.
California is known for having it’s own WINE country – which most people associate with northern Cali’s prestigious and infamous Napa Valley. However, there is also a beautiful Southern Cali wine country that continues to imerge and impress located in the quaint, Western town of Temecula.
About a 45 minute drive inland, Kim and I traveled there to spend 2 days alone together in a gorgeous French chateau styled inn and winery. We’ve had a very “Beauty & The Beast” fairytale like love story and we felt staying at a French castle was very appropriate. From the Eiffel Tower setting of our first night as a legally married couple in Vegas to foreshadowing of a trip to Paris together in the near future, we felt right at home in our cozy room with a 2 person bath tub, fireplace and beautiful terrace that opened to snow-capped mountains in the distance.
For most of the two days, we enjoyed one of the foundations of our relationship – just laughing and talking together. After two weeks of family time, discovering America together, and our wedding, it was nice to just BE and breathe together.
On our last day in Temecula, my parents and my aunt joined us for a wine tasting and lunch before we went home. Yes, my parents joined us on our mini-honeymoon. And we wouldn’t have had it any other way. They always add such joy to any atmosphere!
After lunch, we headed back to San Diego for two days of more family time. It was all bittersweet as we had the time of our lives enjoying wine & movies at home, delicious food at local San Diego eateries and even football on the beach, but also knowing this was Kim’s goodbye to my Mom & Dad.
It’s still remarkable to me (almost 3 months later), how instantly the 3 of them connected. Kim still shares how he immediately felt at home in my family. Yet another God sized miracle!
After lots of laughter and some tears, we said goodbye on Thursday morning to my parents and headed up to the city I’d called home for 7 years. The city I left the East Coat for to follow my dreams. The city I at one time was afraid to “give up.”….Los Angeles.
I was amazed the moment we started traveling through the busy roadways of LA, how much of a tourist I felt. Los Angeles, officially, no longer felt like home.
It was a very strange feeling – everything felt so familiar. I knew all the short cuts. The highlights. The places to go. The people to connect with and see. And yet, in my spirit, I finally felt OK letting go.
It was the best feeling as I got to share all of this with my husband, and also knowing I soon would happily follow him to Europe to start our next new adventure together.
One of the highlights of our time in Los Angeles was taking Kim to my church and the ministry I’d served with for many years, The Dream Center. I had given so much of my heart and soul in that place, and I wanted him get a real, inside glimpse of why I was so passionate about that place and the people.
It didn’t take long for him to let go, and really allow himself to see how God was working inside this place. It was amazing for me to see so many people who had prayed for so many years for me to find and connect with the man God had prepared for me, finally get to meet the husband they had prayed for.
On our final night in Los Angeles, we reflected on all God had done and all we’d experienced together in the last 3 weeks. We felt as if we were living the greatest dream and fairy tale ever written. I know…I didn’t sleep much that night. Although my husband will say it is one of the ONLY nights I’ve ever fallen asleep before him!
Maybe it was because I was so content, so blissful and so thankful for him, the greatest gift God’s ever given me. Maybe also because I knew the next day I would have to say goodbye to him at LAX for the next 7 weeks, and officially prepare to say goodbye to my family, my country and all I’d ever known.
Regardless of what laid before me, I knew and still know, that it was the greatest decision to marry Kim. Everyday, I am more thankful for him, more amazed by how tailor made we are for each other, and blessed beyond measure for the humble honor to share our story with all of you.
Soon, I will share with you all that took place for me to GET to Europe, and continue to share all that’s happened in the 5 weeks since I first arrived. Thank you ALL for catching up with the Cleymans!