I had never seen anything like it. At first, I thought that the smog had done something funny to my vision. The individual colors, blasted by the suns rays, were reduced to a shiny gray. It stretched out like the tail of a Diplodocus (after our stop at the Dinosaur Museum, I’m something of an expert on dinosaurs now), winding its way down into the valleys below. And we were stuck right in the middle.
Yes, I’m talking about LA traffic. It’s unbelievable! My first morning in the city, my friend and future roommate, Liz, offered to carpool out to Pasadena. She has a job in town and I wanted to scout out the area for potential job/housing opportunities. I thought carpooling was a great idea, since I didn’t know the area well and wanted to spend some time catching up with her. Turns out there was a great extra bonus: we got to drive in the carpool lane. Traffic was bumper to bumper all the way from San Demas (where I am living with Liz’s family until we find a permanent place of our own). The carpool lane was crawling, but some movement was better than none. It took us over an hour to get her to work, only 15 miles away.
Oi vey. Something told me I had better get used to it.
After dropping Liz off at work, I headed to Brookside Golf Club. During my month at home, I’d done some preliminary job searching and knew there was a potential position available. As it was my first day in California, I wasn’t ready to pounce on a job quite yet, but I did want to scout out the course. It was also a beautiful day, so I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to hit a few balls on the range!
Brookside also happens to be located right by the Rosebowl Stadium. It’s a very fun, popular area. Hundreds of people were out running and biking around the stadium and thirty-six-hole golf course. I found a place to park and popped open my trunk to grab my golf clubs. Just a few cars down, an older man was putting on his golf shoes. With nothing to lose, I started talking with him.
“Hello! Beautiful day for a round, isn’t it?” I said as I leaned against my trunk to put my own shoes on.
“Yup. Another beauty. Not quite so hot as last week. Which course are you playing today?” the man answered.
“Oh, I was just going to hit some balls. There is a driving range here, right?”
“Never been here before? Where you from? I’ll show you where the range is.” He picked up his bag and I followed him up towards the Clubhouse. His name was Ralph and he played Brookside several times a week. “I’ll introduce you to some of the girls up here. There’s a couple who work here that are trying to go pro.”
I soon started teasing Ralph that he was the mayor around Brookside. He knew just about everyone. It wasn’t long before I ran into the Assistant Manager himself, who I’d contacted about working at the course. He immediately handed me an application, told me where to get the mandatory drug test, and said I could start next week as a Starter.
WHEW boy! Not twenty-four hours in California and I already had a job offer! Thank you, Lord.
I hit a whole bucket of balls on the range and then went up to join Ralph on the putting green. We started talking again and just the way he worded things made me wonder:
“Ralph, are you a Christian?” I asked.
“Why, yes I am!” he said enthusiastically, before sharing his testimony with me. We would have chatted the afternoon away, if his name hadn’t been called to head to the first tee.
“It was wonderful to meet you, Ralph. Hope to see you again!” I said as we parted ways.
I was still practicing when I got a call from another Wheaton friend, who happens to live in the Pasadena area.
“Jimi! How are you?” I said when I answered the phone. When I heard he was free for the afternoon, I asked if he wanted a golf lesson. He happily agreed and showed up just a few minutes later. We had a good time catching up and hitting golf balls. Eventually, the sun started baking us.
“Let’s go to the movies,” he offered. “My cousin works at the theater and can get us free tickets.”
Free? Absolutely, I’m in!
I followed his car back to downtown Pasadena (conveniently, just a few blocks from where I would be picking up Liz from work) and we met up with Jimi’s brother and cousin. The only movie starting at that exact time was “Brave”, the new Pixar film about a Scottish princess. It was a delightful way to spend the afternoon.
That evening, Liz and I were able to scout out a few potential houses. Finding a place to live is definitely at the top of our priority list. But the Lord is so good. I felt encouraged by all of my experiences during the day, and firmly believe that God has us here for a reason. We trust that He will provide the best living situation for us… I just can’t wait to see what that will be!
Please, be praying for direction and guidance during these next few weeks as we make big decisions regarding housing and jobs. I look forward to telling you what doors God opens next!