April 16, 2016
A bright Saturday morning! And I was excited for my first meetup event, one which I had willed to register 4 days earlier, during my late hours of self-introspection. It had literally taken me 2 years between registering in meetup and joining an actual one.
The ‘LA running creatives’ group name had a nice ring to it. This was a relatively a new meetup and I was hoping that many new members would put me at ease, knowing that they’d be strangers just like me! That hope was short lived though. The plan was to meet at Sycamore Canyon Park at 2PM, and I was there right on the dot. Met Polina, the organizer and her husband Alex at the park entrance, walked a little further to catch up with Sergei, right when they launched into a foreign language. Not sure how, but I was able to identify it as Russian! Not bad huh!!
Later we waited for the rest of the folks to join us, it wasn’t an easy task to connect with all of them given that we had absolutely no mobile reception. We even resorted to hollering their names, standing in the middle of the Pacific Coast Highway;) In half hour time, we were a group of 8 – Polina, Alex, Sergei, Anotoly, Tatiana, me and 2 others whose names I don’t quite recollect.
We got started on the hike, with a group pic. I am definitely not the social hugs and kisses person and realized how much I discomfited the guys who weren’t sure how to pose next to me. The picture speaks for itself… J Can’t help myself laughing looking at it!
It was a pleasant hike, the sun wasn’t scorching and the wind helped. We decided to pick a random trail as we hiked, not following directions or a planned distance. It was a pretty laid back group, much to my liking. There were couple other things which I liked about this group, like when Alex mentioned that ‘It is what it is’ and he was unapologetic about the fact that new members choose not to join the second time as it was mostly a Russian group and that all of them took turns to talk to me in English and kept up to my pace of walking. I clearly wasn’t one to run! They did encourage me to get Indian friends if I’d like to. Little did they know that I am there with them, as I don’t get desi enthusiasts to hike around J It was a surprise when I & Polina realized that we had worked in the same office at Woodland Hills for 6 months, just 2 floors apart, small world indeed!!
Polina, Alex, Sergei and myself decided to continue further while the rest of them winded up for the day as they had plans to drive to Santa Monica. The path was getting steep and I wasn’t ready to venture further, so took a break and clicked a few pics of the Pacific Ocean in all her glory! We wrapped up too, left the park for a Mexican lunch and to plan for future events. When I mentioned that I am held up for the next 2 weekends, they were disappointed, but I believe they were relieved when I clarified that I’d be glad to join them around mid-May. I truly believe so! My goodbye hugs and kisses were thankfully warm this time!!
Back home later in the evening, I felt I was glad to have made it to this hike. The fact that none of them in the group were from the technology industry is an influencing factor to consider joining them for future events. A key take away was that Russians have a snack called ‘samsa’, the triangle shaped one with chicken filling. My favorite snack since my childhood, one I sorely miss these days, as India has now commercialized it as samosa which is nowhere close to the original version. Mental note to check it out, when I visit Russia some day!
The members’ messages on Sunday that they enjoyed my company and invites to join them soon, did alleviate my wee concerns that I may have encroached their weekend Russian gathering. Nice day, nice people, followed with this write up, I couldn’t have asked more out of the weekend!!