One of the things that has always fascinated me about island culture is how important family is. There’s a HUGE focus on what it means to be a family, and work through each issue (small or large) to create a cohesive family dynamic.
I’ve never really had that – because my mother is from Pennsylvania, and most of her family has been in the States throughout my life, and my dad’s from Fiji, so they’re all over there… I’ve had a pretty widespread and disjointed upbringing. Not that I’m complaining. I’ve just always been fascinated by people who have tight family units.
Last night was my uncle’s birthday here in LA, and it was the first time this trip that I actually started feeling like I was a PART of this family. Despite some of the language barriers, resulting in some pretty hilarious misunderstandings , I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming rush of love from, and for, my family as we ate a glorious Persian meal and drank wine glass after wine glass (or tequila after tequila, as many of my family seem to like…). I’m slowly realizing that despite the number of REALLY apparent differences between me and the family (or Persian culture, as the case may be), I actually DO have a number of similarities and connections with my heritage that I never really understood, and connected the dots with. It’s pretty awesome!
The Getty Museum was established in Malibu as a gallery for local people to congregate and enjoy artwork back in the early 1900s. However, the museum became too large, so it now has two locations: a smaller one still in Malibu, and this larger one nearer the city. The exhibitions change regularly, and – as luck would have it – this particular exhibition focused quite heavily on Greek Mythology and Christianity. There were some pretty incredible pieces though!
This one here was all about love conquering all – especially with the cherub ripping out the horn of Pan, who is apparently a God of lust. Though one of the things I love about art is that it can be completely open to interpretation (a picture has a thousand words), so while love may win out over lust, it can also be potentially quite aggressive? Haha.
Apparently a lot of artwork from the 1400s was based on women being submissive (not surprising, I guess). This is a family crest depicting a woman flirting coyly with an aggressive boar. Insert sexual innuendo here.
THIS is a goblet honouring Bacchus, a Roman God of wine. The sculptures around the goblet are designed to illustrate the pleasures of wine, whilst alluding to the dangers of sensual gratification. It’s not what we’re drinking; it’s how we’re drinking, kids.
Yeah… just St John the Baptist carrying the Lamb of God Heh.
but seriously – it was paintings like this that made the trip to the Getty absolutely incredible. This one reminded me a lot of New Zealand artist: Tim Wilson actually. Stunning.
And while it rained “excessively” in the morning (okay, it was a mild drizzle, but when you’ve been in a drought for the last three years….), resulting in the main garden being closed; the cactus garden was still impressive.
After two laps around the lake (much to Neemas dismay),
60 sit ups (while waiting for Neema to go to the DISGUSTING public loos – seriously, you don’t want to make any kind of contact in those places), and a few tricep dips and push ups, we headed down to downtown LA to have a deeper look at the area.
But ducks and mobile mosques aside, it wasn’t so much the looking around LA thing that I most enjoyed. It was the connection I’ve now established with my cousin, and our conversation that I loved. We talked politics, the arts, trust, community, family, culture, religion (including scientology – I had NO idea how popular it is here.. like, what the actual fuck?), busking/street performance, health… it’s been fantastic to be able to establish common ground with someone I’m related to, and now feel like I’m actually related to!
I learned a bit more about the ideal locations to live in within LA, how insanely high the homeless population is, what the film industry is like here, how corrupt the policing and jail system is, and a zillion other crazy tidbits of knowledge (which make things like wondering why ALL the toilet handles are on the side of the cistern seem a little ridiculous haha).
So with only three more days left in LA (before I head to Massachusetts and start WORKING!!!), I feel like I’m finally starting to get my head around things. What I’m going to do for work, for a home, what an incredible family I have, and how lucky I am to be able to be here, live here, and settle here.
The world is your steak meal (I’m not a fan of oysters). Time to serve it up, and enjoy every bite! 😉