The grand finale of our California trip had finally arrived – it was game day!! 2018 was off to an early start – we woke up at 5:30 and we were out the door by 6 to start the drive to Pasadena. It was a beautiful ride watching the sunrise and driving along the coast. Just outside of Pasadena, we picked up a ton of breakfast biscuits and headed to the Durden’s tailgate. The Durdens are the biggest UGA fans I know – they’ve been to almost every bowl game around the country and hardly ever miss a game. They were the 14th car in the Rose Bowl parking lot if that gives you any indication of their commitment to UGA 🙂 We’ve known them since I was in school and nannied for their two amazing kids one summer. They’re one of the kindest families I know and so glad we’ve been able to stay in touch with them over the years. We got super lucky as they had an extra parking pass, so we were able to park right in front of the entrance next to them and tailgate with them and their friends all morning.
A couple hours before kick off, we headed to meet our friends, Josh & Lauren, who were in town as well. We hadn’t seen them in a couple years so it was great catching up with them and enjoying “football Cole” – a rowdy sports version of wedding Cole 😉
Everyone who watches college football knows how incredible the actual game was. I still get chills thinking about it. For those who don’t follow football, I’ll quickly recap it as I can’t help myself. Oklahoma dominated the first half of the game despite us scoring a couple times as well, but we just couldn’t seem to stop their offense. We were down 17 points right before halftime when our kicker hit a career-long field goal to bring us to a 2 score game. We were feeling quite frustrated at halftime and Cole was complaining he wanted to leave if UGA didn’t start playing better in the second half. I convinced him to see how the third quarter played out. We decided to not go back to our original seats, which were 50/50 UGA OU fans (opposed to the other sections which were dominated by UGA fans) and were quite high up. We got incredibly lucky as we spotted a couple spots that looked open in the UGA lower level student section. It turns out the people with those seats never turned up and the people sitting nearby welcomed us with open arms, including this adorable older couple who we became fast friends with us (but I lost their number when my phone died 😭).
We soon became the section’s lucky charms as UGA rallied back with a handful of beautiful plays. Oklahoma scored with just over 5 minutes left in the game and UGA responded by driving down the field to tie the game and send us to overtime. Both teams scored a field goal in first overtime and then we headed to second overtime. Oklahoma had first possession and UGA miraculously blocked their field goal attempt. Cue Cole starting to choke up and crying happy man tears. One play later, UGA executed the “wild dawg” with a direct snap to Sony Michele who ran 27 yards into the end zone, capping the end of the next game of our lives. I feel so incredibly lucky we were able to be there in person to experience it with so many UGA fans. I know that is a game we will never forget.
Our flight back to London routed us through MSP, which wasn’t departing till 2pm on Tuesday. We finished our amazing trip with what we both agreed was one of the best breakfasts ever at Coffee Cup Cafe in Long Beach. It’s this little diner which was slammed with locals despite the fact it was a Tuesday morning. We both had different variations of scrambles, which were delicious and finished with a chocolate chip pancake for dessert. We were in food heaven. After checking out Long Beach, we drove over to Manhattan Beach to kill some time in a quaint town close to the airport. Our last stop in California was the In & Out Burger right next to the LAX airport. We were still full from breakfast, but split a burger and watched some of the planes land which was so impressive.
This was the end of our time back in the States. It was the longest I’d been back since we moved to the US and I couldn’t have asked for a better trip (except maybe not missing the couples shower I threw for Jean and Spencer thanks to the freak power outage at ATL airport 😭). We had our first joined family holiday with both families together on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, spent some quality time with my girlfriends in NYC, basked in the California sun with Cole, and cheered until we cried watching UGA win the Rose Bowl. 2018 is off to a great start and can’t wait to see what’s to come!