San Diego, CA
May 10 - May 15, 2014
As I was saying farewell to my sweet Papa, with his atlas spread across the hood of my car showing me every road I should take to get to San Diego, it started to hit me ... This was the last drive we would make on our journey to the WEST COAST!!!!!! I couldn't believe it. Brad & I were both SO EXCITED the whole drive, giddy like children, overwhelmed with anticipation. It didn't even matter that most of the drive was through the middle-of-nowhere, hot & dry, lonely desert - we were about to reach the beginning of the true journey we had set our sites on so long ago.
We made it!!!!
I'll always remember the moment when we first spotted the Pacific Ocean. I was driving and Brad was luxuriously lounging in the chill zone (aka the backseat). We had driven through Border Patrol, weird, dusty towns, desert turbines, rocky, rugged mountains, and even secret army training ops (???)--and before we knew it, the landscape suddenly and drastically changed. We started hitting major highways and bridges and over-under-over passes making their way throughout the San Diego hills, which were filled with cute Cali style bungalows, mediterranean and tree-house style stacked homes and palm trees galore. And then there it was! The blue expanse, peeking through at me! WE HAD MADE IT!!!!! I was shrieking with joy, overwhelmed with accomplishment, so proud of Baby Kia and so very happy to finally be there!
The beautiful Pacific Ocean, my friends!
We arrived to Brett's SWEET little beach abode, nestled right in the heart of La Jolla. He came to greet us with his good little SANDY girl(!!!), and Brad & I looked like homeless people crawling out of a cave. But that didn't even matter, because we'd made it! We immediately cracked a few congratulatory beers with Brett, Briston and Billy who were awaiting our arrival, and the boys geared up for a sunset surf sesh.
Brett's house is literally a 3-minute walk to the BEAUTIFUL, pristine, Rock Piles Beach, at the end of Marine Street. The waves were pumping and Brad was happy to be back in salt water, content as can be--truly in his element. After dipping my toes in the water, I quickly retreated to the warm sandy beach with my book, also happy and very content. The Pacific Ocean is beautiful, but tragically, is also so freakin' cold!!! Something this Florida girl just can't do. There were lots of youngens scattered on the beach, binge drinking and actin' a fool--some really funny, some just plain stupid, some of them projectile vomiting while the others were laughing and taking pictures of their poor, sick friends. Ahhhhh, cali life. It's an eye-catching one.
Our first night, Brett gave us the "treatment." He took us out in Pacific Beach, which was the essence of everything I had just witnessed earlier that day on the beach, but times a million. We started off with massive Red Bull Vodka slushies, and instantly things got a lil fuzzy and swirly in my world. I felt like I was being hazed, but I just can't drink cold things as fast as the boys were, so I was force-feeding myself the slushy. Hazing myself? Despite the never-ending brain freeze, that thing was delicious and a successful start to the trip, our first night on the west coast! By the end of the night, all 5 of us blacked out and had a GREAT time doing it. Just like in our college daze. We fit in to the PB scene quite well.
"Going out for a few drinks with my friends, aaaaaaaaand it's morning."
Our night - In a nutshell. (Brett - I freakin love you.)
We woke up slow the next morning, feeling VERY hungover--however, it was well worth it. Took a walk around Brett's hood, which is the loveliest neighborhood I've ever seen, with perfectly bloomed and groomed flowers and yards adorning the most beautiful, unique, dreeeeamy houses that I can only imagine how much they cost to call home. Lucky, lucky people in that neighborhood. We came back home and Brett nursed our hangovers with the delightful combination of French Toast & Mimosas. He also made "Brett's special coffee," DD coffee with almond milk and some sugar. Mmmmm, twas heavenly after such a wild night.
Unfortunately, Briston had to scoot off back to real life, so we said our farewells to him, and the 4 of us walked down to La Jolla Cove to climb around on the rocky cliffs and crack open a few beers. It was the best day to be in the cove, as it was Mother's day, so all the cute little Californian families were dressed up in their fanciest attire and enjoying themselves. The streets were filled with families wearing matching colors and coordinated ensembles, Mom's being charmed and spoiled in every direction I looked, and the most beautiful doggies strolling along with their cute little families - I was in people-watcher's heaven!
Later that day, I met up with my Aunt Catherine (my Mom's sister), my Uncle Adam, and their adorable, fairy-princess daughters, Sarah and Malia. If I couldn't spend Mother's day with my sweetheart of a Momma, this was the next best thing! We found them on the beach at La Jolla Shores and spent the afternoon chatting and playing and enjoying the clear, sunny, California day. Brad & my Uncle Adam went off surfing together and I had some great quality time with the girls. Such special people I only get to see every so often, so I was soaking it up.
My uncle was meeting Brad for the first time, and seemed to treasure our love, saying he could really see the true love between us. He talked with us about love and life and family, sharing all his wisdom and life-lessons with us. He said he saw our love as something precious, special and rare, and that we should nurture and protect it and really make it last. And that it takes work and strength and a lot of love to make a relationship a life long one. He shared that this world (especially being a resident in the San Diego area of California) is just crazy. People are crazy, they do crazy things, and it's easy to get caught up in the flashy, competitive rat race that has overwhelmed so many people's lives these days. He shared that it's so important to stay grounded and hold on to your love, because it's the one thing that is more true and pure and beautiful than anything else in this world. To focus on yourself and what really matters, what you really value, and hold it dear. His words touched me so deeply and were so refreshing to hear. Wise and genuine men like my Uncle Adam are hard to come by these days, and I am so thankful for him in my life, even if just sprinkled into short and sweet moments here and there. I'm also thankful that my Aunt and their adorable children have such a wonderful example of a father & man in their lives. Cherish those people that keep you grounded in life.
After a long day of beach fun, we headed to The Taco Stand for dinner. This place was amazing. Brad & I shared a burrito filled with shrimpy seafood goodness, as well as a California Burrito--with Carne Asada, Avocado, and french fries. Yes, the french fries were inside the burrito. Add the cilantro cream sauce from their sauce bar and WOAH--flavor overload!!! A delicious end to a very special day with people I love.
The next day we woke up and went for a bike ride around all of La Jolla, did some shopping and site-seeing, biked along the sea cliffs on paths that I don't think we were supposed to be biking on, and caught some incredible views of the coast and little sea creatures swimming down below. So many seals in La Jolla! It's so funny to watch them swim and flop around and bark incessantly. Another lovely, sunny day in San Diego with blue skies and 70 degree weather--couldn't be more ideal. Later we went for a walk along Marine Beach so the boys could get another surf session in, and I laid lazily on the beach reading my book and watching them surf. I love San Diego, what a great place to call home.
Bike Ride along La Jolla Cove
Brad's spirit animal
best view all day
That night we went out for drinks with Brett and some friends, and had the BEST breakfast shots OF ALL TIME! A delicious, warm, maple-y whiskey shot chased with fresh squeezed orange juice and topped off with a thick-cut piece of applewood smoked bacon. Did that description leave a taste in your mouth??? Needless to say, we ordered multiple rounds, asking for more whiskey and more bacon each time . . .
Woke up the next day to, yet, another BEAUTIFUL, bright & sunny day in San Diego! Brad & I went for an extended biking adventure, down to and along Pacific Beach (year-round MTV spring break spot). Lots of young people looking for a good time and so many cool little bungalows to rent right on the beach. Lots of fun activities and things to see. Riding through all the neighborhoods had to be my favorite part of the day, though. Every house had a different theme, different vibe, perfectly groomed, with special little touches and details, each just as magical as the one before. The weather had gotten much hotter today, and the sun seemed to be beating down on us, so when we finally returned to Marine Ave., I stripped down and dove head first into the Pacific blue. Ahhh, & it was the most refreshing/shocking/enjoyable/horrible/awesome feeling! I ran/galloped awkwardly right back out of the water after only a couple seconds of being in it, but those few moments made me feel like a new person! That is the one thing that will probably keep me from ever living on the west coast--living so close to an ocean and not being able to happily swim in the deep blue sea!! It feels like you're swimming in melted ice/cooler water. Pure torture compared to what I'm used to, but the beaches sure are beautiful!
My Pacific Ocean Experience
"This is okay, I can do this..."
(wave knocks me off my feet) "OMG, WTF!!"
Later, Brad & I ventured out to Mount Soledad, the lookout with the big cross right in the heart of the San Diego hills, and saw San Diego N, E, S & W! Saw the fires to the north blazing and smoking in the distance, a tragic truth of life in Cali. That night we went out again in PB for Taco Tuesday!! We had lots of Coronas and Tequila, played all kinds of games, but never even ate any tacos. Still a success of a night!
THE FIRES IN THE DISTANCE
We woke up the morning of the 14th, our last day in San Diego, and set out early. We went on an adventure a little ways up North to Encinitas, CA. I was dying to experience the Self-Realization Meditation gardens, which are perched high on a cliff, overlooking the Pacific as far as the eye can see, with coy fish ponds, little flower beds overgrown with color and life, and little nooks here and there that exist solely for the purpose of exploring the solitude and serenity of meditation. This place was something I felt I'd dreamt up in my mind, wanting to create myself and share with the world. But of course my yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, the author of Autobiography of a Yogi, has already made it a reality. His book is one of the most radical, spiritual accounts I have yet to come across. His words are timeless and transcending, and the essence of his teachings can be found around every twist & turn of his Self-Realization gardens. I felt like a butterfly that day, effortlessly floating around from flower bed to flower bed, exuding pure joy and casting beams of love and light outward in every direction. Couldn't have felt more in my element ~ Finally on the brink of this life-changing journey; a steadfast flutter in the direction of my dreams--making all these little moments I'd wished for so long come true with each passing day of my journey. I caught myself wondering how I can be so lucky and blessed in this life? What could I have done to deserve this? I'm not sure, but I do know that I couldn't feel any more grateful. This life is a wonderful one!
". . . FROM JOY I CAME, FOR JOY I LIVE, IN SACRED JOY I MELT . . ."
Left Encinitas a bit quicker than I would have liked, but we wanted to explore a little bit of downtown San Diego and Coronado Island while we were there. We bopped around, saw the city from a distance (Brad liked it that way), and ended the adventurous day with a beautiful, smokey sunset. That night we hung at The Comedy Store, a comedy club in La Jolla with a good mix of comedians, some awkward, some super-stoner, some depressing, but most were HILARIOUS. One of the most memorable jokes was the stoner dude describing and acting out how awesome the movie Godzilla is in rewind mode, painting the picture of a dinosaur doing the moonwalk, magically re-constructing an awesome city. LOL, I don't know, maybe you had to be there. I'm no comedian--but we had some good laughs.
After 5 AMAZING days, my love and I had successfully conquered another city, checked more destinations off my bucket list, made some wonderful memories with amazing people that I adore, and I FINALLY BECAME A BUTTERFLY! Couldn't have asked for a better experience on the Southern Pacific coast, or a better start to our great Pacific Coast adventure!
We left San Diego the morning of the 15th, headed straight for the biggest tree in the whole entire world. This trip just keeps getting better & better.
Stay tuned, tree-huggers.
xoxo, Tent Girl