It is the eve of our departure (August 28th). My hands are clammy and swollen, not from fear, but from the insane heat that continues to plague us in the Foothills of L.A. county. We keep tracking the weather of Rome and Greece, hoping that we are not in for even higher temps. Who knew I was such a heat wuss? Dan has been glued to our computer trying to back up info on various hard-drives, insure that our bills are paid, insurance is terminated, and that all of our various gadgets – kindle, iPads, Fitbit, iPhones, music databases are in working order. I am a packing, laundry fiend, in charge of organizing emails and contacts (forgive me if my replies are tardy!). My sister has become baby-sitter extraordinaire, whisking our kids off to her air-conditioned home and treating them with popcorn and brownies.
With my limited hours, I am still trying to find time to reflect on what has passed and what lies ahead. I have begun to run again, and I am lousy at it. I try to head out in the morning or the slight cool-down of the evening, but I still come back after 30 minutes at the most, with a puffy, beet-red face. At least this minimal workout alleviates some of the guilt I feel for an expanding waistline, and it gives me the opportunity to be on my own, with the huff of my breath, leading the pace of my thoughts.
The second part of our California travels found us near Mission Viejo, finally meeting our new-to-us nephew, Elias, a 7 month old bundle of pure joy. He wins the award for most happy baby ever, our little Buddha, who might be the perfect candidate for the next Dalai Lama(?). After our quick visit with the extended Gamber family, our children were treated to a day at Legoland. This was Gabriel’s prize for quitting biting his nails – a great incentive! Our road trip continued onward to San Diego, where we were able to spend further quality time with friends, lazing on the powdery beach of Coronado, eating Mexican Food, strolling through the Hillcrest farmer’s market, and making pitstops to meet prior business acquaintances and share a beer with old friends, before returning for FINAL good-bye feast with Dan’s side of the family at his Brother’s house. Our traveling loop ended on Monday with more stops to boogie board in the waves of Hermosa with friends (originally from Portland, now living the Southern California dream), and splurge on an amazing Japanese dinner with a dear friend from my University days. I hope my own side of the family does not feel they have gotten short-changed by our visit. Dan and I have spent afternoons running errands, having lunch-dates with friends, and leaving Stella and Gabriel to entertain themselves with their cousins and the never-ending fun of a pool. During the day, we are often obsessed with our travel planning and/or hypnotized by a screen. The nights find us hosting dinners at my folk’s house, and trying to fit in as many visits as time permits. My Mother is a school teacher, who is back to work in the classroom. She organized a visit for our family, to her 3rd grade room, where we did a short presentation on our upcoming trip, and her students got to test out the weight of Stella and Gabriel’s backpack. I hope it was another reminder to our kid’s of the different and special “road-schooling” opportunity that they are being given.
A year away, may seem like an eternity to our loved ones, but I know that the time will fly, and I feel very connected despite the physical distance. With our blog and various social media, we can be more in touch with the ins and outs of each other’s days than some who share a neighborhood. This past month of love and laughter creates the backbone of support for our venture. I am fortified by our friendships and the memories we share.
Much love to you all, and best wishes for the coming year!