THIS TRIP WAS SPONSORED IN PART BY BUMBLE BEE TUNA.
Actually Day 1 (travel, check-in, La Jolla, meeting new friends, salt air, seal smell, 5-o-clock traffic, workout, meeting jackie, dinner, bed)
Ah, San Diego. I can’t help but look back at these pictures and smell the briny salt air, taste the fantastic food and be reminded of God’s goodness and answer to prayer. There are so many amazing things that happened, little nuances of regular life that made a big difference in the way I live here in Arkansas. San Diego has always been one of my favorite cities; growing up we would drive out to the Bay Area every summer from Texas, but we took detours all over the state of California every year. The last time I had been to San Diego was when I was a sophomore in college – 10 years ago! – so going back was really exciting for me.
As I left Arkansas that morning I was a combination of sleepy and extremely excited. I really love San Diego, but this was going to be the first trip I would be completely alone on the majority of the time. When I landed in Dallas I soaked up Texas for a few minutes before boarding the final flight to California. (P.S. I was reading Adopted for Life and sobbing the entire trip. More on that later, but if you’re considering adoption at all in your life, that is a fantastic book.) Landing in San Diego was exactly as I remembered – hovering over the city and the ocean just long enough to scare you into thinking the plane would crash, only to land safely on the runway. Come to think of it, every airport I’ve ever flown into in California is like that!
The weather was perfect. Sunny, gorgeous blue skies, a light breeze. I took the shuttle to get my rental car (grown-up!!!), then drove to my hotel and checked in. By the way, I’m totally that person who has to completely unpack everything even for just one night’s stay in a hotel. I hate the idea of living out of a suitcase, so I unloaded all of it and turned that little hotel room into my very own oasis for a few days. As soon as I called Nate and unpacked I headed West – I had to see the ocean.
I don’t even remember intentionally driving to La Jolla, but that’s where I ended up. I vaguely remembered the gorgeous beaches and seeing the seals from past trips and just followed the signs to get there. Eventually I ended up on Prospect Street and snagged a great parking spot in front of a shell shop/coffee shop. Y’all, I literally bowed my head right there and asked that even if all I did was spend time alone the whole trip that people would see God through me. Then I asked God for a chance to make new friends. So random for someone like me who isn’t usually outgoing, but I prayed for it anyway.
I headed out to find some food – my body was telling me it felt like it was 3:30pm and hadn’t eaten since 4am. HUNGRY. I wandered down the street and ended up at Georges, a fantastic restaurant that has both a fine dining and bar/terrace atmosphere. I told the hostess it was just me, and she said the soonest a table would be available was 45 minutes away; Georges was hoppin’! I ended up sitting at the bar next to a super sweet couple who noticed right away that my shirt said Texas and asked me where I was from. Turns out they live in Oklahoma, which meant we bonded right away. Soon they got called to their table and asked me to join them – and immediately my mind went back to my conversation with the Lord in my little grey rental car and I realized that my prayers had been answered. I wasn’t alone. I had made some new friends. And His glory had been revealed to me as he answered that small, lonely prayer.
Since this is a food blog and since Georges was delicious I feel compelled to tell you that I ordered their Mediterranean grilled vegetables, a Kona Brewing Company Pipeline Porter (on tap, mind you – I’d never seen that before, and that’s my favorite beer!) and a slice of maple cheesecake. That’s a complete meal, right? 😉
After saying “see you soon!” to my new friends I walked up and down Prospect Street a little more, making my way down to the ocean and digging my feet into the sand. My thoughts were drowned out by the sounds of the seals, the crash of the waves, the laughter of children running through the water. Listening to the symphony of life happening around me was just so fun. It was a different life, and I missed my family, but it was healing and rejuvenating for me to be there.
I made my way back to the car, grabbed a cup of coffee, and headed off to Torrey Pines, a golf course that I’ve only ever dreamed of playing. Sadly I didn’t have time and the sun was starting to set, but I just knew that I needed to get something for my parents and for Nate from there. One day we’ll take a big family trip and play there, but that evening I would just have to visit the pro shop and nothing else. As I drove up an incredibly nice man (in a kilt, no less!) named Brian helped show me where to park. I went inside and browsed, soaking in the most amazing sunlight that was flowing through the windows. A hat, a magnet and two bag tags later I was off to my hotel in the midst of 5 o’clock traffic. Normally that would kill me, but I found the best radio station, turned it up and sang the whole way. I love having my little guy in the car with me, but it was certainly nice to drive alone that weekend.
When I got back to my hotel I did a quick 20-minute workout in the room (lots of lunges and squats), took a shower and went to dinner with my friend Jackie. You guys, next to salvation, meeting marrying Nate and becoming Weston’s mommy, my friendship with Jackie is one of the coolest stories I think I’ve ever lived out. I’m actually going to be saving it for my book, but just know this: we hadn’t seen one another in 10 years until that night. I had the best time catching up with her over one of the best dinners ever at The Fish Market Top of the Market. Great conversation, great wine, great food. It was a wonderful night.
My first day in San Diego was incredible, and truly an answer to prayer. So in response to that I will say this: Lord, thank you. Thank you for the beauty, the weather, the friendship, the music, the light, the water, the waves. Thank you for good food and the provision that you gave me to be able to travel to California. Thank you for it all, because all that you give makes me a better woman to fully live a life that will glorify you. AMEN!