Wednesday, March 19, 2014

There's No Place Like Home

So happy this place is still going strong after 30 years.
At the end of last month, I had the opportunity to go "home" to San Luis Obispo, California for a week.  This is something I've been planning on doing since last fall. I hadn't been there since July 2007 for my 20 year High School Reunion.  Needless to say, my visit was long overdue.

I love San Luis Creek!

My favorite thing about flying into SLO is the beautiful scenery.  Flying over the Pacific Ocean, then heading inland towards town, never disappoints.  Its usually sunny and clear.  The two things I love and miss the most about the Central Coast.

Remember those Midnight Movies?!

Although the area has grown and changed so much since I left in 1992, I still feel very comfortable there.  I know that I never appreciated it when I was younger, and as an adult have wished numerous times that I could move back.  Maybe one day when the kids are grown, and we have some freedom, I will get my wish.   I did enjoy visiting with my relatives, eating good food, catching up with old friends, relaxing, walking downtown, and running into familiar faces.  I felt refreshed after this trip.  I think I needed to regroup after our move.  I'm certainly grateful that I have a wonderful husband that keeps the troops in line when I'm gone. 

On our way back down Madonna Mountain

Here are some highlights from the trip:
  • Climbing Madonna Mountain with Jenny.  This is something I've never done before.  I guess I was privy to going up to the "P" instead.
  • Eating at the Custom House in Avila with Martha.  I miss Avila, the pier, the scenery.  It's not the same funky place it was years ago, but I still love it!!
  • Hanging out with Heidi, laughing like there was no tomorrow, catching up at the Luis Wine Bar, eating breakfast at Madonna Inn, being "Bar Moms" at Bull's, and of course holding and kissing Heidi's Emmy she won last fall.
  • Being in town the same weekend my other friend Heidi was in SLO.  She had a great Oscars Party.  Its such a great idea, I think I want to host one at my place next year.   
  • The Central Coast rained most of the time I was visiting.  The wind and rain even kept me up one night.  This is so atypical of SLO, especially since they only had 4 inches of rain in 2013.
The Avila Pier.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Three Years Later, Three Months Later

Three Years Later

Its hard to believe that the large earthquake/tsunami that devastated Japan is celebrating its 3 year anniversary.  I remember the details of 3/11/11 like it was yesterday.  The uncertainty, panic and most of all, the feeling of helplessness for my host country.  While I had a warm bed to sleep in, and my family around me, the victims up north had lost loved ones, their homes, their livelihoods.  In all the sadness, I was fortunate to have been a part of relief efforts on base.  This work provided purpose, bonding, and a door that opened to some wonderful friendships.  After the relief efforts on base were shut down, another loving and giving soul named Masako, created a group called Helping Hands for Tohoku.  This group is still active today and has hundreds of members in Japan, and around the world.  I'm grateful to Masako for starting the group, for being a part of something huge, and for all the people who have spent countless hours translating, shipping, shopping, donating, and visiting the people who were given assistance in some shape or form.  I know that Japan will take a long time to recover from the effects of Fukushima and the tsunami, but the one thing that I learned from the Japanese is that they are strong.  They will never forget, but they will persevere.  That's what they do.

A little piece of Japan in my front yard!

Three Months Later

We left Japan almost three months ago!!  Where has all the time gone?  We are still getting things organized. Now, if we could just get some sunshine to stay for awhile, we would be able to tackle our outdoor projects. The kids are in school, the younger two in scouts, Justin's getting settled into work, and I've been job hunting.  The pickings are pretty slim here on the peninsula, but I'm sure the right position will eventually turn up.  I've also joined the YMCA.  This is not CrossFit, but I had to make a decision on many levels, and its working for now. We are looking forward to spring and some outings that are already planned.  I love that I have a cherry tree (Sakura) blossoming right now in my front yard.  It reminds me of Japan and makes me smile.