126 Days Remaining
Funny how I have found such peace and fun and adventure in these last few days, yet every day has found me crying. Some people only cry when they are sad or upset; I tend to cry when I am overwhelmed by joy and amazement (as well as when I am sad or upset...and when I see a particularly touching TV commercial...oh, I may as well admit it: I cry easily!). Yesterday morning, as I walked along the San Diego Ocean Beach pier, I cried, but it was a good kind of cry.
When I woke up in the morning I was disappointed to see the sun wasn't streaming through the windows. In fact, the day was very overcast and decidedly gloomy. Despite that, I got myself up and dressed and went down to have breakfast in the crowded little kitchen area. Grabbing some eggs and pancakes, I sat down at a picnic bench and watched the San Diego news on TV while chatting with the other hostel visitors. My guard was definitely up while in the hostel; my roommates were great people and very friendly (one was a Biology teacher - oh how I wished she could have stayed and tutored me for my Bio final that looms in the near future!) but there are a lot of seedy characters walking the streets of San Diego. My friend Stoney laments the quality of men in Victoria...she should see the San Diegans I saw yesterday morning. Or perhaps they are all visiting from out of town, as well..?
|My hostel in San Diego|
I struck up a conversation with the lady who was frying up the flapjacks and asked her what the best way to get back to the airport was. I had to be at Avis Rent-a-Car right by the airport at 3pm to pick up my rental in order to drive to Temecula for the whole reason I am down in California in the first place: the Reality Rally event. I had assumed I would take the same shuttle back to San Diego International that had brought me to the hostel in the first place (at a cost of $14, since the hostel wouldn't reimburse me if I was heading away from them), but the kind lady told me there was a bus that would go straight to the airport. $2.25, please have exact change, they're just around the corner. Great! So, once I had securely stashed my belongings under my bed (praying that no one would steal my laptop and making sure iPhone, passport and all other precious ID was in my purse and strapped to my body), I ventured out onto Newport Avenue to see what I could see.
As soon as I stepped outside the doors of the hostel, I knew that I had to turn left to head to the beach. I could smell the water; not with my nose, but with that instinctual feeling that all Victorians have of how to find the beach. However, Kitchen Lady had said the bus was down the street to my right, so I had to ensure that I knew where to go for that before I allowed myself the leisure of checking out the sand and surf. I walked down the street, turned the corner, and sure enough, MTS (Metropolitan Transport System) Bus #923 was there waiting, two bus drivers chatting away at the open door. I made my way up to them and confirmed that not only did they go straight to the airport for $2.25, but they would drop me off right outside the door of the car rental agency. One of the drivers handed me a schedule and said he would see me later that afternoon.
Plans for how I would get to my car confirmed, and after a quick stop at the bank to withdraw some American money (felt so strange to have $1 bills instead of coins) I immediately swung around and headed to the beach.
|Surfers at Ocean Beach, San Diego|
As I walked, I began to pray aloud under my breath. Who knows if people thought I was nuts, but who cared? Maybe it would keep the other - real - crazies away from me. I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of the water, the sand, the trees, the people...and the fact that I was really here, in California, where I have so often wished I could visit, on my own with no real responsibilities but those to myself. I made it here on my own and I'm doing this - all by myself! And successfully! I had promised myself at the beginning of this year that I was going to take a real vacation on my own, and although it had seemed likely that it wouldn't happen - and I had let go of the possibility for a while - the opportunity had presented itself, and now it was a reality. I walked the pier and thanked God for everything that He has done in my life...through all the mistakes and the pain and the hurt and the issues, He has made something incredible inside me. I am so pleased and grateful for where I am now, in nursing school, with three amazing children, working toward a better future and enjoying every minute of the present as much as I can. And now we have even been blessed with the promise of a new home, for me and my children, with no roommates! I can't even believe that I have come so far. The wind whipped my hair as I walked and prayed and my tears flowed. It was beautiful and fulfilling. And then the sun came out.
|It's a beautiful day in San Diego|
I checked out of my hostel at 11am and didn't need to be at Avis to get my car until 3pm, so I wandered the streets some more and then settled in at Starbucks to blog and enjoy my tea. Fortunately the hostel didn't mind holding my suitcase behind the front desk, so I didn't need to drag that heavy thing behind me all over San Diego. I sat in Starbucks for a couple of hours - amazing how we can waste time! I never had a laptop or iPhone when I last travelled so I had no idea how helpful they would be. I ended up watching the episode of Survivor that I had missed (due to being on a plane!) on Wednesday night, chatting with several people through Facebook and iMessaging, and checking email. And then I picked up my bag from the hostel, walked to the bus, and made my way to the car rental agency.
That was the only time during this trip that hasn't gone completely smoothly...but all in all it was just a long lineup. I chose to head straight into the line rather than visit the restroom first, so by the time I finally got through the queue about forty-five minutes later, I was bursting. I dashed into the bathroom and then collected my beautiful little Ford Focus. It took a while to figure out how to open the trunk (how sad) but after I drove out of the lot and found my way to the highway, it was smooth sailing all the way. I drove to Temecula in a little over an hour, singing at the top of my lungs, a/c blasting.
The only hitch was that the car was revving a little high - I couldn't figure out why it was consistently nearing 6 when I knew it should be much lower than that. I wondered if it was a problem with the car itself or just this particular model, but couldn't do a lot to investigate while I was driving at 70mph (heehee...I figured out the mileage no problem!) so I decided I would check it out and read the manual when I had a chance to stop. It was about forty-five minutes into the drive when I noticed the digital display on the dashboard and realized that I had been racing down the highway in low gear. Ooooops. Jammed it into D (which I thought I had already been using - I even double-checked on the gearbox, but I guess it was harder to see than I thought it was!) and the revs dropped to between 2 and 3. Much better. Good thing I was so observant.
I found my hotel in Temecula and got settled in, ordering room service, eating it on my king-sized bed while watching TV, painting my toenails and in general being a lazy bum. It was great. After a bath, I fell asleep at nine-thirty at night, and this morning woke up to another cloudy day. But there's a lot more today yet to come, so I'll tell you all about it tomorrow. Think I may go down to the pool now...
To be continued!