Here's the thing with my sister: I have known her for forever (at least her forever), and I have seen her grow and evolve and come into herself and face challenges and cry and laugh and be absolutely f-ing awesome. She was recently "hooded" (sounds creepy, actually isn't) and she is now Dr. Ellie. (Doctorate in math. Pure math. None of this applied stuff! Why be practical? Pure math is beautiful.)
Ellie is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara. I was very sad when she moved across the country, but there are far worse places to live and far worse places to visit! My parents are from California, and all of us kids are California natives. It's so interesting to go visit. There are certain things that really bring me back to early childhood -- the ice plants, for example. I have vivid memories of breaking them and drawing with them on cement. Vivid, excellent memories. (The above photo is of Robert at Old Mission Santa Barbara, which was beautiful. St. Francis is my favorite saint so I was all over it.)
Robert went surfing, which is why I married him. And by that I mean: I like people who will try things that are new and strange to them and exciting. I like people who like adventure in the broad sense of the word. I like Robert. At the beginning of the trip, he didn't know how to put on a wetsuit (Is the zipper in the front or the back?). By the end of the trip, he was for-real riding waves all stand-up like.
This sort of behavior earned him kisses.
The whole trip was fantastic. We went to vineyards, mountains, beaches. We did the covered-bike thing, which was adorable (really everything involving my niece and nephew ends up adorable). I've been to California a grillion times (not really, that's not a real number), and this is the first time I came home with the urge to go back permanently. Usually, I'm like "California is lovely, but I prefer my home with its seasons and proper fried pickle chips." Not this time. This time, North Carolina was hot and muggy (and our air conditioning is struggling!). This time, I did not have a post-trip soft landing into real life.
But it's getting better. I have my doggy back and I went to a few thrift stores today. I even shopped for my future classroom. It's pretty exciting stuff. I'm coming up with a to-do list for the summer because that's how I roll. It includes a long reading list for my future job with smarty pants kids and a lot of fun things like "make popsicles." I will try to keep you updated. Especially about those popsicles. They're going to be a pretty big deal.