I have taken quite a few pictures on this 6-week long trip across the States, but this one above is going to be pretty hard to top in terms of choosing favorites. Hellooooo San Diego! A few months ago when I figured out my timeline for zipping through town, I had a vision of getting as many of us Wine Wednesday girls together as we I could. So we decided to throw Nikki, the one blushing bride among us, a bridal shower as an excuse to get her down south from the Bay Area. Throw in a brunch reservation for earlier that morning and voila! Friend photo perfection (and hence, my new desktop). It was so, sooo good to see everyone. I am so blessed to have made such wonderful friends in San Diego, and so grateful that everyone makes such an effort to keep in touch despite the distance and major life changes (complete understatement) that have happened these past two years.
The co-hosts who schemed this up and made it happen... thanks Liz and Huya!
There is another group of girls in town who still have a big home in my heart... the girls from my youth group, Seven. Several of them came out Sunday evening (at 7, of course!) for frozen yogurt and catching up. I can't believe how grown up they all are. To give you an idea of how long I have know them, one of the girls, Piper, was in 6th grade when I first started volunteering there, and now (somehow) she is halfway through 10th! Pretty soon I'm going to have to keep track of who is at which college. Crazy!
Having an entire week in San Diego was quite a luxury considering my last visit was less than 48 hours. In fact, it afforded me a bonus trip to LA with my friend April. April hooked us up with tickets to a live taping of the TV show The Talk. And I was so thrilled that my dear friend Jen, the one from Guam who I went to Thailand and Korea with, could join us! I don't know how many times I told Jen about April and April about Jen, and then magically it all worked out for a fun rendezvous in Hollywood. Jen just got married a couple of weeks ago, so it was great to hear about everything and visit with her new hubby Scott as well. Jen and I are already scheming about what girls trips we will plan together once I am back in the States :) Meanwhile, April and I are scheming up a trip to China together in May.
And yet another group still so dear to me are the girls from my Monday night Bible study, many of whom still meet every week. I was able to go to Bible study and see for myself how the group has changed. Many of the former regulars are now new moms, so the 6:30p study doesn't work for them. Meanwhile, a whole new group of girls are coming, finding out about it through word of mouth, and new friendships are forming. I am amazed at how many people this informal, unofficial, unsponsored Bible study has reached in the six years since it started. Speaking of new moms, I had the pleasure of meeting the almost one-year-old Caleb, Sarah's son (who is just days apart from Mallory's daughter Norah). And crazily enough, Ann in the center was actually IN LABOR when this picture was taken. Yup, that smile is hiding contractions, believe it or not. Ann gave birth to Asher later that evening, about 10 hours after this picture was taken!
And... more friends! This one is a mash-up of Seven and Bible study and Wine Wednesday friends. Three incredible groups of people who made San Diego such a dream for me. Our friend Veronica opened a really awesome frozen yogurt shop in Pt. Loma called Cup of Yo, and I couldn't turn down a chance for a visit over some pistachio FroYo. I was so thrilled to hear they are doing so well that they are opening up a second one near SDSU later this year!
In addition to friends, there was also family to meet up with this time! In August Nick's cousin Debi and her family moved back to San Diego from the Bay Area. And their family has grown! Introducing Drew and Jack, the twin boys Debi and John had in March. It was SUCH a joy to get to meet them! Madison is one proud big sister. This visit made me extra sad that we won't be down the street from them this time next year.
Of course no San Diego visit of mine would be complete without going sailing. I was so fortunate to have friends who could join me my last day in town. In fact, it was Jeanna's birthday, which made it an even more special spin around the Bay. The winds weren't the most amazing, but they were enough. I loved being out on the water, smothered in sunshine, surrounded by bustling city and yet cruising along quietly powered by the breeze. I definitely miss my Sunday afternoons on the Bay, but realize how fortunate I was to have logged so many hours in this beautiful place.
This third trip back to San Diego was a special one, no question. I am so grateful for how many people I got to catch up with. This visit was different, in a way. It was my first trip here since Nick and I made the decision to move to Virginia Beach instead of back to our amazing paradise here. So it was bittersweet knowing all this goodness exists that we won't be jumping back into. It will continue to be a land that we visit for some time longer.
Another big difference is that this time, San Diego didn't really feel like home anymore. Guam is definitely my home now, and I'm grateful for the life we have there. San Diego and all its special people will always make me wistful for days past, and who knows, maybe days future. And being there helped me to recapture these memories and freshen up relationships I hope to take with me everywhere I go.
So it's yet another goodbye to San Diego for now. But I'll be back, first chance I get. You can count on that.