Saturday, September 1, 2012

Florida and California - Vacation, Day 10 - 19

September 1, 2012

            The last few stops on my vacation were Tampa, Florida area, Oceanside, CA almost an hour north of San Diego and Hayward, CA about 30 minutes outside of San Francisco.
            Florida is now what I call home. I live in a town called South Pasadena which is down the road from St. Pete Beach and under two miles from the Gulf of Mexico. I decided to stop here before flying to San Diego to check on my condo. It was raining the day I landed in Tampa which probably put a damper on folks wanting to travel to the dinner, my BFF Laverne, planned at Brio’s Grille at International Mall. Even my favorite couple, Adrian and Tookie (GMarie’s Page story on 11/15/2011), could not attend. Tookie had become very sick a few weeks earlier and was hospitalized. So without further ado, we started dinner promptly at 6:30pm.
           It was really good to see my friends Lynn and Sylvain who I stayed with for a couple of weeks, after I rented my condo to a law student and before I left for Saudi last year. Laverne brought her friend Judy; both former co-workers of mine from Veteran Affairs. Despite the small turnout, we had a great time catching up and talking about old times. The next couple of days was spent running around town, morning and night with Laverne.  My departure from Florida was bittersweet; happy to become "one" with my plane seat so I could get some rest and sad because I had a wonderful time with my friends.

           I arrived in San Diego, and no luggage! You know how you are sort of in denial until the luggage belt stops? I found out that my luggage never made it out of Texas, why…..of course, no reasoning given. All was made light of when I stepped outside and there was my daughter Monet, and my two grand-daughters, Londyn and Jaylin. I have not seen them in almost a year and realized how much I missed them. Londyn, as though she practiced, blurted out….”Hi…..Hi……Hi Grandma!” She was not talking too much before I left for Saudi. Jaylin was only 7 months old when I left, so she just stared at me for a while but decided after about 30 minutes to give in and gave me a big warm smile.

 Usually Grandmas get to spoil the grandkids rotten, but besides Monet attending college full-time, she keeps the two girls pretty happy and very spoiled. So all I could do was buy their new fall wardrobe and act as their playmate while Mommy did her homework. That was fine, I am still a kid at heart. Love the kids! Oh, my bags finally arrived at 4:00am the next morning after my arrival!

My last vacation stop is to see my adopted family in Hayward, CA. I have three more days before returning to go back to the “Kingdom”, so I plan to do some shopping, but  also get some folks together for one more dinner. My “Friendship” Maggie and her sister, Veronica, prepared a number of tasty entrees as well as one of my favorites, chicken enchiladas, A couple of my former co-workers; Ms. Ruthie, Cynthia and Lisa from the U.S. Mint came to break bread with us as well as Friendship’s daughter and grand-daughter, Angie and Maggie-Pie. To wrap up a beautiful vacation, my cousin Kenneth, who I had not seen in almost 30 years, came by to hang out with us.

It was a long transit back to Saudi, but I thought about all of the friends and family I’d visited in several places in just three weeks! Folks thought I was crazy to have gone so many places in such a short period of time. I normally consider a vacation as a time to rejuvenation myself and just “do me”. But this time I said I just wanted to reconnect and spend time with relatives and friends that I have not seen in a while. Instead of running all over town I just really wanted to spend some quality time with them. I had the opportunity and time to do just that and trust, I am forever renewed by this experience.
I say, “Life is not a dress rehearsal, live it to its fullest.” If you can visit a loved one, do it. If they “run through your mind”, pick up the phone, and call them. We all get busy and have to make a living but time waits for no one.

All the best
To you and yours,

No comments:

Post a Comment