July 28, 2016

A Month of California Summer

When you live in a far away land, your visits to your Old World can become something of a monstrocity. What starts as a cute two-week itinerary can blow up into a three-month trail of exhaustion and receipts reminding you how much money you shouldn't have spent on all those things you never get to do, see, or taste in your New World.

Hallelujah - because that is not what happened this year!

Marc and I were able to connect the travel dots to create an overlapping four-week stint in the USA. His was a Colorado-California-Colorado journey, and I made my way up the Golden State the month of July.

I sat back from the blog, scheduling two posts way in advance, then a lovely guest photo essay. This post isn't ambitious in any way, or trying to make up for my vacation from writing. It's just a quick run-down of how my California summer went and a preview of what's next.

Oceanside: is usually just a quick trip with Marc's family, but it quickly transformed into a sizeable family reunion! We shared lots of jokes, took over restaurants with our reservations for twelve, and played Apples to Apples enough to know exactly which cards to plan when. I also successfully renewed my driver's license for all the driving I avoid in Europe.

Inland Empire: always includes a meet-up with a teacher friend in Temecula, then off to Loma Linda to hang out at my sister's home. She and her husband are filling their family with their two dogs and now a cat, and we enjoyed long walks in their pretty neighborhood, TV series marathons, and we ate a jar and a half of Rainbow Chip frosting. There may have been some red velvet cupcakes, but mostly, there was just frosting.

Visalia: is my parents' current address, and time there is always relaxing, warm, and full of pool days. We explored nearby Exeter a few times, got caught up on some Target shopping needs, and picked through our Tupperware "storage unit" to sift out a few more things we just don't need to keep. I did not write a book this time, but I did read a few!

Orland & Chico: were possible because my parents let me borrow their car for an entire week! I got to see a lot of old friends, go to my favorite food places, and get lost in the crazy downtown Chico streets. (Chico is where I went to high school, and my best friend, Tanya, who holds the record for the most visits to come see us abroad, lives in the nearby farm community of Orland.)

Redding: ends up on my radar almost every summer because of the totally fun and awesome volleyball camp I get to do at Redding Christian School. This summer was particularly nostalgic because some of the will-be-seniors were my very youngest campers when we started doing the camp back in 2009. Two of my former Simpson University players that I got to see also had huge milestones in their lives this year. One got married and another had a baby!

Redding has always been a place associated with happy memories for me since my grandparents lived there most of my life, my favorite NBC Camps brought me back for a decade of sporty summers, and now having continually invested in the Redding Christian volleyball program to the point where I've watched many of the athletes grow up! Have I mentioned Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen crown the edges of the city and I get to stay at a ranch where I can see every star at night?

I fly out of San Francisco this weekend after hanging out with another long-time friend, then I get to spend a crazy layover day in Chicago with my aunt before jumping the ocean back to Germany.

Oh, yes, the perfect segue: Germany.

We are definitely returning to Vilsbiburg, Germany, and will be staying there for a while. The current plan?

The. Next. Three. Years.

For the fanatical Francophile that I am, the idea of living in Germany that long is intense! But, then I remember all of the amazing things about it: it's a lot closer to Paris than America, we have tons of amazing friends, we get to learn another language, a whole new part of Europe has opened up to us, the visas have (so far) been super easy to obtain, and another year in Europe anywhere is a WIN.

I will have more to share on what our year will look like later in August. For now, we are going to try to accept this foreign concept of living in the same place for more than five minutes.

Have a wonderful finish to your summer.