Last month I took a trip ... one that I lovingly referred to as my Trip of Firsts. It was to a little town in California to meet my wonderful friend, Jennifer, in person for the very first time. But what other firsts would happen during this trip?
Well, for one thing, I'd never gone anywhere (on my four previous non-stop flights and one helicopter ride) that required a connecting flight. So this trip doubled my times on a jet. Flying out, I connected in Dallas/Fort Worth. [shrug] Yes, I only saw the inside of the terminal briefly, but I'd never been to Texas ... and now I have. (Same goes for the return trip ... landed in Chicago. ) From Dallas, I flew into San Jose, California. During this flight I may have actually seen a portion of the Grand Canyon. I'm not really sure, but it was a HUGE hole (crack? opening? whatever it was, it was big!) way down there and I was impressed regardless.
Jennifer and I have been corresponding via email, snail mail, and phone for nearly four years, but of course, I'd never actually seen her in person. As I exited the terminals in San Jose, I knew her. I started waving at her and her hubby, Ole, as soon as I saw them. We smiled and made our way to each other, and then I hugged my friend for the very first time. (We've shared many, many virtual hugs [aka *hugs*] and those are wonderful if that's all you can give at that time, but the memory of the real hugs shared during that week make my heart truly smile.) I felt welcomed from the very first moment.
The Santa Cruz Boardwalk was a lovely and enchanted place to visit! There were all sorts of rides and games and people! Jennifer and I had our photo taken in one of those little booths! Loved it. The sea lions by the wharf were loud and lazy. There were wonderful thrift shops filled with all sorts of things. I simply loved it. I don't recall ever having been beneath a wharf, so I will say that was another first. And up until that very day, I know my feet had never touched the waters of the Pacific. Another first.
We spent a beautiful day with Jennifer's mom and took in the sites of Carmel and Point Lobos. Amazing! But my favorite part of that day was simply listening to the lovely cadence of "Mom" as she spoke with her soft, elegant British accent. I told her I could just listen to her talk all day long.
Another day, we walked the streets of San Francisco and ate lunch at a retro-type diner called Lori's. Delicious food and just a fun atmosphere to eat it in, too. Then we wandered around The City, up and down the hills for which the city is famous. We even rode the Bay Area Rapid Transit (aka BART) ... another first.
And just in case San Francisco didn't do in my leg muscles, the next day we walked through the enormous redwood trees of the Henry Cowell State Park! Oh. My. GOD! It was another incredible day! We walked the steep hills to reach the outlook, then ate the lunch Jennifer carried on her back for us. LOL! Those simple sandwiches tasted like 5-star restaurant cuisine after that workout. But we did it!
There were so many things that I loved about this trip that it's very difficult to narrow them down to several paragraphs. The long talks with my beautiful friend. Laughing. Being silly together. Taking walks. Having the cat, CT (aka Crooked Tail), find a comfortable spot on my stomach during the nightly movie. Talking. Talking. Talking.
Many wonderful memories were made that week. I thank Jennifer and Ole for welcoming me into their home and for making it an unforgettable trip of firsts. [sigh] I wanna go back.
<<< I know this one cuts out part of my face (y'all know what my smiling mouth looks like anyway!), but I simply love the expressions on Jennifer and Ole's faces ... so I'm including it. Miss you both!