We often combined walks with shopping for groceries. It was about an hour to get to Vons on Garnet Avenue. We only needed two items. We checked out Trader Joe’s a block down and I held a bottle of Griffin’s Dearly Beloved red wine in my hands. This was amazing and weird and satisfying all in one moment. There is a character in one of the Circle Island books, Griffin, and he drinks more than a healthy amount of Dearly Beloved. You can’t get a bottle in Canada because I believe they only sell it at Trader Joe’s. I didn’t buy the bottle that day, but holding a piece of the fictional world of Circle Island in my hands would definitely call me back.
We had In-N-Out Burgers for lunch on the return trip. When we got back to the Coffee House, we discovered the RV park had done an emergency shutdown of everyone’s water. It wasn’t until 6 pm that the water was turned back on, just in time to do the dishes. Similar to when the power goes off unexpectedly, never knowing when it will return, we wasted a lot of time checking the taps and couldn’t focus on anything other than the fact that we didn’t have water.
We have a tradition with our daughter to exchange holiday cards each year that are in some way created by our own hand. For an artist, this is an easy task for Devon, but not really because she often doesn’t have extra time outside of her own projects. The cards exchanged this year were digital. Another holiday tradition our family has is watching movies. This year, a celebration of the wizarding world of Harry Potter!
I started to count down the days on December 25th until we could return to Canada. That helped with the separation we felt. Many wonderful memories of family gatherings from my childhood inspired me to see ahead to the next year and how I would decorate our new home, bake cookies, light candles, go for walks under the stars, and look at the lights in the neighbourhood.
Because it was December, I re-examined why we had decided to leave our jobs and our house and family. I needed something to celebrate. A huge waste of effort, because I wasn’t happy about living in California and having a different life. I hadn’t discovered my strength yet, my ability to transform myself. There was a standard I set, an expectation that made the wall too high to see over. I needed a break from the decisions we were making.
I had another week to get through. The New Year would bring change. There was still 82 more nights in the Coffee House before we packed up for Medford, OR.
San Diego is not a quiet city at Christmas. I don’t think it’s ever quiet. We saw Santa hats on men, women, and dogs. One of the homes along the boardwalk had a bubble machine. The bubbles blowing over the beach weren’t anything like fresh snowfall. We weren’t in Disneyland, after all. The bubbles were fun, and many people smiled and shared the experience together. What more can you ask from a holiday?
Horchata is a sweetened rice drink. Jamie had some with his breakfast from Mr. Ruribertos, our favourite taco shop on Mission Beach. After watching the sun rise, we waited for the doors to open to fill our bellies with good food. They were delivering hot meals to the homeless before opening for business that Christmas Eve morning. That filled my heart.