Back when we were deciding where to move to when exiting Chicago, San Diego was actually my first choice. I knew I wanted to be in California, and I knew that I had a lot of family there for when I got homesick. As much time as we’ve spent in Los Angeles, or even Anaheim, I had not gone back to visit San Diego since first moving out to the Bay Area about 8 years ago.
I have been wanting to go back for the past 4 years and introduce everyone to Evie, especially to my Auntie out there who always took care of my siblings and I when we came to visit on family vacations. We’ve talked about spending the day at Legoland, or taking her to visit the pandas at San Diego Zoo. It was finally time to stop talking about it and make a trip there.
To be honest, the trip was mostly about seeing my Aunt and having her meet Evie, so I didn’t want to plan too much. We also were coming from a crazy day of road trip travel, food, and a movie premier just the day before. I wanted to make the most out of the quick visit without over planning, and I am really happy about how it all came out.
We started the day off in LA, having just saw the premier for Raising Bertie the day before, and also spending the night with cousins out there. Noel, Diana, Malyn, and Francis all went out for brunch at the Cheesecake Factory, catching up with each other. It was really nice to see Evie playing with her little cousin there, who she got to have a fun sleepover with the night before.
I know she’s getting older and understanding more emotions, but this goodbye was super sad. We travel a bit and she sees family all over, but this moment in particular when she had to say goodbye it was like she really didn’t want to. My heart broke a little with her tears.
Back on the road and the way to San Diego took a bit longer than expected; gps mixups and traffic made the way a bit more upsetting for Evie as she really just wanted to stay. We assured her that once we got there, she would be able to play with her older cousin Rachael. She felt a little better.
We arrived at my cousins, Mike and Racquel’s home in the afternoon. Spent some time just hanging out and chatting about stuff then went to go see my auntie. Auntie Mellie is a little older and more fragile from when I saw her last, but she still has the same heart that I remember from childhood. She kept wanting to fix us something to eat and take care of us. Evie told her about school and colored next to her with her cousin Rachael.
All of us went out for a late sushi dinner at one of their local favorites, I don’t recall the name. Evie even ended the night with a macaroon ice cream sandwich that her Auntie Raquel got for her. The sugar high kicked in as we all got home and a little beat from the day, of course. She had another sleepover, this time in her Ate Rachaels room. She admired all of her toys and wanted to keep playing as late as she could.
The next morning we awoke to my Ate Raquel making an amazing Hawaiian-inspired breakfast for us. I still think about it; french toast with Hawaiian bread, coconut syrup, fresh strawberries, yellow kiwis, fried rice, and some POG (passion fruit/orange/guava) juice.
We decided to do something in the area until my cousin got back from work, so Balboa Park it was. We also have one of our friends from Chicago who lives in San Diego now, Emerson. He has a daughter a little younger than Evie too, so it was only fitting that the two should meet. I love Balboa Park; the landscapes, the architecture, the museums… it is all beautiful.
We wandered around talking with my Ate Raquel, Rachael, Emerson, and his daughter Lexi. Leisurely strolling through a botanical building, the courtyard that my other cousins got married in, and the new Japanese Gardens. It was nice to spend some time enjoying the city and not feeling like we blew in with the wind and blowing out without getting to do anything.
After leaving the park and spending some time with my Kuya Mike at home, it was time to go. Again, Evie didn’t really want to leave, but we kept telling her all the things we would do when we come back to see them again, and she felt better. We can’t wait to go back and already have a long list of more things to see and do there: Legoland, the beaches, the Zoo… even a new Dunkin Donuts!! We loaded back up in the car and drove a mind-numbing 10 hours through traffic and construction to get back to Oakland by 2am. It was a rough ride for a whirlwind trip, but I think we got some great moments in there with some awesome people in 2 cities… a little exhausting, but seeing everyone made it worth it.
Now, for your listening pleasure, the soundtrack of our little road trip- which is now a pretty regular car karaoke experience since we all know all the words. Check out Steven Universe on Cartoon Network, if you haven’t already.