scott’s birthday in san diego

This past weekend, Scott turned 28 and I took him on a surprise getaway to San Diego to celebrate! He knew that we were going on a long weekend trip but he didn’t know where we were going, what we were doing, where we were staying, etc. It was so fun to pack the weekend full of surprises!

We left on Friday night after work and flew down to San Diego. We went to San Diego last year as well (for Memorial Day) and I knew I wanted us to see a different part of the city this time, even though we loved having Ocean Beach as our home base last time. So, we stayed at an Airbnb in South Park which turned out to be a lovely, walkable neighborhood not too far from anything we wanted to see or do!

IMG_1931On Saturday, we woke up and went to brunch at Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro. This spot was yummy but we agreed most of what we ordered was way too rich. After this, we had “Scotty’s Choice” time (time I built into the trip with options for him to choose from)…and we wound up doing a bit of shopping at the Westfield UTC and then scootering and eating in Bird Rock! The weather was amazing and we loved Bird Rock—riding motorized scooters around multimillion dollar waterfront mansions is not something you get to do every day! That night, we went to dinner at a delicious Italian spot called Piacere Mio. It was clear this place was a neighborhood favorite—it was full of locals who knew the staff by name (a good sign)!

IMG_1944On Sunday (Scott’s birthday), I surprised him with the Bluegrass Brunch at Urban Solace. Holy wow—so delicious! We split a cinnamon roll (complete with a candle to blow out and a birthday tune by yours truly) and enjoyed bluegrass tunes by a live band on the heated patio. Scotty got steak and eggs and I presented him with his birthday cards: one from his parents (with cash to cover the brunch!) and one from me, revealing that we’d be spending the day at the San Diego Zoo! To say he was excited is an understatement.

IMG_2046IMG_1988IMG_1963We had the best time seeing the zoo. We went last year, but many exhibits were under renovation, so it was great to see the space in its prime this time around! Again, we were blessed with great weather. Our favorite animals were the baboons, orangutans, gorillas, and pandas. (Though all the animals were amazing!) There was one orangutan named Karen that had me crying laughing because she was putting on a show for us, rolling around on the ground carrying on right in front of us.

That night, after a much-needed nap, we went to the South Park Brewing Company for dinner and some board games. I crushed Scott in Boggle! Then we headed back to the Airbnb for some ice cream and Netflix.

IMG_2076On Monday, our last day of the trip, we kicked things off with a visit to Nomad Donuts. We once again rode some motorized scooters (so nice we did it twice) and enjoyed Vanilla Bean donuts. From there, we headed to Coronado to check out the famous Hotel del Coronado and dip our toes in the water. We took a drive around the island and had a good laugh looking up home prices on Zillow. (Fun fact: the house of my dreams was more than $6 million!) We started to get hungry for lunch, so we headed to SEA180 for an amazing, waterfront bite. We had the heated patio to ourselves and it was so serene and honestly, a perfect end to our weekend. We soaked in that time before heading back toward San Diego (we were only .5 miles from the Mexico border…). Since our airline sent us a notification of a flight delay while we were on the way, we had time for a quick stop at the Ballast Point Brewing.

IMG_2122A flight of beers later, our time in San Diego had come to an end. We headed to the airport, returned our rental car, and flew back to the land of fog and $5 toast…aka San Francisco!

Advertisements

surf’s (kind of) up

1743571_10152873962407715_919633151_nA week ago, I got a text from my friend Sean.

It said all it needed to in one word: “Surf?”

A short conversation later (and an internal debate on whether or not I should indeed skip my class to go to St. Augustine spontaneously), Sean was all set to pick me up.  I had tried to convince him that we should wait and go on Sunday afternoon instead but he was adamant that the waves were not to be passed up on this particular Thursday.  And seeing as it’s senior spring, and this was on my bucket list, I obliged.

We got to his house in St. Augustine, and after a quick meet-the-parents, I was putting on a wetsuit.  This is the first of many things people never tell you about surfing: wetsuits are totally awkward to put on.  My calf muscles have never felt more thunderous than they did as the neoprene legs of the wetsuit clung to them like that creeper from Plaza of the Americas clung to me back in January.  Following Sean’s lead, I left the top half of the wetsuit around my waist and prepared to load up for the beach.

We loaded the surfboards into Sean’s car and headed to the beach…where a red flag was flying and not a single soul was in the water.    Another thing no one mentions about surfing: carrying a 7-ish foot long surfboard is no monkey business, particularly when you are on a narrow beach walkover and trying not to hit anyone in the face as they try to walk past.

Sean knew that I had never surfed before and that he was dealing with a total amateur.  After we put our stuff down in the sand, I followed his lead and zipped up my wetsuit all the way.

“You ready to hit the water?” Sean asked me.

I was stunned.  In all the movies/episodes of Made on MTV I have seen, the rookie practices all of the motions of surfing on the sand before they even go near the water.  The instructor gives lots of tips and encouragement and then, only then, do they actually hit the waves.

1948210_10152873962472715_691846972_nBut Sean seemed to think this method was overrated.  He walked confidently toward the Atlantic, knowing I’d follow.

Let me tell you, that water was cold.  Yes, the wetsuit was miraculously effective at keeping my body warm.  But my poor hands and feet, and lower half of my arms, and neck and face and OH YEAH MY ENTIRE HEAD FULL OF COLD, WET HAIR were all freezing.

Then we began the painstaking process of paddling out.  The waves were rough and coming from all directions.  Sean made it look easily as I was repeatedly pummeled into the ocean floor and pushed backward (like one of those math problems from elementary school where you go two feet forward but slide back three).

At one point, Sean asked me if I wanted to go back to the shore.  No freaking way was I heading in after ten minutes of effort.

We finally got out past where the waves were breaking and it was the most peaceful, beautiful, awesome thing.  I was content just to sit on the board and soak it all in.  Sean was right when he said that it’s pretty tough to be stressed or upset out on the water.

If I gave you a vivid description of all that followed, you’d be reading until your hair went entirely gray, so I’ll be brief:  I never stood up on the board and caught a wave.  I did, however half-stomach/half-knees, clenching the board with all my might, ride several waves, literally screaming and squealing as I went.  I also cheered for Sean as he Johnny Tsunami-style made the whole thing look like a piece of cake.  The end of the day came when, as dusk was approaching, a giant wave came at me head on.  My board slammed into my nose and mouth, the wave pushed me under, then my board slammed into the back of my head for good measure.  Panicking, I went to the shore and Sean followed, concerned.

Of course, I was fine.  Of course, there was no blood.  My hands and feet were numb.  The board was heavy to carry back down the shore to the car.  My nose was throbbing.  My hair was a tangled mess.  My body was exhausted.  We were starving.  But I loved, loved, loved my first experience surfing, and I can’t wait to go again.