Tuesday, August 10, 2010

California Excerpts

*Note: Pictures at end of post, in case you don't want to try to make it through the 5-page read!*

In an effort to give you a consolidated yet entertaining synopsis of my time spent in California, I will provide a few excerpts for you to read. Unfortunately, these aren’t true excerpts, because there is no “larger piece” that I’m drawing from… in hindsight, I wish that I had recorded in a journal during this trip. Yet I didn’t, so what you have in store is a read that mimics what 5 excerpts might look like had I actually written a complete story about this getaway.

Excerpt 1 | The Journey

“This flight is running an hour late, and everything is backed up right now in Chicago,” the flight attendant told me, handing me my boarding pass, “So I have provided a back-up pass for you, just in case you miss your connecting flight.”

I thank the lady, gather my boarding pass, and stroll away from the counter. Memories of my nightmare traveling experience that I had several years ago came flooding into my mind… no cell phone… stranded in Chicago airport… had to catch a bus home… arrived so late that the airport was closed… had to find a pay phone and call my brother, but it was so cold outside that my fingers shook and I misdialed three times…didn’t arrive home until 1am, and had to be at a science lab in 4 more hours…

I quickly pushed the memory out of my mind and found a seat right outside the security area. Peoria Airport is currently being remodeled, so everything is in disarray, with big fans blowing in several different directions and signs pointing you to where you need to go.

After waiting the extra hour, I boarded my flight and made it to Chicago, and had absolutely no problem making my connecting flight. I even had time to grab lunch and a Starbucks.

However, traveling woes would still creep their way into my experience. As I boarded the plane and took my seat, already ready to be in San Diego, I noticed that I was quite warm. In my past traveling experiences, I have found that planes are either VERY cold or way too warm. Usually it’s the former, so I made sure to dress in heavy clothes. Wrong choice, this time.

“Good afternoon,” the pilot’s voice came over the loudspeaker, “We are quite aware that the heat is on, and we’re working on resolving the problem as soon as possible.”

That explains it.

A few minutes later, “There is a maintenance issue we are working on,” he told us, “And we hope to have it taken care of in 20 minutes.”

One hour later, we were finally leaving the runway. The flights is almost 4 hours long as it is, but free music, movies, and a book kept my mind from becoming too bored.

Arrival into San Diego was wonderful. The airport was surprisingly small. I wondered outside after gathering my orange suitcase and waited for my uncle and cousin to pick me up. It was about a fifteen minute wait, but one I was willing to make with high spirits, considering the beautiful weather.

A deep blue sky stretched above me, and the air had a cool breeze to it. Within the first five minutes of standing outside, I almost forgot what Illinois humidity felt like.

My uncle and cousin drove up soon after in a convertible with the top down…

I smiled.

This is going to be a great 5 days.

Excerpt 2 | The Scene

I stayed at Hotel Del Coronado with my cousins and their families in Coronado.

It’s a historical place, with a navy seal base nearby. Planes and helicopters fly overhead multiple times a day, very closely. While standing on the beach, you almost feel like you can reach out and grab them from the sky.

The beautiful building has its original parts nicely preserved and newer places added on. Our rooms were a stone’s throw away from Babcock and Story, the Sun Deck, the beach, and Moo Time.

The food was all excellent; among one of my favorites was breakfast time. Selections include but are not limited to fresh fruit, yogurt, whipped cream, oatmeal, raisins, chocolate chips, coconut, eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, waffles, pancakes, omelets, flatbread, croissants, pastries, and more. I would usually follow up breakfast with a “Kate Morgan Mocha.”

Kate Morgan has a story. Evidently, she stayed at the Del many decades ago. She was waiting for her husband-to-be to come, and in the process found out he was seeing another woman. She became depressed and ill at this news, and shot herself on the steps, taking her own life at the Del. Some say they still see her ghost today…

Anyway, despite the dark story, the coffee is real good.

The beach has a plethora of seaweed washed up from the ocean, as well as swarms of flies. Despite those discrepancies, it is also quite charming with its sparkly golden glitter. It essentially looks like someone dumped a giant tub of glitter on the beach and mixed it in with the sand.

Little shops are peppered inside of the social part of the Del, and the main lobby is in its historically fit fashion, with a hugely tall ceiling, original woodwork, and a massive chandelier.

Excerpt 3 | The Company

“How old are you?” Josiah asked me, his eyes big with curiosity.

“I’m 24,” I answered.

“Are you married?” he asked.

“No,” I smile, “I’m not.”

“Well, my mom was married when she was 19.”

Two nights later, I was seated next to a man about 20 years my senior at dinner. He is a cousin to my family, but on the other side, so I am not related.

Josiah came up to me and tapped my arm. I looked at him, and he pointed to the man, and whispered into my ear, “Is that your boyfriend?”

“So,” my uncle said, taking a sip of his morning coffee, “Are you nervous for tonight?” he asked me. “Since you’re taking our big family picture, do you feel pressure at all?”

He was smiling.

“Not really,” I answered, “I’m looking forward to it.”

“Well you know,” he told me, “photographers may think they feel pressure, but we, the photographed,” he continued, pointing toward himself, “have our own set of problems. We have to make sure we are looking our best for the photo.”

“Taryn,” Todd said, catching the baseball that was headed his direction, “I know it may be difficult, but try to refrain from all the pictures you want to take of me,” he instructed.

“I don’t know, Todd,” I told him, holding my camera up and taking a shot of him with his blue shades on, “This might just be what they put on the cover of the book.”

“Adelayde, didn’t you have a tornado when you were little?” asked Amelia in her high-pitched little voice.

Have a tornado?” I repeated.

“Yes, Adelayde, that’s what you told me,” Amelia affirmed.

“Oh yes,” Adelayde remembered, “Once, when I was 4 or maybe 6, I was spending the night at Ava’s house in Illinois, and Ava woke me up at midnight and told me there was a tornado outside and to come look. So I did, and all the trees were blowing and the leaves were everywhere,” she told us.

“What are you up to?” Shannon asked.

“I’m a photographer, and I have a photography and design business in Morton,” I told him.

“That’s great,” he told me.

“Yes, I really love it.”

He walked up to me and gave me a hug, and looked me in the eyes.

“Keep it up,” he instructed. “Seriously.”

Excerpt 4 | Top Moments

{1} Catching up with all my first cousins

{2} Eating macadamia crusted halibut

{3} Taking a large family photo with the San Diego skyline as the backdrop

{4} Seeing for the first time my aunt & uncle’s condo in San Diego, which is situated on the 42nd floor (of a 43 floor building) and peering over the edge of the balcony at night time, and even catching a glimpse of fireworks from afar

{5} Breathing in the cool California breeze

{6} Having free reign over a candy store and picking out something for free… my choice was a caramel apple coated with chocolate and miniature peanut butter cups

{7} Sitting around a campfire on the beach and making s’mores while singing praise songs

{8} Having some great conversations with my aunt, uncle, and cousins

{9} Drinking 5 Kate Morgan Mochas… 1 a day

{10} Having the independence to enjoy this getaway yet still capture it through images

Excerpt 5 | In Closing

It was a beautiful journey, almost the type of trip that dreams are made of. And it only lasted 5 days. IMHO, this is the perfect amount of time to spend with a large family; not so long that you become bored and restless, but not so short that you feel as if you just arrived.

I was reminded again how very blessed I am to have such an awesome, generous, and loving family.

Love you all!


Just a small preview...

Running on the beach

Hannah, Kailey & I

I love palm trees!
Elijah's candy store buy
Fireworks from my aunt & uncle's condo
Alexa in the ocean
Emma's sea shell
Hotel Del Coronado
I love everything about this picture
Supper at the Boat House
Whitney & I outside of the Boat House
Sharing a towel... the CA breeze was chilly!
Baseball on the beach
Sea buds
They all loved the jacuzzi!

1 comment:

The Rockes said...

Can I PLEASE be your travel buddy next time you go? I'll even carry your suitcase and camera bag so your hands can be free to take pictures;) I think it would be a great deal for both of us;) Miss you Taryn!! Looks like you had a wonderful time! I think I may be a bit jealous...ya, I think so, but I'm thrilled that you could! Someone's gotta enjoy that amazing state and I'm glad it was you so I can live vicariously through your pictures;) Love to you and your family!!