Kindred Spirits in San Diego (San Diego Zoo, Disneyland)

Hello all!

This post will be dedicated to Karin and Grace, who were such amazing friends that they came all the way out here to spend some time with me. :) I couldn’t have asked for better friends!

The first to come out was Karin. I picked her up from the airport, and used car2go for the first time. First off, we could not open the trunk, for some reason that was unknown to us. We were able to shove the luggage in through the front doors though, and after 15 minutes, figured out how to turn the car on.  We then drove to campus, dropped Karin’s luggage off, and tried to find a home zone to park the car.  When we finally found the home zone, we couldn’t leave the car because the TRUNK was not closed. By some act of God we got it open, and then slammed it shut never to use car2go again. MAN!

Anyway, we celebrated Karin’s arrival with sushi, and the next day we went out to Balboa Park to go to the zoo!

This animal was called the pangolin! It’s a mammal, and the only of its kind in North America.  It’s body is covered with keratin scales, which are the same thing fingernails are made of.  :o
Had no idea they were real?! Apparently they are now extinct but lived in North and South America until about 10,000 years ago.
I swear this was a real lion!
This cheetah has a companion – the white dog! So cute! :)
These baby warty pigs were the most adorable things I have ever seen! They were chasing each other around. :’)
At the end there was a short parade. :)

The next day we rested and at some point began to watch Samurai Champloo, which was crazy good!  It was so nice to sit, talk, and just hang around with a friend. :) It had been a while since I had seen her, so it was wonderful to catch up! I hadn’t felt so happy in a long time.

Hostel! :)
We then went out to the pier where we were able to catch some people surfing.
We also saw dolphins! :D
The next day we went out to do some sea kayaking and cave exploring in La Jolla.  Too bad I forgot I get seasick and vomited all over myself and my kayak while we were out in the ocean… but it’s ok because we surfed back in and wiped out, so it all kind of washed off. The overall experience was great though! We had a really knowledgeable tourguide, and we were able to kayak into a cave and see some sea lions up close! Karin picked up the slack for me having little to no strength on the way back in, but it was really a great experience. :)

It was a beautiful evening on the shores of La Jolla, after which we went home and spent the next day taking it easy and watching more Samurai Champloo and talking. :)  Karin’s flight on that last day, so we headed to the airport and stupidly walked all the way there in really intense heat.  Her flight got delayed, but it was nice because we could spend more time together. :) I not so secretly wished her flight would be cancelled and she could stay with me for a long time!

The next day was Grace’s turn to come! I wasn’t able to pick her up from the airport because I had work, but I met her after work and we hung out a little which was nice! We had Thai food and walked to a store to buy some bread and brownies, and planned out our next two days. Unfortunately I had to work the next day, but Grace was able to go to the beach and explore a little bit of San Diego! That afternoon we had Hawaiian, which was my first time having it. Very good! Whatever that pineapple flavored salad dressing was, it was heavenly!

After Hawaiian, we drove down to Sunset Cliffs to watch the sunset!

Then, on Thursday, which also happened to be my exact day of my birthday, we went to Disneyworld! :) We rented a ZipCar and drove down at 6:30am. We got there at 8, right on time for the park opening, and were really surprised to discover it was also Disneyland’s birthday as well – except Disneyland was turning 59! :D

While at Disneyland, we met up with Grace’s friends from New Jersey – what a small world!! They were really great guys to hang around with, and their friend knew Disneyland like the back of his hand so it was like we had our own private tour guide. He knew EVERYTHING when it came to Disney! His sister I believe was or is still the publicist for the Disney family so he knew a lot of secrets about the park. Grace was also super sweet and bought me Minnie ears for my birthday!

We went on It’s A Small World twice, on almost every Fast Past ride once, and took some breaks in places like the Tiki hut (I totally might be making up some of the names of these places, since it’s been a while and my memory is obviously not that great, thus this blog… anyway!). We basically did as much as we possibly could, including seeing the parade, the fireworks, and Fantasmic. One of my favorite rides was definitely Indiana Jones, as well as Splash Mountain. :)  We even got a chance to go to Downtown Disney for dinner, where I had Hawaiian again and listened to a really chill Hawaiian (I think!) band that I believe may have been a band of brothers!
This guy was my favorite guy in the entire park. The dude with the bananas on his head. He could move his hips like nobody else Just watch him below!
It was amazing spending my birthday with Grace and her friends! Any time spent with Grace is filled with laughter and happiness, and I love being around her for that! It was wonderful to reminisce about China and to forget things together – the only thing missing was Earnestine there to help us remember! But alas, Earnestine is in Malawi doing some amazing work so we couldn’t complain. :)
The next day, Friday, Grace and I went to Las Quatro Milpas, which is arguably one of the best Mexican food places in San Diego:
Las Quatro Milpas is located in Chicano park, which is home to some beautiful murals, and apparently has the most outdoor murals in the USA. Most of these murals are dedicated to the cultural heritage of the community surrounding the area, which is heavily comprised of Mexican-Americans and Mexican immigrants.

Later that day, Grace took me to my first In-N-Out experience I have ever had! :D West coast MUST!

Animal style burger yeahhh. I wish I were closer to one!
Anyway, we had to head back to the apartment at that point so that Grace could get her luggage, and then we went off to the airport.  This goodbye was honestly very hard, because it was a goodbye for a while, to my last visitor. That night alone was also very hard, because all of a sudden the apartment felt very big and hollow. :(
In my time out here I really realized the importance and deep meaning of close friends, and I hope that I can remember how much they meant to me once I return home.  I want to be a more intentional friend this year, and remember people’s birthdays, life events, and be there for my friends more than I have been in the past year. I just hope I keep it up once I return to the doldrums of everyday life. :(
I miss you Karin and Grace! You brought sunshine to me out here, even though this city is already full of sunshine. I hope you are both having great days, and want to just again reiterate how wonderful it was for you both to visit. :)
Let us continue to travel and explore the world together for years to come!
A
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