Close to Home: Adventures with My Sister

I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Boston–an interesting town that I only got a tiny taste of because of the demands of the conference schedule and my own travel constraints. I’ve been to Boston before and hope to go back before too long just to explore and revel in all there is to see and do!

And my sister arrived here in San Diego Saturday for a short visit to my parents (who live near me), so we made plans for a little adventure to the zoo today.  My sister consistently visits twice a year, in the summer and at Christmas, usually with her family.  So this unexpected, solo, pre-Thanksgiving visit is a treat!  And although we invited our parents to come along with us today, when they declined we had a great time exploring, chatting, remembering…just the two of us.

Unlike Boston, San Diego is a place I know well–sometimes so well that I take it for granted. Today was a perfect November day.  It was mild and sunny, perfect for walking and talking. Kristie and I grew up in this town and have been to the zoo more times than we can count. We remember the days when the zoo was always free for kids 16 and under…and spent many a day exploring the zoo without an adult in sight.

And although the zoo has continued to expand and evolve, much remains the same.  We followed familiar paths and enjoyed watching the animals lounging and playing the early morning sun.

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And when I caught a glimpse of the historic bridge from afar, I wanted to find a place where I could take a photo.  So we tried to remember a place where the bridge was visible…and as we walked down the path, Kristie found that perfect spot where we could see it through the leaves.

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I love the way this landmark is framed by the oranges, reds, greens and browns of autumn in San Diego.

We headed from the zoo to lunch at El Indio’s, my sister’s favorite Mexican restaurant and then off to the beach.  Even though I live near the beach, I can’t go there often enough…and for my sister who no longer lives near the beach, an opportunity to smell the briny air, feel the sea breezes, and walk on the sand is a welcome treat.

We left our sweatshirts in the car and walked along the shoreline to the pier and back.  It was so clear we could see far off into the distance…breathtaking!  (Even when I see these views regularly!)

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And then off we went to the glider port–a place we don’t remember going to as children, but a place with views that are amazing.  We rumbled down the dirt road to the dirt parking lot, which was surprisingly full for a Monday afternoon.  My sister called me optimistic as I navigated toward the end of the lot where we wanted to be…and she saw the perfect spot for us to park, just a few steps from the pathway to the cliff’s edge.

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And although there were no gliders in sight today, we could see the pier where we had just walked.  We looked over the steep cliffs and noticed erosive handiwork of the wind and water.  The ocean sparkled and gleamed a brilliant blue in the November sun and we watched surfers hike up from the steep path to the beach…and walked partially down it ourselves for a closer view of the beach below.

We spent a few minutes watching someone get a hang gliding lesson, holding tightly to the giant parachute as he learned to control its movements.

It was a wonderful day to spend together, exploring this place that we know so well and yet has so many more experiences and secrets to discover.  This is the place where we spent our childhood together and as adults have to steal away time from our families and work to share time and space and memories.

So many people have been expressing their gratitude during the month of November.  During this week of Thanksgiving, I am thankful to have spent time with my sister on an adventure, close to home.

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