We left Northern California over four years ago. The main reason was that we did not have any family near us. We wanted to have more flexibility with our vacation plans and we wanted Evie to see her family more than 10 days a year.
We chose Nashville as our first choice, mainly because Evie has 17 cousins close by. Southern California, or more specifically, Orange County, has always been a second choice, not only because Kymberlee lived almost her whole life there, but because she does have direct family such as her brother, her aunt, and now her grandmother.
But this post isn’t about her direct family. Instead it is about her close friends that have lived, played, prayed, mourned, and celebrated with her for much of her life.
It started with Jane and Keith. Recently married, they treated me to a delicious vegan meal at their place in Capistrano Beach on Tuesday night. They are a very talented couple, with Jane having her own business and Keith being a master modeler of aircraft. The picture below is his Westland Lysander which recently won best in show at Orangecon 2016! In addition, they care so much about other people. It was a delight to be in their company and absorb some needed affirmation therapy.
Next was a great Thursday night with Glenda and Michael. Glenda is another one of Kymberlee’s long-time friends and she and Michael live in this incredible oceanfront apartment. In addition to it being a great workspace (see OC part 1), it is a great place just to hang out and enjoy the continuous but every changing beauty of the ocean. I did take the opportunity (after I had finished some work) to take a dip in the ocean. It was a bit rough to swim in, but I enjoyed bobbing in the swells for a half-hour, content to let my fingers prune as I absorbed as much of the ocean therapy as I could. Next time I will visit in the morning to do a real open water swim, one my favorite things to do.
They then treated me to a trip to the local Wahoo’s. It a great time to break bread together with wonderful conversations, and Glenda has been so generous with her time helping me network in OC. It was also an aid to my research project that I take very seriously – who has the best fish tacos? I became addicted to fish tacos during a trip to Baja in the mid 90s. Ever since, I have sought them out wherever I go. Wahoo’s was an early fish taco chain pioneer, and I looked forward to comparing them to the other places in OC that I had already tried on this trip – Taco Loco in Laguna and Chronic Tacos in Newport Beach. I have to say that Wahoo’s has slipped since the last time I visited one, almost five years ago in their Palo Alto location. So the winner for this round is Taco Loco!
I was sad to leave them to head back to the maid’s quarters, but I know our paths will continue to cross.
Friday brought me to a place of caring and beauty. Kimberlee (no jokes about the common yet different spelling, please) is perhaps Kymberlee’s longest friend, and she has recently had to become a single mother to her two wonderful teenaged kids. She was in the middle of moving to a new home and I volunteered to come help at the end of the day to help hook up their TV and wifi. Well, by the time I arrived, the movers had flaked on her and despite a growing army of friends to help, no truck makes it hard to move anything. We made the quick decision to rent a U-Haul truck, so off we went to pick it up. I spent the rest of the evening moving stuff, driving, and moving stuff again until everything was in the new place and the truck had been returned. It was hard, but it was also such a privilege to be part of her community that surrounded her with muscle, brain, and heart on a very stressful day. Leaving a long-time home is hard enough. Doing it as a single mom is harder. Doing it with flaky movers pushes it into insanity. But the insanity was dissolved by her extended family of friends that invested heavily into making this move not only a logistical success but also a family success. In the end, I was not able to get the TV or wifi hooked up, but somehow that didn’t matter as I left to go back to my small space. What mattered was that I was able to be part of her family, if only for a night.
All three of these people I visited were part of our wedding ten years ago. They are still as near and dear friends as they were back then, and that, by my definition, is family. So as we consider where on earth God is leading us to live, I now know that if he calls us to OC, we will have plenty of family there.
Links to the rest of the journey:
Why I Don’t Camp in the East
Aunt Panda and Homebrew
Bucket List Maintenance
Gee, That’s Swell
AdversityHumanity and Home?
Hot and Cold
What I Learned From The OC, Part One
The OC, Part 2 – We Are Family
A Big Hole (In Our Memory?)
Leaving the Mountains Behind
Your post brought tears to my eyes Paul as I think back on how my brothers and sisters in Christ stepped up to help me in my dire straights that day as my movers flaked on me. I don’t think it was a coincidence that you were in CA (The Lord knew you would be my faithful friend who would help me rent my first U Haul, drive it to my house, and even return it for me later that evening so I didn’t have to wake up early to do so the next day.) I also don’t think it was coincidence that Kymberlee was in CA in July the week after my whole world was shattered to help me prioritize what I needed to do and understand some truths about my relationships. I’ve found over the years that “family” doesn’t have to be blood relations, our common bond of faith in Christ, is what really binds us together. I was at a Bible study tonight that reminded me that our great commission is to be “salt” and “light” to the world. I’m so blessed to have friends like you and Kymberlee who have helped shine the light of God’s truth and wisdom which always helps guide us, and be that salt which preserves and heals.