Ah home…so much to love about going home to the U.S., and yet so much weirdness going on there that we feel somewhat relieved to be living in Mexico right now. What’s to love about visiting the U.S.? In a nutshell, family, family, family; great friends; snuggling with Hobie Cat (the pet we foisted upon my parents about 10 years ago); the wide variety of food options (especially Thai and Indian), and of course, Thanksgiving dinner and lefties; being able to watch Netflix and college hoops (Narcos and Michigan State Spartans, in particular); fast and reliable internet; and did I say family and great friends? I do have to say, however, that we missed laying our eyes on and giving hugs to a handful of folks with whom we just couldn’t manage to connect (e.g., Erin and Simon, Tom and Barb, Vicki and Dan, Mich, Gunther and family, Erin and Rob, etc…sheesh. Next time!).
What are we content to live without? Driving, parking, driving, and sitting in traffic; the 24-hour news cycle with “news” that detracts from what is really important (i.e., Trump vs. LaVar Ball – what?! Who gives a rat’s…?) instead of focusing on issues/legislation that’s being slipped through or buried without notice; hearing about more and more gun violence; hearing about conspiracy theories surrounding the man on the moon and the earth being round; the holiday shopping rush (I mean, geez, Christmas trees and decorations go up before the Thanksgiving turkey has even been carved!); and did I mention sitting in traffic?
All-in-all, we love going back to the U.S. I mean, when else do we get to peruse all the marine stores around Point Loma and spend a bunch of money on boat stuff that’s difficult to get in Mexico? We also got to experience three very different climates: SD/PS – shorts weather, yet cool, crisp mornings and evenings; TC – gray, gray, gray, rain, snow, and butt-COLD; and Taos – gorgeous, wide-open, blue skies above a vast sagebrush ocean and also butt-COLD! Good thing we store a bunch of clothes at my dad’s house; we were uber-prepared for whatever Mother Nature threw at us this trip!
One thing we weren’t prepared for was for our BFF, Flea, to lose her sweet Mom, ML. It’s been a rough couple of years for us and some of our friends who have lost one or both parents; I guess we’re in that age class. ML was stricken with ALS two short years ago, but the actual diagnosis was slow in coming. Sadly, ML lost the battle a bit before Thanksgiving, but she was celebrated well by those near and dear to her, who will miss her terribly.
So, yes, going home is wonderful, but it sure makes it difficult to leave when the time comes. While we miss da boat a great deal when we’re gone, once we return, at least for me, it just reinforces the communication challenges and the distance between me and my peeps. I tend to worry more and think about and text everyone constantly for the first few weeks after leaving them. I’m sure I’m a pain their backsides, especially because most everyone is at work! Oops. Regardless, we love going home, but we love returning to Free Luff, too.
Enjoy the pics and the vids (the Michigan vid contains copyrighted music by The Clumsy Lovers, and I neglected to gain the appropriate permissions, so the music may not play. Sorry for that.). Thank you to all who contributed photos to this post!!
First stop – San Diego and Palm Springs, California
Leaving Loreto – Islas Coronados
HOME! and at the Soup Plantation
BLAH with Lea and Stace
Saying so-long to Monte as he departs for his 2-wk Mexico traverse
Capt. Fishguts is jealous of Nobi’s catch
Pop making meatloaf at Kiku
Holy bottle-shop! South Bay Liquor’s got it goin’ on!
No trip home is complete without a home-improvement project
Día de los Muertos in Old Town, San Diego
Enjoying the día with Jer and the Coulters
Jer is a two-timer
Panning for gems
Breaky with Mel at our fav, Franco’s
Connecting with Freddy and his parents
The Willie on Halloween, plus a good IPA
The Willie and the monkey
Matt turns the big 5-OH!
Party time with Flea, Ayoola, and Kathleen
Awe…our Guide Baby
Yes, that is a donut
Dinner with the Sackett’s at Nobi’s
Maggie is all in on the donuts, too
How many smarty-pantses does it take to outsmart a Mac?
A visit to Palm Springs with Tannika to see Vince and Flea
And Peter and Ruby
Hot-tubbin’ at the Resort
More Resort livin’
My favorite ex-boss, Pete
Peter trying to work
Ken and Kerry, too
Ah, Pizza Port
Reading Jack the best book ever
A family that cooks bacon together, stays together
Movie night with the gang
A stroll along the PB boardwalk
Vannie enjoying the SD sun
Last selfie with Vannie
Random re-connect with Kerry at the SD Airport on our way to Michigan
Pop seeing Vannie off til the next time
One of the reasons we timed our trip to San Diego when we did was so we could be present at Uncle Nobi’s (one of my Mama’s little brothers) surprise 80th birthday party. It was an amazing event for an amazing man. Plus, it turned into a family reunion for both the Sato and Sawasaki sides of the family! Super duper fun!
Creative design and execution by cousin Debbie and bestie Margie
Calm before the storm
Nobi’s favorite fishing boat
Cousin Matt joins three Sawasaki sibs
Pop feelin’ the love
Cousin Jon and Unc
A rare photo of Pop with his brother, Taka, and his wife, Beverly (sitting in purple)
Big sister, Auntie Nech, serenades on the ukulele
Luckily, there weren’t 80 candles on the cake
Because everyone needs a cardboard cut-out of their younger self
The Kiku/sushi clan
The Matt Sato-side
Jeff has been part of our family for more years than I can count
Auntie Nech 🙂
Selfie with Vanessa and Annie
The first cousins on the Sato-side (missing a couple 🙁 )
With the Auntie
The three remaining sibs (missing my Mama 🙁 )
Because everyone needs to eat a donut now and then
Issac and Yasu doing what they do best
Jes on clean-up
Next stop – Traverse City, Michigan, for some Fraser Family fun!
Layover in Chicago and yes, we got a burrito
Don picked us up at midnight
22 degrees at 1 am
The treat that greeted us upon our arrival at Don and Nancy’s
Randy’s childhood home – gorgeous
First morning in TC – brrrrrr
TC Christmas came early
I stole Rand’s present
Morning at the Tobin Fraser’s
Family hike around the neighborhood
Michigan fall selfie
Fraser fam inside where it’s warm
A store named FLEA!
Michele gets sworn in as a new TC City Commissioner
Doing good work
Howie and Rand are excited about Michele’s new position of power
Out with the Howards
And Michele and Howie
Capt. Bud on his home-built boat
Bud and Nancy – love these two
Rand wrangling cats at the Jordan’s
Out for a stroll at Clay Cliffs
A chilly, but lovely view of Lake Michigan
A quintessential Michigan haunt
Throwback to Time Pilot and Pac Man
The arcade room
Rand after playing video games with Max and Chad
A blurry selfie at the Jordan’s
Family dinner with Gayzie at Red Ginger
The only blue sky we say in the nine days we were in TC
Ry visits us in TC
In the elevator at The Park
Howie staging a ride in this little contraption
Ry and the RAV!
Smack! Right in the kisser!
Crusin’ the RAV on Bluff Rd
Fun at Brew in TC
Yay! We even laid our eyes on Heather for a few
And actually won a raffle gift!
Les Mis at Central!
Wiley was Javert – and he was spectacular!
Proud aunt and grandma
Proud little brother and uncle
Wiley’s entourage (missing the Stychs and Don)
Third stop – Taos, New Mexico, for a little cuddlin’ with Hattie Jean!
The Santa Fe Municipal Airport – teeny tiny
Holy bottle-shop! Another score for Capt. Rand!
Hattie Jean’s humble abode
Getting acquainted with Hattie J
Dinner at Nan’s with Adam, Molly, HJ, Sam, and Kate
Ah, New Mexico
Out for a morning walk around the neighborhood
About to drop down into the Rio Grande gorge
The mighty Rio Grande
The mighty Harry
Molly and HJ
Jody and HJ
Chilly day for a picnic, but who cares when you’re with these peeps
HJ getting used to the guy with facial hair
Avoiding eye contact
Enjoying a little bath
Wandering the streets
Hmmm…is this right?
Hike along the top of the gorge
Working on the selfie
A content HJ
We had to go to Taos to see Molly’s sister, Mariah, who lives in San Diego
Selfie on the gorge
A little feeding break
Mariah contemplating the gorge
Rand super excited for good NM beer
Reconnect with Kevin (left), Patrick, and Cheri (Kev’s wifey-poo) after many, many years
Last stop – Back in San Diego for Thanksgiving holiday festivities!
Back in SD and at Pizza Nova
Thanksgiving at Jer and Mary’s
Pala Casino to scratch the itch
Rand watching how it’s done
Jody demonstrating poor form
Lunch with Mel after the driving range
Birthday dinner for Pop at The Old Spag Factory, finally