San Diego Sunshine

I just returned from an amazing, sun filled week in San Diego. You would think that, living in Canada, I travel to the United States all the time, but I usually go as far as possible when I travel, so I haven’t been to many states. To be fair, San Diego is really far, probably the furthest place in the States from where I live, so it’s not like I stuck close to home this time either!

I traveled with one of my best friends. She and I went to Spain nine years ago, so I knew we would travel well together! We also have our freak out moments at different times, which is a definite plus while traveling (her: can’t find the bus stop, me: too many people and someone touched me.)

We had originally booked a hostel, but ended up staying in an airbnb house, which was much better. I learned many things on this trip, the most important one being that I’m so done with hostels. I’m a grown-up now, no more sharing a bathroom with 13 people.

San Diego is a big city, and I’m sure we didn’t see everything, but we did as much as we could, and that included relaxing on the many beautiful beaches!

Day 1

We started with mimosas for breakfast, then we walked and walked and walked (over 21 000 steps, according to my fitbit!) We took a guided tour of the city on a trolley and stopped in several interesting places, including Old Town, Coronado and Seaport village.

Day 1

Day 2

We went to the zoo! I was so excited! I have a love affair with giraffes and they were amazing. There was a baby giraffe too. We also saw elephants, koalas, pink flamingos and pandas. There were plenty of other animals too. In the evening, we were so exhausted and were wondering what to do. We didn’t want to go out, but we didn’t want to just hang out around the house either. Someone gave us tickets to an advanced screening of Antman, so we ended up going to the movies!

Day 2

Day 3

Our first beach day. We went to Pacific beach and it was wonderful. There was quite a bit more seaweed than I would have liked, but it was the ocean, so I’m not really complaining. We had Mexican food for lunch, ate gelato and relaxed in the sun. It was a perfect day.

Day 3

Day 4

We took a trip to La Jolla to see the seals. They just lay out on the rocks, sunning themselves and pay no attention whatsoever to the people walking around them taking pictures. It was surreal to get so close to them. Also, they smell really bad. After lunch we left the cove and went to the beach. Less seaweed this time. I bought a hat and it made me feel fabulous.

Day 4

Day 5

Before we left, we booked a culinary walking tour of downtown for day 5. What we didn’t know was that it was the Pride parade, right in our neighbourhood! We missed the parade, but still saw plenty of colour and partying going on. Also, strangely enough, it rained! There was a huge thunderstorm, which is very unusual for San Diego. The end of our tour got canceled, so we got to go on another one the next day.

Day 5

Day 6

We started the day off at the Hillcrest farmer’s market. It was so cool to see people selling food they grow themselves, and there was definitely a different variety than what we have at home. On the way, I stopped at an atm, and it was covered in glitter! The Pride festivities were still going strong. After the market, we headed to North Park for our second culinary walking tour. There was wine. Bliss.

Day 6

Day 7

Our last day was spent in Balboa Park. There are lots of museums in the park, but we wanted to enjoy our last day of beautiful San Diego weather outdoors. We visited the botanical garden, the rose garden and the desert garden. We had to leave in the afternoon to make our flight, but it was the perfect last day in this amazing city.

Day 7

I loved San Diego and I would definitely go back. I enjoy spending a whole week in one city, because it gives me a better feel for a place and I don’t have to pick one or two things to see, I can do it all (almost).

Where to next?

Pura Vida

You know that feeling, when everything is exactly as it’s supposed to be and you’re exactly where you should be? It doesn’t come around very often, but last week, while I was in Costa Rica, I felt it. After only two days, I knew I belonged there. It just felt right. I’m not ready to give up my whole life and move there, just yet, but I am already planning my next trip. A girl can easily get hooked on the feeling of knowing she is where she is meant to be.

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I can no more cover my whole trip, even though it was only a week, in one post, than I could count the books I’ve read. It’s impossible, there’s too much magic to squeeze in to one little post. I’m not even sure I can find the words to express the wonder, the joy, the excitement that this adventure brought me. But I will try.

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I stayed at a place called Peace Retreat Costa Rica. People say Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, but I’m guessing they haven’t been to Peace Retreat yet. It’s owned and run by Hali and Kevin, two Canadians who moved their life and family down to this happy, beautiful, peaceful corner of Costa Rica. The place is amazing, but it’s their light and love that make it shine.

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Peace Retreat is located in the village of Los Pargos, which, I learned from a Tico, is slang for lazy people. I didn’t meet anyone I would call lazy, but the slow, easygoing way of life was definitely appealing. There’s a beach, called Playa Negra, and it draws surfers to it, like bookstores lure me in, like a mermaid calling to the sailors.

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The village is pretty remote, so it’s not a big tourist attraction. I loved that, even though, technically, I was a tourist. I say technically, because in my heart, I knew I belonged there, and when you belong, you’re not a tourist, are you? There are dirt roads and people regularly stop and ask you if you need a ride. No one wears shoes. Everyone smiles. No one says “I have a deadline” or “I’d love to, but I have to do all this work I brought home”. I’m not saying people’s lives there are perfect, because I’m sure they’re not. We all have our issues, but to an outsider, it all looked pretty amazing.

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I did yoga, learned how to surf and picked a lemon from a tree. I saw lizards, monkeys and I almost saw a crocodile. (I was happy I didn’t!) I took a stand up paddleboard tour through the mangroves, heard the monkeys every morning before the sun came up and got myself a custom made bikini (pink, of course). I went to Tamarindo, tried to do a handstand on the beach and leapt into the air every time someone said “Jump shot!”.

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Pura Vida means pure life. Life at it’s purest form should be, in my opinion, joy. And that’s what I found in Costa Rica. Joy. Bliss. Happiness.

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Country roads

I went to visit my family this weekend. I grew up in the country, and when I go back on beautiful, sunny weekends like this one, it makes me realize how much I miss it! I love my appartment and my life in the city, but summer-like days just beg to be spent outside, with no hum of traffic, by the water, with a nice cold drink.

I am very much like my mom in a lot of ways. We both love old things. Houses, books, barns, family history. On Sunday, I wanted to go out and take some pictures, so my mom and I drove around on some country roads (which are just called roads, at home) for a couple of hours. Here’s what came out of it.

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It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon with my momma!

Beach day

I went to the beach with my sister today. I lay in the sun, reading my book. I went swimming for the first time this summer and the water was actually warmer that I thought it would be. My biggest decision of the day was Do I want a cookie or a cracker? Sophie, my sister, and I eventually got over the traumatizing event of wearing a swimsuit out in public for the first time, and we had a fabulous day.

Sophie and her fabulous hat.

Reading my very funny book.

A synchronized foot-flip pose.


I love everything about the beach. The smell of sunblock, the sand between my toes, the picnics, the first contact of the water on my feet, the drive home with the windows open, just as the light is going soft.  I love how everything gets sandy and my hair smells like sunshine.

Today was like a preview of what’s to come. I love my job as a teacher very much, but I need the break. I feel like I have nothing left to give. In two weeks, I will be off for the whole summer. I can have as many beach days as I want, preferably with my sister or other wonderful people. I can smell the summer holidays and I love it!

Walk, don’t run!

I have a nasty cold. So bad, that I just spent all weekend complaining. It was a really nice day out on Saturday, but I spent most of it on the couch. At one point, I opened the door, stepped out onto the porch to confirm that, yes, in fact, it was a beautiful day. Then I went back to bed. Yesterday was a little better and I spent the afternoon with family, sitting on my grandma’s porch.

Today, I decided I was sick of being sick. It was another amazing day and I could not spend one more minute inside. Well, after work, anyways. I stopped at the park on my way home, because the word for my photo a day challenge was grass. Since I live in an appartment, I don’t have any grass. I sat around, took some pictures and enjoyed the sun. This is my picture of the day.

Then I decided that what I really wanted wasn’t just to sit outside, but to run. I went home and started getting ready. That’s when the inner dialogue started.

Sick me: – You know, you’re still sick.

Sick of being sick me: – Whatever, I need to move!

– I’m just saying, walk, don’t run.

– We’ll see. I really want to run.

I know, but you keep having coughing fits.

– I can stop running to cough, it’s all good.

– Ok, well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Obviously, 5 minutes in, I started to run. I felt amazing, free, like I was a gazelle….and my lungs were on fire. Actually, I started coughing so I slowed down, and that’s when my lungs felt like they were about to explode. So much for running while being sick. I did run for longer than I thought I would though (a total of about 5 minutes).

Since I couldn’t run, I decided to go back to the park. There were beautiful lilac bushes. Some kids gave me some lilacs today. It was very sweet, even if the flowers were a little (a lot) wilted from being held in grubby little hands for who knows how long during recess. I decided I wanted to pick some. Trouble is, the ones I could reach were on the street side and I didn’t want anyone to see me. I don’t think picking flowers is allowed in parks, but there’s no sign or anything. Anyways I went to the other side and jumped around and grabbed at the branches untill I had a few flowers. I sent all kinds of tree bits and leaves and maybe a bug down the front of my shirt, but it was worth it. I also picked some blue flowers.

I like to take before and after pictures. This is before and after my run/walk/flower picking expedition. I still have dark circles under my eyes, but I think I look happier after playing outside.

So this is what I learned today: when you’re sick, walk, don’t run. Or even better, pick flowers!

Sunshine

When I started writing this blog, I decided it would be my happy place. This is where I write about the things that make me smile and laugh, it’s not a place to vent about the things that drive me crazy. That being said, I’m not having a great week. It’s not bad, but it’s not especially good, either. I decided what I needed was some sunshine.

Since the sun was not about to humour me, I decided to create my own.

I started by wearing one of my spring dresses. I don’t mind the rain, but I wasn’t going to let it keep me from dressing like it was nice and sunny. Made me feel pretty all day!

This is actually today’s picture for the May photo a day challenge. If you want to see the pictures every day, check out my facebook page.

Wearing a pretty dress will only get you so far. Today was my grandmother’s birthday, so I drove up to see my family. They live a little over an hour away, so it’s a long drive there and back on a weeknight, but it’s all about the sunshine.

Then I helped my little cousin with her homework.

My mom even had treats for me, since I’m on day 3 of my no spending challenge.

If you’re wondering where I’m going with this, here it is : If you’re having a bad day, or a bad week, find something to make it better. Some days, you need to make your own sunshine.