US Trip: San Diego

From the minute we landed in San Diego we hit the ground running.  We had just a few short days to visit friends, family, and finish up our shopping before the flight back home.  After our rental car was finally ready, we stopped at the mall to cross a few things off the list.  Then we grabbed some fish tacos and headed to my parents' house.  We got settled in and then my mom and I hit the fabric shops for my once-a-year fabric binge.  I always go in very strategically with a list of everything I'm looking for, that way I don't forget anything.  The fabric in the US is $10/yard versus the $24/meter in Australia, so even when the bad exchange rate at the moment it's worth it to bring whatever I *need* back with me.  By now, I'm an expert at stuffing fabric into a suitcase to the absolute maximum weight allowed.  I never travel without my luggage scale anymore.  For dinner that evening we had some really good Mexican food with my family at our favorite local place, Mario's.  Aussie "Mexican" food just doesn't even compare. 
My family's dog Sheba
My family's cat Winston
On Friday we went with my dad to his property in the mountains.  It's a beautiful spot just at the base of Cuyamaca Peak bordering the national forest.  It's a piece of undeveloped land where we can go hike around and enjoy some quiet.  We hiked around a bit, visiting our past Christmas Trees that we had planted years ago and seeing how big they had grown.  It was really warm so we didn't do much, but it was nice to just sit around and enjoy the scenery with my dad and the family dog Sheba.   
Sheba and I on the way to the mountains
The mountains

My dad and Sheba on a hike
My dad and I with Cuyamaca Peak in the background
Our old Chritmas Tree
Heading back into town, I had 10 minutes to make a quick stop at the shoe store to get some new work shoes.  It was a team effort, and within the allotted ten minutes I found four pairs of shoes.  It's amazing how efficient my speed shopping has become with these US trips - I keep constant list of things I want to get, then once I'm in the US I know exactly where to go and what to get. 

That evening we met up with lots of friends during happy hour.  It was great to see everyone - most of them hadn't seen Phil in four years.  It's always a bit hard to see everyone in a short amount of time, so it was nice that everyone could come and hang out for a bit. 


Some of Phil's former coworkers
Our American/Aussie friends
The following day we had a family Christmas in July party at my parents' house.  Go figure, the one time it rains in July in San Diego is the day we have an outdoor party planned.  The show went on, and fortunately we had a big tent we could sit under.  It was really funny watching all these San Diegans enjoy the rain.  We could really tell it had been awhile - everyone commented on how great the rain was and they all seemed to enjoy it immensely.  We had family from both sides come over for an American-style potluck and a few friends and some adopted family.  Many of them we hadn't seen since our going away party, so it was a much needed catch up.  I wish we could have a big family party in Australia some time, it would be great to see everyone in our space and show them the area.  Maybe when we win the lottery. 

My dad, aunts, and uncle
Old picture of the cousins
Reenactment of the cousins pic 
Mi familia
The Weflen Family
The Carrier Family
Me and my aunts - I see no family resemblance!
Sunday morning we had brunch with our good friends, then made a couple last minute stops before heading north to LAX.  It was raining again so we had to leave extra early.  Good thing we did!  With a quick stop for dinner along the way with some friends from college, it was a solid four hour drive from San Diego to LAX and took us a total of six hours to get to the airport and checked in.  We made it with very little time to spare, but then of course waited on the plane for two hours while a passenger got off and they then proceeded to remove and repack all of the luggage to get that passenger's bags off.  Then it was just a quick 15-hour flight back home to some nice cold winter weather. 
Friends at brunch 
Quick stop for dinner with the Durkins
Happy puppy waiting for us to come home
Kitties happy to see us

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