In Santa Barbara,  Leaving Paradise,  Preparation,  Rachel,  UCSB

Closing in on the finish line, with a lump in my throat

Hiking trip in Montecito

So, I realize, there has not been much updating these last months, since December actually. There is a reason for this – I live in paradise and

paradise does not need me to do anything butenjoy her ever… so I have not updated with pictures or thoughts or anything, and I can sum up December – April in one word … bliss!

I have loved living here in Santa Barbara. I have loved working here, playing here, living here and meeting friends here. I have enjoyed hosting family and friends

Mom and I - how I will miss you!

who have come to share in our adventure, and I have loved my co-workers at UCSB and the bonds between my children and their new friends.

And I dont want to leave.

I am saddened by the fact that in less than two months, our adventure in paradise is over. This has been the perfect place and home and playground for us and we are about to let it go, and watch it slip away, and it breaks my heart. I have not felt so at home in the past ten years, and I can feel the loneliness creeping up on me again, preparing me for what is ahead – rain, darkness, snow, cold, and emptiness. One of my

only consolidations is knowing that I still have my family with me and that we can think about all our wonderful experiences while drinking our stashed Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez wines,

looking at pictures, and forcing up memories of Yogurtland, Chilis, Backyard Bowls, the Habit, Elephant Bar, bar-b-que-ing on the porch, taking a jacuzzi almost daily, watching the sun set over the Pacific ocean from our stunning hill-garden… and always enjoying the sun and the warmth and the palms and the breeze and the flowers…

Bella and her friend Kayla

Another consolidation is knowing that I have taken a gigantic leap in my career. I have had a wonderful year academically. I have learned so much from my co-workers here, in addition to producing some fantastic data, learning new methods, getting fantastic contacts, and participating in a project

with the Sustainable Fisheries Group here. I have really taken a huge step and that makes me happy – that means this was more than a break from the trudgeries of “real life” and that I earned the scholarships I received, no doubt. Every day I am reminded of how

William, Theodore and their friends at Hooters for the first time

fantastic a year like this can be for your career – you are exposed to new methods and applications and

interviewees – and you learn how other groups work together to create excellence as a group – not just individually!

Thus, academically and professionally, this year has made me blossom and I know I will be able to excel at what I do at home armed with my knew knowledge and understanding and

contacts (as well as having mastered a new methodology and gained a fantastic dataset of course)! And that is something that makes me happy – knowing that my work environment will be much more fulfilling when I get home.

Goofing around at the beach

So, yes, I am sad and have a constant lump in my throat in the anticipation of having to say goodbye to my mother, who has been living with us since August, and to this beautiful piece of land I like to call paradise. But I am happy for all I have gained and learned, and for the fact that my children have gained a new confidence and understanding about the world. They speak perfect English and have made so many wonderful friends here – some of whom they might keep for years to come (gotta love Facebook for enabling that)!

And I know I have a couple of very very close true friends at home that will help me through the rough patches without feeling any less about our friendship when I cry about how much I miss being on the other side of the globe. Thank you before the fact – you know who you are 🙂

So – go for it – leave your home and go somewhere else entirely. Live the dream, and let it envelope you, and let your heart be broken when you have to leave it. This is an adventure you never want to be without!

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