7 Weeks, 13 Cities, 10 Suitcases and One Cadillac

flying into LAX summer 2014

En route from Hong Kong to Dubai, as everyone slept, a window of stillness appeared.

Our seven official weeks of summer vacation were over. A bit uncertain what the future will bring, this summer we prepared for transitions.  Meeting new people, we cracked open the doors of possibility.

Landing in Los Angeles, our journey started in Manhattan Beach enjoying the warm Pacific coast summer. Ace and Mark’s long-lost triplet convinced them sleeping in the garage was the height of coolness while Suzanne enjoyed her completely silent, hotel room.

barnstable and sandwich town line

We flew to Boston, spent July Fourth on Cape Cod and visited Barnstable, the town my first English ancestor landed in in 1630. Journeying north we visited our friends’ beach front house on the Beverly Glen shore. That set the stage for our whirlwind tour of New England boarding schools through towns with classic East coast names – Deerfield, Windsor, Farmington, Suffield and Wallingford.

flying over potomac and madeira school grounds

Leaving Hartford, we flew into our beloved Washington National to Arlington where our children were born. As Arlington gentrified, we felt so at home there. It was an ancestral connection. My Scot-Irish ancestors had settled along the Potomac. The land called to Suzanne too. She loved the hills, the river, and declared Virginia is where she wants to go to school.

Finishing the East coast school tour, we ventured further into the deep South, to steamy Georgia.

When I was a child, my father appreciated Georgia’s dense forests where a man could lose himself. He found love and built a life there. Growing up my sister and I visited his one-stoplight town during the summers. Returning home, I described the Red Velvet cake my southern step-mother baked to my friends who had never heard of such a delight.

Of all places in world, our expat friends from Bahrain migrated to a Georgia town that even my father used to call “country”. We pulled into their neighborhood, and if it wasn’t for the cicadas, I would have sworn we were in a Virginia development. As the kids instagrammed, my friend and I practiced our yoga in her thriving studio.

Saying good-bye and moving to my father’s, I drove the new byway lined with the requisite CVS and Kroger shopping malls before passing Jefferson. I noticed the signs pointed towards Old Town Road and the Old Swimming Pool Road. It finally dawned on me when I reached the Old School Road that I needed to turn back.

Winding past the new two-story houses with central air, I knew the backwoods of Georgia had been invaded by Yankees and others. Just before my father’s driveway, the city council had posted a sign informing the new “tourists” they had arrived in Historic Jefferson. My father was officially a relic.

overlooking Santa Barbara and Channel Islands

Returning to California, we left Los Angeles’ millions of cars behind and unpacked our bags in Santa Barbara. There we relaxed as the morning breeze carried the fog’s coolness. After a couple days shopping, picking avocados and distilling rose water, I left the kids in my husband’s care.

I followed PCH to Venice and dropped my bags in a renovated flop house a block from the beach. Venice has also gentrified since I was a teenager. Along Main Street, there was a Robert Graham men’s store. I was amazed to learn the now-hip Venice is where their only free-standing store is in all of California.

After practicing movement and meditation in Emilie Conrad’s Santa Monica Continuum Studio, I danced back north.

Together again, we continued our school visits.

Situated on a mountaintop overlooking the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Los Padres mountains on the other, my children described the setting as “nice”.   After visiting Thacher with its impressive view of the Ojai Valley, we drove through orange tree farms for a quick stop at famed Lulu Bandha yoga studio then ate pizza made with garden fresh vegetables.  Once again, the kids said,

“It is pretty but we prefer the East Coast.”

In Santa Barbara, we met old friends and got an intimate, close-up of actress, now singer, Minnie Driver. The annual Fiesta marked the end of our visit with a parade and mariachis.

Packing a full mini-van, we headed south to our home-away-from-home in Newport Beach. The owner texted me saying this fall they will be tearing it down, leaving us homeless next summer. With friends and family, we celebrated our final year and toasted the unknown future.

saying goodbye in Newport Beach

Just before closing the front door, we placed a framed, family-selfie on a table. Like the summer, we are gone, but not forgotten.

POST SCRIPT

This summer many asked me whether I had unfriended them from Tales of Dragons, Rabbits and Roosters. No one was excluded; I was not writing.

Delving deeper into my yoga practice, I am embarking on a mission to study yoga in its original Sanskrit at Loyola Marymount University.  As I want to relieve my mind of other writing responsibilities and to be with my children before they leave home, I am taking a hiatus from Tales of Dragons, Rabbits and Roosters. If I feel inspired I will post, but I will not be blogging full-time.

I send you gratitude for reading my posts. I encourage you to follow your hearts and to experience this beautiful world with all its diversity and cultures. May you fly like a dragon and befriend all the roosters you meet.

With blessings,
Eva the Dragon

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I Cannot Win When a Man Has the Mojo

Fifth annual little league tournament in kuwait 2013

Mojo, Ace and Mark went to Kuwait for a baseball tournament.

Susan was invited, but she turned down their offer when she learned she would not be playing.

Doha Downtown from Arch

I invited her to go to Doha with me for a girls’ weekend of yoga, swimming and a little sightseeing.

“That will be fun,” she said.  “I’ve never been to Qatar.”

Doha front of Islamic Museum

She invited her friend, making the weekend even better as they shared a room complete with free wi-fi.  During class, as they struggled through downward dog, they giggled together before falling over during half-moon.  While I learned to breathe, they swam and ate ice lollies in the heated pool.  One evening, we were invited to a dinner party, and Susan was delighted to find herself in the company of cat lovers who also enjoyed telling stories about their precious, furry companions.

Returning to Bahrain, as Susan and I cleared immigration, I got a message that Mojo and the boys had already arrived home.  “You won” I texted back.

Susan wondered how the boys’ trip was.  I started telling her what I knew, but she shouted, “Spoiler alert!  I want to hear it from the boys.”

At home, after the initial run-down of games won and lost, they got to the good part: eleven, stinky boys under Mojo’s supervision, having an all-night, soda-palooza while watching “the epic” Back to the Future 1, 2, and 3.  Plus, all the popcorn they could eat.

As she listened to them laughing about Pepsi coming out their nostrils, she whined, “I wish I had gone with Dad.”

Ooooh, that Mojo!  He won again.

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