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

Advertisements

Let the Rumi Begin

This class takes place in beautiful Santa Barbara, California.  Sorry Bahrain.

 

A Mojo Two Degrees of Separation Story

We cruised the Fiesta food stalls contemplating the Mexican fare.  When Mojo was told “we are out of shark jerky”, the dedicated carnivore set out to track down the beef ribs.

By the time our fish tacos were ready, Mojo was sharing a table and chopping on ribs.  The other diners scooted closer together to make room for our plates.

We started chatting and discovered the Filipino couple lived in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia.  They worked for the same oil company Mojo had worked for many years.  Like us, they were vacationing in Santa Barbara to escape the summer heat.

Of the 20 odd tables Mojo could have chosen to sit at, he gravitated to the one most connected to him.

The I-Ching According to Michael Jordan

The last few days Mojo, the children and I have been hanging out at the UCSB Thunderdome ostensibly to attend basketball camp.  But really we’ve been hoping to meet Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time.

Last night Mojo and I arrived early “to see how the kids are doing”.  We were just in time for the nightly camp awards.  After the medals were passed out, the head coach told the kids to gather around the court.

“Who did you come here to see?” the announcer asked.

“Michael Jordan!” the kids shouted.

“I can’t hear you.”

“Michael Jordan!” I shouted.

“Boys and Girls, Michael Jordan!” he said uselessly as the screams overpowered him.

The crowd quieted.  600 camp participants and 1,200 parents pointed roughly 1,500 cameras and phones, each trying to take the winning FACEBOOK shot.

MJ started out with some advice about getting into the game by spinning the ball.  He talked about lay-ups.  He moved onto free throws and asked the kids,

“Free throws are different than any other shot.  Why?

After several attempts, no one gave the right answer.  Finally Michael had to answer his own question.

“Because they are the only shot where you are not already in motion, you have to start from a standing position.  When you free throw you need to have a ritual to get you into the flow.  Do you know what my ritual was?”

A 12-year old raised his hand.  Michael picked him out.

“You spun the ball, then dribbled three times, then you spun it again.”

“You’re right!  How old are you?  You weren’t even born when I was playing.  How did you know that?”

I couldn’t hear the answer, but everyone laughed.

MJ went to the free throw line.  Instead of trying to start from zero, first he got into the Flow, the energy that already existed.  He spun the ball like the earth, dribbled three sacred times, another spin then he directed the ball’s energy straight into the net.  Swoosh! The kids roared.

The I-Ching according to MJ.  Get into the Flow, set your intention, then let the universe make it happen.

To teach the lesson, MJ started a game of Around the World.  If the player made the eleven shots around the court including the easy but treacherous lay-up, the whole team got a pair of new shoes.

The first boy got the lay-up but then missed his second shot.  A second boy was chosen.  With the swagger of a NBA player, he floated the ball through the hoop, easily making every shot.  His team went wild and weaved their way through the sitting kids to pick out their shoes.

The entire gym raised their hand hoping to be chosen.  But it wasn’t as easy as the second boy made it seem.  Child after child missed the first lay-up.  Their team members wailed with disappointment.

After about a dozen kids, MJ pointed at someone under the net.  It was Susan!

Mojo went wild.

Susan made the first lay-up.

She moved to the top of the key.  Swoosh, it went in.

She stepped to the opposite side.  She stopped moving and held the ball.  Concentrating hard, she tried to force it into the net.  It hit the backboard but didn’t go in.

Michael held out his hand towards her.  She didn’t notice.  Her mind was on failing to secure shoes for her team.

We congratulated her on doing so well.  Only two kids completed all eleven shots and maybe four went beyond the third shot.

Her error was she got out of the Flow, the Tao the Chinese call it.  It was a lesson in how MJ turned the I-Ching into Cha-Ching.

Archives

Tales by Chapter

%d bloggers like this: