Editor recounts trip to San Diego

Editor recounts trip to San Diego

“If I see another bottle ring, I am going to be sick,” I thought as I loaded the dishwasher Friday morning.  I’ve definitely washed my share of bottles as the oldest of seven, but they used to be simpler.

Now, they have six different pieces to prevent leaks, and you can only wash them on the top rack or you end up with a melted mess and angry parents.  Then again, I’ve been pretty spoiled lately.

The recovering sunburn on the back of my neck might say otherwise, but I’ve been coming off a travel high for the past two weeks.

On May 13, I flew to California to visit my boyfriend while he trains for his job in the Marine Corps.  Jason only gets weekends off, so I didn’t stay very long, but it was worth every penny — if not the way I felt when I got home.

Not only was this trip the first time I’ve seen Jason in four months, it was my first time flying.  My family was supportive enough to drop me off at the Pittsburgh airport, and then I was on my own.

Our last trip to the airport was not a breezy one.  My 18-year-old sister was leaving for England two days after Christmas, and she had never really traveled alone, let alone navigated an airport.

That wasn’t all.  Carly managed to get through all the trials of Pittsburgh’s airport, but her first flight was delayed by two hours and she missed her connecting flight.  It was a nightmare for my parents.

She spent a night in Philadelphia’s United Service Organization center or USO, before finally leaving for England.

With that in mind, I was a bit wary to board, but the odds were in my favor, minus the fact I left of Friday the 13.

I had one connect in Washington, and once I got there, United Airlines sent me approximately 20 text messages about all the delays my flight to San Diego had.

Originally, I was supposed to leave around 6:30 p.m., but we ended up boarding at 9:40 p.m.  Aside from that, everything went smoothly.  We landed in San Diego just after midnight.

It was beautiful.  Sure, it was dark, but I could still make out the outlines of palm trees and all the buildings were lit from the inside, their laminated patchwork squares dotting the landscape.

Now it was my turn to find the USO.  I followed the quiet crowd through the airport and scanned the ways for any semblance of a map.

I felt like I was walking in circles.  Finally, I found one that was mostly pictures.  I did my best to come up with a route to the USO, where Jason said he would wait, when I heard a “Hey” from downstairs.

I looked over the railing, and there he was.  A red-headed man in a blue flannel, trying to not to laugh as I scurried toward the stairs.

I was still loaded up with my carry-on bags when I met Jason at the bottom of the stairs.  Everything felt surreal for a few moments, even though I had been picturing this for the entire flight over.

After a dark cab ride through the mountains, we stayed in Oceanside, Calif., a relatively quiet resort area on the beach.  I experienced Mexican beer, In-N-Out burgers, huevos rancheros, true Cabernet and the Pacific Ocean.

We spent our last day together on the pier.  There were people fishing, bait shops, and a pelican sitting on the railing trying to get famous.

I guess it was the equivalent of a New York pigeon, but six times the size of one.  People were taking pictures with it and asking it not to fly away.

Jason and I had lunch at a Ruby’s diner on the end of the pier where I got enough sun for the rest of the summer and Jason named the seagulls scavenging for fries around us.

We were both dreading the cab coming in an hour to take me back to the airport.  Jason kept joking about the driver, who was an evangelical Christian with a Jewish upbringing.

He was also a very talkative character.  That was good, though, because a quiet trip to the airport would have resulted in hysterical crying, which is not a pretty sight.

The only real downside was that I didn’t stay long enough.  Three days does not even come close to catching up on three months.  We have been lucky and we talk almost every day, but nothing beats spending time in person.

We didn’t talk about it very much while I was visiting, but Jason decided to find a different job once I left California.  If you have any familiarity with military contracts, to say this was a tough decision is an understatement.

As I got back into Pennsylvania a little surprised to see green trees again, Jason told his instructors he wanted to drop out of special forces training.

He is now pursuing a different job in the Marines at a school in Georgia, so I guess my trip to San Diego was just in time.

Although, I might need to plan a new trip down the East Coast, depending on where he’s stationed after this new training.  If all else fails, I’ve never tried a real Georgia peach before, either.

 

KELSEY GHERING

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