This month marks a full decade since I moved to San Diego in 2005 to attend law school. It's by far the longest I've ever lived in one city, and I can't imagine loving a place more. So much has happened in the ten years since I arrived: Graduated law school, passed the bar, found my dream job, got married, realized I hated my dream job, created two amazingly wonderful human beings, and became a stay at home mom. It goes without saying that the most significant moments of my adult life happened here (marrying Brandon and meeting my sons, of course), but since those have already been extensively documented, I thought that on the occasion of my tenth San Diego anniversary, I should focus on my ten favorite, most San Diego-specific memories. So here they are, as far as I can remember them.
10. Driving in San Diego: Okay, this one will probably sound stupid to a lot of people, but San Diego is the only place I've ever felt comfortable driving in. I know this city; I know how to get to most places within the county that I need to go, and I can usually get there without more than a cursory glance at a map. I've just been been driving here for so long that I have a sense of direction when I'm in the city. This is huge! I used to drive so much and to so many random parts of the county for my old job that it's given me a comfort level that I haven't experienced anywhere else. I love that.
9. My First and Only Apartment: San Diego is the only place where I've lived on my own. My first and only apartment by myself, my old place in Ocean Beach where I lived for four years before marrying Brandon. I could run to Dog Beach in less than ten minutes. I could walk to get the best burritos and carne asada fries that San Diego has to offer within a mile of my front door (Tommy's, I miss you!). As much as I love the pack of boys with whom I currently share residence, I have so many happy memories of dancing around that place drinking wine while I waited for my Trader Joe's frozen dinners to heat up.
8. 29:11: This seemingly random grouping of numbers actually refers to my old twenties ministry and fellowship group at my old church. This group definitely had its awkward moments and members, but I don't know how I could have survived the rigors and stresses of law school without this great, inclusive, and supportive group of weirdos. Heck, I even have this group to thank for meeting my husband! Many of the people I met here are still wonderful friends today, and I'm so thankful for that.
7. Sunday night dinners at A&A's: A and A (names shortened to protect the innocent, haha) are two spectacular women from my law school class who for some reason agreed to be friends with me. During our 2L year, they had me over to dinner at their place almost every Sunday night so we could bitch about our classes and gossip about our classmates. I didn't drink much at the time, but after being handed glasses of red wine every time I walked in the door, it eventually grew on me until I became the highly enthusiastic wine-drinker I am today. These hilarious, brilliant ladies made me laugh and always left me with a lot to think about. I'm very grateful for their friendship (and particularly for my introduction to classy alcohol consumption).
6. The East County SAHM experience: While my heart may live in Ocean Beach, our family for the moment resides in the glorious and sunny mediocrity that is East County San Diego. We've been here for a little over four years now, and for three of those years I've been a full-time stay-at-home mom. I think my satisfaction with my current situation is well-known, and it's fair to say that East County has grown on me enormously during my time here. I know all the kid-friendly places it has to offer like the back of my hand, and I owe a lot of that to my dedicated and welcoming local East County mommy meet-up. I've collected a lot of happy moments with my boys over my years out here in the blazing, non-air-conditioned wonderland that is East San Diego. If you need recommendations for a place to entertain your toddler east of the 15, I'm your girl!
5. Our first Life Group: Around the time Brandon and I got engaged, we were on the hunt for a new church home. As we were planning to remain in Ocean Beach at the time, we randomly showed up to the Baptist church that was local to my apartment and were immediately sucked into the best church community I've ever been a part of. Specifically, the first Life Group (Bible Study, essentially) that we began attending and eventually hosted for a while was an incredible source of friendship and support as we started our lives together. Some of those friends have moved on (or passed into heaven), but they all hold a special place in my heart.
4. The San Diego Wine Bar Tour with L and E: After 29:11 was disbanded, I began attending a women's Bible Study that really only consisted of myself and two other women (L and E) who at the time were mostly acquaintances. After a year or so of pretending to be a Bible Study, we eventually owned up to the fact that we just wanted to hang out and share our lives, so we switched to dinners out that almost invariably happen at places that serve wine. Over the years, these women have been an amazing source of support during some very difficult periods of my life, and I've tried my best to do the same for them. Although kids complicate things a bit, we still meet up every other month or so. I always look forward to it and have a great time.
3. Brandon's 26th Birthday Party: This one is a bit different in that it's a specific memory of a single event. At the time when Brandon turned 26, we had known each other for nearly a year and a half and had recently begun flirting a bit, but were definitely still platonic. After Brandon's beach party, followed by a particularly tequila-fueled dinner out with a group of friends, our drunken shenanigans (mostly Brandon's) progressed us to the point of our first official date.
2. Hotel Del Coronado: This gorgeous old hotel may be my favorite place in all of San Diego. Walking that enormous white sand beach first with my parents, later with my husband and sons, fills me with such joy for where I am lucky enough to live. Add in a cool glass of iced tea lemonade and a freshly grilled hot dog on the Hotel Del patio and life becomes pretty much perfect. Particularly when you're there during the Christmas season and it's 70 degrees and sunny (like Christmas ought to be, haha)!
1. Marathons and Marathon Training in San Diego: It's been years since I've been able to focus seriously on running and my old hobby of distance races. My years training with the local track club to complete two full marathons and several half-marathons were wonderful. I have seen so much of this beautiful city and its beaches while trying to distract myself from the painful tedium of Saturday long runs, I can hardly think of a location in San Diego without reminding myself, "Oh, I've run there before." I hope as my boys get older that I'll be able to recommit to distance running, but the memories are enough for now.
So there you have it. A decade in San Diego and so much happiness. I hope to have much more of the same as the years march on.