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Our First Visit to California

Mark and I lived in California our entire lives until we moved to Costa Rica. After our first 86 days of living in Costa Rica, we headed back to visit California for 21 days. It was weird thinking of "visiting" California. We were dying to see our family, friends, and dog. (Owen and Linda took care of our dog Kizmet for three months.) At the same time, we were sad because we couldn't imagine not having our coffee-drinking-nature-watching-mornings for three weeks.

Our kids agreed to put up with us for the entire time. We figured we would shuttle between Quincy and Mercedes in Los Angeles and Owen and Linda in Fresno trying to stay out of their hair since they have jobs and busy lives.

Kizmet really turned Owen and Linda's lives upside-down. Kizmet and Owen's cat never accepted each other, so they had to keep them separated the entire time we were gone. Owen's two dogs and Kizmet got along well for the most part, but Owen and Linda were on high alert for three months. It was a lot of drama!

LOS ANGELES: Quincy picked us up bright and early after our red-eye landed at LAX. I was so happy to hug the boy after so long! Quincy was sick and really stressed. I accept that he is a grown man and there is nothing I could do, but, still, there's nothing harder on a parent than seeing a kiddo suffer! Mark and I explored Manhatten Beach and kept busy while the kids worked. We got to play cards, hang out, and catch up. Owen came to Los Angeles to visit and take us back to Fresno. The five of us had a beach day and walked the Venice / Santa Monica path.

Before hitting the road to Fresno, the five of us visited Mark's mom Sandy and step-father Larry in the San Fernando Valley. We had a nice visit and got to eat deli food!

FRESNO: Owen drove us to Fresno. I could feel the air attacking me when I was on the 99 before we even hit Bakersfield. I started taking every OTC med that I could find. We had fun with Owen and Linda, but my sinus pain was excruciating. Owen and Linda made some great food. We played games. I got to see Owen and Linda's amazing garden. Owen, Linda, and I did a short hike. Linda and I went shopping. I had lunch with my good friend Lori. Still, I ended up lying on the couch watching Grey's Anatomy re-runs for much too much of the trip. It was a terrible reminder of how often I was really ill in Fresno.

LOS ANGELES: Are you ready for some football? The Cowboys played the Chargers at SoFi stadium for Monday night football during our stay. Quincy got tickets for all of us to go. Mark and Mercedes had been to an NFL game before. It was the first game for me, Quincy, Owen, and Linda. Quincy warned us that we had nose-bleed seats. (Funny story: Owen thought nose-bleed seats were really close to the action causing nose bleeds from the speakers.) Our actual seats were almost as high as you can go in SoFi and the were AMAZING! We could see the entire field from our vantage point. The video quality was great, but refused to show replays of the Cowboys and instead searched the stadium for Chargers fans. This is an evening none of us will ever forget!

FRESNO / LOS ANGELES: As much as I hated cancelling plans with friends and not spending more time with Owen and Linda in Fresno, we decided not to let Fresno kill me. Owen took Mark back to Fresno, but I stayed behind in Los Angeles hoping that I could be able to breathe. Mark wanted to make sure Kizmet got used to his crate and get him ready for the big journey to Costa Rica. I visited two of my favorite childhood beaches - Leo Carrillo and Point Dune (which we called Free Zuma because it was right next to Zuma and we could get free parking).

I also got to spend some time with my brother Curtis. His home and art studio have amazing views - you can see Griffith Park Observatory and the trees above Dodger Stadium.

After a lovely visit, we were ready to head home to Costa Rica with Kizmet. We couldn't wait to get back to our life, but, at the same time, knowing it would be months before I got to hug the kids and see friends and family was hard. I guess from now on we will either be missing our home and life in Costa Rica or our friends and family.

Pura Vida!

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