I have to come clean. I have been in California nearly two weeks and I have given away no gold stars. I don't even bring them with me when I go out. I am on vacation and, even though I love my "job" of giving out stars, it has been nice to have a break.
We have been in San Francisco since Monday, since driving here from L.A. after a stop at Pismo Beach and the ocean view motel room at the Kon Tiki Inn, after lunch watching whales and hummingbirds in Big Sur. The drive along Highway 1 is amazing if a little nauseating, the topography of California a true wonder.
It is nice to be in a big, dense city again. We are pretending to be locals, with our own apartment, my hubby taking public transportation to work while I hit the playground in Golden Gate Park with the kids. It is not too far afield from our Brooklyn life. There seem to be even more cafes per capita here than in Park Slope, which is saying something. I have passed Pilates studios and Bikram yoga places that I would try if I had the time and people seem to smile as they pass in a friendly way that makes me think it wouldn't be hard to make a life here. After a little incident Oscar had with a toy at a friends' place the night of our arrival,we have even located a pediatric dentist and a number of Walgreens' pharmacies to pick up prescriptions.
It is fun to imagine picking up and starting anew. That's what summer is for, I think, to live differently than you do the rest of the year. It is, ideally, a time apart, not just for school-age kids but for their parents too, if they can manage it. I am trying this summer, at least so far, to break from the patterns that guide us during other seasons. We all need a break, a little distance from the life we've chosen to determine if it is, indeed, the one we would choose again. Travel provides that opportunity in spades. Today, for example, we will likely hit Alcatraz. Prison is not a lifestyle we'd choose, granted, but it will ideally help us appreciate our freedom to see a place where any personal choice is denied. We are so lucky to have choices. Sometimes it is important to remember that.