Thursday, July 07, 2011

Santa Barbara, The Place Where I Belong

You can take me down,
You can show me your home, 
Not the place where you live, 
But the place where you belong. 
"Something to Say" ~Toad the Wet Sprocket~

Oh Santa Barbara, how I love thee. The Pueblo architecture, gorgeous ocean, and mountain views.  Even though the Chalet feels like home, so does Santa Barbara.  This is the place where I grew up.  Just as I drive past Summerland on the 101 Fwy, I feel a peace as though my heart is at home.
We spent the afternoon at the beach, where I let a whole lot of my grief flow out to the ocean.  It was a very healing afternoon, and when I left the beach, I left a good portion of my sadness and depression behind.  I felt 10 times better and the spring returned to my step.  We visited a favorite hangout for dinner, and the food replenished my soul.   I went to bed that night, and woke up the next day and felt like my old self had returned. I was full of energy and life.  Santa Barbara has always been my "healing place."  I have come there before with a heavy heart and felt like I could leave my troubled mind behind, returning refreshed. 
We fed the giraffes, and I have never been able to get over the luxurious life of a giraffe at the Santa Barbara Zoo.  They have a world class view, that people pay millions for.  I was excited to see the lion and lioness that I saw two years ago.  

The lioness was without her mate last time due to an illness, they had taken the lion to the vet station on the other side of the zoo.  The lioness roared and paced, anxious to be with her mate.  This agitated lioness reminded me of myself and Mr. Man.  I came back from that trip and said, "Mr. Man, it's time to get serious about a house in Los Angeles."  It was sweet to see the Lion and Lioness sleeping next to each other on a rock.  I couldn't get a good pic, and they were so sweet, I didn't want to disturb them.

The Santa Barbara Zoo has the coolest hill, covered in Astroturf, meant for sliding and surfing down.  I love it, and am starting to wonder if maybe we should cover some of the hills behind our house with astroturf and make it into a big slide. 

Mr. Boy was a natural after a few attempts. 
We always hit Palazzio's for dinner while in Santa Barbara.   
The kids always gobble up the garlic rolls, by the dozen, and the pasta is to die for. We had rousing discussions over pasta, "Would you rather be shot with an arrow, or attacked by a shark?"  "Would you rather be stung by a jellyfish or a stingray?"  Even the waiters weighed in, and "Would you rather... "  has become a favorite dinner game in our house. I never can get enough of their food, and I brought home a cooler full of pasta and rolls for Mr. Man.
It's become tradition to photograph the children with their zoo souvenir on these steps. 
AK wanted a baby cheetah that she calls, "Cheeto" and of course Mr. Boy picked a snowy owl that looked just like Hedwig from Harry Potter.
The kids loved hearing stories about when I lived in Santa Barbara. I told them all about taking Sailing Lessons in this harbor, and how one time I had to be rescued by the Coast Guard. Or about the time I dated a boy who was not very polite, and how I contemplated jumping off the wharf just to be able to end the date.
There were lots of moments of contemplation.  Mr. Boy and I both agree this is the most beautiful spot in all of California.  AK says, "It's almost as pretty as Disneyland."
I can't even tell you how much healing I feel took place during this trip.  I was able to really enjoy the kids and we laughed a lot.
I loved watching AK walk around with her enormous hat and cowgirl boots.  She later became "Santa Barbara-fied" and traded them in for flip flops.
Mr. Boy loved swimming in the ocean, and learned to body surf.  He shares my passion for the beach.
AK is growing up into a gorgeous girl.  Her laugh melts my heart.
When it came time to leave Santa Barbara, I came back a different person than when I had left.  Even Mr. Man noticed it and said, "You look all shiny and new!  I'm so glad to see the girl I know and love back." 
Sometimes, all you need is a trip back home to renew the soul.


... said...

Beautiful post. Made me feel like crying - and stealing that quote for when I post from the beach.

The beach...sigh.

Mary said...

So glad you are feeling better. Your kids are so cute!

Helena said...

That is a great owl.

It's always good to go to your "home" place.