Tag Archives: San Diego

Things I miss about San Diego

It has been about 2 months since we left our home in San Diego. Here is the list of the things I miss most about San Diego – in no particular order.

1.Near perfect weather!
I have two close friends who have recently moved to San Diego, and their Facebook feed are filled with beautiful shots of sky and praise about how nice the weather is there. Having lived there for 12 years, I admit I have gotten a bit spoiled. While I had missed the seasons, its weather was one of many things that made really easy to like it there…

2.Yoga Studios.
I have been a yogi on and off for many years. In 12 years of my San Diego life, I have tried many yoga studios, and towards the end of my stay, I found a yoga studio I really liked at Liberty Station. It was so easy to get to and I enjoyed the Wednesday evening class a lot. It was shame that I only got to go there for the last 3 months or so.

3.Liberty Station
This place has developed so much over the last few years – it has everything – restaurants, stores, nice play area with two different play structure, art studios, huge glassy area….One of my said friends who moved there now lives there with her family. I wouldn’t mind living there myself if/when we go back to San Diego again. It is so peaceful and every time I went there I couldn’t help but be grateful of how beautiful and enjoyable life is.

4.How people dress
I loved the unpretentious way people dress in San Diego. T-shirt, short pants, flip flops…while I never dared to drive a car with flip flops (I am always cold) I admired how relaxed the dress code was in most situations. Returning to Japan, I feel the need to adjust my wardrobe, which is not easy to do as I don’t really enjoy shopping for clothes. Things are simpler in San Diego on that front.

5.Green Smoothie
This has a lot to do with the fact that we are still living in a hotel and our Vitamix is in the shipment (which has already arrived by the way, just waiting for us to move to our new house). Yesterday we were at the Navy Exchange (a store in the U.S. Navy base we are staying) and Vitamix person was there to do a demo, like the one you’d see in Costco in the U.S. It was my first green smoothie ever since we got here. I miss my Vitamix. I am sure there are places you can get green smoothies somewhere out in town, but I haven’t found one yet.

6.Wider streets
Driving in Japan is an adjustment and not just about which side of the streets we drive. The biggest challenge is that the streets are so narrow, especially in older part of town. In more than few occasions my husband commented in amazement how the street we were on could possibly be a two way street. Also, lots of people are on bicycles and they just go everywhere, and they don’t believe in wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle which makes me really nervous when I am near one. I miss the wider streets in San Diego with plenty of street parking!

7.Friends
With Facebook, email and Skype, it has never been easier to keep in touch with friends who live across the ocean. However, that does not mean I miss my friends back in San Diego any less. Getting together for play dates with the entire family, or driving the kids to their friends’ house, planning a movie date, or going out with my friends for a meetup, or just hanging out together outdoor… I miss you and cherish the time we had together. I hope you will come visit us in Japan.

P.S….I am planning on sending holiday cards. Please message me (via Facebook, email or through contact page of this site) with your address if you would like to receive one!

Hajime’s Story

Last weekend I assisted the Remembrance course. It had special meaning to me because of the participants I personally enrolled. One such participant, Hajime, is 18 years old and has ALS disease. We raised enough money for him and his mother, and I was pleased to see them both on Friday evening at the Indigo Village which was where the course took place.  Even though I trusted that this course will “help” Hajime, I did not know what kind of expectations he or his family had coming in, nor how exactly it could help him. I maintained a poker face while they were settling in their seats before the course begun, but to be honest, I was terrified.

The Remembrance Course takes place a few times a year in San Diego. What happens during this course is that participants take turns to get up to stand in front of the class and introduce themselves by sharing – they talk about what they want to get out from this course, what challenges they are facing, and how they would like their lives to be different. Instructors guide the person in the spotlight, and everyone in the room, both participants and assistants help to take part in this process. Everyone’s turn looks different as there is no cookie-cutter format for each person to get what he or she is there to get.

Hajime was the last one to go on Saturday. Most participants had not been informed about his illness until that point. When it was finally his turn and the instructor told the group about it, I felt like I could hear what is going on in their heads.  We talked about ALS and his fear and sorrow. We discussed how trying not to feel pain or sadness also limits the extent you feel joy and happiness, because you can’t take just “good” parts in life – it’s a package. If you try to numb yourself so you won’t feel seemingly negative feelings, you also won’t get those feelings at the other end of the spectrum. Also, we helped him see that it is his responsibility to keep the friends whom he can express his honest emotions with.

After that, we were instructed to tell Hajime what we had learned from him – not from a place of feeling sorry for him, because that would not help him in moving forward, but from a place of love and gratitude. We each took turns to tell him how courageous he was for being there, how caring he was towards his mother and how bright his smile was and how much his presence in the course encouraged them. His mother was the last one to share, and she told him what a tremendous gift he has been to her and the entire family, and how much she love him. As a mother, I couldn’t help but feel for her. The thought of losing a child is one of the fears all parents may have to deal and live with, even if there was no obvious reason to fear.  This possibility becoming a reality because of a specific reason likes this – it is something a mother should not have to go through. During this course, Hajime and his mother learned that it is okay and safe to express those feelings of fear and sadness, even to each other. They learned how not to take the responsibility of making the other person happy, and that way, they can feel safe to be upset or sad in front of the other person and be comfortable with all of those emotions. I believe that lesson was the real gift. I would love to build such relationship with my two sons when they are older.

After the course, I had a chance to talk more with Hajime. He had a very different facial expression than when I first saw him on Friday. His eyes were twinkling with excitement. He was so happy to feel everyone’s love, and he shared with us what his plans are for his future; returning to assist the course in April, graduating high school, going on to his dream school in San Francisco, assisting this course for teens…. He couldn’t stop talking about the course and said that more people should know about this course. I was relieved that the course had such a positive impact on him – and more than that, I learned to take a chance in inviting someone if I think that this is beneficial for him or her, despite the fear of rejection, or the possibility of this experience turning out not so great. As Susan Jeffer said, feel the fear and do it anyway, because the possible outcome is just too great not to give it a chance. The next Remembrance course is from April 29th through May 1st and you can enroll here.

Free Pre-school Option in San Diego

Recently I was invited to do a presentation on Redirecting Children’s Behavior at this pre-school city20college20logothat is organized by Continuing Education which is under San Diego Community College District. It’s a pre-school program where child’s parents come and help run the school under the supervision and guidance of the teacher hired by the district. The school is 3 days a week, Mon, Wed and Friday from 9:00-12:00.  Here is the excerpt from the web-site:

Course focus is on building skills that strengthen families and prepare the preschool child for kindergarten. Parents develop family communication and problem solving skills while expanding their knowledge of the preschooler’s social, emotional, physical, cognitive and language development. The child participates in age appropriate activities in a preschool environment.

After my presentation, I had a chance to talk to one of the mothers who attested that it’s a wonderful program where you can bring in your child to have a pre-school experience and at the same time connect with other mothers. While you have your child at the school, you are assigned a specific role to help out at different activities the school offers, so you are not in the same place as your child all of the time, but it gives both you and your child a chance to have a new experience as well. While this pre-school program is completely free of charge, it does require a time commitment for the parents to attend 3 mornings a week, plus weekly meeting on Monday evenings. This semester is ending soon but if you are interested in joining for the next school year, check out their web-site!