100 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 7

I HATE flying in the middle seat. HATE, HATE, HATE. So I was horrified when I discovered that the only remaining seat on the first leg of my trip to COS via IAH would be in a middle seat!

I’ll be completely honest here. My hatred for the middle seat is absolute snobbery. I think I’m better than being squeezed between two strangers in a pressurized flying aluminum tube. It’s an inconvenience to have to ask others to move when I have to go tinkle. With all the time I’ve spent in the air as a seasoned traveller, I somehow think I’m entitled to have my choice of seating, which is always an aisle seat.

So back to today. I was dreading the flight. First world problems, I know. As I approached my row, I began to get needlessly upset about the mere three hours during which I’d be subjected the MOST HORRIBLE THING EVAR. But to my surprise, when I did finally reach my row, the gentleman in the aisle seat asked me if it was ok to switch seats so he could sit next to his wife in the window seat.

HALLELUJAH.

What an unexpected gift. Thank you. Thank you.

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Friends are Never Long Lost

During last night’s pre-wedding BBQ, I had a wonderful surprise when I found out that a former coworker and friend who now lives in Japan was also in Monterey for another wedding. Holla.

N and I were stationed together in Korea and Maryland, where our lives of partying and exploring were occasionally punctuated with keeping a metaphorical eye on the Axis of Evil. So we met up for breakfast at Rosine’s to pig out and catch up. (I must apologize first and foremost to myself for taking a picture of the food…) Of course, a lot happens in four years – different job, location, expanded waistlines, marriage, etc. – but our old career field is a very small one, so you get to know people quite quickly. It’s always great to hear your friends are being blessed in different areas of their lives.

After breakfast, I headed to the bride’s bungalow, where the families would be gathered to prep the food and supplies for the main event of the day: seafood boil on the Pacific beach. The mothers graciously paid for all the food, a serious help for the couple. What a joy seeing the mothers in the kitchen together, cutting, cooking, and forming new bonds as new family.

The mothers made ceviche, among other things.

The mothers made ceviche, among other things.

Me? I slept. Well, that’s not all I did. I also lounged on the enormous circular spinning Tiffany-blue sofa while watching trashy reality shows on Bravo. Bravo, never ever tune in because you’ll lose four hours of your life and four pounds of brain matter. It felt good, not doing anything while on vacation. A true vacation.

The seafood boil was a success. Nested in a nook on the beach with Pebble Beach in the background, we set up a table with more delicious food than a party of two dozen could possibly hope to eat. It took two tries to get the fire going for one of the two huge pots – the groom is very allergic to scallops – but after that, it was on to a night of eating, drinking, and making new friends around two bonfires by the sea. Perfect? Close.

One of the seafood boil pots over a roaring beach bonfire

One of the seafood boil pots over a roaring beach bonfire

I have to say that seeing the bride’s father play with his 10 year old grandson really warmed my heart. The bride’s sister is a single mom. I don’t know what kind of father figure he’s got back home; I never really thought to ask that during our conversations. Anyway, it was something else, seesawing between tender affection and firm yet gentle corrections, delight never leaving the patriarch’s eyes as he addressed his grandson. Playful, too. I wondered if that’s how God interacts with us. Anyway, the entire family and the entire KS friend-family are very affectionate, showering each other with kisses and never-ending I-love-yous. It’s something I’ve never experienced in my own life, and I couldn’t help feel a twinge of envy even though I was also one of the objects of affection smothering. How delightful it must be to have close friends to share a deep history together.

BWI-PHX-SJC

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Monterey deck BBQ to meet and greet all the wedding guests

The travel day did not get off to a great start. We had called for a cab for a 5:15 pickup, but the appointed time came and went, and…nothing. C calls the cab company and was told that he wasn’t coming. Too far. UGH. The rest of the travel went smoothly, however, and we arrived early at SJC.

The first thing I do in Cali? In-N-Out, of course! Definitely dangerous.

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Single cheeseburger, animal style, with animal fries

Its definitely amazing how with some friends you can pick up right where you left off. It’s unfortunate that when J was stationed in the area, I only got to see her 3 or 4 times. It was mostly my fault; I had a crazy work schedule. Seeing her little bungalow in Pacific Grove eclectically yet expertly decorate with mementos of her travels, some of which I had the pleasure to be a part of, definitely brought back memories. I realized how much I had missed her.

It was also a real pleasure to meet all her friends from home, an a special pleasure to meet her parents. I’ve heard so mic about them that I felt I already knew most of them. But this is what gives life it’s flavor, right? Friends gathering together to celebrate each other and the blessings we’ve been given.