Bruce and I often get asked if we miss San Diego. I had lived there for 24 years and Bruce for 40 years, until he retired in 2004, we cashed out, and took the money and ran.
The answer to that question isn’t a clear “yes” or “no”. Do we miss the weather? Yes, the weather in San Diego is probably the best in the country; however, the spring and fall seasons in Georgia are gorgeous. Personally, I love the four seasons here; it’s something I never had living in California.
Do we miss the ocean? Yes, I miss kayak surfing at Coronado and Bruce misses kayak fishing on San Diego Bay. Having spent entire summers at the beach as a kid, it was a big part of my life. But, we now live in a community with an indoor pool just one mile away. AWESOME!
Bruce answers the question like this: “Sure, I miss the water and kayak fishing. But, if we were still living in San Diego, I would still have to work full time!”
Cashing out in 2004 during the real estate market boom was a smart move for us. The house was paid off, we didn’t owe a penny to anybody, and he was eligible to retire with full benefits.
The timing was right for me, as well. I was unable to return to the job I loved after a work-ending injury and subsequent surgery, so I was ready for a fresh start away from the reminders of a depressing period in my life.
Fast forward to 2013, I was excited to return to San Diego after competing at U.S. Masters Swimming Summer Nationals in Mission Viejo, just one hour north of our former home. And, Bruce looked forward to seeing old work friends dating back to past jobs in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. We both couldn’t wait to see Ted & Al, my favorite customers from my former job who had become great friends.
Instead of staying with friends or at a hotel, we opted to use our membership with Affordable Travel Club (www.affordabletravelclub.net). Nancy and Ted were wonderful hosts; we couldn’t have asked for anything more! They set us up in their upstairs apartment, complete with private access and a kitchen. It was very comfortable; the perfect place to relax after early mornings and long days of competition at the pool in Mission Viejo.
The location was perfect; everything was close by with easy access. Balboa Park was just a few blocks away, so we took an afternoon walk, after having lunch with Bruce’s work buddies.
The park looked fabulous; the changes we noticed were all for the better.
Strolling around Spanish Village always brings a smile to my face. The colors are so cheerful and photogenic, the Spanish architecture is fabulous, and the artist shops are enjoyable and interesting to explore.
My favorite thing to do at Spanish Village, though, is break out the camera for some playful photography!
The day concluded with a social visit to Dr. Braun, the masterful surgeon who operated on me in 2003. At the age of 71 years old, he was one of the most in-demand surgeons in the country for thoracic outlet syndrome.
Over the past ten years, I have thought of him often. If it weren’t for his successful surgery, I would not be swimming competitively today. So, I have written him letters of thanks, sent him cards, and visited him two years ago, when I was on vacation in San Diego.
I also sent him one of my Senior Olympics swimming medals, something he couldn’t wait to show me when I stepped into his office. It was hanging front and center on his bookshelves; I had to smile.
It reminded me of a letter he sent to me. His reply when I wrote that I was swimming on average 3,000 yards each day: “The fact that you are swimming 3000 yards is amazing to me. In the first place, I probably couldn’t walk 3000 yards unless it was gently downhill…” And, when I wrote back at a later date to tell him I swam 900 yards of continuous butterfly, he replied, “When I want to go 900 yards I take a car!” (I’m sure he thought the same thing when I sent an update about the 2,000 yard continuous butterfly swim I did last year…)
Dr. Braun is now 81 years old and still performing successful first rib resection surgeries; however, he plans to retire at the end of the year. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome sufferers have no idea what a loss that will be for them.
After our very heartwarming visit with Dr. Braun (I love the guy!), we dined on a San Diego favorite: fish tacos. Blue Water Grill (http://bluewaterseafoodsandiego.com/) makes some of the best we had ever tasted. We had Nancy, our Affordable Travel Club host, to thank for the recommendation!
Next up on Elaine-iaKs Travels: San Diego Embarcadero. Check back soon!