Meet my anything-but-little friend, Mr. Tiger. His wide, soft, bright eyes stared at us in curiosity as we started snapping photos of him. We never would have guessed an animal so adorable could be so dangerous. He was officially our favorite of the day.
Ever since our freshman year of college at UC Davis, my friends Janae and Phoebe have been trying to plan a trip to visit our good friend Haylie down in sunny San Diego. After three years, we finally made it happen! This vacation got me through the very difficult moments of finals that I struggled through. We scored $80 round trip tickets (an AMAZING deal) thanks to Southwest’s random one day deal. Haylie, our host for the trip, is an intelligent and talkative spirit who seems to have friends who hook-up us with things everywhere. She even got us free tickets to the San Diego Zoo and we all felt like little kids again.
One of my favorite things about my friends is their spontaneity that leads to the discovery of random hidden treasures. One of these was this mysterious little light shop that boasted many sales. We passed by a couple of times, and finally, Janae decided we should go in and my jaw dropped.
Light Fixtures Galore.
Every single ceiling and wall were packed with light fixtures until it seemed there was barely room to squeeze in any one more. Every wall, every door seemed like its own masterpiece.
My favorite part of the light store was this huge brightly lit hallway that was compacted with lamps and chandeliers that led you all the way down a long corridor to two glass doors that escorted you out back to the streets.
Haylie, who planned everything this trip, is probably the most athletic out of the four of us, so of course we went out to Torrey Pines and completed a gorgeous hike by the San Diego waters. This hike was perfect for people like us, who are looking for a great view that does not require too much effort and sweat.
The waters were so blue and so clear. All along the hikes were little turn out points to rest on benches and lean against the railings to listen to the sounds of the ocean. Then, behind us, were all gloriously huge mountains and hills. The views this hike presented had just a little bit of everything.
We all brought long sleeves and sweaters to the hike, but took them off within the first 10 minutes. We continuously talked about how only San Diego would stay so warm during the midst of December. It honestly felt like we walked through some portal into the spring season! The San Diego natives we chatted with all talked about how the 60s weather froze their little toes off while we stood in front of them in our dresses and t-shirts.
Our week trip would not have been complete without some drinks by the beautiful waters at sunset. We headed over to Peohe’s for happy hour and we were greeted with a tall and very friendly waiter who patiently took many photos for us before we settled down to eat and enjoy our drinks. The mango mojito I ordered was so delightful to my tastebuds.
The trip was an overall success! We watched cheesy Christmas movies (snOMG became our cheesy ironic pun of the weekend), enjoyed a jacuzzi with a view in Haylie’s own bathtub, ate a LOT of homemade bon-bons (Haylie’s dad is the bob-bon master), and even visited a classy rooftop bar at Rooftop600 at Andaz hotel.
Most of all, these friends are people that I am sure will be around for life. These three here, as well as many many special people I have met at my community at UC Davis have helped me to grow and redefine myself in completely new ways. For the first time, I felt a sort of genuine love that proved to be so powerful and so undeniable. For the first time, the people around me looked at me and made it known that they saw so much in me, and even though I didn’t believe them, their faith in the goodness of who I am pushed me to believe in the fact that there was room for me to grow into my full potential. For the first time, I have friends who love me enough to voluntarily put themselves into an uncomfortable situation, risking me being completely upset with them, to pull me out from doing something that they recognized was not good for me. For the first time, I recognize that my worth was not dependent on the situational things that occurred all around me, but on the constant downpour of love that God continues to shower me with. For the first time, I feel full. Anytime I fall into the lie that nobody loves me or cares about me, as everyone inevitably encounters these moments, I simply look around me at my friends and realize that the facts don’t line up in that regard. My friends have led me to believe that I am so loved, and I could never have asked for anything better.
Cheers to an amazing 2016!