Happy last Friday of 2011. What a year this has been, for me. From leaving my life in Denver, to uncertainty in Phoenix and currently, thriving in the moment. I can honestly say, I am precisely where I am supposed to be. Blissful, compassionate and continuing to learn from experience.
I had no idea that my life would turn upside down early this year. I rolled with in by packing my things and heading to the southwest. Thankfully, I have extremely supportive friends that encouraged me to find myself while traveling the southwest. Initially, I believed that Phoenix would be a brief stopover. I had lived here before and as much as I loved the sun factor, I wanted to be in Seattle, San Francisco or somewhere in Oregon near my sisters. I tried Oregon and the weather depressed me. From being in Denver, I do know, I am a sun kid. I love having it 300+ days a year and the idea of rain lessoned my inclination to move to the northwest. Sorry, sisters, I need sun.
This year, I reconnected with friends in Mexico, Slab City/Yuma and Phoenix. It was nice to be able to see them in their setting and provide support and encouragement. My friend in Mexico has had a challenging year with the economy, media and passport issues. His bar continues to thrive but there is always that hope of more. I visited about 6 weeks in the spring and saw an increase of people Memorial Day weekend but outside of that, the beach was, for me, a welcoming tranquility. Most times when I would venture down it would be me and a handful of others. I have felt safe in each border crossing and hope to return soon.
Yes, life is Mexico is different and I enjoyed that period for reflection. I had considered relocating there but after a few weeks, knew, that it would be unsatisfying. I prefer city life. Spending time with my friend in the RV, also, was interesting. He has opted to live an unconventional life in such a way that seems foreign to most people. Selling your house, traveling with some belongings and being free to explore the world. He has great stories and photos to illustrate the last year of his life. I had the opportunity to see him in Las Vegas and it was refreshing to find him so relaxed, free and happy.
When I first relocated to Phoenix, I lived with some friends of mine in the west valley. Graciously, they allowed me to move in until I found myself in a position to move out. I increased my culinary skills during this time as they do not dine at home often. It is easier, for them, to frequent a handful of restaurants. Less trips to the grocery store, prep/clean up, etc. Plus, cooking for two isn't that awesome either. Of course, I prefer cooking for someone else than just myself in most cases. Anyways, I enjoyed that time period, too. I was in a safe place and near excellent hiking. Plus, their Akitas are now considered my dogs, too. I adore Dozer and Jax.
I found a job in a wine cellar through a recommendation of my friend, Kat. She is living in Denver. We sort of switched places is how I like to think about it. From the cellar job, I patiently waited to find the ideal restaurant job for me. I wasn't interested in a corporate place. I wanted to find a restaurant with class, great food and of course, wine. Ironically, due to my previous stint in Phoenix, the job found me. I am extremely happy with where I am currently at. I guess I needed to find balance in my life to arrive at this place. I am happy.
I did receive sad news yesterday. Sort of illustrates the end of an era for me. One of my friends/regulars of my old job in Denver died. They found him in his house which is sad. Very lonely way to go. I toast Mr. Kline this evening after I get off of work. If I wasn't working the weekend, I would be interested in flying back to attend the services. This man was a gracious soul.
I did manage to run four half marathons--three with Lindsay, one with Shari--and deem 2011 as the social year of running. My training decreased but thank god for muscle memory. For example, I only ran twenty minutes before the last 13.1 and was able to sustain it. A touch sore, but overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The best part about Vegas is dining. We ate at Bouchon, Olives and Todd English's P.U.B--also a great find. Shari met some of my friends from high school and put faces with names. Shari has heard a bunch of my stories from our traveling and so I think she appreciated meeting the RV guy and Jenn O.
Then, there was San Diego and how it inspired me to concoct a return visit and soon. It surprised me how much I took to it. Great vibe, food and the wine factor remains unexplored. That, alone, begs a return visit. I see it happening.
I haven't even touched, that much, on Mexico or the food factor, or my visits to Oregon. I know that I will review that, too. Until later, enjoy your Friday!