Sometimes the greatest things in life are simple: a intimate gathering of loved ones, a celebration of love without all the fuss and frills of a large wedding. This is where you can look into the eyes of each person standing beside you on a momentous day, and remember every face shining with happiness for you. Sometimes love doesn’t need to be a grand display to be beautiful. Sometimes all you need is the small presence of that special community that brought you together. On August 3, two lovely souls became one, surrounded by the people that have supported them through the ups and downs of any committed relationship. On that day, they pressed their fingerprints upon the first page of a new journey, together.
North Park in southern San Diego has become known as the hipster foodie paradise, with cute new shops and restaurants springing up throughout the past few years. These places often provide unique backdrops for photographs, inviting artistic Instagram users to come and snap some truly adorable pictures to decorate their feeds with. One such cafe joining the ranks is Holy Matcha. Holy Matcha 3118 University Ave San Diego, CA 92104
Somewhere on a gorgeous street filled with historic character, a tiny, unassuming cafe lies hidden. Upon entering the little space, this cafe doesn’t look like much. A single smiling barista waits behind the counter to take your expensive order. After about twenty minutes, you receive your latte: a hand-crafted, unique 3-D artwork miraculously created from simple foam–a creation to take multiple pictures of and post to Instagram. And that, after all, is why you decided to come here in the first place. Love To Go 307 S Mission Dr San Gabriel, CA 91776 (626) 766-1066
There are few better ways to unwind after a long day than to collapse on a cushy sofa, shut off the brain, and enjoy an hour [or a couple] of effortless television-watching. Growing up, I didn’t watch much TV at all, but since marrying someone with a Netflix account, I’ve happily discovered the wonderful world of international television. Michael and I seem to prefer foreign shows [mainly British] over American, so this list reflects that preference. Ah, the American life: melting into a comfortable seat before a screen for hours until your body begins to mold itself to the couch, feeling your brain ooze into a glamorous pile of nothingness. What could be better?
Melodic strains of song streamed through the atmosphere, slicing through hardened hearts, the familiar words hitting their mark in a poignant new way. Open up my eyes to the things unseen. Show me how to love like you have loved me. A shiver ran through me as the reality of these words I’d heard countless times before sank into the depths of my spirit, still raw from the brokenness I had witnessed only weeks before. Break my heart for what breaks yours. Everything I am for your kingdom’s cause. I turned to my husband, usually so stoic, and with a shock saw tears endlessly streaming down his face. At the end of the service, as we walked out hand in hand, I asked him what had caused this uncharacteristic show of uncontrolled emotion. He paused a moment before replying, “I was thinking of my baby, and so many abandoned, unwanted babies in the world.”
It’s a tiny bit embarrassing to admit, but even though I have lived in San Diego my entire life, I have explored very little of my own city. To be fair, I relied on my parents to transport me anywhere for most of that time. 😛 So when I discovered a scenic drive all conveniently mapped out for us, I jumped at the chance to play the tourist and see more of our lovely San Diego. Content: Map of the scenic drive Cost: FREE! [unless you want souvenirs, food, and such]
During the rainy month of April, we ventured out into the lush state of Washington for a quick getaway. Discontent to linger in the busier city of Seattle, we instead made our home base on secluded Whidbey Island, about an hour’s drive from that great city. Surrounded by rolling green hills and towering pine trees, with intermittent showers and a moody landscape, we found ourselves at home among the whispering woods, waking to the cacophony of cheery bird songs in the early mornings. We took our slow, sweet time to explore this charming island, untouched by the frenzied environment that defines our usual daily lives. Here, one could breathe deeply, walk slowly, and absorb the ancient wisdom of the trees into our often unsettled minds.
On this day, I saw a boy become a man. I saw a beautiful picture of love worked through long distance [he in California and she in China], differences in background and lifestyles, misunderstandings and personal failures. I saw this love grow and grow, from the seed of infatuation, then permeating the depths of who two people are, then flourishing beneath the rays of mutual respect and commitment. Sometimes I think he’s still seven years old, playing silly pranks on people and giggling to himself with that innocent, happy face he makes. Sometimes it’s hard to believe he’s now an adult, far from the days when he once dogged my footsteps, trying to be included in “big sister’s” circle. And then I witness a moment like this, when the sweetest girl sees the many wonderful qualities this boy possesses, and just loves him so dearly. And I think, what a beautiful thing, to be his sister and to have watched him grow through all these years, and to whisper a blessing of many joys on …
When we travel, we enter into a different dimension—one that peels back the layers veiling our eyes—those layers that tell us our worlds are the only worlds. We bring ourselves—all of our hopes and dreams, disappointments and sorrows—all of our humaneness into a new world. And when we do, we find that though the world is the same, it is we who have changed.
Walking the streets of Shanghai, one may notice the people bustling past in rich garbs of fancy coats, expensive boots, toting quality purses—emblems of their high status in a diverse city. On the same street, an amputee beggar jingles a small bowl of coins in one hand, pulling himself along with the other while his body rests upon a wheeled wooden slab. Within one city lie two divides, two separate worlds that rarely, if ever, intersect. The superrich hurry past without a single glance at the minorities, disabled, and poor mingling along the margins. These are the faceless and voiceless of China.