The Start of Autumn

The fall season has different markers depending on the locality but there’s now a wider distribution of early Christmas decorations (and in our case setting up for National Day), pumpkin spice flavored anything and everything (hello San Diego), and that sudden change in temperature (10* F or 5* C) that has people putting on sweaters and coats depending on their comfort level, which for me is shorts.


playing Junk in the Trunk

I was invited to an Alice in Wonderland themed Halloween party (girls only) which I thought would be a new and exciting experience. It was definitely new and I was the first to arrive (as I’d forgotten the two hours early invite to get others there “on time”), dressed as the tea party, and the three sisters had spent hours doing their makeup to be the Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit, and Alice with a bloody card sticking out of her neck; and Mom was the Queen of Hearts.

I helped with some of the decorations (arrows and rabbit ears), brought some cookies to go with the tea, but forgot my over-selfie taking self at the door when the other girls arrived to take a million photos from every angle. There was also a photo station under a tree where they gathered, but had no problem using the couch and mirror, etc to set the tone for their Instagram and Snapchat. Most of these girls arrived in an abaya so this was their chance to show some skin.

Between all the flash there was time for party games, some to include all twenty guests and others for just six or less at a time. I won a headband. People left en masse after the food but I waited for one of the cakes to be cut (and my Uber) to return me from Hidd before taking some cake pops with me. This party helps me appreciate all the moments I can spend with friends at events or gatherings while not buried in our phones. Perhaps some great invention will be revealed from their addiction, but until then I will continue to appreciate people in person before attending to my likes.


Since I landed I was looking for things that Caleb and I could do or that I could entice a friend to join me in doing. Caleb had a Saturday off and we got a ride to the Bahrain National Museum to look at their Dolls of Japan exhibit. It was a nice surprise to see there was an Investing in Culture exhibit and that permanent exhibits had been updated in an attempt to keep the attention of the younger crowd after we paid our 1.005 BD entry fee.

Since we left, Bahrain has introduced a VAT (value-added tax) mostly aimed at expats to help with the government decreasing the subsidies from oil revenues that have historically been spent on Bahrainis to pay their rent, bills, and meat costs. I can understand why the locals would be upset after having been given handouts for so long when the government started asking for 5% on taxable items… back to the museum.

We follow the numbered panels in the foyer to read about the beginning of Bahrain and the construction of the museum and its effects on the country and the region as a collection of a history that has since been built over and expanded to hold more shopping malls, mosques, and three-story villas on what little public beach there used to be. Bahrain is definitely investing in its new sense of culture and building it high.

Bahrain used to be more traditional but even now there is a movement to upgrade the Manama Souk with Wi-Fi so that cell phones will be able to show off its Instagram worthiness within seconds, especially with the facade, signage, and walkway improvements scheduled. Perhaps this will improve businesses in the area by modernizing the shopping experience to match with malls who offer discount apps and geo-tagging for loyalty programs.

I see how change can be difficult for more old-fashioned people used to doing things a certain way, such as when I had to adjust from a 30-foot-long corded phone (a trip and choke hazard with siblings) to a cordless phone that my step-dad could leave outside in the rain — twice — and they weren’t cheap back then. Bahrain may be small and covered in water bottles and cigarette butts, but that’s not stopping this country from trying to compete in the international market.

After detouring through the history of Bahrain we reach The Dolls of Japan: Shapes of Prayers, Embodiments of Love exhibit. We learn that what started out with such traditions as the Hina Matsuri (Girl’s Festival) led to the spread of this art to show the appreciation of time-honored costumes and craft styles with familiar themes of Noh and Kabuki to bring the love of dolls to more people than just little girls.

The festival is held annually in March to showcase the attendants in traditional court dress of the Heian period, 794 to 1185, named after the capital which is now modern Kyōto, at a time when Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism amongst other Chinese influences, upon poetry as well, were popular in Japan. The hour walk back to the house in Al Fateh was nice as we got to appreciate the new pavement (sidewalk) bricks that line many of the roads as Bahrain attempts to become more pedestrian-friendly.


In anticipation of the shipment from America I’ve been slowly inspecting the house – the two sets of speakers can’t connect to the TV in the living room, I don’t want to be bothered with all the cables to set up the TV in the bedroom, and turns out none of the converters worked because the fuses were all blown. The iron doesn’t work, don’t know if the toaster does, the lamps need bulbs, and I replaced our pool balls with the new set that was bought because one of the balls had been chipped.

There was a cabinet in the kitchen with two sets of measuring cups and a set of spoons but we bought a new set anyway until ours arrives, hence why I was checking all cabinets and drawers to look for these hidden treasures amongst the cracked dishes, used knives, and “old” pot set. If we aren’t going to be using these we can give them to someone who will. Meanwhile, I’m stuck vacuuming with hearing protection until I decide to buy an updated model.


I was invited to a baking party and was looking forward to sweets. I walked the 50 minutes there and found Frank and Azazel’s place in Segaya where they’ve lived for about a year now. There was some construction going on that would leave us eating the fresh baked savory items along with gathered cheese and homemade wine by candlelight. I got to catch up with Chris, remeet an older couple who are moving to Amwaj and a younger couple with their daughter who has just started teething.

We spoke about work (mostly teachers and a retired contractor) as well as what we’ve been up to since we last saw each other over three years ago. We talked about who we knew then, especially Tony who recently moved to Poland, and all the marriages in between, such as Eric and Wasan that the guys hadn’t seen since April — that would change with a BBQ invite to her place in A’Ali the next week where I would meet S’mores her Lhasa Apso puppy along with her version of the treat — a McVitie’s digestive, three Cadbury squares, and three marshmallows — pink, white, and burnt.


Caleb doesn’t get much time off with his current schedule but he enjoys baking cinnamon rolls and Irish soda bread, cooking pasta and veggies, playing his daily sudoku, and finding weird cartoons to intersperse with our latest documentary series when we’re not out shopping for food, taking a walk amongst the cars in the dust, or curled up on the couch — him reading from Kindle and me from the over 50 books I’ve amassed from the library’s free offerings.

I’ve been keeping an eye on activities we can do on base — smoke-free, cheap, and close — for when Caleb isn’t on duty. We were going to play bingo last time we lived here but I thought it was an outrageous cost (how else will you fund the $7,000 jackpot that has to be won by the first 50 numbers) but since Caleb has had a few raises and two advancements since then and me a job we had enough to spend the $25 per gamepad for an hour and a half of entertainment and possible winnings for each game.

I’m not saying that we couldn’t afford to play last time we were here but I prefer to spend our money on fancy popcorn in Dubai or scuba diving in Hawaii instead of movie theater kernels and cheap beer… hence why opposites attract, but we agreed on the Mongolian BBQ (by the pound, not the plate) after the game and both eyed the cast iron wok that we’d enjoy cooking with. We’d gotten haircuts earlier (my last being three months ago and his being three weeks ago) and the cost, time, and massage option will have me coming back soon.


The same weekend I meet S’mores was when the Bahrain Marathon Relay was happening and Princess happened to be on a team visiting from Saudi to get some exercise, but not before hanging out with me. We met at Bennigan’s for dinner because she was staying in that hotel where I got to try a cinnamon apple margarita before going to Wembley Lounge (a first for me) where the drink service is like Señor Pacos but served individually instead of by the pitcher so our table was covered in wine (red and white), whiskey (mixed with soda or just ice), and other glasses of vodka and gin.

We made acquaintances with an outgoing Navy wife from Iowa and her shy Irish teacher friend, a couple of guys who liked drinking and diving (not sure in which order), and some other guys playing billiards but we never got the table because I was too busy eating free pizza from the guy singing the most karaoke before Princess ordered fish and chips and got an Uber. I walked home.


After hearing about my night at Bennigan’s Caleb wanted to go and try his luck at finding the sandwich with a pretzel bun — which is no longer on the menu. We had an early dinner around 4:30 as the BBQ invite was to arrive between 5 and 6, so I knew dinner would be later and it was definitely worth the wait. I got to meet Wasan’s husband, the French chef; her neighbor who likes cigarettes, Carlsberg beer, and dog kisses; and one of her triathlon training friends.

The rest of the crowd was waiting on the chicken, meat, and shrimp to finish on the grill while I enjoyed the asparagus and other veggies, two salads consisting of carrot and onion and another mostly olive and potato, two loaves of bread — one zaatar and the other olive, and baked potatoes. There were plenty of nuts, trail mix, and Cheetos and the drinks of which I had mostly water didn’t disappoint either, but there was champagne, red wine, XO cognac, and an alcoholic punch. I’d have stayed a couple more hours but my ride, without having to worry about a taxi, was ready to go.


It took three guys an hour to unpack 47 items (front bike wheel removed for easier transport counts as one) and nothing was broken but we seem to have misplaced the connector cable for our dive watch to the computer. Being that we had these things packed six months ago it’s difficult to remember what we chose to leave in storage and that we mostly brought clothes and kitchen supplies, but even there we managed only one coffee cup – Caleb’s happy birthday mug from a decade ago.

After a long day of reorganizing the kitchen, hanging smelly clothes to be washed later, and trying to connect electronics — stereo, Wii, mixer — we decided to go to Show Shha for dinner. I was craving spicy and I was in luck when I walked in and noticed the pani puri serving station. I stood there excitedly and absentmindedly popped them into my mouth without count until I remembered we were here for dinner. We only got two entrees, but Caleb ordered enough bread variety for catering… or take away.

The next day we would buy a mop because we couldn’t even sell our last one for a dollar so it stayed in San Diego. I got a new dustpan because using one without a handle and a rubber lip is hard on my thumb and patience. Caleb got a new toilet brush so he wouldn’t have to look at the poop-stained one that was left behind and a cheap blender with the only options being on, really on, and off since we didn’t bring ours and he plans to leave it here.


Said moved to Riyadh after getting married to his wife in Turkey (she has family there) and had driven the four and a half hours to come visit. We agreed to meet at 10ish and I was on schedule to meet that time until I went on base to get the utilities check since Visa wouldn’t approve our card through the Electricity and Water Authority (plus municipality tax of 10% total rent) and got sidetracked by a “health” fair where there was candy at every booth except the dentist and it was more of a services offered awareness where I was able to get a reflective band for Caleb when he’s able to ride his bike to work, as it’s required along with a helmet and a bell.

The event looked more like a science fair to me but I was able to look into a machine that gauged my eyesight (still good), get a quarter of a wheat bagel with egg and cheese, and get a book recommendation from the lady running the air quality booth — cities have a long way to go in cleaning up one of the fundamental needs of human survival, such as the case with Bahrain allowing cars to idle for hours and block traffic as they honk for service from cold stores and restaurants.

Anyway, Said picks me up to join him on a trip to a government office to get his residence sticker put into his new passport. We walk up to a man at the service counter and he says this should be done on the causeway or at the airport to save time, but he’ll see what he can do. He comes back after two minutes and tells Said to go home and then we have a laugh as we realize just how quickly we were able to bypass going back and forth to ‘merge’ the data and paid nothing without waiting in line or on the system that is down.

We celebrate by having lunch at Hash House in Adliya and split some wonton tacos and rice wrapped in banana leaf. We’ll get some matcha tea across the street at Dose Cafe before he’s off to a business meeting and I’m hand-in-hand with Caleb on our way to yet another sale and deal on base — anything to keep us coming back for more and I’m not going to complain. I got a new pair of owl earrings from one of their pop-up booths and the man rewired the fish hook backs to ensure my ears wouldn’t get irritated.


I find myself at City Centre Mall walking every level to see what catches my eye — a lot of little Daiso-inspired shops, Lush outlet with naked (plastic-free) products, Cioccolat Italiani where they put melted chocolate in the cone before topping with gelato, other body outlets with soaps and lotions (that I have plenty of) but not the shampoo I like, and a bookstore where I can add books to my to-read list and soon my to-read-on-kindle list so that all the horizontal surfaces in the house aren’t covered with books.

Lunch will be at Ric’s Kountry Kitchen and we are one of four customers in the place sans bunnies and chickens that used to roam the front yard. We talk about work and the hassle of being an entrepreneur, the lessons learned in marriage, thoughts about having kids, spending time with family, and knowing when to stay in or where to travel to next. I didn’t go to my high school reunion but it’s an experiment in nature vs nurture in seeing how kids that spent so much time together adult differently. Even though I’ve been gone three years it seems a lot has changed (relationships and jobs) while everything has stayed the same (constant moving and remodeling).

I’m not home long before Ozzy messages me to join him on a trip to Avenues Mall. We park by the long entrance to the Four Seasons and walk around the canal that still has bridges and buildings under construction so that we can see the purple, blue, and yellow lights from the walkway, cranes, and lampposts reflect off the water as the sun sets. Once darkness arrives we meander up to the 5-star hotel to enjoy the greenery lining the way amongst their three outdoor pools — all with a guy on watch to make sure we don’t do anything silly (which happened at the Ritz).

I’m usually up for trying new things — except a hotdog at Ric’s and a meal at Raising Cane’s that consists mostly of fried chicken. We opt for Blaze Pizza instead and the lady preparing my half pizza and side salad asks if I’m “veagen” as I order cheese with both so I tell her, “mostly”. We had plans to walk off our meal and actually look around inside this time, but Ozzy’s work called so that just gives us a reason to go back.


We were to walk to his place around 7 pm so that Captain and Senior could call the crew that were up for advancement and let them know if they made it — three of them did. Well, turns out there are four different buildings that start with Fontana, so we ended up at the wrong one and the boss offered to come pick us up. While we waited I helped myself to some free coffee, two types of tea (of which I didn’t finish the last), and a date with tahina which was sweet.

Caleb and I tried out some of the chairs in the lounge and then the Nissan pulled up and we were off to the proper, and closer, Fontana building and all the way to the top floor. I didn’t expect anything to be fancier but was hoping to see the view. I meet his wife, the woman who will bring me a chair and a glass of water before disappearing and sit with the guys for a moment before joining Andrew’s dad in the living room to chat about work and travel and his three kids for about an hour.

I was gifted a blue and gold keychain with some knots learned from a boatswain mate (the guys in charge of ropes, paint, and hull maintenance) on a tiger cruise (when sailors invite people over the age of 8 years old sans significant other (anyone they’d have sex with) on the last part of a long deployment — his was from Pearl Harbor to San Diego. I’m grateful I got to be with Caleb at work before I got out as what happened underway definitely wouldn’t be appropriate if I was pretending to be his sister just to get a peek at his life out to sea.

Having learned some background I felt more relaxed around Andrew and on the ride home he gave us I learned that he was Caleb’s age, but besides that, they don’t have much else in common. Andrew has a twin sister and is a workaholic, finding any and every excuse to be at the ship and convince Caleb into working late (after the last bus leaves the yards), and doesn’t miss his wife on her long visits home. I could see being friends with Andrew, and definitely his dad, but I can see the difficulty in trying to work with someone who sounds ten years younger.


It wouldn’t be my blog if I didn’t have food mentioned ever so frequently… as the only people who can’t be considered foodies are those who try to live without it (unsuccessfully) and those who find joy in food that varies from my taste (as cultural norms play a part). Caleb was looking for something at the deli and saw my eyes light up between the olive selection and cheese salads — labneh, which is strained yogurt made into the consistency of spreadable cream cheese. We grabbed some with black cumin seed (Arabic: haba barka) and another with pomegranate and beetroot.

Ozzy brought me along to Dragon City to look for some TV technology device for his uncle but we also got to look at the lights, clothes, gadgets, and kitchenware sections in the portion of this large mall that we covered. I looked around for something I didn’t need — like the flimsy phone case with an owl on it or the backup phone the length of my finger or the Saudi flag sticker for the car I don’t have — and didn’t get anything.

Ozzy wanted a snack and I was told to bring home bananas so we walked around The Lagoon but couldn’t decide between the empty bowling alley and the packed Starbucks so we went to the corner market where I got a bottled falooda (of course it’s not the same, but I have a thing for trying basil seed drinks in glass bottles) and could’ve tried a new flavor of popcorn — boti kabab, tom yam, shawarma, seaweed, or chili & lemon, but didn’t. I also didn’t get any new loose leaf flavors from Tea Club because I can try them later before I buy a tin of something I don’t like.


because pie.. thanks Jenn Fujikawa

Caleb had Thanksgiving Day off so he volunteered to make banana bread and candied yams for the guys who didn’t. He also made some loaves for us and a regular loaf so we could have a sandwich for dinner. The base had plans to give out free meals and we thought with the arrival of the 5,000 people from USS Abraham Lincoln that there would be no food left so when we went at 1 pm we only had room for pie — pumpkin, cherry, and apple — even though there were kid volunteers yelling at us to eat from their side of the buffet line as there were two set up.

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How Things Change the Second Time

The first time, back in June 2014, I was excited to finally be old enough to appreciate living abroad as the last time I was learning to walk, talk, and feed myself which are all great skills for an avid traveler. The first time I had to help pay the hotel, rent the car, walk the dogs, deal with the visas — money, paperwork, and settling in — but the second time would be different.

Fast forward to the fall of 2019 and Caleb is arriving in Bahrain in September and has a room reserved at The K Hotel but is adamant about finding a more permanent place to reside before some of our things arrive so he can set them up before his wife comes to visit. I arrive about three weeks after him in October only to find out that our shipment (packed May 31) won’t be here until the end of November — some things don’t change.

pumpkin spirit in Alosra

I arrived via the civilian airport and took an Uber as Bahrain has given its government taxis the option to do both. BD4 later and I was dropped off in front of a new building, Infinity Suites, and looking around — lost. Turns out that’s just a good landmark for our new place. Caleb is expecting more excitement as he gives me a tour of the three-bedroom, three-bathroom villa with extra hand-washing sink and billiards table with straight cues.

The first thing I notice is the lack of art on the walls. He told me to be tired when I arrived so I stayed awake between San Diego and Houston, even though I was up before 4 am, until Paris with the help of a talkative and food sharing family behind me. I would sleep intermittently until arriving at the island after 6 pm the following day and after my tour going straight to bed.

view from Hotel Diva

The first week had me going to bed just as early but it was making up for waking me by 4 am, so Caleb would just get up with me and we got to have breakfast together before his third double-duty day since my arrival — 2.5 days at work and then four working days unless it lands on a weekend (whether American or Bahrain) and he doesn’t get called in. Last time we got two weeks together before he had to check-in and he only had duty every three days.

The neat thing so far is that as much of the island as I thought I saw last time, besides all the new construction (Avenues Mall, Oasis Mall, and IKEA, etc.) there are still parts I haven’t explored. I spent the first few days just walking around Juffair to get acquainted with what was still here and what wasn’t — restaurants into dirt lots and a corner rental car lot into a skyscraper. Last time we were quick to rent a car to get us back and forth between Amwaj, but it’s so nice to walk beside honking traffic and collision evidence without being stuck on the road.

new place

A new popular place is called Dose Cafe, but I have yet to try it. I was more concerned in my adventures with what the grocery stores had to offer as I found durian, but wasn’t quick to grab its sharp exterior to tote home. Last time I was busy taking pictures of the imported food and this time we will be more interested in trying the odd-shaped and unfamiliar produce as we eat less shawarma and sweets to treat our bodies better than we did last time we were here.

Vaping has really taken off here so that a variety of vaping cafes have opened and there are vaping competitions.. if only this would’ve been an option with cocaine when it was popular.. or alcohol which still is. People need to know when to curb their vices to a healthy amount and don’t worry, for my readers who know me I am trying to take my advice on this as well.

sunrise in Juffair

The next few days would be spent catching up and having coffee with some old friends — Quinn took me to Anna’s for the afternoon and since they’re moving I got to go through what’s left of her bookshelf and bring some home; Manal took me to Seef Mall so we could talk and shop while keeping her 13 and 16-year-old boys entertained; Muhanned bought me plenty of caffeine to keep us talking for hours at Dome Cafe; and Muhammed after inviting me along to pick up his friend’s spare key invited me to lunch to finally meet his family.

He decided on Saturday when they have fish would be best — when I got to sit next to his mom so she could show me how to pop the head off and remove the bones. I know how to do this but usually choose not to. His sister thought I was struggling because I wasn’t eating the stomach bones as I don’t care how small they are this time I still don’t want them stuck in my throat. Lunch turned into dinner and eventually I got a ride home after being invited back.

Sunday afternoon

Caleb and I went to the Quicker Than the Eye: Magic & Comedy Up Close! show featuring Bob Kubota, Michael Finney, David Malek, Jim Leach, and Chris Rose that was presented on base. We moved from the kids’ side to the adult side and I thought it might only be an hour-long, but we laughed for two. My favorite part was the volunteer participation in eating an Oreo and drinking milk for a $100 bet, but she wasn’t able to reproduce the cookie.

I bought some new running shoes for the treadmill, stationary bike, and rusted weights that came in place of a bed in our gym/office/diving supplies room complete with a big desk, a working chair, and a bookcase that needed more books from the library. Caleb got a day off so I rented a Kia Rio ($20 for the day vs. $30 to get a roundtrip Uber) and turned right after Hidd Bridge and explored a bit of ASRY (Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard) Company territory, so mostly boats and beaches, before picking up Caleb for a dive trip.

post-diving dinner

The weather has been amazing, not over 100* F, and only three days of high humidity (over 80%). I get to enjoy the shade and the breezes, with sunglasses on to keep the dust out of my eyes, but I also get to go onto the naval base showing my shoulders and knees. I wonder if this has anything to do with Saudi allowing foreigners to show their ankles and wrists now. We drive around Amwaj before meeting at the Marina to see how many more buildings can be stacked on the sand before more public beaches can be brought over the causeway.

The dive groups were easy to differentiate — those who spoke English (the two of us) and then the two groups of three guys — one speaking Spanish and the other Arabic. Same boat driver but new divemaster takes us to the newly sunk (three months ago) Boeing 747, stripped of all interior items except a few things in the cockpit and then to Al Boom Wreck to look at a boat that was hauling toilets. Visibility could’ve been better but we still saw plenty of angelfish and jellyfish.

microwave repair.. on the house

This month has come to an end and I don’t mind not having a car even if that means that some of my friends on the island don’t want to hang out. Others have moved internationally, some more regional than others, and a bunch have gotten married and one is expecting his second child. I don’t mind not going out because it means I can save money to travel because even Saudi is open to tourists now.

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Good Night Poem


I lay here and I think of you,
Happy thoughts yet still I’m blue.
You were there when I needed you,
But now your hugs I’m overdue.

I want to cherish you and hold tight,
But those days are gone ever since that night.
I’ll do what’s right and set you free,
I can’t always just think of me.

You gave me your body, heart, and soul,
I will try to give back to you tenfold;
but when I fail do realize this,
You’re the one I’ll always miss.

I’ll shed another tear for you,
I’ll see another sunset without you.
I’ll hear your heartbeat just one more time,
and I’ll wait till your hand is on mine.

I love you now, I always will,
No matter if my voice gets shrill.
Goodnight tonight and tomorrow,
Never again will you feel sorrow.

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When School Binds Your Eyes

Balboa Park Golf Course

Spring break has come and gone and summer is almost over. I finished the spring semester, all 20.5 units, with my first C on my college record. Caleb and I gave our 45-day notice to vacate our residence in Imperial Beach for the second time, having lived there once before, and having to threaten the company with BBB, a lawyer, and police when we wanted something fixed.

Sparky’s balls, meds, toys, and teeth

In April, I began to donate the dog’s things (bowls, leashes, beds, floaties, toys, meds, etc.) as I couldn’t stand the thought of throwing them away, even if they included a half-chewed bone and a gutless purple monkey. I kept Sparky’s turtle and touch its dirty edges as a tiny reminder of the lives I had to let go and all the memories we shared. I will always remember how awesome they were.

Caleb’s quilt-in-progress

I continue to get rid of things that I have carried around for too long. I made the decision not to have kids, so toting around my baby clothes because Mom wanted me to pass onto my children the toys and clothes from my childhood that she wasn’t able to give to me from hers is no longer an option. I will exchange their space for things I can use, like dive weights that hold water instead of the less colorful ones that don’t so that the teal and blue will make me smile as it reminds me of the sea.

happy coworker

We (the boss, another employee, and I) got a new girl, Darrien, on the work team and she focuses on teaching the kids yoga and mindfulness. We put the students in small groups and ask them an open-ended question to discuss with their peers, particularly people they might not otherwise talk to.

view of the outside from inside

Darrien would move on to other things before the school year was out and the principal let us know that our services weren’t needed for the last two weeks in the first half of June, so summer came early. I used this time to petition attendance to a half-credit class (meaning using my other classes already taken to not take that one) so I could focus on the last nine units needed to get my Kinesiology degree — Chemistry 200 and Physiology. I also petitioned that my 100+ units already attained not count against my scheduled enrollment time so that I would get first pick at the new campus, the only one that offered the chemistry class I needed, at Mesa campus; a further commute north.

blood lab in physiology

May would start with a flat on the car and since I was going to be late to work anyway I took the day off so Caleb and I could get new tires on both vehicles that will be making cross country trips over the summer, just not in the order we thought. The Tribute would get into a few accidents before our trip and end up in the shop after being t-boned by a drunk driver who hit Caleb in an intersection.

moving day

I got rid of Sparky’s baby teeth. Yes, I had kept them for 11 years in a little container with orange fish on it as I somehow managed to capture one of each type that wasn’t lost to him swallowing it. The movers arrived at the end of May to pack most of our stuff into storage for the last few years of Caleb’s career while we make some major transitions, and the other movers showed up two days later for boxes destined to Bahrain. I moved in next door so that I can finish school while Caleb goes to Virginia for months of engineer related training before joining the boxes on the return to the Island of Sand.

lunch break from the pontoon

The new tenants, grandma with her son and grandson, in our old address are busy covering the gopher damage with new bricks and potted succulents while the property manager kept $500 of our safety deposit to fix a window blind that the maid service broke and to manage the weeds (dirt) that we left behind. I want to feel bitter, but the cheaper rent was a great deal for us financially. Caleb and I spent the last weekend in San Diego together on his friend Josh’s new pontoon boat, complete with trembling chihuahua and other couples and their kids.

library, lab, and cardio to class

Caleb would have his collars pinned, by me, as a Senior Chief (almost put his anchor on upside down) on the day we leave San Diego to drive across the country, something we’ve done many times together before and a place we always find solace from the chaos of life; though the long hours on the highway weren’t the relaxation I was going for we had a deadline to meet to get Caleb checked in on time so I could fly back to San Diego on Sunday and start school on Monday.

scuba, writing, and matcha

We made a massive detour, rushing down the west coast of Florida and speeding up the east side to dive and the only thing that got lost in the mix (or that wasn’t on my wrist when it should’ve been) was my dive watch when we arrived in Key Largo ready to get deep and wet. This would take up a majority of our two weeks on the road and we got to see a lot of new things along the way (that’s in another post).

post-night class view

My return to San Diego has me getting up before 6 am and getting to school before 7 am where I stay in classes with back-to-back labs in the middle of the day until 7 pm to drive the 30 minutes home while talking with Caleb so I can pack meals for the next day, shower if needed, and get homework done before getting some sleep. I spend my weekends at the kitchen bar getting fed occasionally and partaking in late-night snacks that keep me up and going.

red, silver, and blue

During July there was the obvious 4th of July holiday, Pride weekend, and Comic-Con. I found time to walk down to the beach for the fireworks — a first after having lived here for probably five years of them. I made time to say hi to house guests — Emma the 8-year-old and Jarod 18 who were both nice, but Danielle the 50+-year-old watching Housewives of Boredom and crying about how she’d kill herself if she had the homework I did wasn’t helpful — and of course I forgot I have headphones to drown out those noises.

lunch, snack, and dinner

I also made time to take Uncle Ed to dinner for tacos at Salud!, schwarma at The Kebab Shop, and a Mandarin place because the buffet looked closed in the same shopping plaza. He was in town for a long week of work and staying along my route between home and school so I got to listen to him play his cigar box guitar while he found questions to ask about chemistry to add to our discussions. I appreciate his curiosity in my education even if I won’t be a chemist as I’m currently making a B in round two of the class.

Caleb’s homemade biscuits and mixed fruit jelly

I aced Physiology in six weeks though and enjoyed theorizing with my professor about the possibilities of the body to go wrong when so much is running smoothly every millisecond that we don’t have to think about. I was able to spend the day finishing a 200-page novel and yesterday I mailed my rental physiology book back, mailed Uncle Ed his laptop that he’d left behind, had my new lease notarized, dropped some things to Goodwill, and got a long green dress in the mail from Caleb who looks forward to seeing me in it when I visit in August. 


I emailed the school to let them know how I was wrongly enrolled for a general education plan when they had my transcripts delivered and checked over so I could transfer a business degree and go to SDSU. I’m glad I made the switch though to a degree in a field that makes me happy and that I can pursue, and so my path has changed into the direction it needed to go. I take another step forward.

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Free To Be Me


There’s a marching band inside my head,
I only want to stay in bed.
I’m up and trying, dragging lead,
If it were up to me I’d be dead.

I carry on and walk along,
I sometimes hum a happy song.
How much longer must I play along,
Before I finish this sad song.

It’s cold out here, I start to bleed,
Just a little glad I can’t feel my feet.
It trickles down as it warms my seat,
A simple sign of soon to be relief.

Goodbye today, goodbye tonight,
Even though I’ll miss the starry sight.
It was wonderful the moments when I
wasn’t sad or set a fright.

They weren’t enough, they never are,
Happiness always seemed so far.
I tried to reach and to believe
that one day I’d be free to be me.

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