Nostalgic for Santa Barbara

Thursday, August 10, 2017

This past weekend I went to one of my favorite places in the entire world. We are all tied to certain places for many reasons. To wherever has brought us happiness that's become imprinted and embedded in our minds forever. For me it goes back to my childhood, and this is often the case as many of our deepest attachments form when we're young. We tend to glamorize the nostalgic feelings that consume us or exaggerate on the bliss we experienced back then. This many be the case, however I can't deny that I have the most beautiful memories from summer vacations spent in Santa Barbara, CA. 


My parents fell in love with Santa Barbara and found it to be the perfect getaway only four hours from our home in the Bay. Once there, we would spend long days at the beach where I would happily build sand castles, boogie board in the ocean, or dig giant holes in the sand. I could stay at the beach forever and never once get sick of it. I guess my parents felt the same way. Other days for instance we'd visit the Santa Barbara Zoo where the beloved crooked neck giraffe lived. I loved watching the otters play, since they were the most lively animal and at the end of the day I'd take home a pressed penny as a souvenir. For the 4th of July a whole day of festivities would be planned: dressed in red, white, and blue, attend the parade, and watch the fireworks on Butterfly Beach at night. I'll never forget sitting on a blanket in the sand with my family, gazing at the fireworks dazzling and popping above us over the dark and vast ocean. The warmth and love I felt for my family in those moments was so real and precious. Some memories are still so vivid I can practically relive them - and many times it was the simplest thing. Like how I'd feel once we'd just arrived... I'd normally fall asleep during the car ride, along with my brother and sister, and would be woken from my slumber by a nudge proclaiming our arrival. I'd be exhausted and sleepy-eyed, but held such an excruciating excitement because I knew in the morning we'd do all the amazing things I loved. My parents were the ones who made it exciting, and ultimately gave me the invaluable memories that are worth more to me than all the money I'd ever want. I could go on and on about our summers here, but all in all roots were placed here and they are latched on so strong. They keep tugging me back and I can't help but follow. As is quite clear, I'm very connected to Santa Barbara and whenever it's even mentioned my eyes light up and memories of the past reappear. It's bittersweet but I yearn for it.


Anyways, I was extremely excited to drive up to Santa Barbara to see old friends from my hometown. One of them attends UCSB and we stayed at her house in Isla Vista. It's a little town almost completely occupied by students making it a lively party scene yet equally quaint and charming. It's minutes from the ocean and just the thought of that gave me adrenaline like a firecracker. Somehow both mornings of the one weekend trip here I jogged the short distance to the beach and ended up jumping in the waves with my running clothes still on. How could I not jump in when it was that close and attainable? The water was the most perfect temperature and it was so rejeuvenating; I'd say it's the best medicine to cure anything. I could seriously do the exact same thing every morning and be completely satisfied with life. Followed by an acai bowl and some avocado toast, there's practically nothing better. Definitely considering my future in Santa Barbara...


I could tell you exactly what my friends and I did over the course of the short weekend, but as exciting as it all was, what matters most was just being present with them. These are friends that go way back to elementary school, which is still one of the highlights of my life thus far. I connect with their personalities and we share similar customs and values. We grew up together and in the same town. Our journey's in life may have taken different paths, but we were molded and shaped in the same way, by the same things, and around the same lifestyle and environment. I'll always find it easy to bond with this group of people and I seem to always find myself again when I'm with them. Again, I'm taken a hold of deep roots that are purposeful and meaningful. Knowing where you come from is so important and if you ever find yourself to be lost, it's a good place to start. You're bound to find your way again and remember all you are and what you stand for.

10 year reunion since Elementary school! (2007-2017)
That Sunday afternoon before heading back to SoCal, I spent time with my friend from college who lives there. We got gelato at my favorite place, sat on the yellow & sandy rocks I used to play on, and watched the ocean and people pass by. We walked by familiar places to me including the Biltmore Hotel, the Coral Casino, and the condominium complex where my family resided during our summers. It's still as real as ever and precisely what I remember it to be. Time has gone by and I'm older, but it's merely the same Santa Barbara that drives my soul. My friend also showed me a viewing area up on the hills that I'd never seen before which gave me a new perspective of the town I love so much. That car ride back home, I was extremely content with a full and happy heart. I felt so in tune with myself and overwhelmed by true friendship and good vibes. I feel blessed to have had such a nurturing upbringing that's provided me with everything that makes me who I am today. I'm grateful for my generous and selfless parents for giving me what I believe is the greatest treasure in the world. Something not of gold that shines and sparkles, but a contempt deep within for people I love and a place that is my eternal home.