I'm getting all choked up here.
San Diego has been great to us. We moved 3000 miles away from family and friends. It was just me and the Mrs (back then she was just Ms.). We found a dump of an apartment in Mission Beach, but it had a view of the ocean. We were sold.
Nine months later we woke up to a skylight full of termites scratching to get out. We left with them. We found a better place in Pacific Beach.
What followed were drunken nights, bar crawls, the best pizza in all SoCal (Hoboken), late night destruction of breakfast burritos from the local establishment (Roberto's), adopting a
Then we bought a house, with the help of the Mrs' folks. We left the beach for a land known only as "east of the 5". We (and by we, I mean I) became foodies and beer snobs. We got a Golden Retriever. We adopted two cats. We had the Big Guy. I got involved in triathlons and running half marathons (not competitively, have you seen my picture?). We lost a beautiful person, friend, sister, daughter, wife, mother and aunt when the Mrs' mom passed away. I became a stay at home Dad. We had the Taz. And I started my photography business.
Things. Happened. Here.
And this only covers the tip of the iceberg. We made amazing friends. We had an assortment of people making our life better from pet sitters to house cleaners, that we got to know all very well. We took some great vacations. We saw most of our friends get married. We ate some fantastic food. We drank a lot of beer...etc.
I know we'll have it better in North Carolina, but I know we've had it good, in fact, really good here.
It's a hundred degrees plus humidity back east today. It's 75 here. When the weather was frigid or insanely hot back east, I used to send obnoxious emails of overturned lawn chairs to friends on the east coast to show them that, as Californians, we were in the thick of it with them.
It's weird doing things here for the last time: taking the kids to the doctor, getting my haircut, playing Torrey Pines at local rates, hiring a babysitter, eating at various restaurants, visiting playgrounds, hanging out with the crew of Stay At Home Dads, going to the beach, watching the Padres suck again, etc...
Right now, the Big Guy has Vans (the shoes). He looks like a little surfer in training. The Taz, is well...the Taz - a loud, quick crawling tank of a boy. I doubt we'll be back here in the next two or three years. But I wonder if when we do make it back, will the boys have slight southern accents? Will the Big Guy remember all the places he fell down and scraped his knees as we drive by them, as he does now? Will we have an insatiable hunger for a breakfast burrito as soon as we get off the plane? Will we admire the postings of friends visiting In'N'Out?
In ten days from now, the boys and I will walk into the airport and get our one-way tickets to head home for the first time. And as much as I will always consider Philadelphia home, San Diego has wormed it's way into that coveted call tag of places I call "home". I am familiar with the nooks and crannies here. I know the short cuts to just about everywhere. If you come to San Diego, I can show you a great time and one that will make you want to move here.
I'm glad we have friends here to come back to and I look forward to bringing the boys back to show them the hospital they were born at, the home we lived in, the parks we played at, the restaurants we ate at, and the life we lived however many years ago.
You are probably wondering why I would leave then, right? I guess I am getting old. It's no longer about what's fun or exciting for me anymore. Now I think of where my kids will go to school and what the quality of education will be there. I think of how close can I be to my family who can help with the kids as well as watch them grow up. And I think of how much the Mrs is working and how that translates to less time that we spend together as a family. Add it all up and San Diego, as nice as it is, just isn't for us anymore. The square peg, round hole issue.
So yes, it's kind of sad, or as people keep saying - bitter sweet.
San Diego, we bid you farewell. We leave the "Hola, dudes" for the "Hey ya'lls." We leave the fish tacos for shrimp and grits. And we leave the sunshine tax for potential heat stroke. But we leave it all knowing we can come back. Stay good San Diego, it's been real.