My First Weekend Back in Cali

I arrived in Pescadero, CA on Friday with about 10 minutes to spare prior to the Pescadero High School graduation.  It was heartwarming to watch several students I had worked with last summer graduate despite the many obstacles they face as students.  In particular, I was most overcome with joy for Daisy, the girl I spent the most time tutoring last summer.  Talk about overcoming obstacles!  Daisy’s family had been very transient throughout her school years moving as many as five times in seven years to different schools and locations.  Daisy often worked one or two jobs to help support her family, not to mention the fact that she attended schools where the primary language of the school was not her native tongue.  When we sat on the outdoor couches last summer reading The Fault in Our Stars and working on an online U.S. History course, Daisy was not slated to graduate on time.  She had many academic deficits in terms of credits needed to graduate, and the task of completing them seemed insurmountable.  Not only was Daisy able to complete all of her course requirements with fidelity, she also was the recipient of seven scholarships, the same number the valedictorian of the class received.  Her scholarships came from a variety of community members and organizations that recognized the deficit from which she began her school career and how hard she worked to overcome it.  It was an incredibly special occasion, and I am so grateful I was able to attend.  

On Saturday, I took advantage of the fact that I did not have to wake up at 5:00 AM to drive 12-14 hours across the country.  I slept in a bit and then went to Starbucks to work for several hours.  I was able to enjoy the incredible California weather (upper 70s, no humidity, nice breeze) to accomplish several hours of work for IU High School and also for Puente.  It was a beautiful day, and I felt fairly productive after three days of straight driving with little to no time for work.  I concluded Saturday evening by getting reacquainted with a friend from last summer whom I absolutely adore.  We had dinner and chatted for several hours catching up on all things personal and professional.  It was a wonderful evening.  I returned home to continue a bit of work for Puente, which involved watching the documentary Underwater Dreams.  It is an inspiring film about a group of Hispanic students from urban Arizona who overcome many odd and win a collegiate underwater robotics competition (against the likes of MIT).  

After a restless night of sleep, I woke up Sunday to head to California Avenue in Palo Alto.  I enjoyed brunch outside on a cute little patio and people-watched for several hours.  (The local farmers’ market was occurring on California Ave.)  I ran some errands today, and also took a short nap to navigate a horrid headache.  I think my body is definitely still adjusting to new time zones, different sleeping locations until Tuesday, and just general coping with being away from home.  

Tomorrow brings a full day of youth orientation at Puente complete with overnight stay at YMCA Camp Jones Gulch with the kids and in the middle of that moving into the place I will stay until the end of my time in California.  I still feel a bit like a weary traveler.  I’m anxious to get into a routine, especially one that allows incorporation of regular workouts and cooking meals at home.