With all the events and heavy eating on my early week stay in California, USA, I wanted to burn off some calories. I asked my sister if there were any trails I could run in the neighborhood. Discovery Lake in San Marcos came easily to her mind. She had ran there with here friends there. It is also a short 15–20 minutes drive from Vista. So my sisters and I decided to go there one morning for some run, walk or stroll.
If there’s one thing I noticed, America is really proud of their military. I don’t think it is mostly about patriotism on their part but giving respect and due to those who served for their country. America invested a lot on their military technology and it follows that it pours through their people. Those in the military, past and present, gets benefits like considerable discounts at establishments to family perks. In my visit to the USA, my brother-in-law, suggested I visit the USS Midway Museum in San Diego. I wasn’t surprised really. To know America is to know its military. Besides, it would be interesting to see the now decommissioned USS Midway (CV–41) aircraft carrier which used to be the largest ship in the world until 1955. It even made its way to the Philippines after its deployment.
The American Dream, as the Filipinos fondly call it. There was a time when a lot of Filipinos dream of a better life by migrating to the USA. I remember teens getting into college were coerced to enter nursing or get a course on caregiving just to have a better chance of getting into America. Our family was supposed to migrate to USA when I was still in grade school but the plan fell through due to an obstacle. I never bothered to think about it growing up, thinking it will still be a dream. The closest I got to USA was Guam. By a twist of fortunate events, August 2015, I found myself standing on of the longest wooden pier in America, the Oceanside Pier. Finally, I could feel the cool crisp air, see the surfing culture with my own eyes, walk the steps of the pier where some Hollywood movie actors walked (cue in Top Gun, Iwo Jima and American Sniper) and have a taste of the local eats. Yes, I’m in California and its just the beginning of my journey in the land of dollars. Fulfilling my own American Dream.
The day started with an amusing little chaos. It’s funny how logistics can quickly screw up at times. The plan was to spend time with relatives at La Jolla Cove not really Torrey Pines State Reserve. My sister and I took the AmTrak train from Vista to San Diego where our cousin picked us up at the Old Town Station to meet up with the rest of our cousins. A little misunderstanding went us driving around in circles at the upscale neighborhood of La Jolla. And when we finally got to meet heads with other relatives and laid our options did we get a clear direction where we’re going. Everyone agreed we’ll visit Torrey Pines State Reserve for the rest of the afternoon. I was excited as I’ve been yearning to do some trail hikes in San Diego since I came in the USA. That’s one of the things I like about in the country, the importance of parks and reserves and their accessibility in the city.
And I found myself running around, apparently lost in this 32-acre hilly terrain dotted with massive cedar trees located inside the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Suffolk, Virginia. I was supposed to accompany my aunt at the grocery in town but I found a map of the cemetery when we visited the nearby Riddick’s Folly House Museum. From the old train station, the famed public cemetery listed in USA’s National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) was just beyond the fence. I’m such a sucker for maps and finding places like solving a mystery case. I asked my aunt to squeeze in a little time before our chore and she gladly obliged. Even for a moment, I was excited to explore the grounds by Nansemond River where Suffolk community began.
Getting sick is such a hassle when traveling. I was on sickbay for at least 3 days while I was in Guam so I never got to go around as much as I wanted. It’s a good thing I was at a relative’s home and I was taken care of well but it really was a bummer. When I got a little better, a couple of days before we head back to the Philippines. My cousin Gerhard was kind enough to drive us around South of Guam just to see some of the island’s popular tourist spots.
It was all about family. Meeting relatives from my mom’s side and celebrating my Aunt Shirley’s 80th birthday in Guam was the main reason I found myself on this side of the USA. As an island nearer on the coast of the Philippines than that of mainland it was much easier to go there, cheaper as well especially with the cost shouldered by my sister from the US just to accompany my mom whose adamant to travel alone.