It started as a simple invitation….”You can see the ocean from our deck, come visit….” Plans were made and thus began my first journey to the west coast. I grew up in an east coast/midwest family. I had never been more west than the border of New Mexico and Texas (the ugly part)….I had no idea what to expect when I stepped of the plane.
My first trip to the Bay area was a like something out of a book or movie – the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombardy street, China town, Ghirardelli chocolate, Alcatraz and Pier 39. All these places I’d read about in books, and seen in movies…right there in real life. I took pictures as all good tourists do and drank in this city. Even from the beginning I found little places off the beaten track, a place in China town with egg custard pies that reminded me of Hong Kong, a fish and chips joint found in Little Italy (which is not really where you’d expect to find it) that was quite comparable to a small place in London, the St. Francis of Assisi chapel set off on a very non-assuming corner, and is simple yet beautiful inside, filled with both tourist and worshiper alike…all searching for something.
I then made my way to Half Moon Bay – I’d first read about it in one of James Patterson’s “Women’s Murder Club” series and I found it to be the most enchanting of little sleepy towns. Little dive shops, tiny restaurants, a working harbor complete with crab traps, shrimping boats, sailboats and sport fishing for King Salmon. I have my favorite little places here as well… a house overlooking the water where my friend’s live, an artsy little breakfast nook just off the water where I can work, a little rock (yep one particular one) that makes the perfect place to sit and watch the butterflies dance and then sandpipers chase the waves back and forth. Just up the way there is Pebble beach – not the golf course, but an actual beach filled with little tiny pebbles where I could sit for hours and watch the waves roll in. Morning fog, evening sunsets, the sweet woodsy smell of eucalyptus, and the ever constant sound of the foghorn every 8 seconds.
But none of these things compared to the mighty Pacific. From the first glimpse of this majestic creation I was enamored. This ocean never stops moving, the waves never stop crashing, never stops roaring, and it never stops speaking to me. From the closest shore to the farthest horizon it holds a story. A story that I need to hear. I can sit and listen to it for hours, watching wave after wave roll in and out, and finding myself in its rhythm. With all that is within me I seem to resonate within this great expanse.
When I left – I cried all the way home. I was leaving a piece my heart in San Francisco – specifically with the Pacific Ocean.
One of hardest things to contend with as a Third Culture Kid is constant wandering nature of the heart. No matter where we are the ones we love and pieces of our hearts are far away. My heart longs for Africa, Florida, California, Texas, England, and Hong Kong….all at various times and sometimes all at once. One learns to compartmentalize….to take out the memories and embrace the longing for a while, then to pack it all up neatly and put it back on the shelf and be where God has for me to be today. It never gets easier, but God is faithful.
I have been quiet this past week. Reflecting on what each visit to Half Moon Bay has been for me. Similar yet different. Every time at a pausing point in life. Reflecting on something more for my life. A yearning for a traveling partner….someone to hold hands with, discover new things with, talk about life with….yet I also enjoy the sweet alone time sitting in silence, a cold walk along the beach finding my heartbeat matching the rhythm of the waves, the quiet of the morning fog…like a centering, refocusing and longing for more all wrapped into one.