Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My first Bike Ride

If there's a bike lane on almost every main road does that mean bikes are treated like cars? Does that mean I have to stop at every stop sign? Do I have to get in the "going straight" lane rather than the side of the road which equals the right turn lane? Is it legal for me to ride on the sidewalks? Do I have to wear a helmet? What is the sign for turning left again?

These were the thoughts that were racing through my brain as I ventured out on my first bike ride in San Diego.

I'm lucky and live close to Balboa park (actually only about a mile away) with great access to the neighborhoods surrounding it. Today I think I rode through North Park (I'm not 100% though) and the houses were beautiful... I think I might make it a habit of getting "lost" in the neighborhoods where the houses truly look like California houses... stucco, beautiful flowers, greenest grass... I really loved it. Even more, I loved seeing the dad sitting on the front porch holding his daughter reading a book and the man working on his car and the two teenage boys riding straight down the middle of the street. Those are the scenes of home. It makes me feel a little less far away from lovely Cedar Falls.

I can't even describe the flowers around here... today I saw a tree with ORANGE flowers. And it was a big tree... I couldn't touch the flowers and I just had to stop and look. They have the most fantastic magenta flowers every where... this city is a sight for color.

When I imagine what the Garden of Eden looked like, San Diego gives me a good idea of what to think of!

And guilty as charged... yes I did blog twice in one day. When I'm out and about I think of all the things I want to share with my friends and family. Maybe it is a way to deal with loneliness... now I can share my adventures with the people I love and maybe they will inspire some of you to mull over packing a car up and moving out here:) I can dream:)

Vampire for Marines

Today I had the privilege of going to the Marine Corps Recruit Department for an evolution of drawing blood from brand new marines. Most of these Marines just arrived here in San Diego last night, were kept up all night getting their heads shaved and their butts chewed. Many were probably wondering what the heck they were thinking in joining the Marines.

When my sister came to visit a couple of weeks ago, she became friends with a new marine who didn’t know where he was going from the airport and basically told her no one cares about him here in San Diego. Which is true, they are on their own to get to the base where they are stripped of their belongings and any sense of self they came with.

They had to have blood drawn so that when they are fighting in the front lines and get injured we have the blood ready and waiting for them already in the fleet hospital. It was a confrontation with reality. We are at war and these boys volunteered to put their necks out on the line. I wanted to cry and give them all hugs and say thank you thank you! Of course with it being a training environment, we were not able to strike up conversations with them and be too friendly, but we were able to share a smile. These boys were so exhausted they couldn’t tell me their SSN or their full name when I asked them. When I asked them to straighten their arms so I could draw blood, they looked at my blankly and twisted their arm in some twisted positions. One guy next to me even fainted while having blood drawn.

As we talked about our experience, our leader said that if we could only see these men 3 months from now at their graduation we would be floored. And while I question daily the sanity of what and why the military is how it is... these men get it done. And then my heart swells with pride that I get to be a part of their journey.