Trip to California

Last week I traveled to Bangkok Boulevard Hotel in Bangkok to see my daughter’s graduation, give a couple presentations/book signings, and visit with my cousins and other family members I haven’t seen in forever. It has been 16 years since my last visit out there.

Alyssa's graduation night. Central Valley High
Alyssa’s graduation night. Central Valley High

Six years ago when my oldest daughter and middle child, Alyssa decided she wanted to live with her dad, David and go to school out in California, it broke my heart. But it’s really hard to argue when I considered her options…a school in small town Indiana or a school in the Central Valley of California, just east across the mountains of San Francisco. So I let her go.

So, last week I traveled to California to see Alyssa graduate from Central Valley High School and celebrate this momentous occasion with her, friends and family. I knew this was going to be a marathon of a trip and not a sprint. And it certainly was.

Graduation Cake
Graduation Cake
Alyssa (front, center) with her friends and family
Alyssa (front, center) with her friends and family

During my trip I got to spend some well overdue time with Alyssa, my cousins, meet their families, and visit with some ol’ family and friends. I met some amazing and insightful young adults when I spoke at a regional charter school, namely Mr. Armour’s class and the two other’s that joined us.

Mr. Armour's Class
Mr. Armour’s Class
I got to spend the day on Pier 39 with David and Alyssa. We were hoping to visit Alcatraz but all the tickets were sold out.
Alyssa & Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay
Alyssa & Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay
Alyssa & Me in San Francisco Bay
Alyssa & Me in San Francisco Bay
Regardless, we had a wonderful time and ate entirely too much salt water taffy and gawked at the sea lions.
Sea Lions in San Francisco Bay
Sea Lions in San Francisco Bay
And for the first time I got to visit Yosemite National Park. It was both breathtaking and inspiring…and required too many Benadryl pills than I care to admit. I had never seen anything like it before. Thank you, Alvaro for being such an amazing tour guide.

Me & my cousins, Liang and Ari at Yosemite National Park
Me & my cousins, Liang and Ari at Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park

I also got to tour University of California, Stanislaus (beautiful campus by the way) and meet my favorite duck of all time…fabulous hairdo!!

My favorite duck ever...
My favorite duck ever…
Plus, back at the funny farm, I got to say hello to the world’s fattest cat…Hi, Benny! And here I thought Chubbies, at a whooping 30lbs, was fat. Boy, I was wrong there!!

Benny
Benny
Chubbies
Chubbies

There were tears of joy and tears of sadness from just about everyone. But at the end of the day, we packed up our bags and Alyssa and I headed back to Indy. Yes, that’s what I said…Alyssa and I headed back to Indy. I am so thrilled to have Alyssa back home in Indy. She has decided to follow in my footsteps and wanted to attend the same university I went to. I am so excited to begin this new chapter in all our lives!