We are finally beginning the last stage of our trip. It still does not seem real. It seems more like we are on an extended vacation for the rest of our lives. We spent several days with our good friends Dorothee and Mike and their new, fantastic home in Palm Desert. It was the final goodbye to our California friends.
We are still saying goodbye to places. We said goodbye to the Pacific ocean, beautiful but I never swam in it. Too cold. We said goodbye to the state of California as we drove over the border and into Arizona. That was more difficult. The Stoic One has lived in California all of his life. Born in Los Angeles and even did his military service in California. He is sad to leave his brother and family but ready to move on. A native Californian leaving his birth place, but he is, well, stoic about it.
For me California has been the golden state of dreams, aspirations, opportunities and good fortune. Coming from Michigan and then Tennessee, when I arrived in California, I swore I would never leave the state. I have felt at home here. I felt understood here. My work has been here, and the majority of my friends are here. The state is beautiful with the mountains, deserts, ocean all within driving distance. So when we crossed that line and the Stoic One said, "Say good by to California" it was saying good by to many things. I think mainly I was saying goodbye to my youth; those yearnings for freedom and success that once attained seem to vanish into the dark recesses of my memory. Odd how the yearnings diminish with age; at least for me.
I go to Italy full of curiosity. I really want to speak Italian well, but that is a goal, not a yearning. By working hard, and having great luck, the Stoic One and I have a sense of financial freedom in retirement. We know we are lucky, and we do not have unlimited resources, so we know we must also learn to live like the Italians, not the Americans. Be happy with what we have. Enjoy the things of life that don't cost money. Find motivation in living that does not begin with making and spending money. This will be a challenge.
So here we are on the beginning of our journey across this huge country. We are in Tuscon, Arizona. If you have never been to the Sonoran desert, it is worth the trip. The cacti are fascinating.
Blooming prickly pears. The Stoic One often refers to me as "prickly" mainly when I get too hot. Now I really know what prickly means!