Have you ever been so close to a place you want to visit or make a trip back to but haven’t found the time to do it? I have the most incredibly hard time visiting destinations close by such as revisiting a city I’ve lived so close to this past year. One of my best friends spent her college years in Santa Barbara and while I was on the east coast, she convinced me to visit her in the summer of 2016. My mother and I had a blast tasting the food, enjoying the beach, getting psychic readings, and seeing the city. Four years later, my wonderful friend is now in Boston while I live two hours from her college hometown. Life is unpredictable indeed.
On one of my layovers to California, who did I meet? None other than my friend that lived in SB and was on her way back to Harvard.
If you haven’t read my original trip to Santa Barbara you can read about it here.
As COVID started to rise, I flew back to California in a hurry to get home to Daniel. He was a sweetheart and picked me up from the airport. Seeing as we had wanted to visit Santa Barbara before his graduation and it was a nice day, we decided it was worth making a pit stop on the beach. Back then, the virus hadn’t spread throughout the US yet but California was quick to start the quarantine and put the Shelter in Place order into effect.
As we took in the fresh salty air and warm rays of sunshine, we saw plenty of people running, biking, walking, and even playing volleyball. Some people were swimming in the ocean too. There is definitely merit behind Santa Barbara being one of the fittest cities in the US.
Anyway, Daniel and I walked along the beach and decided to take a turn down State Street. As we walked, the shops we passed felt eerie and almost a foreboding sense of warning. They were closed, the streets were bare, and it almost felt like we were completely alone. Having just come from Florida, I was surprised to see so many shops closed as St. Augustine hadn’t set any restrictions yet. It was our first taste of the quarantine and the effects of COVID. We were only just hearing more about it at that time and it was a frightening but realistic wake-up call. This hub of Santa Barbara was not the same city I visited four years ago. It felt slightly apocalyptic as we continued down State Street. The farther from the beach we moved, the louder the silence became.
Now three months later, it’s strange to see shops opening back up in San Luis Obispo and other cities in California. San Diego loosened some of its beach restrictions in June. People in San Luis Obispo are out like the virus doesn’t still exist and never had in the first place. I’ve started to count the number of masks I see downtown and I can’t say I understand that lacking number. I may not understand but it’s not something I’m going to judge. I think the world is full of more than enough judgment, blame, and hate right now. All I can do to make a positive impact is do my part by respecting myself and others. I know that I am taking care of myself as are my housemates. We are very careful as we have wipes in our cars, and cleaning supplies for packages, and we all use masks anytime we go outside. I’m thankful we are able to have these items to protect from and fight against COVID. I can only hope that doing our part will help society return to “normal” soon, whatever that may. The point is, we are hopeful we are making a positive difference in continuing our lives with others in mind.
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