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We left Peru with great fanfare, but didn’t get all the way to New Zealand in one hop, we stopped for a month in Santa Barbara, CA. It was a month of relaxation, walks on the beach, exploring the area, and wine-tasting–this is California, after all.

We visited the Avocado Festival in Carpenteria, and the Harbor Festival opening the season for California spiny lobster in Santa Barbara, and ate a few spiny lobster. We tasted wine in Los Olivos, Solvang, and Ojai. Ojai is a town with family history, as Jonathan attended at least part of 8th grade there during his peripatetic childhood following his artist parents around the western US and Mexico.

As if this were not enough fun, we had visits with friends and family, taking advantage of being on the west coast. It was wonderful.¬† We had a chance to visit Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) and see Amanda’s experiment that is the basis for her M.A. thesis. At lunch, Amanda and Jonathan made fun of my taking selfies with a regular camera. Why not?

We stayed in a lovely Airbnb, a bungalow remodeled into an open plan living/dining/kitchen area with seating areas outside on both sides of the house providing shaded seating at all times of day. We shared a bit of the yard, and the outdoor shower, with a neighbor in the apartment on one side, but that did not prove to be a problem in large part because of the delightful tenant, Jackie, and her temporary guests Lucas, Henna, and Montana (3 months). A cute baby is always nice to have as a neighbor.

Under the pineapple guava (feijoa) tree with Kneave and Linda.

Our home was surrounded by perfect contemporary landscaping, terraces of succulents down the small hillside lot made the area seem larger. The tiers and pots of plants were interspersed with just the right number of citrus trees, one of each: grapefruit, oranges, Meyer lemons, lemons, and limes, along with an avocado and a persimmon tree. The persimmons were just ripening, dotting their tree with small bright orange fruit. Jonathan made multi-citrus marmalade, a gorgeous orange-gold color and tasty into the bargain. There were days when we could easily have sat on the terrace all day. In no time, it was time to leave for the airport again.