Californian.

There’s a torn out page from Country Living Magazine folded into one of my previous journals. On the page are several country homes for sale around the United States.

Mark and I often fanaticize about moving to another state. I dream of a house in the country surrounded by trees and Mark dreams of an island where he could run a taco shack, teach golf and surf.

California is where we were both born and raised. We created our family here. But sometimes I feel like I’m settling and maybe I’m just afraid of expanding my wings. Am I allowing fear to limit me? Am I just playing it safe? Will I be happy remaining in one place – one area – for the rest of my life?

We have begun a search for a bigger home. We currently live in a two bedroom condo. And with three kids our home is feeling a bit cramped.

So I’ve asked myself some questions in order to find the right house for us: What do you want? What are you looking for? Where do you want to be? How do you want to live?

I felt like sitting on the beach and eating something fishy.

The kids and I were in Santa Barbara. Our playdate at the zoo had ended but we were not yet ready to leave.

I looked up beachfront restaurants and found Shoreline Beach Café. On the way there, we stopped at a red light. A man on a motorbike rode by and a loud knock rattled my car. The impact was loud and alerted us. I believe the motorbike man struck the side car door mirror. I looked out the passenger window to assess the situation. A man in a red VW looked back at me. His window was down. He made a hand gesture signaling the motorbike man and mouthed something like “What the heck is wrong with that guy?”
I gestured in return and said, “I know. What the heck?”

The man in the red VW looked at my car and gave me a thumbs up. All was well. He then yelled at motorbike man to grab his attention. He made hand gestures and said something like, “You hit her car.”

Motorbike man looked back at me and raised his hand. “Sorry.” He said.

I raised my hand. “It’s okay.” I said.

The abrupt sound raised my heart rate but I was glad no further damage was done. And I was thankful for the kindness shown from my fellow drivers.

 

We arrived at the café and sat at a table in the sand. It felt good to sit in the cool ocean breeze and smell the fresh salty sea air. I felt relaxed. The kids were relaxed as well. The girls were calm and quiet. And Abe sat in my lap as I fed him black beans and fish. I drank a cold beer and enjoyed some fish tacos.

I overheard two men nearby discussing business matters. One of the men said something like, “This is the opportunity of a lifetime.”

“That’s what they all say.” I whispered.

Abe stood up in my lap. He smiled and giggled at girl who sat in the sand behind me.

I thought of a question to ask the girls to strike up a conversation. “What is your summer dream?” I asked.

“To have fun.” Alana said.

“I want to ride a boat.” Mia said, “But not a wooden one.”

There was a large white boat in the ocean. Mia pointed to it. “Like that one.” She said.
It looked like a yacht or a small cruise ship.

Great, I thought. How am I going to make that happen?

I looked toward the sea. There were wind surfers out with their parachute sails in the air.

It was the first day of summer. As we sat and ate a late lunch on the sand I realized, I would never leave California.

 

On the drive home, I saw a family walk together along the beach road. My first thought was: they’re tourists. Maybe it was how closely they walked together or because they were all blonde with fair skin. I’m not sure, but I made a judgment in a glance.

A young man, tan with blonde hair, rode on a bike past them. His shirt was unbuttoned allowing his muscular chest to greet the breeze. As he rode by I thought: Is that how they see us? Californians?

I chuckled and drove home.

Two days later, I ran errands with Abe. We went to the post office. When I took Abe out of the car, I swung the car door open a little too far and hit the side mirror of the car beside me. I turned around to see a red car. I inspected the mirror. No damage was done but I felt guilty.

I moved quickly as the guilt spread across my face. I didn’t want everyone to see it. I purchased stamps and mailed a birthday card to my best friend in San Francisco. And then I fled the scene.

As I left, I considered the circumstances and found a common thread from what had happened in Santa Barbara. But what did it mean? Was the hit from motorbike man merely a warning? Was the universe trying to tell me to be more aware? I didn’t know.

But I knew it was synchronicity.

Someone once told me synchronicity means you’re on the right path, meaning: you are where you’re supposed to be and headed in the direction you are meant to go.

I believe I am where I’m meant to be.

I also believe: I should watch out for motorbikes and side mirrors, and eat more lunches on the sand.

After all, I am a Californian.

Author: AshleyKagaoan

Ashley Kagaoan is a wife, mother, writer, & yogi. She resides in Southern California with her family. Ashley writes poetry and self-help messages. She is currently studying to become a certified health coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.