Hi guys! How are my young readers doing during holiday season 2018? In addition to the holiday glamor, the two new animated movies, “The Grinch” (See HERE) & “Ralph Breaks The Internet” (See HERE) both of which I played a little part in (the production team specifically) have been entertaining audiences young & old. If you haven’t check these two animated features or their trailers out, please do so during holiday season 2018.
This travel diary post is for everyone! As a former teacher, it is fun to accidentally meet my former students (or their parents) around town in an art festival or a Safeway grocery store. Recently, I have been finding my “babies before actual babies” (See HERE) on television, radio, and news, in general, and I want to convey that these 83+ students I had the pleasure of teaching in my own classroom for 4 years make me so proud. I have a lifetime of memories because they were the best students I could ask for. And I know all great teachers feel this way too. I hope my students will continue to obtain wonderous achievements in the world.
Last weekend when I was in Santa Barbara with my family, I realized that I was staying at my former teacher’s house. Yes, the same “favorite teacher” from my 1st & 2nd grade (maybe 3rd) years and who I also visited in 1991 after she moved back to Santa Barbara, California from Islamabad, Pakistan. Come to think of it, during this Santa Barbara trip, I also met my Kindergarten teacher volunteering at an annual art & craft fair in Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (See HERE). Because of this, the entire weekend read like a magical storybook or a fairy-tale.
My brother, a cardiologist fellow now and Taylor Swift has been taught by this teacher as well, although subsequent to me and based on my serious “recommendations” that “you need to get this teacher”! You may also be happy to know that many songs that Taylor Swift has written about so far have been experiences she had as a child with me and the small group of friends we shared in Pakistan consisting mostly of older boys (now serious entrepreneurs!). It was a recipe for disaster since we spent most of our time together sharing stories of how frustrated we were with them and then deciding whether it was because our friends were “all boys” or “all older“. If you are curious to know, the song titled “Blank Space” is about the relationship I had as a friend with Jack Dorsey & she, as a newcomer to the group, had with Evan Spiegel. You will understand the song and us so much more. It is quite lovely!
I had older Muslim friends also (mostly those from political/business families or those with art/design backgrounds), but that was only because of my small, but powerful family’s background. I have wonderful memories with them as well. Hi!
The Weekend In Santa Barabara
We rented a nice minivan and drove down to Santa Barbara with a lunch stop at a McDonald’s in King’s City, California. We reached at twilight, but the weather was gorgeous and the house was gorgeous with lots of trees & pretty gardens in the front and back. I didn’t remember this house at this point. When we walked in, I was immediately intrigued by the eclectic decor filled with bookshelves, rugs, and art pieces (including a gong!) from around the world. It was not until I was in the bathroom I realized I have seen all of this earlier and that this house belonged to my former elementary school teacher I had visited in Santa Barbara in 1991! I literally came out of the bathroom with a glow on my face. After a dinner consisting of Hyderabadi biryani and raita we picked up from a Pakistani caterer, I began exploring and taking pictures of stuff “I remembered from before”. Pssst… I am not allowed to post the pictures of her house here due to privacy laws. I found picture books she read aloud to us in class & that only I was allowed to read from her classroom bookshelf. There was even a wall with framed artwork consisting of newspapers from around the world she painted on that I remembered. It was then that I decided I was going to stay indoors most of the weekend and reconnect with my younger self.
*I even reunited with my teacher tonight. God, this was perfect. Who arranged all this?
I woke up very early on Saturday and after some work had a full meal consisting of Spanish-style omelet with toast and tea. It was during this time I discovered magnetic words on the fridge that I made poetry with (in 1991! and now in 2018!), small “shot” glasses with colorful glass bottoms, and antique teacups that she decorated the windowsill with. The day continued with us visiting the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (Again See HERE) and then from there walking to Mission Santa Barbara (See HERE), which is a mere 10-minute walk. I recommend the first point of interest for young children who like to learn a little history & make connections with what they learn in school. There were tons of materials about local wildlife, Chumash life*, space, and sea, & you can even appreciate a 74-foot blue whale skeleton standing close to it. Mission Santa Barbara is also stunning & is considered the “Queen of the Missions” not only because of its Spanish architectural symmetry, but also because this mission was where “official mission matters” took place and thus, NOT MANY CONVERTS lived here. Lastly, it is the place where one of the two bishops in the US are buried. However, similar to other missions, it has an underground burial crypt, a church, a small kitchen, and a courtyard.
On Sunday, I chose to relax in the backyard filled with trees and plants. I brought out my tea and cookies to spend most of the early morning exploring and trying to recall memories from my 1991 visit here. I even met “Mr. Whiskers” (who I named before I was told she is a girl cat). Mr. Whiskers was very friendly and most of the time accompanied me during my backyard adventure until I got tired of her exploration. The backyard also had a large hammock, an herb garden, a tunnel made with grape leaves, and a nice spot to have a little campout underneath fairy lights. The rest of the surprises were stored in shapes of fun pottery and animal decor hidden whimsically behind and in plants & trees. It even had a fire pit, patio furniture, and a shed. After we left, we drove to one of Santa Barbara’s beaches, East Beach to say our goodbyes (I stayed in the car watching YouTube videos on different CEO’s for inspiration) and subsequently took the freeway back to the Bay Area.
It was a very fun weekend!
*Upon my research, I have concluded that modern humans are not a year older than 45,000 years. Pre-historic time (aka pre-modern human) for me consists of the undocumented time missing in religious texts such as the Torah, The New Testament, & The Quran.