My trip is over. I had a blast. I learned to think about trauma-informed services, got to hear a lot about gender-specific services, saw the ocean, ate good food, and fraternized with professionals.
Saturday, I learned that my job did not pay for the Saturday workshop, as I had thought. That was easy lemonade to make. I hopped a ship and took a Harbor Tour.
I saw sea lions, sea gulls, military ships and planes, and chatted with a nice couple from New Mexico. On the tour, I heard that Old Town was a neat area to visit, with ships and good Mexican food so on the way back to the hotel, I made a stop there. I should have gone to the Mexican festival. I inquired on my way out and it was only $6 for unlimited food and alcohol samples + there were people walking on stilts. Instead, I turned right and checked out some shops. I found really, really good fudge at a candy store. I also found a huge place with lots of cheap stuff at moderate prices. I eventually decided that what disappointed me most about the souvenir shop is the replicated stuff. Some items looked pretty nifty but EVERYONE was selling them. I was also shocked that t-shirts run at $15 a pop there compared to $3-$5 in D.C. and New York. I did end up buying friendship bracelets for my babies and got a rainbow one for myself. I got a Mexican guitar, dreamy cookie & cream fudge, and other souvenirs.
Sunday was day 1 of the conference. That evening, I went back to Old Town with co-worker K and Ms. Alabama, who she had befriended. We ate at the second Mexican restaurant we say, Los Reyes, and all agreed it was quite bad. I began to wonder if San Diego just had a different style of Mexican cooking than the Mexicans I've known in GA and TN. After dinner, we went to a souvenir shop that I actually liked. There I bought more gifts and awesome fans for myself and mom.
Monday, I got a new idea of what I might do at October's Motivational Thought for the Day group. Dan Griffin talked about how the principles of the 12 steps are counter to the values society instills into men. For example, the 12 steps tells men to ask for help. Society tells men that they are to be the autonomous leaders. The 12 steps tells men that they are powerless. Society tells them to seek power. Another speaker, Griffin went further with that concept and talked about how black men sure as hell don't want to run around talking about and celebrating their powerlessness. They already live in a world that tells them men are powerful but niggers are nothing [wording is mine. Dr. Virgil Gooding did his best to watch his words, we could tell]. So, the group idea is to talk about the rules we learned from society about who we are to be but then rewrite the rules for us. Umm. It seemed much more profound in the workshop than it does while I type it.... In the session is where I started to notice the gender-typeness of the workshops. I love that they were looking at race and gender but can we get a little more acknowledgment that not all black women are alike, nor are all white men, or Asian queers. I would have liked to hear more about how these gender sensitives vary with gender identity/type. I think I can use the society/12 step exercise in my co-ed group because I believe that the woman that participates has lived her life with many of the same rules given to men. Never say die.
Monday night, I went to La Jolla Beach and then some other city for dinner. The beach was lovely. The waves pretty much came all the way up the sanded area. I learned that taking a picture. I thought I was good and on sand but then a wave hit. Even the bottom of my “purse” (messenger bag) got wet. We ended up at a nice Italian restaurant for dinner. I was there in jeans soaking wet up to my knee. Lol. I was again with K but Ms. NY joined us that time. The restaurant where we dined is Firenze. It's better than Buca di Beppo, people!
I ordered lasagna made with veal, chicken, and beef. DELICIOUS. I wish I could have it again. Maybe I'll find that restaurant again when I head back to San Diego. Maybe mom and I can eat there in 2012.
Conversation with NY helped me see that I have a lot to learn before obtaining my LMSW. It's a hard license to get when one takes clinical Social Work classes. I trained to be an administrator so Lord help me indeed! NY was loving being around trained, clinical, addiction specialists and I could understand that. I've definitely been the odd one out before on a working team and felt that education in others would make the situation somewhat better. Stop being stupid (ignorant), people! I get that. It also made me think a bit about how I plan to pass the LMSW exam. Step 1: reread my abnormal psychology book and anything of relevance in Intro to Psychology. Step 2: take a Social Work class or two with a clinical focus. Step 3: Take a LCSW prep course. If I slowly study for a year prior to the exam, maybe I'll have myself together when the test comes. Maybe. Knowing that a large number of people who did the course work and worked in mental health setting fail this test isn't great for building confidence. But I can do all things through Christ, right?
Tuesday's plan was to maybe take a swim but mostly stay in to pack and get ready for my return to TN. I got distracted. K leaned over in class and invited me to join her in venturing to Coronado Island. In retrospect, I should have asked her what was in Coronado but instead I believed her when she said we could come back early and off with went. Ms. Alabama joined us. We had a long, slow start due to somethings on the part of K so we ended up leaving at our typical 5/5:30 pm time. We had to take 2 trolleys and a bus to get there. Apparently, Hotel del Coronado is in Coronado, CA. Some Like it Hot with Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon was filmed there. We spent too much time in the gift shop but it resulted in new playing card for me, a water cup for Ms. Alabama, and souvenirs and an awesome present for a friend for K. Finding that wedding present was the most time-consuming. We were directed to a delicious Mexican restaurant from there, Miguel's. It was good, but not any better than good Mexican good I've had. The pork was said to be fab so I had a pork taco. Fair. I also had beef flautas that made me say “yum”. It was late enough when we finished dinner that the bus was only running once a hour. We missed it by 9 minutes. Damn. We paid a cab to take us to the trolley station thinking it would still be running fairly often but we had to wait at the trolley station for about 30 minutes before we could get on.
My San Diego trip reminds me of my east coast travels last year in that it was mostly on a whim. Each day, I figured out what was next. Often, I wondered to an area with nothing specific in mind. And I feel good. Thankfully, the pain levels this time are nothing like my pain levels were in D.C. I don't look forward to going back to my eat nothing diet but am incredibly grateful for what I've learned about my health the past few months. I remembered EH, who has fibro but can walk up stairs, telling me that stretching is so incredibly important to being physical like that. So, I tried to stretch. I did a skimpy job but grace got me through. The fatigue surely increased during the week as I missed the 8am sessions Tue & Wednesday despite setting the alarm for 6:30 every morning. We'll see how I feel over the next few days. Perhaps I can sleep longer on Saturday. Memphis invited me to stay at her place tonight instead of heading back to Jackson so late. So had my mom. It depends on how I feel when I land. It'll be good to spend that time with Memphis but it seems awkward in a few ways and would involve her taking off tonight. I never told her I'm considering it but I'll call when I land to see if she's going on. Maybe returning home in the am won't be so bad.
I can see living in San Diego. $1200 is what most people quoted when I inquired about rent. VA will give me a cost of living increase if I get hired there so I think it'd feasible. Increase will be more difficult than living in TN but man, San Diego is nice. Home sweet home :). It is now on the list of places to maybe live in the future (Columbia, MO; San Diego, CA; somewhere else in the Midsouth) but I think I will adhere to the advice of getting my LCSW first so check me out in TN until 2014 or so.
This trip also gave me the opportunity to take a major step in personal humility. I got a wheelchair pick up. The hardest part is requesting it and getting the “you?” at pick up. Moving through the air port is less embarrassing, perhaps the relief of not trying to hike that far fast enough to catch the plane and not feeling the pain in my back, pelvis, and legs helps with that. It's surely a really small thing but using a wheelchair when I know I need it has been a struggle for me. With the airport, I feel like I don't rly know if I need it until I'm there and sadly, sometimes while trying to get from A to B. But finally, I sucked up my pride and asked for a help. Seems kind of fitting given the messages I heard at conference.