"I have come that they might have life and have it to the full..." -John 10:10b


Monday, March 15, 2010

Finding Home: A Personal Journey, Part 2


The girls and I settled into a "routine" at my mom's house rather quickly, much to my delight. It wasn't without some kinks and bumps but it seemed to be working rather nicely. After the first couple of days of settling in, I got the itch to get out and see my old stomping grounds. I wanted to see how much had changed and how much had stayed exactly as pictured in my memory.

A lot had changed. New shopping malls, new restaurants, new churches, homes and schools seemed to have sprung up everywhere. Still, amidst all the changes, the places that I was interested in seeing had stayed the same.

As we meandered through Palm Bay and Melbourne in my mom's Hyundai Sonata, I found myself reliving memories in my head as we passed landmarks, parks, churches and schools that each held specific memories of my childhood and teenage years. There was Fred Lee park where I used to ride my bike and Covenant Presbyterian Church where I first accepted Jesus into my heart at the age of 9 and where I later re-affirmed my faith at the age of 15. There was Brevard Community College where I spent the majority of my junior and senior years of high school and the Chick-Fil-A where I held my first job. There was the Chili's that my friends and I used to hang out at after youth group and the TJ Maxx where I did most of my shopping.

We turned onto one of the main roads in Melbourne and headed into downtown. I begged my mom to stop at The Sun Shoppe. It was (is) my all time favorite coffee shop! It has an artsy vibe with it's wall displays of iron work and contemporary pop art. The people who work behind the counter are almost always wearing some really creative get up complete with a piercing of some sort and there is usually some kind of live music on the weekends. I remember coming here on Sunday nights with a few friends, sitting on the couches and just talking. Talking about everything and nothing at all. Sipping my Vanilla Chai Tea Latte in a ginormous ceramic mug and soaking up the atmosphere. I loved it there. It was my escape.

Right next door is a paint-your-own-pottery place and I spent many an afternoon there with my mom or a close friend or both painting tea pots and coffee mugs and plates. We went so much that the owner eventually knew us by name.

As I sipped my steaming Vanilla Chai Tea Latte in a to-go cup, we headed across the causeway towards beachside. As we came up on A1A, I noticed the surf shops I used to walk in and browse, knowing that there was no way in you know where that I was EVER going to pay that much for a bathing suit, but enjoying the browsing just the same. I saw a big "Reef" sticker in the window and I remembered my first pair of Reefs. Best flip-flops ever, just so you know.

As we kept driving along A1A we passed all the beach parks that I used to frequent with my friends. Mostly Anna...who is now my sister-in-law:)

Pelican Beach Park

And then we came to Dakine Diegos.

My Favorite Burrito Shack

Dakine Diegos is a small, eclectic burrito shack in Satellite Beach, FL and the burritos there are out of this world yummy!
WM-92-2

WM-87-2

It's super laid back and you'll find barefoot surfers next to men in military uniforms on lunch break from Patrick AFB on any given day.

Dakine Diego's

WM-88-2

People are encouraged to sign the walls when they visit and the various signatures have become such an integral part of the atmosphere there.

WM-86-2

WM-90-2

The burritos are HUGE and filled with jasmine rice and black beans along with all sorts of other yummy stuff, including pineapple if you so desire.

WM-89-2

WM-91-2

If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend it!

As the daylight faded and the breeze got cool, we piled back into my mom's car and headed home. Once again, I found myself gazing out the window at the all to familiar but eerily different scenery. These places that held so many memories, both good and bad were etched so deeply into my soul that I could remember the way things smelled or the color shirt someone was wearing on a particular night spent at that particular place. And I felt a connection.

I have memories in Florida. BIG memories. It's where I came to know my Savior and it's where I fell in love for the first time. It's also where I experienced my first and only real heartbreak. It's where I learned more about who I was and what the Lord was calling me toward. It's where I realized that my family is a precious gift and to love them is a privilege. It's where I grew in my faith and where I stumbled drastically. It's where I said a cuss word in front of my entire youth group on accident and where I laughed so hard that coke flew out of my nose on the curb at Twisty Cone. It's where I made unlikely friends and where I figured out that the likely friends weren't always the best kind. It's where I grew in my confidence to be obedient to God even when people I loved and respected didn't understand. It's where I learned independence.

Moral of Part 2 of my personal journey: Home is where your Memory Lane is.

Tomorrow, the conclusion of my journey.

1 comments on "Finding Home: A Personal Journey, Part 2"

Katie on March 15, 2010 at 6:51 AM said...

Best flip-flops ever!

And, I'm sold on Florida. When do we move?