Familyland is a lot like Disneyland really. The rides (over the desert or through the air), the excess of food (especially dead animals), happy shrieks of children and their easily amused elders (even more so after generous helpings of San Diego brewpub product), maybe just a little underlying tension that accompanies the necessity of having fun (families being families…), and, of course, the big event that brings you all together, warranting all that travel and expense!
The EVENT: My first granddaughter, Teresa Magalong Klotzback, is graduating with a degree in Civil Engineering from UCLA. We are so proud. First person in my family to take that college leap up from the solid, but not top tier, state colleges we have been attending. This is a BIG DEAL.
The Road I-25 to the Deming cut-off to I-10 through Tucson to eventually pick up the 8 which will cross some tiresomely bleak bush-sprinkled desert, sand dunes, rocky mountains, run into the 15 in San Diego going north to Penasquitos and Scott, Sandra, Teresa and Steven’s house. Once over the mountains the temperature drops and it is California coastal cool. The house on the hill has been updated with new carpets, bathroom tile, etc. in preparation for selling but all the better to celebrate Teresa’s big achievement.
Steven’s college; Steven’s goals: Steven is 19, just finished two years of community college and entering UC Irvine to immerse himself in developing and perfecting his budding entrepreneurial skills. Focus of studies will be business economics with some sociology on the side.
On his way to becoming a corporate leader with a conscience perhaps. Or not. Steven’s friend, Ashley, will be a doctor. Cousin Sara at 13 has already decided she will go to college in California.
Smart kids all…
Graduation Day: We are up early to get to the 9am ceremony on the UCLA campus, must leave an extra hour or so for the San Diego/other freeways getting to the university.
Robert and Marsha are here from Minnesota; Steven, Michele, Patricia, Sara and me are here from New Mexico—Teresa’s dad’s side well-represented, even outnumbering the Filipino side which is usually not easy!
This ceremony is for the “nerd” side of the campus, i.e. engineers, computer scientists, etc. There is one huge event for all graduates and then the separate colleges/program areas have their own ceremonies.
Teresa’s super great boyfriend, Yusuke, whom we all love, is graduating with an art degree in film studies.
Anyway it’s all good and we’re all very proud and each taking credit in our own ways! I think she inherited her potential to be a life-long student from me!
Celebrating with Korean Barbecue: Finally…food, family, friends in Korea Town. The graduate chose one of its many barbecue places for the post-graduation family lunch. Which is okay…especially for meat lovers and aficionados of pickled veggies.
Like visiting Luxembourg, Korean Barbecue is an experience to be had…but one you don’t necessarily have to repeat.
My Walk on the Wild Side: Climbing Black Mountain in Penasquitos/North San Diego County is my semi-annual check-up to determine whether I am old yet. Phew…made it up one more time. Went by myself and while trudging along deep in thought a sudden movement and telltale rattle made me leap ahead quite a few steps.
Had to get a picture though to prove I was almost attacked by a giant rattlesnake! Well it could have happened. A few days later spotted a coyote on my morning walk in the Bosque which made me feel like I was becoming a real wild life explorer. Ready for my own Nature show.
Final evening is the big celebration with aunts, uncles, cousins from both sides of the family and friends from little girlhood, grade school, high school and college all dropping by. There was a dead pig, belly dancing, beer drinking, storytelling, laughter and most importantly Marsha and I managed to take over the TV briefly for the final final final episode of The Killing.
Don’t mean to be too sentimental about all of this (although I could have been killed by the GIANT rattlesnake and missed the party) but it really was a perfect time and life is too complicated to take such lovely occasions for granted. So here’s to many more visits to FAMILYLAND in the years ahead.