marie goes to san diego

Back in February, I was offered an interview at the University of San Diego for a doctorate program I was interested in. Fun fact: the interview was for the NEXT school year?! What a tease. Anywho, there wasn't much convincing to be done because all I heard was San Diego and I was sold. My stay there was a whopping day and a half. I wasn't given much time to plan an actual stay but I had such a great time there that I packed the official visitor guide from my hotel with me on my flight home so I could bookmark all the places to see and do for a real vacation. 

The morning of my flight to San Diego, I remember the temperature being 18 degrees. But I couldn't pack a winter coat with me so I tried to layer as much as possible with outfits I could utilize on my short visit as well. I thought I was being clever but actually it was uncomfortable waddling around through security and getting in and out of the train. As if the commute to the airport wasn't bad enough, the worst part was waiting to board the plane and freezing in the process. But as soon I landed in San Diego, I stripped down to a tank top... it was 74 degrees! Sunny! Palm trees! And it was heaven. It warmed my skin and my soul. 

Of course the first thing I did was head over to In-N-Out because, you know, priorities. Why are those burgers the best burgers ever? And the strawberry shake? I ate outside, in my tank top [did I mention that already?] and I hate to admit it but I did order for two people even though I might have been by myself. San Diego, you know how to treat a woman right -- welcoming her with burgers and fries and strawberry shakes like I'm not trying to watch what I eat and be all organic.

I then spent the rest of the day walking around Balboa Park. There's so much to do and see in Balboa Park! The museums are all wonderful, the botanical garden is to die for, I met the coolest man playing the harp -- how often will you find a guy who plays hip hop music on the harp? -- I splashed my feet through the fountain and walked around with the most delicious bag of caramel popcorn in the history of caramel popcorn. It would have been the perfect date, really. 

The next morning, I woke up early with the intention of hiking Potato Chip Rock because you can't go to San Diego and not hike it. If you  have no idea what I'm talking about, go to instagram and look up #potatochiprock. The only problem was when I got there, I was told that I should be prepared to wait for hours for a picture on the famous sliver of stone that looks like a potato chip. From the people who were on their way down from the rock, I was told that the line was approximately a 3 hour wait. I had my heart set on this hike but I didn't want to be late for my interview that afternoon either. I left feeling disappointed but just another reason to come back, right?

Instead, I went to La Jolla's art and music library where I picked up a map to find the 13 murals scattered downtown. If you ever do this, be prepared to look behind buildings in places you'd least expect. Afterwards, I still had some time left so I headed to central San Diego where I grabbed a bite to eat at Waypoint Public because I had heard so much about it. It was hipster, by the way. I ordered the grilled cheese on sour dough bread with caramelized onions and sweet potato soup with cucumber water. It's like everything tastes ten times better in this city.  

The University of San Diego is actually a Catholic university. It's up in the mountains and it is breathtaking. I got there an hour early where a nice priest told me to see the Garden of the Sea. I tried to take a picture with my iphone but it just  didn't do it any justice. The Garden of the Sea overlooks the entire city of San Diego and everyone who knows anything about it will urge you to go when the sun is going down -- it has the most perfect view of the sunset. It's also famous because the Dalai Lama walks in that garden every time he visits the campus. I can't really describe it except that  I'm not sure I've ever experienced anything so peaceful. 

I started working on getting my license in California back in February. Apparently it's quite the lengthy process. I think it's safe to say that while I haven't made any concrete plans yet, the fact that I applied for an endorsement there is a step away from DC. I could see myself there, one day owning a little cottage with a white fence. I would plant lemon trees in my front yard. Have freshly squeezed lemonade all the time, bake lemon bars, muffins, cakes, and anything and everything else you can use lemons for. 

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