It’s been just over a year since I’ve been back in San Diego. I have to admit, I am still getting familiar with the lay of the land. Just tonight, someone asked me about my favorite sushi place. Rightly so… you would think that after spending five years in Japan that I would have staked out every sushi restaurant in the hood! But the reality is… I’m still finding my way around my lovely hometown.
When I returned, I told myself I would treat San Diego like a new foreign city…that I would take the time to explore and discover and find my favorite spots. While I am discovering new places all the time, I recognize that San Diego is a pretty large city and at that a town I haven’t lived in since I was 19 years old. San Diego has changed a lot since then!
What’s funny to me is that all my memories of San Diego are childhood/young-adult memories. I’m a great tour guide for anyone who has never been here because hot spots like the zoo, Sea World and the Hotel Del Coronado never go out of style. But my favorite dive bar or sushi place, a hot spot for Sunday brunch or the best craft beers? I’m at a loss.
So help me feel at home, dear friends. What places do I need to discover? Where do you like to like to dine? What San Diego hot spots do I need to check out? Please leave your comments below or post on my Facebook Page On The Bright Side.
Thanks so much!
REMEMBER WHAT YOU WANTED TO BE – Never sell yourself short. Whatever the circumstances, however low you may feel, recall your hopes and plans. Use them as your benchmark: reassess your position and aim high again. – Patrick Lindsay, Now Is The Time
The neighbors on Alderson Street were families with boys. The only other girl was Ellen Robinson, two doors down. But Ellen really liked to play with Barbie. She had the mansion, the pool, the Jeep, and several of Barbie’s companions. I had Barbie and Skipper and a few changes of clothes. I was too much of a tomboy to get all fussy about what Barbie should wear.
With a street full of boys, I often played sports in the street. And yet there were many days I wasn’t allowed to hang with the guys. On those occasions, I took to playing office at my desk. I loved office forms and carbon paper. I madly filled out forms, filed papers in some sensible fashion and enjoyed the sensation that I was “getting something done.” My second favorite game was playing boutique. I would hang my clothes up all over my room and then have to bounce between the roles of customer, shop girl and cashier (complete with a toy cash register but a real cash drawer in the desk drawer). With my love of office forms, came also my love of receipts and price tag stickers and things I could use to make my imaginary adult life a little more real.
When I was a sophomore in high school, I began a lucrative little adventure called Hosting Helpers. It began when I worked a few parties for a senior named Lisa who had her own little biz, Party Partners. (I so wanted to use that name for my business!) She showed me the ropes for hosting events, and how to let the real hosts of the party enjoy themselves. The job entailed preparing the food tables, keeping the house free of empty glasses and thrown away napkins, making sure the chip bowl was full and doing all the dishes at the end of the night. Lisa was graduating and wanted to turn over her business to someone else. My dear friend, Rae Meadows essentially became my partner as we helped host parties all over San Diego. We would wear black pants, tuxedo shirts, complete with red bow tie and cummerbund. We worked weddings, BBQs, office parties, progressive dinners, and any number of holiday parties.
We were a hit. And with every party we hosted, we usually gained another client, simply by displaying my business card. I sent out reminders about the holiday season at the beginning of November, which helped us book up every weekend leading to Christmas. The minimum wage was $3.35 per hour, at the time. We pulled $6.00 per hour plus tips; I loved having the money to buy nice Christmas gifts for my family. Hosting Helpers got me a mention in the school newspaper and helped me develop a love for event planning, which has been at the core of most jobs in my long marketing career.
There was an entrepreneurial spirit in me, even as a young teenager. I secretly believed I could run a multi-national business, just by employing staff to host a party. I had no desire to cater, just a desire to employ well-trained party planners and hosts. I envisioned myself with an executive office at the top of some high rise in an unidentified city (Come to think of it, I don’t remember feeling that it was San Diego – I can still picture the skyline from my vision). Hosting Helpers International never came to be, but what a big, fun dream it was.
Here I am now, well into adulthood, back in my hometown, San Diego and dreaming once again of what my business will look like. With great enthusiasm and anticipation, I launched the Beaming Bohemian website on May 1, 2011. Since that time, I’ve picked up a few clients, continue to chase leads, but more significantly, continue to shape how I want my business to grow. I am heavily in R&D and working to narrow my focus. One aspect I have enjoyed the most is reconnecting with old friends and exploring a variety of options.
Admittedly, launching a new business is a struggle. It is frightening, quite frankly, and it is ridiculously hard work. Beaming Bohemian is quickly becoming the toughest challenge I have ever faced in my life. It turns out that re-establishment is WAY harder than settling into someplace foreign… even if that place is a Hanoi, Vietnam or a Shizuoka, Japan. While abroad, I learned that I am completely comfortable with being in foreign places, adjusting to new ways of life, hearing foreign tongues, adopting strange cultural rituals, and simply soaking up life as it comes.
Feeling like a foreigner in the U.S., in California, in San Diego – which should feel like home, is a hilarious new game I am trying to master. Fact of the matter is, I have never been more uncomfortable in my life. But I know, I really know that out of great discomfort comes great life lessons. At heart, I am still full of adventure, still willing to take huge risks and still full of patience to understand what life is going to throw my way. All the while, I have never forget that little girl inside me, the one with immeasurable creativity and imagination, such high aspirations and totally blind confidence. My desk no longer contains a cash drawer and all those fancy office forms, but it is still the hub for crafting my dreams, working my plan and creating a very lovely life.
Since my return to San Diego, I’ve spent some time getting readjusted, some time relaxing and getting reacquainted with family and friends. I’ve also been looking to discover what it is I will do professionally. While there is still part of me which wants to buy a one way ticket to Argentina, I’ve decided to stay in San Diego and set up my own business.
Getting settled in San Diego has been its own adventure. This is my hometown, but I have not lived here for about 20 years. All of my memories are from my childhood, so I don’t know the best restaurants, the hidden gems, the adult life in this gorgeous town. So I’m approaching San Diego like it’s a new city I’ve moved to. I’m keeping my eyes and ears open and desire to find all of my favorite places.
Starting a business is a whole different kind of adventure. It’s not the same as the little business, Hosting Helpers, I ran in high school!!! And so this is where most of my focus has gone lately. I’ve also discovered the world of WordPress and am setting up my news business website on this platform. It’s a task, to say the least! In the meantime, I’m meeting with friends who are entrepreneurs and others who have offered me great advice. I’m working on leads and tailoring my efforts to determine the scope of my services. I’ll make more of an announcement when the time is right! (The photo here is the working version of the logo and name.)
I’m looking to move OTBS over to a WordPress theme as well. However I am finding the theme I’m using a bit to stale for my personal blog. There is a lot of content here to consider! : ) And so I’m debating the switch and may just keep things going from the iWeb and MobileMe platform here.
Anyway…I just wanted to check in and let you know that there is a lot going on with me personally and professionally and that my attention will soon return to On The Bright Side. Until then,
Sometimes it’s good to be unemployed. For example, it allows you to wake up late, go to Venice Beach, watch skateboarders skate around on crazy cement formations and then have a hearty breakfast with coffee and a Bloody Mary. On a Wednesday!
Actually, I had a nice and productive day yesterday, and this is shaping up to be a productive week. Mette left this past Sunday. I believe I left off my daily reports after Hollywood Day. The next day was set aside for shopping and then I surprised her with tickets to Hair at the Pantages. Yes, I know. I’m a pretty cool friend and tour guide. I looked back at all Mette’s done this week and if that were my first time to California, I’d be pretty stoked and ready to move here. It was definitely a full schedule, but I could not see lounging around the hotel or something amidst such beautiful weather and fun activities. For me, though, it cost me a week of productivity. I’ve had to catch up the blog and on all of the emails I should have sent last week. So – yikes!
I’ve been given even more support and helpful advice from my friends and former business contacts here in LA. I feel even more empowered and excited to move forward with my business and get crackin’!!! I have a bit more to do here, but then it’s time for me to head back to San Diego and get it in gear.
Watch out! I’m on a roll!
It was a long plane ride back. There was a very strange man two rows ahead of me who was super fat, unable to breathe and possibly on some sleep medication. Thank goodness no one was seated around him. He flopped violently in his chair leaning to the right and to the left, forward and back, waking himself up because he was snoring so loud and was kind of snorting to breathe. He was out cold before the plane took off and was awake only to eat and use the restroom. I’ve never seen anything like it. According to the other passengers around me, they never have either. For probably the first time ever, I was happy to arrive at LAX!
The final leg of my journey was the short flight to San Diego. When the plane took off from LAX, I got really excited. With only a 20 minute flight, it’s hard to maintain any emotion, but I looked out the window the whole time and as the plane was landing and San Diego neighborhoods were passing below, I felt a wave of calm and happiness take over.
The buzz kill was that one of my suitcases didn’t get on the plane with me and the United employee couldn’t account for my bag and couldn’t tell me where in LAX it was…it wasn’t even popping up on the system. They assured me that my case would be delivered. (See, this is why I carry-on those journals!) My parents and I left the airport doubtful and with hope, all mixed into one. I was too tired to be angry.
I woke up this morning, brewed some coffee, chatted with the family and delighted in the fact that my suitcase did actually arrive. Whew! I’ve never been so happy to see my red suitcase! ;p
As I usually do when I visit the US, the first outing was a visit to Target. Nothing says “Welcome to America” more than a store where you can buy shampoo, candy, a bathing suit, greeting cards, a BBQ, underwear and a bicycle all in the same place. I stuck with toiletries and candy.
And so the adjustment begins…I’m back. I’m here. I’m home.
About the photo: There is a glimpse of San Diego from the plane. It was near sunset and the marine layer was starting to roll back in. Still a welcome sight for sore eyes!
I received another e-mail today from one of the owners addressed to “Shana”. I have politely and formally asked three times now to spell my name correctly and frankly, it’s getting on my nerves. I know my name is unique, but that extra N really isn’t so difficult. It’s not like my name is Shanikwatara, but spelled with a Q but no U only on the day of the full or new moon. I think addressing one of your top-level executives incorrectly is rude and disrespectful. I’ve been told it’s not that big of a deal and it’s not the end of the world. Don’t worry about it?
I was set to write a different blog entry on this topic, one which focused at the heart of the issue – why my name is not being spelled correctly – but I landed on Google and did a search for the name Shanna and Shana. Wow! Both have some cool results! So forget the fact that my name continues to be misspelled at work – look at what I found!
It turns our that the name Shanna was famous in Shanna the She-Devil of Marvel Comics. I think that’s hilarious!!! Look at how awesome she is – Dang! Wish I was that voluptuous! According to Wikipedia:
Shanna the She-Devil is a fictional jungle adventuress in the Marvel Comics universe. (Thank goodness she’s fictional!)
Shanna O’Hara Plunder is the daughter of a diamond miner named Gerald O’Hara. Born in Africa, she spent the majority of her childhood growing up in the jungles of Zaire. At the age of six, her father went to kill a rogue leopard that belonged to her mother, Patricia O’Hara. While hunting for the leopard, Shanna’s father accidentally killed her mother. This traumatic incident led to Shanna’s lifelong crusade against the use of firearms. After the incident, Shanna moved back to the United States to live with relatives. Shanna grows up to become an accomplished Olympic athlete, specializing in competitive swimming and track and field. She then became a licensed veterinarian.
My goodness! I don’t think I can compare to that! What a woman!
I also remember a really trashy romance novel I had for years on my bookshelf with the title Shanna. Here’s the description from Amazon:
Behind the foreboding walls of Newgate Prison, a pact is sealed in secret — as a dashing and doomed criminal consents to wed a beautiful heiress . . . in return for one night of unparalleled pleasure.
In the fading echoes of hollow wedding vows, a promise is broken — as a sensuous free-spirit flees to a lush Caribbean paradise, abandoning the handsome stranger she married to the gallows. But Ruark Beauchamp’s destiny is now eternally intertwined with his exquisite, tempestuous Shanna’s. And no iron ever forged can imprison his magnificent passion . . . and no hangman’s noose will deny him the ecstasy that is rightfully his.
Very sexy stuff. Written by trashy romance novelist Kathleen E. Woodiwiss in 1977, whose other titles include best sellers Ashes in the Wind, Forever in Your Embrace and Moonlight Enchantress. (photo below) Goodness gracious!
Also for your reference, Wikipedia lists:
Shanna is an American feminine given name, and may refer to:
Shanna Collins (21st century), American actress
Shanna Compton (21st century), American poet
Shanna Crossley (born 1983), American professional basketball player
Shanna McCullough (born 1960), American pornographic actress
Shanna Moakler (born 1975), American model, actress and reality television star
Shanna Reed (born 1956), American dancer and actress
Shanna Slone (21st century), American singer
Shanna Swendson (21st century), American author
Shanna the She-Devil, a fictional jungle adventuress in the Marvel Comics universe
Shanna Wylie (How can you call her baby) Waiting to exhale cd
That’s quite a list! But with S.H.A.N.N.A. posing such a challenge for some, I thought I would look up S.H.A.N.A to see if this version of my name had any fame attached to it. And what do you know – Shana is a really awesome Japanese animae character! Look at how cute she is (main photo above)! Shakugan no Shana means Burning-Eyed Shana. Her existence is a bit more complicated than the She-Devil:
The female lead of the show and a Flame Haze. Initially she is concentrated solely on her duty as a Flame Haze, going as far as to not bearing even a name. She sees Yuji only as a Torch, an object, marginally interesting because of his status as a Mystes. However, she slowly opens up to Yuji, coming to think of him as a person, despite being a Torch, and eventually comes to love him. Until she met Yuji, she was identified by only her Flame Haze title “Flame-Haired Blazing-Eyed Hunter,” or her nodachi, Nietono no Shana (贄殿遮那, “Vairocana of the Offering Room”). Yuji, in his need to humanize her, chose to name her “Shana” after her sword.
Shana has a habit of saying “Urusai! Urusai! Urusai!” which means “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” whenever Yuji asks her questions or makes remarks that disturb her original point of view. But in reality they really care for each other. She has a great fondness for melon bread. Shana later comes to the startling conclusion that she loves Yuji, and even confesses it to him in the last episode of the first anime series when she thought she was going to die, but he does not hear what she said. Shana is continually torn between her mission to protect the balance, and her love for Yuji. Due to a decision she made near the end of the first season of the anime version, the closeness they once had begun to erode as Yuji kept a distance from her because of it. Yuji adopts a viewpoint similar to Shana’s in the beginning of the series. However, Yuji comes to realize that he was wrong, and their relationship seems to be restored.
I love that she shouts “urusai” all the time. Poor little Shana seems to have issues with men. I totally identify with her! ;p
While this complicated little j-heroine seems to be the only noteworthy Shana on the internet (save the town Shana in Tehran, Shana Banana who makes banana bread and Shana Morrison who is apparently a “famous” singer), I rather like her image and her feisty little character. Considering my splendid five years in Japan and my connection with special eyes, I think I might just “go with the flow” and start using Shana with one N. Of course the minute I do this, the owner will probably purposely start spelling it with two, just for kicks.
I remember being 29 and getting ready for work one morning. In my bright yellow bathroom on Bentley Avenue in Los Angeles, I was putting on my mascara. I looked at myself, the tears started to well and I said out loud, “Oh my God, I’m going to be 30!” For some reason I was terrified.
My 30’s turned out to be pretty damn good. I spread my wings when I moved to Japan, and without a doubt, those five years in Shizuoka made for the best chapter of my life. I was fulfilled on so many levels. The last three years of my 30‘s have been full of transition and constant change… returning to San Diego, getting caught up with family and friends, taking off on world travel and then searching for the next step in my career before heading to Vietnam. Obviously, 39 has been a crazy year filled with both minor and major adjustments.
I’m not sure that I have yet welcomed this next decade with open arms. I haven’t had that moment in the mirror where it has really sunk in that I am now 40. I have had several moments in the mirror recently where I thought about a neck lift and a nose job, about getting pregnant by some handsome stranger just to move along Project Shanna, but I don’t think that that means 40 has sunk in. Does it?
What I hope is that this decade is kind. I hope to find my dude, perhaps have a child (Project Shanna 2009 has rolled over into 2010). It would be nice to share my life with someone and have a family of my own. (My parents would be thrilled with this idea, too!) I’d like to continue to explore new and fantastic corners of the world. I am an adventurer at heart and I don’t yet feel settled. Although I’m not sure how well that goes with the project. I guess at 40 – I want it all, damn it!
I hope I worry a lot less about what people think of me. I’m overly considerate and too concerned about others. While I always want to be a kind and giving person, I’m tired of sacrificing myself for everyone else. I need to get a healthy dose of selfishness. I need to be kinder to me. I have to take care of myself first and foremost.
I suppose that my lack of worry that I’m 40 is a bit of an indication that I am on the right track headed into this phase of life. The fact that I haven’t had that “Oh my God” moment may actually be the sign that it has sunk in and I am accepting this. Besides, aren’t we as young as we feel?
I’ve often said that my ideal age is 28. That was the year I traveled to Italy, my first solo travel. That trip changed my life and that year was just a fantastic year for me. But with all the life experiences I’ve gained since then, I don’t identify as closely to 28 as I once did. In turning 40, I was looking for quotes about the milestone and I found this one – I’m not 40! I’m 18 with 22 years of experience! And you know what? Bingo! That’s how I feel! So here’s to 18 and letting the counter on the years of experience continue to roll over. Bring it on!