Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sweet Home California

After a long drive and many stops in between, we finally made it home to see my family in Fresno, a melting pot nestled within the San Joaquin Valley. Little Holly ran out to greet me at the car and asked if I was feeling better and up walking again. Her little 5-year-old mind could not comprehend the huge change that occurred in the last few months and thought it was a temporary thing. I can't blame her because that's what I thought initially, too. It is going to take a lot of getting used to. There are many changes to get used to now. It was funny to hear her introduce me to her neighbor friends as, "That's my big sister, Martina. She can't walk." I hope that's only a temporary introduction because it's a bit of a downer to have to hear for the rest of my life. lol

 On Sunday we attended church services and saw old friends. I got to hear my sibling bear their testimony of faith in their Heavenly Father and all that's happened as well as the strength they feel from my attitude about this whole situation. It touched my heart so deeply about their faith in God, especially after the accident and the life changes my family and I have been through. I am so proud to call such strong young people my brother and sister. I love them so much. We headed over to Woodward Park for a nice Sunday stroll.

Graduation day was a hectic one (as these things go). Our best friends, Seyla and Seybee and family friends gathered to celebrate Molly's accomplishment at Macaroni grill for lunch. Yum! We enjoyed delicious food and company, and learned to speak Italian in the restroom. Graduation was awesome, simply because we got to sit on the ground floor and Molly was on stage. I was so proud of my little sis. She was the student body president and led everyone to the pledge of allegiance as well as shared a small bit of her insights to the graduating class. I gotta tell ya, she's an amazing individual, so many accomplishments already. I really hope Brown University will treat her well. We are all so proud of her.

The next day, we drove down to Pismo Beach where the wind was as hectic as the day before was to us, yet so nice to just relax and hang out with my favorite people in the California sunset (although it wasn't prime time). I loved seeing Holly play in the water with Aja. She was so cold, but had the funniest face afterwards from being frozen (California beaches are pretty cold) but she had a lot of fun getting buried in the sand, pumping it on the swings, and trying on hats with AJ! I learned pretty quickly that it's very difficult to wheel in sand because the front wheels kept sinking in. We really had to push hard onto the back wheels. This was going to be a problem we have to figure out because I love the beach!
Sunset at the pier was pure beauty. I always enjoy watching the sun set over the glittery ocean and listening to the calmness and seagulls in the background. I wish I had a sweater with me though because the June wind was still so chilly! We had my clam chowder at my favorite restaurant in Pismo, Splash Cafe. Fresh clam, potato, creamy soup. It totally completed my trip to Pismo. I highly recommend it.

I had such an amazing time with my dear family and friends back in Fresno. It was different, I know, for everyone to wrap their heads around the whole concept of me being in a wheelchair. But I could feel the love for me shine through and help us all get through this transition period. We're still hoping for a miracle, but enjoying what's in between. I was so glad to be able to spend time with my family. It felt good to be home in sweet ole' California.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Road Trip to California

When I was in the hospital, I looked forward to going home to my small time in Fresno, CA where everything seemed alive and flourishing. I also couldn't wait to be with my family again because I missed them so much. I knew that I need to go back home for a while where things are the same would provide some continuity and cheer me up from everything that had happened in the last few months.

The perfect opportunity was to attend my sister's graduation from high school as a valedictorian. So off we went on a scenic road trip from Utah to California. We saw a lot of mountains and deserts for hours. We stopped briefly in Beaver for restrooms and photos in this humungous chair.
Beaver, UT. Notice the leg atrophy from the last few months

We visited AJ's grandparents in St. George, UT. It's very beautiful and developed city, very serene with tons of Californian influence like In-N-Out Burger (the only one in Utah).

With Harry
 We had a long stop in Las Vegas for a buffet (they are known for ton of cheap buffets) and to walk down the Strip. We just love the busy life here and there's always so much to see! We walked about the whole Strip taking tons of pictures of lots of the themed casinos and fun building interiors.

Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas

Gelato from the Bellagio, Las Vegas

It was bit tricky to take this trip so soon after the accident as we're still going through trial and error to find the best way to adapt to this new lifestyle. The most inconvenient thing that happened was stopping in a dessert town, Baker to use the restrooms at a convenience store and waiting forever for a wheelchair stall (which was used by someone who didn't need it, mind-blowing now that I actually really need it) and finding there was no toilet seat, which was a big deal because with paralysis, there is  no option of standing (sorry, it's a bit TMI), so we had to move onto another place. So frustrating. I guess this will have to be one of those things I have to prepare for from now on.

Read about my experience at home in the next post.