Tag Archives: Balboa Park

Around The Block

SpanishVillageColorTilesNew friends. New places.

These last few weeks in San Diego have been remarkable! The weather seems to be never-ending goodness and I’m dreading coming back to the scorching heat of Texas this week. I’ve lived in San Diego for almost two months and although I’ve approached my temporary visit like a traveler, I’ve been here long enough that I’ve already started making friends and, through my wanderings, I’ve found members of my tribe.

I brought my tennis racket and joined the summer clinics at the Balboa Tennis Club in Balboa Park. Tennis courts are a great place for social interaction and I’ve made friends here. One of the weekly participants is Chuck, a 96 year old tennis player! Watching Chuck hit “spinners”, as I call those crazy, unpredictable, bouncy balls, has proven to me that Chuck is a talented athlete. He can stand in one place and precisely hit balls that younger, more agile players, across the net from him, cannot return. Chuck is an inspiration! I’ve made friends with Loulou, Janet and Janice. I even saw Janice at an outing last Saturday night in a different part of town and it was exciting to run into a friend.

I met new friends during my days spent installing Liza Lou’s Color Field at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Many of us are seen in a film, produced by the museum, which chronicles the installation team working. Liza even mentions me in the film!

Mingei HorsesOne of my new friends I met at the museum, Pia, publishes a wonderful blog showcasing many art and cultural things to do each weekend in San Diego. Her blog, The Wanderer Guides, has been especially helpful in planning weekend activities. Pia and I spent an afternoon together recently at the Mingei Museum in Balboa Park. This museum exhibits folk art, craft and design from all eras and cultures of the world. During our visit we saw the Menagerie exhibit, which showcased artful animals from the museum’s global, permanent collection. I took many photos of inspirational artworks that may be used as source material in my teaching next year.

I especially loved discovering Urban Safaris, a unique walking tour company built from the ground up (literally) by my new friend, Patty. Within the first weeks of arriving in San Diego, I contacted Patty and inquired about signing up for a tour. She notified me that all her tours were full for a few weeks so I wasn’t able to register until mid-July. I signed up to walk on two tours with Patty through two fascinating, historic neighborhoods of San Diego: North Park and South Park.

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Each of these neighborhoods developed in the first decade of the 20th century and both have maintained important historical buildings. It was so enjoyable learning about significant architects, like David Owen Dryden, who built beloved craftsman-style homes, so prevalent in these neighborhoods.

Helen & Anita at Filter, July 27, 2013

Photo via Patricia Fares

Through Patty, I met Helen, a noted childrens’ book author. Helen, Patty and I got together recently to discuss blogging and we all wished I wasn’t leaving yet. These two creative, smart and witty women would easily become my two new best friends if I were to settle down here in San Diego!

I will always be grateful for the treasured time I got to spend with my daughter and want to publically thank her for providing me with a loving home and extending to me great kindness. What a blessing to have been able to navigate her new city with her and live life alongside her as she begins walking down life’s choice-filled path. I will eagerly await the day she comes to visit me in my new city, so I can return the favor. Thanks to you, too, Matt, for your love, hospitality and gift of time you gave us to be together. I love you both!AandS

Summer is coming to a close but a new world awaits! I’ve started collecting teaching resources, reading blogs about the PYP and wondering about the names my new students. I’m curious about my apartment and my classroom. I am eager to seek out the markets and meet new friends. I’ve enjoyed Skyping with new friends in Turkey and am so appreciative of the efforts of my new colleagues to make us new teachers feel welcomed.

Teaching is such a wonderful career. I’m so thankful that this vocation continually gives room to my transformation. Have a great week and make a new friend!

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Painting The City

Big CatWalking around.

Like many cities around the world, getting around as a pedestrian is quite normal in San Diego. Taking advantage of the amazing weather temps, I’ve been walking in a new direction almost each day to simply explore. From my front door, going south is the famous Balboa Park; to the north is the wonderfully hip neighborhood, University Heights that has wall-to-wall, trendy, craft breweries and restaurants; to the west is Hillcrest, the PRIDE of the city; and to the east is the neighborhood of North Park, full of good eateries and unique shops, but also brimming with Craftsman cottages and bungalows. No matter which direction I go, there is always much to see.

Out on the streets, it doesn’t take long to notice the assortment of beautifully painted public art murals on the sides of buildings. These handcrafted masterpieces are available for all to enjoy and when I walk past, I can’t help but grab my camera.

Located at the intersection of University Avenue and Richmond Street, in Hillcrest, at an open-air coffee shop called Filter, local artist, Cody Griffith, painted captivating, luscious purple tigers! As I understand it, the coffee shop provided Griffith the art supplies and allowed him to paint whatever he wished.

Less than a mile away, at 425 Robinson Avenue, on the side of a building that houses Crest Café, Griffith painted a beautiful elephant with some of the same vibrant hues as in the tiger. In 2012, the owner commissioned this mural to commemorate the café’s 30th year in business.

Before I Die I Want ToA little further east on University Avenue, Andrew Barajas and his daughter, Emma, painted an exterior wall of the Alibi Bar with the internationally recognized Before I die global campaign, first started by founding artist, Candy Chang. The wall holds the aspirations and dreams of many and is washed at least once a day, giving way for a new set of dreams to be documented. The giant chalkboard has 98 blanks that can be filled in by pedestrians on this busy corner, with provided, colored chalk . Watch this video for a smile.

In North Park, at 3038 University Avenue, in the Undisputed Martial Arts Building, another ambitions and completely unique public art mural installation captured my attention.

Signed at the top as Cat Cult, I later learned that this is a Los Angeles collective and collaborative group of artists who have an affinity for feline motifs.

2012 Kony mural San DiegoVandalized twice in 2012, along the wall of Kelly’s Treasures Thrift Store at 815 University Avenue, a mural dedicated to the Kony 2012 campaign has been restored. Staff and volunteers of the Invisible Children Organization, initially painted this mural to bring attention to the crimes associated with Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda.

A few weeks after it was finished in 2010, renowned street artist, Shepard Fairey’s OBEY mural was tagged with blue spray paint by an unknown culprit. Fairey may be best known for his Barack Obama “Hope” poster. Beautiful photographs, by Angela Carone/KPBS, documented this sad incident and below is a youtube video showing Fairey’s work in progress.

I am fortunate to be able to enjoy this vibrant landscape and cityscape with my fellow San Diegans this summer. These large murals are big and bold and many carry a deeper meaning than what first meets the eye. I encourage you to walk around your own cities this week. Who are your local artists? Can you devise a plan to get a mural painted in your neighborhood?

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Protests, Goodbyes and California Dreaming

BalboaParkFlying the coop.

About a week before I left Dallas to spend the summer on the west coast, the people of Istanbul began a revolution and everyone I knew was asking me about it. By the time the protests started, I’d relocated to the home of another friend who has family members in Istanbul. Speaking to them about the history of Turkey did give me great insight into what was happening in Istanbul and other cities. Several weeks before the protests began I signed up with the U.S. Department of State’s STEP Program (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) as a soon-to-be expat. This free service not only informs the Department of State of my whereabouts when I move, but also gives me information about the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate offices and emails me any travel warnings for the countries I select. I also joined two online groups: Professional American Women of Istanbul and Foreign Women of Istanbul. Moreover, my new school has connected all the new teachers through email and I’ve been assigned a buddy! Through these groups of people I’ve been able to stay very informed and I can assure you that I’m not worried, but still excited, about my upcoming move to Istanbul!

There were many going away lunches, happy hours and coffees during the last week of school. One can never have too many friends and because I am fortunate to have many, I was out late every night before I left. I was showered with attention and my art department even sang a song to me! The re-written song lyrics followed the tune of Paul Simon’s 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover (which is also the name of one of my previous articles) but was called 50 Ways To Make a New Life.

When I arrived in California, I was worn out but seeing my daughter’s cool new apartment totally revived me! This historic building was likely built between 1920-1930 and has such charm! She is within walking distance to Balboa Park, which not only houses the famous San Diego Zoo but also many museums, gardens and historic buildings. We’ve spent time catching up after living apart for four years while she attended college. I realize that it is sometimes necessary for newly graduated college students to move back in with their parents, but I don’t often hear about parents who move in with their new graduates!

We’ve already started filling our calendars. This is going to be a summer of fun! On Saturday we’re going to the Annual Surf Dog Competition and on Sunday we’re going to the Grunion Run. I’ve discovered the Balboa Tennis Club and have signed up for a series of clinics. There are home tours, organic farmers’ markets, ball games, concerts, museum installations and tours and tastes of Stone Brewing. A summer of fun awaits!

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