“Home is wherever we are if there’s love here too”

October 8 – 11

Bijan and I spent our last few days before starting work, exploring our new temporary home – walking and biking around our new neighborhood to get to know the area. We figured out we are situated in the perfect location. Most places we will want to go around town are walkable or bike-able including work, downtown cafes/restaurants, and the beach! I find myself listening to a lot of Jack Johnson lately, it feels right being so close to the beach with all of the tropical plants, beaches and warm weather.

Our friends Jesse and Maribel had left their foam top surfboard for us to mess around on when they left town. We decided to go give it a whirl on Devroux beach in Goleta. We both took some nosedives and barely caught any waves, but it was fun to try. We realized we may need to take a lesson or two while we are here if we want to even become mediocre at surfing!

On Friday we checked out another local cafe within walking distance of our place, called Lighthouse Coffee. There are lots of cute coffee shops within a ten minute walk of our place, and I hope to try them all before we leave!

We decided to take a day trip on Friday to Santa Ynez wine country, just 30 minutes inland. To get there, you drive inland over the Santa Ynez mountains and into the valley. This region is sandwiched between two mountain ranges and has microclimates and soils that are ideal for growing many different types of grapes. For our first trip to the area, we chose to spend our time in Solvang, a Danish village themed town, dotted with over 30 winery tasting rooms.

We enjoyed a glass of wine at Dana V. Wines tasting room outdoor patio, before moving to Sevtap winery situated in a windmill for a wine tasting and a glass. We chatted with the owner of the winery for a while and enjoyed sitting out in the sun sipping wines. Before we left town, we hit up Bit O’ Denmark to split a charcuterie plate and Monte Cristo fried sandwich.

There are countless vineyards and other cute towns in this area to explore and taste – we will definitely be back!

Friday was the day when it seemed that the smoke finally cleared, and we got to enjoy clean air and Santa Ynez mountain views.

Saturday we planned a meetup with Bijan’s cousins, Sarah and Megan, who live in the suburbs of L.A. We met in Malibu at Leo Carrillo State Park beach (with the pups of course). The drive down to Malibu from Santa Barbara along route 1 is beautiful and follows the coast almost the entire way. We had lunch on the beach and walked along the shore for the afternoon. It was great to see them and catch up after so long.

After the beach, we made our way to Solstice Canyon in Malibu for a short hike. Although we accidentally took the wrong trail and didn’t make it to the waterfall and ruins that we were hoping, we still had a great walk.

We caught a beautiful west coast sunset on our way back north.

Sunday was our last day of our extended 5-week vacation. Bijan and I spent the day relaxing and preparing for the work week. We drove up to Shoreline Park for lunch, a park with walking paths on a cliff with ocean views, and then made our way down to Leadbetter Beach for the afternoon. We have become quite the beach bums lately.

We went for an evening bike ride to Stearn’s Wharf and the bike path along East and West Beach for the sunset. We feel lucky to have the opportunity to live in such a beautiful place, even if it’s just for a few months!

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