Foreign to Native

Authored By Brian

Could I make a bigger adjustment than to switch from living in Spain to going to my 10-year high school reunion in Redding, CA? I’m still trying to see if I can 1-up this somehow.

First stop: Taqueria Cancun @ 6th & Market

My first order of business when I first landed in San Francisco: head straight to Taqueria Cancun for my favorite super pollo asado burrito. I hadn’t eaten that much food in one sitting in a long time but it was heaven in a tortilla (if heaven includes beans and rice, sliced avocado, sour cream and cheese).

I stayed the night in San Francisco and got up early to get my rental car and drive to Redding. My mom was going to meet me at the lone rental drop-off at the municipal airport. My high school reunion was its own interesting microcosm… people whom I went to school with for as far back as kindergarten, now grown up and many with spouses and children. There was one couple with four kids already!

Word had spread that I had just gotten off a plane from a few friends who knew my story and everyone was very curious as to what I was up to. One girl who lives in New York now told me that my Lacoste polo was the fashion hit of the party. That’s the one and only time I’ve ever heard that. I’ll have to thank my cousin Patrick for his positive influence.

I won the award for travelling the greatest distance to make it although I think Eric B might have been the honest winner coming from Belgium where his wife was employed. It was a bottle of wine which I wound up giving away at the end of the night to someone who wanted (needed?) it more than I did. After the initial mixer at the Post Office Saloon (in the otherwise deserted downtown mall), there was a mass exodus to Billy Bombays, a bar with live music and dancing across the street. If memory serves correctly, Steve B got on the mic and was singing brown-eyed girl or margaritaville or something. It was a lot like meeting my relatives in Italy: more fun than I expected.

I closed the night down with my closer high school friends – Jen S and Tina T and crew with an old and familiar ritual: 3am breakfast at Denny’s. We picked the flirtacious Sara C up off the ground, too drunk to figure she shouldn’t be making out with random guys after moving in with her boyfriend the week prior, and brought her along to help her sober up. Some fried food, good conversation and reminiscing and it was over. 10 years, done. Back in our cars for the drive home and it will be at least another5, if not 10 until I see most of those people again.

Pick-up trucks, budweisers and high school buddies. I’m pretty sure I’m back on American soil. :)

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