I recently read a wonderful blog post over at TheEmptyNestMom.com about her recent first whale watching adventure. Growing up in San Diego, whale watching was a field trip I went on twice during school. I remember bundling up (because San Diego winters are cold!), and going out on the boat. I always felt sick, but I was never one of the kids who fed the fish. We always saw whales, and on my first trip, one surfaced right next to our boat! While it was out of ordinary, I had never considered these trips to be an extraordinary occurrence. (It was funny how The Empty Nest Mom and I share an idea of what lies beneath the ocean’s surface!)
When you are around something all the time, it’s difficult to know that your normal is unusual for most of the population. Many times during my K-12 experience we went on field trips to the zoo. Although it is officially titled “The World Famous San Diego Zoo”, I didn’t think anything of it because San Diego has labeled itself “America’s Finest City”. The first time I visited a zoo someplace else, I truly appreciated how fine the San Diego one is.
Yet there were incredible things in this fair city that I only experienced when visitors came to town. The most recent experience of this was last summer when I was playing tour guide for a friend from college.
Despite the fact that we had a very long unit in the 4th grade about Native history, we never had any field trips. The oldest mission in the United States is in our city, but I managed to make to age 40 without ever going. I wasn’t even sure where it was! (Answer: Five miles from my house!) So we went to the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala.
It was great! I’d only been to one other Mission before (San Juan Capistrano many years ago) and had really enjoyed the experience. My friend and I read all the information on our handout, looked at every reproduction and recovered artifact, and had fun in the sculpture garden. Most fascinating to us were the excavation pits. Both of admitted that we didn’t have the patience that would be required to sift and document the exact location of each shard of pottery and bit of bone were discovered.
What treasures have you discovered in your home town as an adult? What fieldtrips did you go on as a kid that you appreciate more now than you did at the time?