OC | Where We Meet Again

Portola Coffee Lab | 3313 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Portola Coffee Lab 3313 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

February 08, 2014She ordered a mocha, and I ordered a latte. I ordered Evie a buttered croissant [de lune] which she devoured instantly. We had been awake since 5 a.m. and was on the road from San Diego [as far south as the 8] for nearly an hour and a half.  My husband’s call time for a soundcheck in Costa Mesa was 7 a.m. Although it was too early for me, I would not miss the opportunity to witness a beautiful dawn. The twinkling gems in the sky slowly disappeared into the light of the day, just as my mental check-points and landmarks (Del Mar, Oceanside, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Irvine Spectrum’s ferris wheel, John Wayne Airport), which made the hours go by quicker.

The air was a chill to my bones, and it took me back to vague memories of when I used to live in Orange County– a city with undeniably no lack of luster and continues to grow in art and design. The OC from the television screen is almost similar to the OC in real life. However, I have a nostalgic acute sense of its familiarity of white concrete business buildings hidden amongst tall trees, freeways overlapping, the distance to the ocean and every bothersome traffic light in between that makes it even less exciting to get there, and routes to all of my favorite places. I recall the John Wayne Airport off of the 405– the place that transported me home in the summer and over holidays, the dreadful commute at 5 a.m. to downtown L.A. to get to a class by 8 a.m. and the constant ache of longing to move back to San Diego where I’ve always felt at home in California. I hold a fond memory of my past living in the OC. It marks the time in my life when God revealed Himself and showed me that His ways are not my ways.

09 February 2014 OC MIX in Orange County

09 February 2014 OC MIX in Orange County

This day was a surprise for Evie. I told her that we would wait patiently inside of the car until my “friend” arrived, to which she continued asking questions whom it might be: “Is it a boy or is it a girl?” “Have I met her before?” When this “friend” of ours appeared at the driver’s seat window where she sat with the chair reclined, she was ecstatic. Evie usually morphs into a wolf and claws at anything within reach, howling in glee, but this time she remained semi-composed.



At 9 o’clock on a Saturday morning, we finally met up with my only doppelgänger, speaking in its contemporary vernacular, face-to-face. Between my sister and I, we are opposites in taste of style and pursuits, but we always need each other to execute dreams into the world [whenever that may be]. I need a photographer, and she needs an artist.  So again we meet, every conversation with a cup of jo on the table, and exchange of inspiration to connect the dots to collaborate. She goes by the name, Jaymi Britten, my twin sister who is older by one minute and will never surrender her elder title. She is a very talented photographer and photo editor, who should have already been taken under the wing of Annie Leibovitz, Peter Beard, or Raphael Mazzucco many moons ago.



As we sat on a silver round table outside of Portola Coffee Lab at The OC Mix, Evie drew pictures with her foot in her hand-me-down ruby red glittered mary-janes and scraped the gravel on the ground. She wanted to gather sticks and pick flowers off the landscape, but I warned her not to do that.  We had cold hands wrapped around lime green Portola Coffee cups with lovely espresso art stirred on the foam surface of frothed milk.  I asked Jaymi if I could share her photos on my blog over the length of time she will be residing in Huntington Beach, which is over the next 6 months.  She permanently lives on Oahu (Hawaii).   I’m sure everyone else who knows her would delight in her candid and documentary photos as I do.  So while Jaymi will be capturing stories with her lens, I will be writing stories with my words…


+ photos courtesy of Jaymi Britten


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