An Open Letter to the Folks at the Portofino Hotel and Apartments:
The sliding windows are open and although it’s brisk, it is blue, and blue and cornflower blue and the seagulls are singing and the sailboat ice-skates through the sea reminding me that this isn’t a watercolor painting; it’s real; I’m here and my cousin and sister are here, sort of, (they’re actually at work) while I’m in the apartment writing and painting and breathing and sighing for being so blessed to have a room with a spectacular view.
The resident seals’ chatter and the gentle whip of the American flag on the western side of the Harbor Patrol headquarters is landmark-proof that I’m not dreaming: I’m in Redondo Beach, but not the Redondo of my working days, my child-rearing and growing up in the 1960s-70s days; this is Destination Redondo, Resort Redondo, calm and peaceful Redondo, athletic Redondo, good food Redondo, historic Redondo; this is a corner of the world that was just around the corner from where I lived for 66 years, that I never knew was here, and now that I see the view from a marina view balcony, can’t see myself leaving, but probably will in three weeks.
But I’m not going to think about that now.
For a short spell, I have a beautiful and safe place to live, square footage where I can unpack my wrinkled clothes, open a book, plug-in a computer, stir-fry a fresh veggie dinner, take a nap, have a glass of wine on the balcony and drink-in the bounty of Nature and the creativity of marine-savvy engineers, working stiffs like my dad, one of the carpenters who built the docks and the very building I’m housed in, and collect myself, my psyche, and my passion for the stillness and open-ended possibilities of just being.
In this moment.
The calm after the storm.
After selling the house.
After being on the road for six months.
After having my VW camper van break down.
After couch-surfing at generous family member’s homes.
After knowing my dog of 13 years will die soon.
After making decisions that disappointed my family.
After moving on and moving back.
After finally learning to love myself and the world again, which seems to have turned so selfish and nasty and corporate and greedy. Then there is the exception—you—the folks at the Portofino Hotel and apartment manager Cody Dapson, who made an executive decision to make our lives better by upgrading our room when the unit we had been assigned to was deemed not up to their high standards. It needed some upgrades—don’t we all?–so Cody and the team decided that since they’re in the business of hospitality they’d make our lives better by giving us a second floor room with a restorative view.
I’m not sure if this happens often, placing the guest or client’s needs before profit, but this is what Team Portofino did for us: they made a We’re sorry, how can we make this better? move and in doing so made lifetime friends and advocates. This is the business model we should all follow whether we own a business or are in customer relations—or not. Extend grace. Be hospitable.
We’re all weary travelers in one way or another. Having a moment—be it a physical space or interaction with an understanding individual—to restore and feel good about humanity is so important for all of us right now.
Because here’s what happens when we’re kind:
I’m grinning again. Walking. Swimming. Weight-lifting and getting to that happy embodiment of gratitude that I exuberantly extend to everyone I encounter. Spreading the love. Feeling the mojo.
Paying it forward.
Feeling everything is possible.
I’m back. To my new hatched chick, surprised look, giddy-widdy, joyful self. Spring has sprung in Redondo. The sun is out. The grass is searing green. Go for a bike ride. Enjoy the quietude. Thank your neighbor, your children’s teacher, thank the cook and the maintenance workers, thank everyone who’s trying their best, being accommodating, and adjusting “rules” that only serve to stifle.
And here’s where my blog turns into an advertisement. While it’s off season, while the rates are relatively low (check out available discounts), book a room at the Portofino https://www.hotelportofino.com. If you’re local, make it a Staycation. I promise you, just like me and my amigos, you won’t want to leave.
Thank you Portofino friends, who really do seem like friends. Here’s to the start of a terrific weekend and the beginning of the best year ever.
Life IZ Good,
Wow. What a change from the last time I visited! Praying all is well not just today, but tomorrow and tomorrow……! My health is up and down these days. However, I’ve made some decisions about what I will and won’t do and am feeling more ‘human’ and grounded than I have for many months. Thank you for sharing your own journey. What a great adventure you’ve had so far! Happy 2022! 🙂