It’s been over thirty years since Journal writer, CeCe Darakjian moved with her family to San Clemente.
“We grew up loving our time spent at the beach and our move to San Clemente was really a dream come true for the entire family. We used to go to ‘Hole in the Fence’ beach every day after school, back when it truly was a hole in the fence,” laughed CeCe.
There have been many changes over the past thirty years for both CeCe and San Clemente but her love of her hometown has never waned.
“As much as I love to travel, I always look forward to my return. I’ve never really found a place I enjoy as much as San Clemente,” says CeCe.
Over the last thirty years CeCe has become of a part of San Clemente’s tapestry. Through her many volunteers activities and her employment, first with the YMCA and then with the Capistrano Unified School District, CeCe has become a familiar face to many kids, parents and now adults who remember her from their childhood.
“I run into people all over town who remember dancing in the Concordia talent show, or they were in my Girl Scout troop, or I coached them in softball. It’s so much fun to watch them grow from little children to young adults, some with kids of there own now, “ CeCe comments. “I typically think, wow, am I really that old?”
But that’s the way it is with time, it really flies. CeCe says it feels like it was only yesterday that she was a young mother hauling her three kids down to Riviera Beach for the day, always with a bag of Pedros burritos in tow. Now she is on the verge of becoming an empty nester, what with oldest daughter Katie a senior at San Francisco state spending a year studying abroad in Queretero, Mexico, daughter Jessica living in a vegan co-op in Austin, TX, and son Spike a 16-year-old junior at SCHS, zipping around town on his scooter.
“It’s a tough transition, but I’m definitely learning to enjoy it!” joked CeCe.
With the kids gone CeCe is finding more time for some of the things she loves, most importantly travel.
“I’ve always said my favorite thing in the world is to drive on a road I’ve never been on before, and I plan on having that experience as frequently as possible,” CeCe said.
With her trip to Thailand last summer and a Christmas visit with Katie in Mexico City under her belt, CeCe is already in the process of planning her next foray.
“I’ll definitely be in Wyoming this summer and then hopefully the Montreal Film Festival in the fall, after that there’s Alaska and Ireland and Italy and ... well you get the idea.”
Not all of her travel is done strictly for pleasure, as CeCe is a regular volunteer with Corazon de Vida. You may have heard of the charity in her recent Journal article about volunteer opportunities. Once a month she and a group of friends and family members board a bus to Tijuana and to spend the day volunteering at an orphanage.
“It’s a very rewarding experience, I really feel like what we do while we’re there makes a difference in these kid’s lives. And I know it makes a difference in my life.”
When she’s not on the road, CeCe is a rabid movie fan. “I seriously have over 150 movies in my Netflix queue”, laughs CeCe. “Besides my husband and my kids, Netflix is the greatest thing to happen in my life, well that and Scooba, my robot that mops my floor! Now I can lie around all day watching videos while Scooba cleans the kitchen, life in San Clemente truly is