Tuesday, January 04, 2011

I heart California

So as you may or may not know, we just returned from our annual trip back to the Central Coast of California.  I'm sure I'll be sharing about our time there in the coming days.

If you've ever been to San Luis Obispo (and the surrounding areas), you know it's pretty great.

I grew up in an itty-bitty "town" in northern SLO County, called Creston.  My parents live on twelve acres there.  I love it.  One of my favorite places to be sure (we were even woken up in the middle of the night by a HUGE pack of howling coyotes right outside.  No joke!)

So it was great to go back to my hometown, and also great to see San Luis Obispo again--the nearby town where I went to college and had a lot of fun.  Mostly, the town makes me think of when Kevin and I were dating!  Such wonderful memories of lunch at Firestone Grill, walking downtown, getting frozen yogurt at Country Culture, hanging out at one of our respective apartments.  I don't miss being in school (eek!), and haven't actually seen my old college campus since I left it several years ago (no real desire to visit), but I DO have such fond memories of the town and the people and my dating days.

And this year we even made it down to Santa Maria (30 minutes south of SLO), and drove by our house there.  We have been renting it out ever since we moved.  The house looked great (you know, still standing, the lawn is still alive, and it isn't covered in graffitti :) ), and the weird thing is that seeing our old neighborhood didn't really evoke any strong emotions for me.  It feels like a lifetime ago.  Part of this is probably because we didn't really know anyone in the neighborhood, and the neighbors right next to us and across the street are all gone now.  So aside from the house and street itself, nothing is the same. 

NONE of our kids remembered playing at our neighborhood park, OR the house itself!  So funny.  I guess it's been nearly three years, but still, I'd assumed they'd have SOME memory of it.  (Look at how little they are here in 2006--no wonder they don't remember!)

So I've decided that I miss California.  A lot.  (I mean look at those palm trees!  With the ocean in the background.  Makes me happy.)  I miss the sights and the ocean and the places.  (I miss the people most of all of course, but right now I'm just talking about the state itself.)  I miss driving down the coast, and I miss knowing that I was only a few hours from Los Angeles and Orange County and San Francisco too.  There are decidedly things I DON'T miss, of course, like Kevin's commute, our old neighborhood where we didn't know anyone, etc., but California will always hold a very special place in my heart.

That being said, driving back the other night, the snowy Rocky Mountains took my breath away.  I would not have CHOSEN to drive through them in a storm, mind you, but it was beautiful.  (This is where I will extend a shout-out to my husband for getting us through the stormy mountains in one piece.  We were all holding our breaths slipping going up that final ascent to the Eisenhower Tunnel.)  Vail and the other sweet mountain towns you pass through are positively stunning.  Especially at night, all lit up against the white hillsides.  Truly a sight to behold.

So I'm happy to be in Colorado.  Grateful that we're not doing the living-in-Santa-Maria-but-not-doing-anything-there thing.  Even if I miss California.


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