I find myself typing this entry on my final Friday as a resident of the state of California. In a few days, we will be boarding a plane and heading to our new home in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri. I am also typing this on quite possibly the most beautiful and the warmest day of 2015 thus far. The sky is brilliant blue and the grass is green from the abundance of rain we received weeks ago. The sun is warm and shining bright. The thermometer says 72 degrees.
I have had some time to reflect on the things I’ll miss the most about California, and the things I won’t miss at all.
The weather. Duh. No shit. Here in Northern California, just north of San Francisco, we are fortunate enough to enjoy a temperate climate almost all year long. Even in the ‘dog days of summer’, any dog can happily exist. The heat is balanced nicely by cooler nights and virtually zero humidity. The sun shines an average of 260 days here in Marin. Hard to beat that. Even the rest of the weather is pretty kick-ass.
The easy availability of ridiculously FRESH produce. Even the chain grocery stores carry local produce. Enjoying produce this fresh has become so nice, and I’ll admit, I am completely spoiled. Many times I opted to not even buy anything in the grocery store, but rather did all my shopping at our local Farmer’s Market each week. The wide variety and constant availability made obtaining even the most obscure item a breeze.
The nonchalance of public breastfeeding. This is a biggie for me. I have been so fortunate to live in a part of the country where breastfeeding is not only encouraged, but embraced. Not one time did anyone even bat an eye on the occasion that I nursed my daughter in public. I was met with smiles, not scowls. I distinctly recall one day in particular. I ventured into San Francisco to attend my first babywearing meeting, and even though I was nervous, I felt so comfortable with this wonderful group of women who freely nursed their own babies. With my daughter being 10 weeks old, I quickly joined their ranks. This was my first real experience of nursing in public, and it was such a positive one, I still carry it with me. I recall wishing that someone would have the balls to chastise me, just hoping to whip out my copy of the State/Federal law, but it never happened. I hope I continue to be this lucky.
The tolerance. I will probably miss this the most. I absolutely love living in a part of the country where people can feel comfortable being WHO they are and being able to display their love openly and without reproach. I’ve seen countless same-sex couples walking hand-in-hand, kissing, embracing, and sharing their affection. I love the fact that I have seen it more times than I can recall. This is how it should be, folks. Love is love, love isn’t anatomy.
Things I won’t miss….
The cost of living. Suffice it to say, my husband and I made a good living, yet home ownership was consistently out of reach. When a simple three-bedroom, two-bath home with no bells and whistles cost upwards of $1 million dollars, you can see how this can happen. I’m sorry, maybe it’s the Midwestern gal in me, but I can’t stomach that. It’s a house. A house and nothing more. Yeah, I understand that it’s desirable to live here with all the perks, but really? When the cost of living begins to squeeze out the true middle class, there’s a problem. To those of you who made it work, my hat’s off to you. If I had stayed here long enough, perhaps I would become privvy to your tricks. However, I won’t miss writing a mortgage check every month for $4,000. I’ll also think of you when I scramble my eggs for breakfast that I bought at the grocery store for a $1/dozen.
The traffic. I think my blood pressure will decrease by at least 40 points when I leave this behind. The Bay Area continues to grow and grow and the traffic multiplies as a result. I can’t count how many times we wanted to enjoy a few hours at the beach only to be greeted by gridlock traffic. We never did make it there. Weekends are a popular time for EVERYONE to venture out to the coast, not just tourists. I chuckled one weekend when my sister-in-law and her husband came over to visit and told us of their dinner reservations the night before. They hadn’t planned on any traffic issues heading into the city and were shocked to discover that it took literal HOURS to drive a mere SIXTEEN miles.
Welcome to the Bay Area, sis. Enjoy the ride. You’re gonna be there a while.
I’m sure I’m missing a few on either side of the pro/con list, but you get the idea. The grass isn’t always greener, and I’m not fooling myself to think that there aren’t issues where we are headed, but I am excited to find out….from our four bedroom, two and a half bathroom HOUSE, as I watch the snow fall.
Remind me to buy a winter coat.