Thursday, August 16, 2007
I grew up thinking California was the epicenter of the universe. And then I couldn't wait to get the hell out. I first fled Southern California at 18, heading to Northern California for college. Southern and Northern California might as well be different states, they are so incredibly different. Less materialism, more introspection, and less stress, Northern California was my home for 7 years, luring me to stay even after college. I scoffed at the car culture of Southern California, the fake veneer over everything, the traffic...and vowed never to return. I even continued further north, landing here in Portland. So very different from the valley days of my childhood, Portland has become my home and if you read this blog even somewhat infrequently, I'm sure you've come across my many posts waxing poetically of my adoration of Portland and Oregon (okay, maybe not so much in February, but at least during Spring and Summer).
But then I return to Southern California for vacations and visits with family, like this past week, and I remember what I love about where I grew up....even as a baby I was at the beach (in my playpen!) and my love of the water and sand and sun is deeply entrenched in my very being. AdRi and I put a beach chair backpack on our backs and walked the few blocks to the beach, climbing the stairs down to the coastline and walking the soft path of sand to a good spot to plant ourselves for the day. Pelicans flew by overhead, along with sporadic helicopters watching the long strip of coast in San Diego county. Kids on boogie boards, surfers, and families hanging out for the day. Me and my book (I started and finished The Kite Runner on this trip: highly recommend it), AdRi and her iPod, periodic dips into the cool ocean, life was sweet. The layed back beach culture of SoCal is what I had forgotten. This is what I miss. And love.
We visited a botanical garden, hiking through 30 acres and smelling the forgotten scent of butterscotch and pepper trees and eucalyptus, all scents of my childhood. The produce in SoCal is always gorgeous: perfect strawberries and flawless lettuce, celery and cilantro. We made mango margaritas, pesto, salads and creamed corn with shrimp for AdRi's sister and husband, the first time parents of the cutest baby in the world. And speaking of baby...that little hot pocket loves to be held, and I held him and fed him and cooed over him with wild abandon. Who knew that a 6-week-old could make you love him so very much?
A vacation of babies and beaches and margaritas and fresh food and family and nightime swims in the pool: I'll file this post under sweet, sweet life. And this is summer.
Don't let this summer pass you by without doing a few things that you love the most: we still have a few things on Ye Olde Summer List to get to, but so far, it's turning out to be the best summer ever.