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Fitting in and being "home".
Fitting in and being "home".
This November will mark the four year anniversary of my move to Southern California and I finally feel as though I’m fitting in.
I was born and raised in New England and for as long as I could remember, I hated living there. Something was missing. When I was 15 I visited my uncle in SoCal and knew the minute I got off the place that this was where I wanted to be. It’s hard to explain without sounding like a complete lunatic, but there was something that felt like “home”. I made subsequent visits to SoCal over the years and each time I had to leave it became harder and harder to do. My first marriage squashed any dream I had of moving to the West Coast and I didn’t visit again until I was 28. I flew out of Rhode Island in January on a cold, rainy day and landed six hours later at LAX with the sun shining temperatures in the high 60’s. Once again, that feeling of being “home” came over me and the decision to finally make the move was made. I have not been back to the East Coast since.
Los Angeles is a strange and beautiful place. The diversity is almost overwhelming. I have the option to dine on just about every ethnic food there is. There are 40 outstanding restaurants within a mile of my house. I can walk to the beach and watch the sun rise or set depending on my mood. I can drive and hour up the coast in be in the canyons of Malibu which are a totally different environment than the beach. During the winter, I can spend the weekend skiing, then come home to mild temperatures and go swimming. There is a never ending supply of free things to do if I should ever get bored.
It’s taken me awhile to acclimate to life in SoCal. It’s a little more laid back. I remember one time I was up on Sunset Blvd. crossing the street. Being from New England and used to New York traffic, I bolted across the street against a red light. The people on the other side of the street looked at me as though I had just been dropped off by a spaceship. Apparently, in California not only does the pedestrian have the right of way but drivers actually abide by that law. Dinner in SoCal ranges anywhere from 6pm to 9pm. If dinner plans are made for 7 o'clock, that might mean somewhere around 7:30ish. There is no rush. I wear shorts more now than I ever have in my life as well as beach shoes (flip-flops, mandals, or whatever the current term is) and it’s considered to be perfectly acceptable. I’m still learning to stop and take time to look around me, but I am getting better at it.
Now I can almost hear the inevitable arguments brewing.
“Oh, the traffic sucks in California”. - Yes it does, but you get used to it and learn how to use surface streets.
“The people in California are either fake or crazy”. - Well…I have met a few people who fell into either or both of the categories. It all depends on where you go and who you meet, but isn’t that true of just about anywhere?
“Los Angeles is going to drop off into the ocean during an earthquake”. - And New Orleans has been evacuated due to Hurricane Katrina. Nature is not selective.
“There aren't any seasons in SoCal”. - Yes there are. We have temperatures in the 60’s and temperatures in the 80’s. That’s the way we like it.
The list could go on and on. The fact is, California is probably not for everyone. For me personally, it’s worked out just fine.