“California is MESSING WITH ME.”
That was my predominant thought as I drove through that wonderful chaos of a state. It was a little bit like bumping into your ex, I imagine, after you haven’t seen him for a few years, and suddenly you remember all of the things you loved about him, and you wonder if maybe things could work this time, if things have changed, maybe, just enough that things could work.
Where California is concerned, I am into the longitudinal extremes. I love the far northern counties where the population hasn’t yet bled over and the air is still clean and the trees and mountains are still the loudest and quietest presense around. I love San Diego, the north’s near opposite and perfect complement. Los Angeles can smog itself to oblivion for all I care; San Francisco is a total bore. But San Diego, oh. I love it.
My trip was wonderful, I had such a great time. I’m sorry I dissed LA and San Francisco, they are nice enough cities. We spent one day in LA, mostly on the UCLA campus and then up to Griffin Park at night to see the Hollywood sign (we could see it, although it wasn’t illuminated. The rest of the city was illuminated, though, and stretched on forever.) We spent the rest of our time in Oceanside and San Diego, with a few daytrips to Orange County (home of some of my biggest life lessons, 3 years back).
On my way into the state I had no idea what my reaction would be. It had been home, however briefly. In some strange way, it was home before I had ever moved there. And this was the first time that I would be back, at least to this part of the state.
Maybe because our first stop was LA I didn’t feel nostalgic at first. Granted, it felt really good to be zipping along the I5 again, but I wasn’t seized with emotion like I suspected I might be. As our time continued in San Diego, though, it began to creep up on me. I love it there, really. I had to remind myself that I was on vacation, and as fun as it was to spend entire days in the sun with some of my best friends, that isn’t what day-to-day life looks like. That’s vacation. Real life is harder, and often lonely. Regardless, I couldn’t help but thinking, “How can I get back here?” I’ve been out of college too long to just go on a whim, I would need a reason. A person can find a reason for anything, if they really want to. While I was there, I wanted to.
I had some back-of-my-head worries about returning to Wisconsin. It was unseasonably warm when we left San Diego, and I heard rumors it would be 15 below zero at home. It would be dark, snowy, and cold, and I would be depressed, I was sure of it.
Surprisingly, though, I wasn’t. Maybe I just can’t conjure up depression like I once could (what kind of artist does that leave me?) but when I got back to Wisconsin last night I felt nothing but home. I’m really thankful for that, to be honest. I may go back to California at some point, I may look for a reason or the reason might come to me unsolicited. I might stay in Wisconsin forever, who knows. I’m here now, and that’s what counts right now.
Haha, can you tell I use this blog as self-therapy sometimes? Okay, most all of the time.