Monday, July 07, 2008

A Year of California Life

One year. As of July 3, Andrew and I have been in California for one year. It seems hard to believe that just twelve months ago we arrived at SMF with bags in hand and holed up at the Hyatt for a week while we tried to figure out where to live. Our first Sacramento dinner? P.F. Changs, the only place we could find that was open when we arrived that night. We sat in the nearly-empty dining room (it was well after 9pm) and wondered just what we’d gotten ourselves into. We wondered it even more once we signed on to a short-term rental in Citrus Heights and found ourselves surrounded by more strip malls and fewer sidewalks than we’d ever seen in our lives.

It took a move to Midtown to make life seem normal again; and it took a Relo-Cube of our belongings a few months later to solidify that fact that we were no longer nomads. 

One year later, and we have plenty of California to show for it. The list of our weekend trips stretches to an impressive length: San Francisco, L.A., Monterey, Sonoma, Napa, Anderson Valley, Glen Ellen, Point Reyes, Tahoe, Reno, Ukiah, Philo, and many, many more, most more than once. Traveling around California has been an adventure, and much remains to be seen here and hereabouts. There are still countless places we want to explore while we’re West Coast-based. We haven’t yet made it to Hawaii. But we’ve booked our tickets to Japan for the fall.

We’ve criss-crossed wine country; seen the Giants and the A’s; seen the Sacramento Opera; watched movies at the Tower; and made determined inroads into Sacramento’s restaurant selection. Oh, and got married and went on a honeymoon and flew back and forth across the U.S. an alarming number of times. (My current count, give or take a couple of trips, is 9). We’ve single-handedly supported air-conditioning and window-fan manufacturers. We’ve committed ourselves to avoiding Safeway and buying only farmer’s market and Co-op food (with occasional forays to Trader Joe’s). We drink a lot of wine. We actually know what vegetables and fruits are in season. In small but meaningful ways, we’ve settled into California life.

Have we embraced it 100%? Not yet, but give us time. Not long after we moved here, while on a trip to a winery in Philo, a woman we’d struck up a conversation with—another East Coast transplant—told us it had taken her five years to settle in. To the pace, the culture, the different way of doing things. But this is relevant to anyplace, I think. It takes time to put down roots, to plant them deep enough to actually start feeling nourished from the new soil. Wish us luck as Year Two begins.

No comments: