Three years ago today I left California and drove across country to my new home, Chicago. So much has happened in these three years and I am so utterly thankful for the journey I’ve experienced whilst living here.
So, as to celebrate this victory, I figured I would post a fun list!
10 Things I Miss About Living in California
*This list does not include family and friends because, obviously, they would be the entire list!
In no particular order…
1. The smell of orange blossoms. There is nothing quite like it. Driving down Victoria Ave. in the spring with the windows down and breathing in the sweet smell of orange blossoms is forever engraved in my memory.
2. Getting lost. This is two-fold: I had a car in California, so I miss that, and I loved hopping onto a freeway without GPS/phone and just going right or left. There’s so many different cities in California and so many neat, beautiful places to see and get lost in. Southern California is just one big expansive city, especially in the coastal regions, and each city has its own story to tell. I miss experiencing those stories on a whim.
3. In-N-Out. Yup. It may be cliche, but I don’t care. I miss their burgers and fries! That’s usually the first place I stop and eat at when I visit.
4. Diversity of landscapes. I loved that I could go to the mountains, desert, beach, or city all in one day. And that there was such a large variety of places to experience.
5. Produce!!!! I miss cheap produce that I could buy on the side of the road from farmers, including avocados and oranges. They were cheap and delicious. Baby come back!
6. Disneyland. Being 45 minutes away from the Happiest Place on Earth was something I definitely took for granted. Also, the Southern California discount is a beautiful thing to have. I miss having an annual pass and going there to study. I know it’s strange, study at an amusement park? But it actually helped my procrastination. Finish this paper and then you can ride the teacups!
7. Knowing what to expect. I knew every street, the cultures, and the colloquialisms of the area because I grew up into it. I don’t ever remember learning it because it just was. I wasn’t an outsider, but an insider.
8. Mountains. I miss mountains. Growing up in a valley, I never realized how much I adored them and how they were a constant in my life. I loved looking at them, driving up in them, and getting lost in them. Whenever the “city” life was too much, I could drive up there and sit in the woods and read. I miss the feeling of forced humility when I stood near them and how often they reminded me of my creator.
9. Large and concentrated faith community. Southern California had the Jesus Movement and so many megachurches blossomed out of that. I grew up in the Riverside area and there are three megachurches in that city alone. When I became a Christian I flourished because there were so many Christians and resources.
10. Living where everyone wants to be. I think that’s the strangest thing about living outside of California now. Everyone wants to visit or live there. The normal places I would hangout at were actually famous places. So many songs are written about California and all of this was just normal to me. But do I really miss that? I was always frustrated by the California arrogance of living in such a “paradise” but it seems I still carry that with me because I still think it’s one of the best states in the country. Although, I wouldn’t ever move back (unless God said, go!); however, I am thankful I grew up there and that family remains so I can still visit and enjoy the tacos!