Saturday, September 17, 2011

Finding California in Pennsylvania.

(Disclaimer: this is one of those vaguely serious posts.  You may skip if you want to wait for what Ashley has to say in her usual, somewhat amusing manner.  Somewhat.)

And by my title, I don't mean I'm finding a million California license plates or a Starbucks every couple yards or anything like that.  (And I've yet to find a single item embroidered with Ed Hardy, although that's more of a Southern California thing.)

What I mean is that there are these little things that I keep noticing that remind me of home.  And that's what I need to find.  For someone who lives in her own nostalgia, finding little things that remind me of my California days is what keeps me happy.  And it's not even that these things I am finding are specific to home.  They're simple things, like a field of three leaf clovers (oh, the quest for that elusive four leaf clover) or the smell of a campfire or the way the sun hits the earth so that it reminds me of how my early summer days used to bleed into each other.  There is constantly this smell of flowers and it reminds me of how I used to think flowers were butterflies and butterflies were flowers.  There are mornings that are soaked in rain and I lie in bed with tired eyes and listen how it softly patters against our windows.  Lazy California mornings.  I miss them, but they're not so far away.  Pennsylvania has presented me with hidden attics and overgrown staircases and creaky floors in the morning when everything is quiet and the faint smell of cigarette smoke that sometimes rises up through our window shades and rain that brings out everything that I love. 

There are things that I'm missing. 
I miss getting coffee with Ashley.
I miss how you could step outside and practically feel the weight of the world be lifted off your shoulders. 
I miss driving around with no intention and yet with every intention in the world.
Quiet mornings and loud nights.

I'm determined to find those things here.  I cannot replace the people, but I'm finding new ones.  Getting to know a whole new batch of people is an exhausting but thrilling task.

And I don't know if I'll stay here for a while or if I'll journey elsewhere after I graduate.  I don't know if this is the place for me or if I've yet to find a place I can be happy in for a while.  I talk about Iceland a lot, but I can imagine myself in somewhere like Oregon or Washington or maybe even New Zealand or England (adventurous, I am).  I dream of landscapes dotted with tiny buildings and full of early morning fog.  Back home we're surrounded by a whole lot of nothing, and it's something I've come to appreciate.  I think living in a large city would kill the part of me that craves long drives in warm cars.  You either walk or you let someone bus you around.  I suppose there's a romantic quality about it, but I'm happiest when I'm driving somewhere.  My earliest memories are of driving.  I remember things in flashes of colors and rain streaked stoplights.  I don't have that here, but I think there are other things that are keeping me content.

Anyways, my point is that I'm acclimating to this place.
And that's good because I'm happy.

One point for Pennsylvania.


  1. I moved to Chicago last year and have felt a lot of similar things since. It's tough getting acclimated, but I've come to love a lot of parts about my new city. And I know it's those parts I'll be missing likewise when I move on elsewhere. Kind of cool if kind of crappy at the same time. Good luck!

  2. Made me tear up a little Steph :*) I miss California too. And thanks Bryan/Brandon, you speak the truth. It's rough but amazing when you try to start a new life.