Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for California.

This month i am doing the A-Z Blogging Challenge.

When i was 10, after my parents divorced, my dad got a job with United Airlines, working out of their San Francisco terminal. Every summer after that, my brothers and i would fly from Virginia to California and spend at least a month out there. i fell in love immediately.

Our first trip there, my dad took us straight from the airport to downtown San Francisco. We were amazed, to say the least, having only travelled before to places like Florida or Ohio. He took us to Chinatown, and we looked through gift shops and marveled at the carcasses hanging in the restaurant windows. i got my first real taste of Chinese food in the back of a little restaurant there, and it was divine. But nothing could prepare us for the magic of the Pacific.

i love the ocean, but the Pacific really has a hold on my heart. Rather than just miles of sand and hotels like you see at the Atlantic, you'll find cliff faces, succulents by the millions, beaches covered in tiny pebbles, wind and water-eroded caves, seals...and when the fog rolls in, wow... No matter how many times i've stepped out onto the Pacific's shores, it has felt magical. If i close my eyes, i can smell it, and feel the chill wind blow in my hair.

There's so much to California, specifically Northern California, that i love. The redwood forests, Highway 1, San francisco and Marin County, Big Sur, Mount Shasta, Mono Lake, Death Valley, the food, like strawberries that taste like they should and just-picked brussel sprouts, bought at a stand right by the ocean. i have lived there on and off a few times over the years, the last time being in 2003. We left because of the high cost of living, but rarely does a day go by that i don't think of it, and miss it like hell. It will always be a part of me, another home.

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