Monday, October 6, 2008

California Dreamin'






I have spent most of my life living in the midwest... Rust Belt, Bible Belt... all the "belts". I have survived too many "Great Lakes snow events" while living in Chicago and Cleveland. I have survived tornadoes and hail storms. I have survived steamy, hot, humid summers in river valleys. It seems that every time there was a big blob of bad weather on the weather map, it was right over the midwest. I am ready for a change!

We spent sixteen years in Philadelphia. Believe it or not, the summers were not as hot, and the winters were not as cold (for the most part). There weren't many tornadoes. There was no remnant of "Appalachia" there. I had friends who read the New York Times. I felt at home there. I would like to move back, but our families are mostly here.

My husband has relatives in two places: Michigan and California. He has always wanted to move back to Michigan, but I don't want to be anywhere near the Great Lakes. Yes, they are nice in the summer, but the winters are brutal. I never liked the idea of Florida (too hot and too many bugs, I hear) and I wouldn't like to live in the desert because I love trees.

We go to California several times a year to visit his family there. Usually, we go to northern California: San Francisco, Napa Valley, Sonoma, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale. This summer we went to southern California. Husband's nephew was getting married on a beach in Malibu. We stayed in Santa Monica, then spent some time in Santa Barbara. I am posting some photos from this trip. I have fallen in love with California. I know, I know, real estate there is more expensive than anywhere else in the country. (Except Hawaii, and I love it even more!) Both California and Hawaii seem like other worlds to me. They are nothing like the midwest. They have flowers year round. Citrus grows on trees, not grocery shelves. People don't own snow boots or winter parkas. I love it!

8 comments:

Natalie said...

Should I count my blessings? I gaze longingly at Wisconsin real estate ads... California is too good to be true, and we wish we could quit it.

judy in ky said...

When we lived in Chicago we would go to Wisconsin for holidays and weekends. We found a lot of nice places including Door County, which some people say reminds them of Cape Cod (I've never been to Cape Cod, so I can't say firsthand). We also found Wisconsin a great place to shop for antiques... little roadside places, not fancy shops. We always went in the summer, though. In the winter, you really need your winter gear!

judy in ky said...

Oh, and yes, you should count your blessings...

anya said...

Judy, I can certainly relate to your feelings about California. I love California and have occasionally dreamed of living there because of the weather. But, as you said housing is high, plus there is too much traffic, taxes are punitive in my opinion, and they pass some weird laws and policies there too. When we traveled throughout the west in a motor home we ran into an inordinate number of people, particularly small business owners, who said they wanted nothing but to get out. But I do love to visit. Especially around Napa and Mendocino.

You are right about Florida. ICK. Summers are brutal. I haven't lived there but have visited family in Tampa during summer. I was a vegetable! So lethargic I could barely think. I can't believe I grew up in the south, I am so devastated by heat now. Cool summers are what I love about both the mountains in Colorado and the coast of Oregon. Of course, neither is perfect in the winter, but here in the Colorado mountains in the dead of winter the skies are cerulean, the clouds are the whitest white imaginable, and the air is crisp and dry. It makes winter pretty nice.

judy in ky said...

Hmm Anya, maybe I should think about Colorado more. I've been there only once for a wedding, and it was a short trip.
Judy

Pam said...

Hi Judy. I am finding this fascinating.As Australians,I and some girlfiends did the "road trip" thing around the Great Lakes and through most of the United States in our twenties after finishing a month's prac.teaching in Wisconsin schools.Obviously we did not stay long enough in each state to get the real feel of each area ( I look back in wonder now at just how much area we did cover driving on what, for us, is the "wrong" side of the road!)This has given me a bit more depth, and I find the issues of where to reside and why relevant at this time in my life in Australia.We are moving AGAIN,within our home state, this time closer to ageing parents. We are renting this time, in an area of neither desert or snow, but like you have experienced both.How long this will be for, I have no idea. Interesting post Judy. Thanks.

Judy said...

Hi Pam,
So glad you liked my post... I like hearing from people from all over the world. I have never been to Australia, but would love to visit one day.
Judy

Cindy ~ My Romantic Home said...

I feel so fortunate to be born and raised in Northern California (in the South SF Bay Area). Homes are more expensive here but are incomes are higher too. It doesn't take as much money to heat our homes because it never gets very cold and it's only snowed twice in my lifetime and I'm 48! We also don't need to spend money on expensive winter coats. I usually just wear a sweatshirt or sweater in the winter. I love New England and thought about moving back there but I don't think I could live in the snow. Here we just drive to Tahoe if we want to play in the snow. I also don't like the humidity back east....I guess I'll be staying put here.