“I have a thing for California, possibly because the four years I lived there during college were the wildest and most disorienting years, punctuated by some of the sweetest moments in all my life. Possibly because California, both in its geography and its personality, is so many worlds away from the Midwest that just being there makes the world feel bigger. I love California for its otherness, for its profound non-Midwest-ness. I love the smell of eucalyptus and salt and the attitude and the stucco houses and the ubiquitous tiny Toyota pickups. There’s an order to the Midwest: flat land, predictable seasons, apples and cherries and white Christmases, a sense of tradition and stability. But California to me is entirely other, and the fact that Kristen [and my grandma!] has a lemon tree right in her backyard never fails to delight me. A lemon tree!”
-from Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist (one of my absolute favorites)
It’s true, really. It’s difficult to even prepare myself for the upcoming semester in Chicago because life there, and life here, is so incredibly different. Like two different worlds, two different lives. I soaked up the liturgical rhythm of the Midwest: Sunday morning walks to church in a cathedral downtown, the sound of my classmates singing hymns during chapel, the comforting consistency of a city set up on a grid. But, I definitely have a thing for California. Something like a ferocious love, a match in my heartbeat and the rhythm of the tide, and a distant longing. Summer in California is hot and sweet, like a melting ice-cream cone or the blaze of the sky just before dusk or a bowl of fresh strawberries.
California, thank you for our time together. I look forward to seeing you, and all the people here that I love, again soon.