In my 30 years, I have only once spent Christmas in the snow. Even when we lived in Minnesota, we would fly out to Palm Springs every holiday break and spend a few weeks in the sun rejuvenating our depleted Vitamin D stores. This year didn't deviate from the norm; however, having moved to New York in June, this trip back to California was the first since the big move!
The most frequently asked question is "Why did you leave California for New York?!" The first 150 times I was asked this, I answered with true sincerity...I had reached a point in my life where I needed a change, wanted the larger than life experience in Manhattan, etc. Apparently that didn't suffice so now my response is more satirical: "Why do you choose to live in New York?" Next topic.
This holiday visit to San Diego was filled with reunions with my favorite people - loads of laughs and quality time catching up, quiet time relaxing at home with my parents, a few movies, and lots of driving! It hadn't been six months since I was last behind the wheel of a car, but I forgot how dependent on cars we are in California. They are great because you can go wherever you want whenever you want and whichever route you prefer (scenic, direct, with a stop at CVS, etc.) You can choose to interact with or avoid as many people as you want. Singular to my current mode of transportation (foot, bus or subway).
My trip included tailgating before the Poinsettia Bowl with great friends - it was about 56 degrees and people were prepared for a snow storm! I'd arrived the night before from 18 inches of fresh snow, 21 degree weather with a wind chill factor of 12. I was loving it!
Twelve weeks without doing my hair was rewarded with a fun and fabulous trip to see Irene and Lisa. We swapped stories on life in NYC vs SD and my hair was fantastically coiffed for a fraction of what I am forced to pay in NY. It was worth the wait for so many reasons!
My typical 500 square foot abode was converted into a week of 4,500 square foot magnificence in my parent's home. Ahh...to sleep in a king size bed in a room practically the size of my apartment with a rain shower, oh the luxury! Breakfast with a view of the ocean, a glass of wine while gazing at the sunset, Christmas dinner with my family and "2nd" family, and coffee at the beach with good friends...moments that encapsulate "home".
That being said, my trip "home" made me realize I now have a new "home". Although my time in New York has been relatively brief in the grand scheme, it is the place where I feel most happy and alive. While I thoroughly enjoyed the time with my family and friends, the warmer weather, the beautiful ocean, etc., I missed the things that make me smile in New York.
Driving in a car is convenient, comfortable, fast (with me driving) and fun (sun roof open, favorite radio station blaring...) However, you miss the forced interaction of the street or the subway or the bus. Whether I leave for work from home or from the gym, I walk or take the subway and see a whole different cross section of the population. In a city as diverse as NYC, it's a small glimpse at the world. Amazingly not every one is a blond and buff Adonis as they'd have you believe in Southern California.
Maybe it is partly because I am still relatively new to New York, but I really missed walking around and having so many options of "things to do" that I could leave my house at 7 am and not return until the evening, filling the day events like: swim at the gym, visit to the architectural museum, quick trip out to Jersey City to see friends, ice skating in Bryant Park, cheap dumplings in China Town, Saturday night football with friends and great beers and a tired stumble home to bed. And that was just one day last weekend!
San Diego offers things I can't get here of course - the beach, the persistent sun (and no sub zero days!), the mountains, great hiking, etc. Don't get me wrong - I absolutely appreciate those things and I'm thankful that I can go there to visit whenever I want. But I kind of like walking down the street horrified at how tremendously freezing it is! It makes the warmer days SO much warmer and enjoyable...even if only 10 degrees warmer! And I can ride my bike to the eastern seaboard or to the NY State parks that have great hiking...it's just a different setting. A new "home". My home.
Here's to a fabulous New Year surrounded by great friends, family and good fortune!
PS For Christmas a very close friend gave me an amazing gift...a new "grown up" camera with a second lens. I've been experimenting with it and love the results! Can't wait to use it on my trip to Buenos Aires next month! These pics are a few samples...