Saturday, April 7, 2012

Finally posting about California

My husband and I just had the opportunity to visit Southern California for a week -- for the first time in far too long. It was wonderful! Even though I took some academic work with me, I was more relaxed than I have been in quite some time. So relaxed, in fact, that I couldn't be bothered to take any pictures worth posting here...sorry about that! (I'm usually preoccupied with capturing good shots of everything, so this was unusual!)

This won't be a narrative of our whole trip, but here are a few things we did, as well as some quick impressions about California in general...

  • I'm still in awe of how beautiful it often is. The rugged canyons and mountains between Simi and Malibu practically overpowered me after two years in Missouri. The Pacific is wonderful; my mother-in-law took us for a memorable birthday lunch right on the beach! Of the natural wonders we saw that day, however, I think the memory of the mountains has lingered with me the most.
  • Speaking of the natural world and its quirks, I like palm trees. Until I spent two years in the Bay Area, I was half convinced that they only existed in Disney cartoons, typically swaying to ukulele music. And to this day, I find the concept of palm trees, not to mention their prevalence, somehow surprising.
  • Spending time with Kevin's college friends is fun. Earlier in our marriage, I let myself feel intimidated by the Torrey crowd, but that is less the case nowadays; I just enjoy them, and Biola people in general. I love spending time on the campus because it holds so many memories for my husband. (He did a great job of lecturing there the night before we flew out of town.) Will & Amanda's wedding was also lovely. It's so helpful to hear a truly good wedding sermon from time to time! It renews my desire to see that my marriage tells the truth about Christ and His Church.
  • It's fun going to In-N-Out Burger every so often.
  • Mostly, I am amazed that California can feel like home to me in any measure. It's something I never had any reason to expect. In the summer of 2006, my mom and I followed a dusty loop through Needles, California, between northern Arizona and Las Vegas, just so that I could say I had set foot in California. I didn't think it likely I would be back there again. Two years later, I moved there. (Admittedly to Berkeley, not Needles. One could argue that Northern California really counts as a different state...!) 
  • In all seriousness, I have been thinking how gracious God is in giving us places to love that we never expected to lay claim on our affections. More especially by forging bonds of love among people. My family is bigger than it was merely four years ago, which is truly a joy for me, something God has been pleased to bring about for His own glory.
Speaking of beloved places, for all that I've almost felt like an honorary Torrey alumna in recent years, I'm reminded that my own college years were spent not in Southern California, but in southwest Virginia; in a pocket of Appalachia I haven't seen in six years and that Kevin has never seen. It would be good to reconnect, I think. I wonder how we might work that into our next travel adventure?

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