After a week of shivering in bed, taking swigs of Nyquil and producing some intense globs of snot, I finally came around to my normal alert self yearning for a celebration to my recovery. My craving for french toast smothered in maple syrup started me thinking about all the things back in Vermont that I actually miss. Maple syrup isn’t exactly of prevalence in California. I didn’t foresee this issue when I left.
So in that spirit, I began to list the other things I’ve missed. The things you miss when you’ve changed part of your life not only point to where you currently are in your life but where you want to go, at least for the moment. It feels like a radar of sorts. These are not in any particular order.
- Maple Syrup– Just not likely to find the real stuff here. I don’t get the point of even trying to eat pancakes without it.
- Spontaneously visiting my family on the weekends– As much as I cling to my independence, I enjoyed the ability to “go home” when I felt inclined. I miss leaning in as close as I could to the wood stove at Dad’s house, walking in the woods out back, attempting to gain the affections of the skittish rabbits and cats in the barn.
- My own apartment– As much as I love being around people, there are many times lately that I reminsce about my quaint little box I once had all to myself. It’s a luxury but it can go a long way to have you’re own private space. If I want to read a book in my underwear, that could happen. If I want to leave the dishes until tomorrow, that could happen. If I wanted to go to sleep without ear plugs, that could happen.
- Comedy night with Cori- This actually turned out to be a bigger issue for me than I would’ve expected. I am very sad that I’ve missed my friend’s debut on what can be a very scary and vulnerable place to put oneself. I know it was extremely hard for her and I bet she’s doing amazing. I wish I could be there to cheer her on. When I realized, she had overcome her fears with this, I really understood how it felt to be so far away from my friends.
- Birthdays with Jeanne– My best friend, Jeanne, and I have our birthdays literally a week apart. So we began to celebrate together with cheesecake and cocktails or at least a version of that. I had a good birthday this year, but it wasn’t the same. It’s been hard to keep in contact with the 3 hour time difference. And when things go wrong, there’s no where to go to vent and feed my face with the world’s best oversized pile of popcorn smothered in butter and nutritional yeast. The lady knows how to treat a wound.
- Lone Rock Point– I’ve seen a lot of beautiful places on my trip. But Lone Rock Point always felt like my place. The cedar trees sprawled out on the bedrock and crawling out the sides of the cliffs over the water feels like refuge. I loved crawling up the sides of the cliffs like I knew what I was doing. I liked the calm waters but at Lone Rock they could get as energetic as I’d ever imagine the Lake could. I loved swimming against it. I could definitely afford a few more trips around the lake in the canoe with Jon.
- Late nights at the Pottery Studio– I miss the feeling of clay in my hands so much! I especially miss rocking out to random music in the middle of the night, hanging out with Alex and Andy, having the most nonsensical and most useful and gratifying conversations. I miss having companions in that world of creativity. I miss the world of creativity.
- Tennis with Geoff- This was definitely a large portion of my summer last year that I really miss. I didn’t realize how much I liked tennis until of course, there was someone to motivate me in that direction. Exercise is great especially when you’re too busy trying to get things right to notice that you’re panting.
This of course, is not a complete list but I found the exercise really useful in understanding what I strive for now that I’ve resettled. It took me several years in Vermont to make friends, gain a community and feel comfortable in my surroundings. However, comfort is a demon. I partially yearn for some things from the past because they were comfortable. When you’re anxious you cling to those things; sometimes you cling to them just because you can. And my decision to leave was very much because I could feel the pull of demonic servitude. To me, that is akin to complete personal demise.
I know that none of the people in my life are absent. Our relationships are now going to be different because they have to be. They aren’t gone. But for now, I have to accept that what I had with them previously, I just won’t have right now. It will take an enormous amount of time to find myself surrounded by people that I can cherish here. Just like finding a coffee shop to sit at until midnight, a tennis court to practice by myself, a pottery studio, a natural area to crawl around and pretend it’s my own personal hidden spot. There’s a lot for me to do and I admit I do get overwhelmed and temporarily nostalgic.
Regardless, I never regret my decision. There are so many wonderful things about being here that I wouldn’t change it for anything. And here comes the list:
- Fresh affordable amazing produce! The grocery store here is beyond awe-inspiring with the piles of beautiful fruits and vegetables, many of which I have never encountered before.
- Constant flowering foliage! I’ve never experienced a winter that smells like flowers. Then again, I’ve never experienced a winter that I was digging myself out of an enormous pile of snow. Regardless, spring is well under way here as far as I’m concerned. Trees are in full bloom. And in most cases, they are all quite magical because I have no idea what most of them are yet.
- Beachcombing and sea life – Never been able to truly experience living near the ocean. Walking the beach and picking up shells or sea glass right after work or taking a day drive somewhere to watch massive elephant seals fight is the very definition of the word “epic”. I can’t wait to start fishing. The shear variety of fish here is likely far more exciting than freshwater fishing.
- Diversity of people– While at times this may be challenging, I can say I truly appreciate living in an area where I am a minority. It certainly puts life in perspective and all the people I have met, regardless of race etc., are quite different than myself and where I come from. I appreciate the change in perspective very much.
- Graffiti! That seems obvious at this point but I’ll say it again. The explosion of paint warms my heart.
- Liberal/Progressive culture- This is where Vermont and California are very similar and thankfully so. While in many instance I feel quite different than the people who grew up here, politically not many people are apparently able to tell that I’m not from here. I suppose that’s not such a bad thing.
- Virtually no winter! I don’t shovel anything. I don’t have to dig through 3 feet of ice at midnight every night to uncover my gas outlet and make the heat work in the house. I don’t have to wear three pairs of pants or two pairs of socks to sleep in. Enough said.
So I feel like I have a good understanding of what I need to feel more comfortable here and create a more acceptable life for myself. I think it is still possible here but I have to remind myself to be patient with the process of getting acquainted. It takes a long time and it’ll happen. I traded real maple syrup for the best avocados. Don’t think that’s too bad of a trade.