I had a friend visit from Chicago this past week. She had never really explored Southern California, and I was the lucky girl to get to show her around.
Having lived here my entire life, I don’t really think California as- well as fabulous as Hollywood portrays it to be. And before everyone gets a little crazy on me, I know that I am 100% completely BLESSED to have grown up here. I know it, and I believe it, and I thank God every day that He put me here.
I think that when you’re in a situation where everything is going well, we slowly start to take things for granted.
And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.
I have had this strong desire to simply leave. Get up, and leave. Start somewhere new, turn the page and start fresh. And with a bunch of other events, I have been more than ready to buy a one way ticket out of California and never look back. So instead of appreciating the state I’m living in, I am constantly finding ways to not be here.
Winter trip to Oregon? Check. Writer’s conference in Texas? Check. Hawaiian adventure? Check. Book Country Music Weekend in Vegas? Check. Book an Autumn trip to Oregon? Check. Plan for end of year Tahoe trip? Check.
Anywhere but HERE.
So when my friend from Chicago booked a plane ticket here, I was excited to see her but was extremely confused as to why she would want to fly to California. I even tried to warn her!
Traffic is AWFUL. It’s going to be so CROWDED. The places you see on TV do not look like that in real life. The water is freezing. The drivers are CRAZY! It’s been unbearably hot! Are you sure you want to come here?!
I did everything in my power to lower her expectations so she wouldn’t be disappointed.
But after touring around Southern California with a Chicago native, I realized I had a lot to appreciate. I never thought that by showing her around, I would realize just how much I had.
Her goal was BEACH! So my goal was to ensure that she placed her feet in the Pacific Ocean at least once a day. I’m proud to say, my mission was accomplished.
After experiencing the least amount of traffic I have ever experienced picking her up from LAX, we headed to Santa Monica Pier so she could put her feet in the ocean.
She loved it. And I had the blessing of experiencing her joy at the sand crabs, the waves, and all the pier has to offer.
Lesson One: It’s the people we go off and adventure with that really makes where we are worth it.
After Sunday service, she mentioned how crazy it was that we had a multitude of churches to choose from locally, the eating out options were endless, and there was a full range of things to do.
Lesson Two: There are so many choices! I mean, I could be in the mountains one day, the beach the next, and the desert the following day- and that’s just in nature locations! There’s Mexican, Chinese, and American restaurants all within a mile of each other… but I got the point, and I’m sure you do to!
Basking in the sun in La Jolla on Monday, she mentioned the sunshine. The very thing I try to stay out of and in the air conditioning as much as I can- especially during summer months- she was loving.
Lesson Three: The Weather. Enough said, right? There is a 99% chance of sunshine and summer, and during the winter it’s pretty much sunny and 75. And while, she had UNBELIEVABLE weather while she was here, the weather is typically pretty nice. Although I am a jeans and boots with a sweater and scarf kinda girl, I’d be lying if said I didn’t crave the sunshine every once in a while.
Her dream was to drive up PCH blasting the Beach Boys, so I took to the road to make it happen. We hiked up a trail to watch an amazing sunset over the beach, and skipped some traffic by taking the scenic route through a canyon.
Lesson Four: The views! Where else can you drive one road and hit three beaches in less than an hour? And drive through canyons, and hills, and tree tunnels all in the same day? Oh that’s right- California.
She could not stop exclaiming how incredibly amazing California is. The beauty of the oceans, the million and one options, the weather, the locality of it all. And somewhere along our time together touring places I had never even seen before- I learned my final lesson.
Lesson Five: This is home. And that’s reason enough to appreciate it.
I still don’t think I will live in California forever. I have this crazy notion that I want to live in one of my Hallmark movie towns. 😉 I do think that I will leave- and leave sometime soon.
But thanks to my sweet friend, I am looking back through these photos and I can’t help but appreciate living here while I’m living here- even in this unbearable 104 degree summer day. 😉
Thank you Chicago. <3