Tuesday, July 24, 2012

California

When I first came to California with Kevin five years ago, I wasn't sure what the big deal was.  I was about as impressed as Kevin was by August in Georgia (he wondered why in the world people live there).  It's desert.  The "trees" Kevin pointed out are more like tall scruffy bushes.  I thought that a lake was supposed to be a body of water, not big expanses of sand like the "dry lakes" around. The rivers are dry most of the year too.  The yards were dirt or rocks (and everybody knows a yard is supposed to be grass).

While I still like trees (real ones), grass, and rivers with water, I have come to appreciate the desert.  For one thing, you can actually see the sky.  Not a tiny patch of sky in between the trees, but a full expanse of sky from east to west.  Kevin's parents' house is situated in the foothills, so it looks out over the whole valley.  They have a view of fabulous sunrises and sunsets and a whole sky full of stars.  We are surrounded by mountains, a couple of hours away from numerous beaches, and near major airports (important in our life), plus we get to have In-n-Out and a lot of good Mexican food.

In our post-marriage California year, I also had to adjust to a more relaxed west coast approach to life. I don't really know if it's California in general or just Kevin's group of friends, but it took me a while to realize the social protocol was a little different.  When I hung out with friends, I usually felt like there was a general time frame for our time together.  If we had lunch together I assumed we would part ways by mid-afternoon.  If we were going to hang out at night, we probably wouldn't get together until at least dinnertime.

So I was confused when we went over to Kevin's friends house at 11am and were still there at dinnertime.  By 9pm I started saying,"Don't you think we should go?  They probably want us to leave now.   They have kids and all."  Kevin didn't understand why I was so eager to leave.

Once I adapted my expectations, I found that I really liked this approach to friendship - casual involvement in each others lives with no set time frame.  I realized they really weren't looking at the clock, eager for us to leave.  I started to feel a little disappointed when my friends would leave after 2 hours.

Now when we hang out with Kevin's friends, who aren't really "Kevin's friends" anymore, I know we'll probably be there for eight hours or maybe twenty-four.  Since it's no longer practical to stay out until 1am, we just bring Juliana's bed and spend the night.  We never get much sleep but it's lots of fun.  Eventually I say, "We should probably go home..." and then we leave five hours later.

Maybe we couldn't do this all the time, but it works great for summer when we have more freedom of schedule and want to spend as much time with friends as we can.

Today is our last day in California this year.  I guess if we miss it too much we can head to the mountains outside of Yinchuan which looks almost exactly like Southern California.  The abundance of Mexican food and good friends, though - that's harder to come by.

2 comments:

Becky said...

Anna and I were talking recently about how you can't ever see much of the sky here and you never actually get to see the sun rise or set and rarely even get to see the clouds really moving.

Anna said...

It's true. Maybe we should move to California. =)