Tuesday, September 1, 2009

After you leave home, you may find yourself feeling homesick, even if you have a new home that has nicer wallpaper and a more efficient dishwasher than the home in which you grew up. ~Lemony Snicket

This morning I got a call from my youngest son, Chris. He is home after working a couple of weeks in Florida. He has a great opportunity to do the kind of work he loves and it looks like they may be moving there, to the Gulf Coast.

I'm so jealous. And when I texted Tom to tell him, he called right away and said, "You're kidding??!!" Nope, I wasn't. Tom's jealous, too.

We also love the Gulf Coast. I cannot even tell you why we didn't move there in the first place. After we took our first vacation there sometime in the 80's, we knew that's where we wanted to live. I guess you could say we took a little 16 year detour and we're still trying to find our way out of the maze we've created. It's not that we haven't done well here. We have. Very well, in fact. So, we decided to take annual vacations to Clearwater Beach, Florida, and spend two weeks sitting on the beach, taking long walks, collecting shells, riding bikes and swimming. Then we stopped for awhile. Just not enough time, I guess. We always had something else to do, somewhere else to go, kids and grandkids to visit.

Since Chris has been working in Florida, we have again been reminded of our love for it and we finally made reservations for the week between Christmas and New Years. We'll take the boat this time because we are going to stay right on the harbor across the street from the beach at the Sea Captain in Clearwater Beach, which also has boat slips to rent ($10 per day) when you rent your room. It will be fun to take the boat down the intercoastal waterway. But after a week there, riding our bikes everywhere and eating fresh caught fish (off the boat that very morning) every single day (compare that to our local "butcher" who wasn't able to tell a customer what tilapia tastes like because he'd never eaten it ~ as one of my favorite bloggers, Altadena Hiker so delicately exclaimed, Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot??!!!) we never want to come home.

Alright, but what does this have to do with feeling homesick? Well, it depends on the place that feels like home. For, Chris, a walk on the beach with your feet in the Gulf at sunset feels like home to him. That's pretty understandable. He spent the better part of his childhood/teenage years living near the beach in Carlsbad, California.

But, right now he lives in Savannah and is just 15 minutes away from the beach on Tybee Island. He can have the same thing there, right? Wrong. And I think it's wrong because of where the sun sets.

I was born and raised in California. I lived in Fresno, then San Jose. Tom and I met while I lived there and he was in the Air Force stationed at, of all places, Sunnyvale. From San Jose, we moved to Santa Cruz, then Kings Beach (Lake Tahoe), then Gardnerville (Nevada), then down to SoCa - Oceanside/Carlsbad area. Mike had just started high school (starting his sophomore year) and Chris was in middle school. We lived there until both of them graduated. We were almost always on the west coast, near a beach or a short drive away. Even growing up in San Jose, my parents always took us to the coast, Seacliff or New Brighton State Parks, to camp nearly every weekend all summer long and every evening we'd sit on the beach next to a bonfire watching the sunset over the ocean.

I have a pretty "DUH" principle for you. When you live on the west coast, the sun always sets over the Pacific Ocean. It's done it forever and will continue, hopefully, long after I'm gone. And, if you are on the east coast, looking out over the Atlantic Ocean, the sun is setting behind you. For those of us who grew up on the west coast, the east coast sunset just feels wrong! My point is, watching the sunset over the water is all I know. That is all my body knows. That is all my soul knows. Anything else feels wrong, unfinished, unsettling. That's why the Florida Gulf Coast is so attractive to those of us who have grown up on the west coast. The sun sets over the Gulf. Everything feels right. It feels like home.

Of course, there are other things that make that area very attractive ~ the lifestyle (very casual & very laid back), the cost of living (lower taxes & housing costs), a culturally diverse population, endless outdoor activities, etc., but it's always nice when some place feels like home before you make it your home.

1 comment:

altadenahiker said...

I'm afraid I had to say Duh too. That would be kind of like sitting in the backwards seat on the train. (Thank you for all your recent good wishes. It helped.)