Thursday, April 23, 2009

Farewell California

It's difficult to categorize the emotions we felt leaving Southern California for our native Pacific Northwest. In the past week I’ve felt occasional pangs of homesickness for our friends, our home, and the sunshine that we left behind. We were very blessed during our time in California and contrary to the prejudices of my youth it turned out to be a great place for our family to begin a career. Here are some things we’ll miss.

  • There’s always something interesting happening close by. If you want to go to a sporting event, the zoo, a farmer’s market, a shopping center, camping, or whatever, it’s all there and usually you have multiple choices.

  • There are many choices of hospitals, libraries, performing arts venues, clubs, and other organizations that enhance the quality of life.

  • The weather is unbeatable in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. In early April we left sunny, t-shirt weather, which allowed us to go on family walks or attend outdoor activities just about whenever we wanted.

  • The Church is strong and its members in California are extraordinary people. We saw individuals give hundreds, if not thousands of hours of their time in volunteer service to Church administration, youth programs, humanitarian projects, and defending the traditional definition of marriage. We also enjoyed attending a temple just minutes from our home.
Along with these advantages, California definitely has its challenges. For example, we won’t miss the prohibitive cost of living, the threat of a massive earthquake at any time, severely underfunded schools, torn-up busy freeways, unhealthy air, and political corruption and ineptitude at every level of government. Many of these things exist to some degree everywhere, but California is a state of extremes.

Peter Schrag’s book California: America’s High-Stakes Experiment gives a well-rounded picture of some of the current and future hurdles that California faces, and you will find it interesting whether you’ve lived in California or not. The book was published too early to include last year’s Proposition 8 battle over gay marriage or the 2009 state budget standoff, but these events would have fit in as natural chapters and were easier for me to understand after reading Schrag’s book.


nuttbutts said...

I will have to check it out. Thanks

Mark said...

Good to hear that you're getting settled. Sure will miss you at the annual fund-raising spaghetti dinner coming up soon -- billed as "The Best Spaghetti Dinner You'll Ever Have". Eh, we'll see about that, but I'm sure it'll be good.

Mark and Gwen