It’s the three-year anniversary of the day James and I loaded up our cars, grabbed the dogs and put Texas in our rearview mirror. We got here two days later with willing spirits and confused dogs and haven’t looked back since.
This move was an experiment. Neither of us had done anything so drastic before–at least, not intentionally. But up until and including the moment we headed west, I never once doubted what we were doing. It felt scary, but it also felt right, and that rightness has never wavered. Something for which I remain grateful.
It’s hard being so far from the people we love (and even the people we just really like), and we’re still trying to figure out how to maintain years-long and even decades-long friendships in a world where no one talks on the phone. Facebook is a sorry substitute for real life/real time, but it’s better than nothing. If we find the solution, I’ll let you know.
So, three years in, some observations:
- Our palates haven’t converted to CaliMex, nor will they. TexMex forever.
- The 1,800 miles between us and home seems shorter every time we drive it. It helps that we’re figuring out the best places to eat, pee and sleep along the way.
- There’s not much of a temperature spread in Pacific Grove, but there are distinct seasons.
- Newscasts and truck commercials are much less dramatic here than in Houston. For the former, it helps that we watch a local station and not one out of San Francisco. Less drama to report on means less dramatic news. Plus, there’s just a different tone in general. As for the truck commercials, there’s no California equivalent to the pervasive “everything’s bigger in Texas” motif.
- Speaking of that, I never really felt like a Texan when I lived there. But I did feel like a Houstonian. I’m still figuring out what I feel like now.
- We lived here for four months before I stopped reading the Houston Chronicle every morning.
- We lived here for three months before breaking our year-and-a-half meat fast by eating pepperoni pizza at Tommaso’s in San Francisco.
- We lived here for almost three years before I ended up with a workable queso recipe. Still not quite like the plastic restaurant version that we so love, but close enough to get the job done.
- We’ve mostly adapted to living in a small house. A key thing we did was replace some of our beloved furniture with smaller pieces that are more appropriate for the footprint of our house. My grandparents’ dining room table (which seats six to eight) moved to the garage and was replaced with a square table that seats four. And suddenly the walls didn’t seem like they were closing in.
- The PG dog parade remains one of my favorite annual traditions and melts my cold, cold heart every time. If you were thinking about coming out here on vacation, I’d suggest the end of July because the dog parade is followed the next night by a pretty impressive fireworks display over the water. And even though it’s summer, it’s often cold and foggy. And also, we’ll still be here, good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.
Points of interest as chronicled in this blog (now I just chronicle on Instagram):
Palo Corona Regional Park
Mill Creek Redwood Preserve
Point Sur Lighthouse
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
El Carmelo Cemetery
Whale watching trip