Don't get me wrong, living in sunny California was pretty awesome, and the phrase "sunny California" couldn't be put a better way. It was almost too sunny, if that's possible. I always explain to people how much I missed the rain and how, once it's sunny everyday, you don't appreciate clear skies anymore. It's just like oh whoopee another sunny day. When it rained, I don't think I've ever been more happy for the rain. Now that I'm back in Alaska, I'm back to being a tiny bit sick of the rain and a lot more appreciative for sunshine and nice days.
So, just to name a few, here are some things I missed about living in Alaska:
1. Coffee stands - Starbucks doesn't have, for lack of a better phrase, s**t on Alaska's small coffee stands that seem to be more common in Anchorage than the Starbucks you find everywhere in the lower 48. These places make amazing Americanos for $2.00 so how could I ever appreciate a mediocre $4.00 Starbucks Americano?!
2. The rain - maybe not the rain itself, cause I hate how when it rains I have to clean my glasses every time I step outside, but nothing can replace the smell and feeling in the air after it rains hard, not to mention the beautiful sound of the rain. This morning I laid in bed for a good hour before getting up just cuddling and listening to the rain - it was magical.
3. Traffic - yes, Alaskan drivers may suck, but try having a mix of California drivers and tourists traveling at all times of the day. There was literally not one time the highway was empty. And not to mention how when it rains there, it's just like the first snow fall in Anchorage, you have your mix of idiots who don't know what to do and the ones who think they are invincible. I can now fully appreciate Anchorage's rush hour traffic.
4. Basketball - hehe call me a village kid but not once did I play a real game of basketball in California, besides a couple scrimmages here and there. I missed the open gyms and the tournaments that are definitely unique to Alaska, especially for women. So this fall I'm looking forward to getting back on the court with you ladies, you know who you are!
5. Friends - as an adult, out of school, it's so hard to meet other people in a new place. I think if I hadn't been going to school in Portland, I would've been in the same boat as we were in California. We knew one other person there, and I cannot be more thankful to have had a friend like her there. And though I did have family and friends visit, it wasn't the same. Just knowing you are a drive away from your aunt, or your best friend, makes a difference. The comfort of being close to your closest people just isn't the same as still being able to talk to them everyday (thank you technology)... and last but definitely most important...
5. My family - Probably the largest reason I moved back was them, my whole heart. Not to make them feel guilty or anything, but I really believe what my mother left behind for us was something that's completely irreplaceable and special. The bond I feel to especially my dad and brothers, along with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., is something I learned to appreciate living away and that it might be too strong to live that far away from them. Sure some people might think that's a sign of weakness, but they are one of my greatest strengths. The fact that I was missing out on snowboarding with my brother, or watching my baby brother play basketball, or being there to see my dad get inducted into the Alaska High School Hall of Fame, tore me apart.
While I'm happy to be back, I'll admit there are things about California I'm going to miss. I'll miss walking outside to a warm car, putting my gym stuff on and walking 30 seconds to our gym or going running, the beach, hot tubbing at any time of day or night, and even the endless sunshine. I know once winter hits I might miss living there, but for now, I'm so happy to be back home and have no desire to live there again, even as I look outside to a gloomy, intermittently rainy day. My family is my world and I wouldn't trade a thing to be far from them.
Alton & I at the beach we lived a couple miles from - Carlsbad State Beach:
One of two pools at our apartment - the pool was great, hot tub even better!
The basketball court less than a mile from our house we went to a lot: