It has finally felt like spring in New York after a long winter that actually felt like winter. For four years I have been saying how much I missed the months of September through January in New York. The Bay Area does not get a proper fall or a winter. There is no turning of leaves and no snowfall. So I was thrilled to have my first months at home be during the time I usually felt most homesick. And I made it through most of the two seasons being happy about the weather too...Until the end of winter when I got sick of the hazard of being pregnant. Our landlord is not the best (this is an understatement) and without proper drainage on our gutters our walkway and driveway was often buried in 2-3 inches of ice. Hubby had to pick away at it with the back of a hammer multiple times a day just so I could walk to and from the car. On days he did not do this I was a prisoner in our apartment due to a realistic fear of falling. I couldn't leave wearing anything but heavy snow boots (even after the snow was gone) until our roof fully melted and dried up. It was the first time in my life I actually wanted winter to be over and I dreaded snow.
Now that it is finally Spring, though, and Little Guy has been born I am back to my cute shoe collection and am safe to romp freely. I told Hubby that this Spring would be one of his favorites he'd ever have a chance to experience as winter makes you truly appreciate the warmer weather and beauty of blossoming flowers. I think it is safe to say we both feel this way. But as is usually the case is Southern New York, spring lasted two weeks and now, in the first week of May, we have 80+ degree weather and insane humidity. Summer is here (ugh). That is the only thing that can make me long for California. The dry air, comfortable summer temperatures, and good hair days.
Of course thinking of that got me to thinking some more. As always this resulted in a list...or actually two lists.
Things I missed about New York when I lived in California:
1. Pizza and bagels - I think this is self explanatory. I've spent most of my life in the NYC metro area but the times when I have lived or traveled outside of it (even as little as 2 hours away) have left me more than a little disappointed with the local offerings. I really do think it has something to do with the water.
2. The Fall - Nothing is like Fall in the North East. Even places that have a fall season with changing colors and pumpkin festivals, etc. have nothing on the home of Sleep Hollow, Salem, and everything else that comes along with the area. Apple picking, cider donuts, not to mention the weather. This was the time I was most homesick, and for good reason.
3. Real winter and the Christmas season - My first December in California, Christmas felt so lack luster by the time is happened. I always went home for it, but when it is 60 degrees out every day, it doesn't feel like Christmastime. The same is said for a winter without snow. Even adults get snow days in the North East. For a surprise day off to sit next to my window watching snow fall with hot cocoa snuggled up to Hubby, I'll shovel the drive way and deal with frosty winds any day.
4. New York City - It's the number one city in the world. I don't need to spend time telling you why, and there were many NYC exclusive things I missed (all the Christmas offerings, certain restaurants and stores, the museums, etc.). But I think what does need to be said is the extra stuff you only get about this area if you are local. The open and honest attitudes of the people (I missed how straightforward everyone was), how people dress (I hated getting comments about my sense of style and how over polished or even how over stylish I was), and the general atmosphere of the city. Things don't close at 6pm. People drive fast. You can walk (fast) anywhere you want to go (and get easy transportation if you don't). It is dirty and gritty. You need to be tough but it makes you feel alive.
5. All the people I love here - Also self explanatory. It is hard to not be able to talk to friends and family because of a three hour time difference. It's also hard not to see them and miss out on Thanksgivings, birthdays, etc.
6. The terrain - TREES. My god I missed trees. Yes there are trees in California, but the South Bay does not have the same kind of big leafed thick greenery that we do here. To get to places I felt at home I'd have to drive. Greenery in general was not common once the winter rains were over (and we know all about the drought, so you can imagine how rare green grass is too). I'm also including in here the architecture of homes as well. This area has so many beautiful European influences and homes are gorgeous. California has short boxy things to withstand earthquakes with some random Victorians thrown in here and there. Hubby and I have spent hours just driving around here looking at trees, homes, and everything in between repeatedly saying "wow." I grew up here and I can still do that all day if I could. California never gave me that kind of a rush when driving around neighborhoods.
Things I miss about California now that I am back in New York:
1. Napa - I became a serious wino while living in California. Hubby and I also got married in wine country. It holds a special place in my heart and stomach/palate. There are wineries in NY, but the legitimate wine areas are much farther away that Napa was to us and not as good in terms of number of quality places, size, number of quality restaurants, etc....although it is cheaper so there's always that...
2. Comfortable summers - 90+ degree weather with 100% humidity describes July and August. Even when it is 80 degrees it is God awful. My cousin, who lives in the Miami area, i.e. a place with a tropical climate, said our summers are worse. Need I say more?
3. Having easily accessible chains I like - Specifically Drybar (which was within 10 minutes from us, now I must drive over an hour to get to my affordable hair obsession), Sift (an amazing local Cupcake chain), and Cream (THE BEST ice cream sandwich shop of all time. I continue to get weekly cravings for this place. Please, if you are reading this, expand over here too! )
4. Year round soccer - The one plus to lack of winters. I could play soccer all year round and never go two weeks without playing a game. There were also plenty of women's leagues to join as well (while NYC may have a bunch of options, in the burbs, pickins is slim). I've played since I was 5, but being able to play 1-4 games a week really improved me as a player. Plus I was in great shape!
5. Camp Okizu - Okizu is camp for children and their families affected by pediatric cancer that we became involved in. It was a life changing experience and we plan to be involved for years to come because of the positive atmosphere and amazing people we met/meet. But with a newborn making a trip out there right now is not easy. And even when things settle we cannot make the number of trips per year we'd like to be able to. Now that camp season is in full swing our fellow counselors have been posting status updates and pictures about their times there. I am so jealous. I miss those people as much as I miss the campers.
6. Cali friends - Similar to missing people from NY. A three hour time zone difference and busy lives as students, mommies, etc. make it hard to keep in touch. Thank God for texting and Facebook.
So even though these lists are even in number of items, there is a winner here. I will always cherish my time in Cali for the reasons listed above (not to mention I was able to make significant headway on my nearly life long career dream and I met the love of my life there), but I love New York. There's just no other way around it.