Friday, July 17, 2009

Home Sweet California

I find that the hardest places to write about are the ones I've lived in the longest; it's like I have too much information -- I know how multifaceted California is, so it's hard to pick just one or two things to write about.

I was born and grew up on the Central Coast, in San Luis Obispo, CA. My childhood memories are full of sandstorms and finding jellyfish on the beach, eating grilled cheese with my family at Fat Cat Cafe on the marina, camping on nearby lakes, driving 12 hours and still being in California, wearing shorts all year 'round, selling lemonade and cookies to neighbors on our street corner, walking around the Mission downtown every Sunday.

I love California history. I was homeschooled until fourth grade, so my mom played a huge role in cultivating my passion for learning and reverence for history. I think it was her excitement in teaching my brothers and I all about her home state that really sparked an appreciation for it in me. I'll never forget Father Junipera Serra, a Spaniard who came up from Mexico and established (with some help) 21 Missions -- meant to spread Catholicism to the "heathen" Indians.

I took numerous field trips to these Missions, spread out up and down the coastline, and took great pleasure in eating warm, traditionally made corn tortillas, dipping my own candles, and watching the weavers make colorful blankets on huge looms.

Most of this has nothing to do with our group's experience during this trip, but it's what I think of when I hear "California." And so it makes me wonder what else we missed in all those other states.

Don't get me wrong, this was an amazing experience. But we still only just scratched the surface of these cities.

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