Friday, August 22, 2014

One Year In

This week marks the one-year anniversary of my move to Santa Ynez (Mr. W's came later, of course). This is the furthest I've ventured from Los Angeles in all my 38 years, and the longest I've ever stayed away. In college, I lasted only 7 months in Orange County before moving back to my hometown to be near my boyfriend and finish out my education with a 45-minute commute.

It still feels a little strange to be away from LA. Over the past couple weeks, I've had to make trips down, and the same sense washes over me as I coast into familiar territory: I'm HOME. Memories sit on street corners. Comfort creeps in as favorite friends and restaurants and shops come back into my field of view. There's a lightness in knowing that I can run any errand in a few minute's time.

Mr. W gives me a hard time because I still say "When we go home," when I'm talking about trips south. "This is your home now," he reminds me.

And it sort of feels like home. The routine of our days, the hills outside our sliding glass doors, symphony of crickets, creaking of the mid-century floors in the hallway—it all feels right and relaxed. The cats stretch out in patches of sunlight on the living room floor like they've been living here for years. And when I wind my way up highway 154 from Santa Barbara, snaking through San Marcos Pass, past Lake Cachuma, and the stretches of green fields, I feel a strong sense of Peace. And Possibility.

Just not yet Home.

In spite of the foreignness that still lingers over our adorable town, we're very happy. We love what we have discovered here so far.

Every person we've met has been great. Our neighbors couldn't be more wonderful. The friends we've been introduced to are exactly the kind of people I'd order to have in my life. I've even really enjoyed my recent dentist and dermatologist appointments. And don't get me started on how much I love my vet.

We have so much space here—enough for a dozen fruit trees and a flock of chickens and trucks and RVs in the driveway. We have a farm stand up the road from us with fresh organic produce available 24/7. There's a cheese shop in town that not only has some of the most delicious dairy products around, but also one of the sweetest owners ever. I love that we recognize clerks from the hardware store when we're out to dinner. And that people wave at one another when they drive past each other on our street.

The Santa Ynez Valley is truly an incredible place to live.

And it irks me that somewhere with crumbling freeway pavement and too many strip malls and teeth-gritting traffic feels homier than it does here. I really cannot wait for the day when that switch flips and the windmills of Solvang and vineyards of Santa Rita make me feel more at home than the bright lights of Hollywood.

Until then, we'll keep feathering our nest. Making it more and more our own. Connecting with people in our community. Learning the land around us.

Building our home where one didn't used to exist.


  1. It took me a couple years to stop staying "I'm going home" when I was talking about California. Now I feel Washington is home in my heart but there will always be a part of me that feels at home in CA. The familiarity will always be there I think.

    1. It's good to read this. I worried that our new home will never really feel like home, but you make me think someday it will.

  2. I love this tribute to your homes. Who says we only can have one? I struggle, because even though I have lived in Chicago for almost 20 years, I don't think of Chicago as home. I always say "we're headed back to Chicago." It really does feel like the place I'm supposed to be right now and for the foreseeable future, but I moved around enough as a kid to know I could be happy somewhere else, too. Shoot, I have been happy in other places. So, the term "home" for me means the physical structure, rather than the place.

    1. I think you're fortunate to have moved. I didn't move enough, which is why shedding the old home seems to be so difficult! I think I'll always think of St. Louis as your real home. ;)

  3. Funny, my experience is the exact opposite now. It must be all the moves, but to me I immediately feel like wherever I am is home.

    1. You're very worldly. Clearly, I need to hang out with you more.


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