Tuesday, July 29, 2008

California looks a lot different than the East Coast

This is a bit of an understatement, I know. But I was on the East Coast (Pennsylvania, Massachusetts) for so long that I managed to forget. The U.S. is a big country, and because we have such an expansive freeway system and a common (for the most part) language, it's easy to forget. But really, the Atlantic and the Pacific are a long, long way away from each other. I had a roommate in Philadelphia treat me like I was stupid because I could not figure out that the tree in the back yard was an oak tree. I know what an oak tree looks like - I was raised in the country, I was a logger's daughter, for krissakes. But in Philadelphia, an oak tree looks like this, and to me, an oak tree was like this or this. There is not just one tree, and you stick me in the woods in California, and I could readily play Name That Tree. (Of course, even the concept of "woods" is different on the East Coast, at least below Maine. This is what I consider "woods," whereas this was the Mid-Atlantic notion of "woods." Notice the difference?)

But, flora aside, the weather and even the quality of the light and air is different. (Thank goodness - I am allergic to Philadelphia! Can you say, five year cough?) My former partner-boyfriend-whatnot was amazed at San Francisco's ability to be simultaneously overcast and summery without also being muggy and filthy. Right now, it is July, and the high expected today is 67 degrees F. It was breezy, too. I wore a cardigan. In Philadelphia today? High of 90 degrees F. Boston? 88.

Then there's architecture, and the way people garden. People generally like to garden in California - it's obvious just walking down the street. This may be because people actually have some yard, but I lived in places on the East Coast with yards, and it just wasn't the same. It's hard to put my finger on it exactly, but in my opinion, Californians are more relaxed about their gardening. The yards may not be tidy, but they are gardened. Sometimes with abandon.

(This is a birdhouse post in the driveway at Sibling #3's wedding last month.)

I have been away from California long enough to think that the East Coast way was normal, so when I came back, I saw the difference. It was like running into an old friend with whom you have almost always gotten along swimmingly, so much so that you wonder why you ever lost touch, and why you now hang out with such tight-asses.

So, while I still have some wonder, I will be posting pics every now and then of California stuff. Things like stuccoed bungalows, manicured trees and camellia bushes; beaches, and birdhouses and, of course, people flopping around in rivers.


Jeanette said...

Evergreen Oaks? Thta is wicked wrong (said by one of the tight asses)

I am glad that you have no regrets on moving back. Of course, I never expected that you would have any! Miss you though!

Carrie K said...

OTOH, fall means something entirely differently in the East than it does out here. I honestly thought we had fall.

Not so much.

68? Why do I live in the East Bay? Well, it's been nice these last few days.