I've been in Oregon for a week, and already I'm torn. I absolutely love it here, but I miss home terribly. The funny thing is, I miss home in all the wrong ways and for all the wrong reasons, except one: I miss Kenzie. I miss her little voice in the morning and taking her to dance class and watching Tangled or Thumbelina with her on repeat. I really miss what a little love bug she is when she's tired - so snuggly. Yeah, I miss my baby something awful.
But I miss my old haunts more than the rest of my family. I mean, honestly, the distance is a godsend, we were on the road to killing each other. But my car, the park, the parking structures, Denny's, Rose and Kara... Those are hard to do without.
Mostly, I miss the inherent California-ness of SoCal. The smell of jasmine exploding into bloom everywhere you look, the warmth of the sun and the constant dry heat as familiar as an old quilt - irreplaceable. There aren't jacaranda trees here, either. Tons of roses and flowers we don't even have names for at home, but no purple trees, and no jasmine. Tomato plants here are pathetic to behold and the beaches!? Quaint, but cold and empty. The concept of beach weather is nonexistent (though the drive there and back is far more fun than at home).
Salem has plenty to offer, though. For once, my relatives actually treat me like an adult (thank God), which means I can use the car as-needed, run errands without being interrogated, dictate my own work hours (within reason, of course), and generally do my own thing provided I meet my responsibilities and am not offensive or destructive; easy. The bus system is also incredibly user-friendly, and "town" is so fun to explore. From zillions of coffee shops and tiny little boutiques to big stores like Khol's and Macy's - and everything in-between - this town really has just about everything (even a Trader Joe's!). The very heart of downtown is prime people watching and did I mention all the funky coffee shops? The Beanerie, Governor's Cup, IKE Box, on and on and on, I love it.
We've got a pretty good routine built up, too. I drive my aunt to work in the morning, wander around town for an hour or so, go home and work with Margaret, spend afternoons writing and then go pick up my aunt before Margaret and I make dinner. Then we kick back with a glass of wine and a pot of tea, and spend the evening watching comedy news programs and British dramedies (love the BBC!) before bed. So... it's not quite home, but it's definitely shaping up to be something like it.