I’m sitting here in my hometown of Hanford, CA – the town I swore over twelve years ago that I would never return to again.  (This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced life’s irony.) The familiar sound of the train is whistling by and I hear crows squawking outside.  The day is cold and damp; morning fog still lingers in a hauntingly magical wintery way.   All of these things are familiar and comforting yet so new and fresh.  The last three months have been just like this moment now.  Nostalgia dominates my emotions and its like I’m seeing my hometown for the first time – and damn is it charming!  The prideful former San Diegan in me hates to admit it, but I’m starting to fall in love with Hanford.  Being back in the place where I was born and grew up is weirdly exciting and a little terrifying all at once.

Let’s start with the terrifying, shall we?

The Terrifying

1. Small town living has some major cons.  The biggest is lack of restaurants.  I was so spoiled in San Diego with its variety of cuisine.  Sushi (my favorite), Indian, Italian, Mexican….I’m dying in the food department!  Like a piece of my heart is broken over it.  There is literally only a Chili’s, an Applebee’s, a few other local restaurants (one is called Fugazzi’s and is pretty good despite the horribly slow service) – and a million fast food restaurants.  No wonder obesity is so high here.  On the upside – I’m cooking more than I have in months.  And I love cooking.  I just also love sushi.

2. I need a friend.  Yeah, it’s kinda that pathetic.  I miss my friends in San Diego and I love my built-in bestie’s (aka my sisters), but now that I’ve lived in my new (old) town for a few months I’m longing for friends.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had to make friends.  It kind of reminds me of dating.  You know, like when you see a person who looks like they might be someone you’d like (say, at your kids classroom Christmas party) and so in an attempt to get to know them and see what they’re about you Facebook them and then decide to send a friend request but once sent you immediately think that might seem weird or creepy so you decide to send a message explaining why you added them as a friend, citing the fact that you have so many mutual friends…then you realize that might be creepy too because you’ve sent them a message AND disclosed that you’ve checked how many mutual friends you actually have. You wonder if you appear as lame and pitiful as you feel.  (This happened.  Yesterday.  Fer real.) Imagine my relief when my could-be-future-friend responded to my message with grace and we agreed to meet after Christmas.

3. Family.  I haven’t lived within 300 miles of my family since I was 20 years old, so being in a 5 minute radius of my parents, sisters, and in-laws…it’s been an adjustment.

The Exciting

1. Organic food DOES exist in Hanford!  Praise GOD!  Savemart (our local grocery) is no Trader Joe’s and my youngest daughter asks where Coba (our former TJ’s mascot) is every time we grocery shop, but I’m just happy I have access to organics!

2.  Weather!  Can we just talk about this for a minute?!   I LOVE that there are seasons here.  This is something I didn’t love about San Diego….perfectly sunny weather nearly all the time.  I had to create seasons indoors since life was so void of anything but summer outdoors.  Don’t get me wrong, I love nice sunny days, but every now and then a girl needs a chilly overcast day to do nothing.  It’s like God himself is giving me permission to stay in my pj’s, drink tea, listen to classical music and read all day long.  I feel more loved by God in Hanford. ; )

3. Family.  I know that I already categorized family as “the terrifying” but living near family also falls into “the exciting” box as well.  This is the whole reason we moved back and it still feels oddly surreal to SEE my family on a daily basis.  I’m loving it.  My nephews know me and even my little niece seems to recognize me now.  It makes any gripes worth it.  And my kids are happier.  That trumps everything.

Shine On Friends,