Before I had even visited Southern California, I had a much different idea of what the residents of the state actually did here. I thought everyone lived at the beach. There were beaches and ocean – why would you not spend every waking moment there? I hadn’t considered having to park a car and cart infinite beach essentials with me.
The first time I came out to San Diego to visit my brother, I was 20 years old. I came out with my parents and the main objective was to work on the house he had just bought. That was absolutely not my idea of fun. He had a pool, which wasn’t heated and a bit too cold to swim in, plus it was in the middle of June Gloom and I couldn’t figure out why everyone was so damn excited about San Diego weather. Little did I know how much I would appreciate that June Gloom as a resident.
I got back to Iowa a week later feeling disappointed and let down. This was not the California that I had seen on TV. I wanted to go to that place.
I went back to San Diego the following year in November. It was perfect. Sunny, warm and beautiful. I was sold. I visited my brother at least once a year and after Ryan and I met, he accompanied me for his first trip to California. I believe we went in April and he was sold. Upon our return to Iowa we began the plan of getting married and moving to San Diego. It took about a year and a half, but we did it.
Neither one of us had a job, but we didn’t care – we were confident we would find one and eventually we both did and even started on the same day. During that time of unemployment, we had a little money in our pocket, but we didn’t want to spend it on things that we didn’t need. Our entertainment was reliant upon all things free, which are kind of hard to come by in California.
We would go to the beach, Balboa Park, free museums, flea markets, etc – pretty much anything you could think of that was outside and didn’t have a parking lot (unless the event was in a parking lot), we were there.
Once we started working, we realized that our weekends were to be cherished. We at least had money that we could spend on entertainment, which was nice, but after working all week to be able to afford to live in San Diego, I didn’t want to do much besides lie around the pool, which is still one of my favorite things to do in the world.
I go to the beach a lot more than I used to since I don’t work and that is getting me a little closer to the California lifestyle I envisioned before I moved here. However, there was still something missing. The one thing that every movie that was shot in Southern California had…a bonfire on a beach at night.
Last night my California dream came true thanks to my friends Patty and Darren. Apparently you have to get up at about 5:00am to get a fire pit. Darren got there at 9:00am, the pits were all taken, but he scored a picnic table right next to an already claimed pit. After warming up our neighbors with some leftover pizza, they allowed us to roast marshmallows on their fire. I took multiple pictures of sunsets, obligatory couple photos, kids frolicking in the waves and of course, the fire.