I hopped in my trusty Corolla and I was off, happy to be away from congested freeways and seeing wide open spaces and farm land as I blasted El Canto del loco from my iPod. I was ready to get away from the hectic-ness of the Bay, the stress and uncertainty of job searching. I had anticipated this trip for a few months, eager to see some friends I only saw for a flash as our travel paths crossed in the Bay- as they had return from travels and I had just crash landed back to the Bay.
Friends from my pre Spanish life, working in the dirt and exciting kids about the wonders of ladybugs, green striped tomatoes and strawberries, I was eager their new pad in a 2 lane town.
The rural life.
It’s no secret that one day I hope to live a simpler life with a small plot of land to cultivate and reap it’s bounty. I was curious about their new space and excited to spend quality time with good friends.
K was waiting for me in town- a short two lane road with delicious restaurants, a quaint bookstore with a lovable pup, a hotel, a small, post office, hardware store and a few other shops. The type of town that after 3o minutes on winding roads in picturesque country when you finally arrive in town, you may just blaze right past it, like I did.
I knew this was going to be a perfect weekend away.
Sampling a favorite local Panini spot with big wooden benches and tables outside, we caught up on life; crafting and chasing new dreams while making the most of our everyday in between bites of our delicious roast beef and Gruyère melt.
My heart sang when we arrived at her abode, a cozy wooden home with windows overlooking the land. “Come for a tour,” she said after I just took off my shoes. I slid my brown mary jane crocs back on and romped around outside. A visit to the green house, the beautiful chickens and oh my, check out the bounty of apples. Plenty still clung to the trees but I was eager to salvage the ones that called it quits. “Apple sauce time,” I said. And then my mind got carried away about all the possible things I could learn to make from apples. Apple crumble, apple pie, apple cider, cider, apple butter…oh the possibilities but soon came back to Earth and decided starting small was best.
One project. One at a time.
I sliced apples with a cool new kitchen gadget- a mandolin- K just bought and she felt a pang of anxiety rush through her when she peeked over and it appeared I was about to slice my thumb. Oops. I easily get cared away and through precaution to the wind. Maybe this tool is too cool… or maybe following directions for certain things in the kitchen is a good idea.
Sliced apples, a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon sticks simmered on the stove top, filling the house with a glorious aroma.
While in my element, K knew just the right moment to get my opinion and see my reaction about the town she now calls home. You see, one of the downsides to a small town is you don’t always have the grand mix of folks cities and towns bring, meaning making deep connections and good friends maybe just a bit harder. K has been working her magic convincing friends to make her new town, the new hip spot. I don’t blame her. How grand would life be, if all my friends could be in one place? “So you ready to move out here? Out of all of our friends, I think you’d be the one to move,” she told me.
She’s right. She knows me pretty well considering we worked together for almost a year and shared our goals and fears while we prepped garden beds and created curriculum. I do want the simpler life and being out in the country away from the hustle and bustle is alluring, though they may be pushing the too-rural envelope for me. I want a plot of land to grow my food. A place to raise my future kids where they’re free to roam and be connected with nature. I want to be near the ocean too and have someone to share it with. BUT… The nagging BUT has been lingering within me for a while as I feel my own inflicted self-pressure to figure out my next steps, and figure out the dreaded 6-letter word-career so I can have what I imagine. I’m not ready to start over for the 3rd time, even if it’s in my state… just yet. Returning to the Bay Area where I have support from friends and family has already been an interesting ride and a sufficient transition.
We soon packed into the car to head into town to go a restaurant appropriately named after me. Yup. I have my very own restaurant in places I’ve never been to before. We sat with a group of friends they’ve gotten to know and a few new folks, like it or not you cant be anonymous in a small town. I gorged myself on a delicious hamburger and chuckled to myself of the after effects of living in Spain. My pre-Spanish life, I rarely ate red meat and burgers were only a memory from child hood. Then we got comfortable in our chairs to stay for the long haul of trivia. Trivia has never been my thing in part because random facts and historical dates have never stayed long enough in my memory.
The following day we leisurely awoke and K treated me to kale scramble wraps. Yum. Soon after, we set off over the curvy and windy valley admiring the trees and brown hills, and laughed at how California weather was still stuck on summer mode as leaves on the trees were the only sign November was already here. She had school work to do so we our goal of the day was observing a ceremony at the City of 10,000 buddha’s, a place I had never heard of but is well-regarded within the Buddhism community. I snapped photos of the iridescent peacocks that walked graciously on the premises as K waited patiently for me, as our tummies growled in excitement of supporting the local Thai restaurant on the premises.
The best part about a “no- plan- getaway” weekend is enjoying the small things and the newness of a place never visited before. I’m continuously surprised, despite spending most of my life in California, there are endless places to still discover and witness, taste and explore.
To many more local adventures on my turf as I ponder and pursue what’s next!
The never-ending adventure called Life!
Have you been surprised by the amount of places in your own State or Country you’ve never been before? Are you a city dweller or prefer the countryside life?
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