Carpinteria, California, USA

Four weeks ago I went to visit R in Carpinteria, the little beachside town he lives in that’s tacked on the edge of Southern California.

I had never been to California before this trip but I’ve seen movies about it. And isn’t it interesting that even though I’ve seen movies about it and heard about the beach and the movie stars and the palm trees I thought that was all talk? California had become something of a crystallized shimmering dream to me instead of a real place. But, wow. It’s definitely real.

The whole town seems to sit on two main roads right off the highway. One road leading to the beach, and the other leading to worldly desires such as a library, a church, a grocery store, and of course the only establishment that makes a town a “town” instead of “the middle of nowhere”: Starbucks.

The first night that I arrived, R and I ate at a little restaurant outside where I proceeded to get tipsy off one hard kombucha and then we stuffed ourselves with biscoff ice cream cones as we walked back to his house. The whole time I could smell the salt of the sea. I could taste the ocean hanging in the air.

When we finally got to the beach a few days later, I was so happy. There’s just something endlessly special about standing in the ocean feeling the waves lap at your feet and pull at your heels. I felt so human in that moment. Human and mortal in the presence of the almighty. The ocean herself. Neither human nor mortal. “Beautiful” is simply the greatest understatement of all time when describing the ocean but it’ll do for now.

R and I got to explore the Santa Barbara area, Ventura, and a huge pier with a little aquarium built right on the end of it! We also ate our weight in ice cream, slathered on our weight in sunscreen, and cried about the state of housing in the United States. Or more accurately, I cried and R patted my back.

I can honestly say I get it. Why you all love California so much. I see why there are movies about it and songs and hotels named after it. I suppose next the next place to visit is New York, who I believe rivals California in number of Americans in their fan club.

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