As I mentioned in my Vlog, where I talked very quickly, I've lived a few different places. I've been saying for a while that I've lived in Dallas longer than anywhere else in my life, which is only true if you split up my time in The Bay Area into when I lived in the city (on the Presidio, which I think is cool) and when we lived in Marin Co. But really, let's just count that all as one area, because... really, it is. City & suburbs... so, I've still got California as the place I've lived the longest*, and while I guess I'm technically from there, I don't really feel like I get to call myself a California girl most of the time, and certainly not a San Francisco girl, even though it is still my bridge. Since I think Chicago is technically part of the Mid-West the way the rest of the country divides things, though not in my mind, I think that makes me a Mid-West girl, if anything. Anyway, this realization came about while planning my upcoming trip to San Francisco.
First, Jennie shared a link for some RIDICULOUSLY cheap flights from DFW to SFO, but we couldn't use them for Christmas (when my parents were going to be out there), so we decided to go as a birthday trip for me. Awesome. We were going to rent a car and I realized... I'd never driven to my Grandma's house. I know right where it is (corner of West Ln and Stadium Dr), but I've never driven there. Ever. By the time I was old enough to drive, we lived halfway across the country, so I flew out there and got driven around. Every trip since then has been with enough people that I've never been the one behind the wheel. I think I may have driven to a grocery store from my aunt's house... and maybe with my cousin navigating from my grandma's house to my aunt's house... but that's it. Crazy. Some plans changed & we aren't renting a car, so this will continue to be true!
See, this is why I don't think of myself as a California girl anymore. I'm sure I did for a while, and probably longer than I maybe should have, but after talking to my cousins who actually did grow up there, all the way through high school & college... well, they have a different cultural experience, right? All my high school driving & becoming independent memories are centered around the Tastee Freeze in Grayslake, IL. (Best hot fudge milkshake I've ever had, hands down!) I don't think of myself as from Chicago though. Maybe because I left and most of my friends from high school are still there. Heck, Peter lives within eye-ball distance of our old high school which has changed names and expanded such that I barely recognize it.
Ok, so there is home--where I live, my current city and area of influence in terms of where I hang out and where my friends are and stuff, and that's DFW. Fine. No problem. My brother has been in TX since 1990, so while he's not from here either, he's got as much, if not more Texas than California in him... maybe. He wears boots, so you know, that's something. I do not own those kind of boots. The only boots I currently own have buckles and flames on them. So, that's home.
But then there's Home. Home is where my grandma lives. She & Grandpa have been in the same house since before I could walk. It's the only thing that's been stable my whole life. I mean, not in an emotional way-- my life growing up was fairly scary Norman Rockwellish, but we did move about a bit, so, I don't have that house that is home, when people talk about going home. J's folks have lived in the house they're in now for 20 years or so. It's not the only house he remembers, but most of his childhood memories are centered there. Before I went away to college, we lived in 6 different houses and one temporary apartment. While I have fond memories and some attachment to several of them, none of them are Home in a way I can go back to. Grandma's house is Home. She makes sure there's a box of Cocoa Puffs in the cabinet when I visit. Now that I'm old enough not to spill, I'm allowed to eat my bowl on the coffee table, and at some point, we'll all watch Wheel of Fortune and Grandpa will tell groaner jokes and threaten to trade us all in for pole cats. Grandma will make biscuits and drink Yuban coffee. Or maybe none of that will happen. Well, the biscuits will happen, because that's what I asked Grandma for for my birthday--to teach me how to make the best biscuits I've ever had in my whole life.
Anyway, I'm incredibly blessed because I'm about to be 31 (and my brother 38) years old and have all 4 of the grandparents I was born with. My mom's parents live in Ft. Worth now, so I get to see them pretty often. But California is far, and I have a feeling it's going to get farther once my internal fetus becomes an external baby. Geography works that way, right?
*Although, with the current plan, Dallas will claim that honor very shortly. But I'm still not from here.