Friday, January 08, 2010

The Californian

My love for biographies has led me to Julia Child's My Life In France which I am very near devouring at the expense of making any headway on Christopher Plummer's In Spite of Myself. I love Julia's colloquial style of story telling, her casually interspersed and impossible to pronounce French terms. And I was quite excited to learn that she was a native Californian from Pasadena, actually, which I felt privileged to be able to call to mind as she was describing it.

As I read about her life in California I found myself thinking "She's a Californian, like me!" It was a fleeting but warm feeling of kinship and then a startling realization: "I'm a Californian. I now consider myself a Californian?" I put down the book and turned inward for some self-scrutiny. If one has been a Pennsylvanian since birth and then for 25 subsequent years, can one's brief encounter (4 years) with another 'world' change an entire facet of one's identity? It can. It has. I feel most at home driving the freeways of the Inland Empire, even if I don't always catch my exit before it goes flying by. The landscape is familiar and heartwarming, even as I lament the fact that there's no horizon to speak of. Our little family has lived here longer than we've lived anywhere else and to that I attribute my heartstring attachment. It's true. I am a Californian in my heart, the connection is buried deep in my identity. It seems that Julia found her heart when she left California to move to France, and maybe it's only true that your heart is where your home is. But now my heart is here and it feels mighty good to wrap myself in the cocoon of my California home.

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