Some days when we are out and about in the city, I feel like such an island mouse rather than a town mouse. I think I am so spoiled with the quiet and nature of home. We have moved on from Sebastopol and are now in Oakland in the Bay Area. We are staying in my brother's house while he is staying in ours.
Here is my list of things I miss about island life and things I love about city life.
I miss the sounds of the ferry horn which we hear nearly every hour of the day. Sometimes the fridge here will make a weird sound and for a second I think it is the ferry. The ferry sound is always a comforting one.
I love being surrounded by food I can eat. Dh said to me that if I can't eat gluten free in Berkeley then I can't eat anywhere. We went to a pizza house called Pizza Rustica where they will put any pizza topping in their menu on a gluten free crust. Do you know how rare this is to enjoy pizza out? It was an amazing meal. I also ordered the roasted garlic and was enjoying all flavors so much. Eating out with a gluten allergy usually means a lot of tasteless meals. I can have meat but no sauces, plain brown rice or salad with just oil and vinegar. When I taste food filled with a lot of flavor, my mouth just melts. We also found a restaurant in Berkeley called "Cafe Gratitude" which is nearly all gluten free. They serve organic food and most of it is live and raw. I have never had an experience like this one but it was fantastic. Their lemonade was truly the best I ever tasted sweetened with agave instead of sugar. I felt so alive there and filled with freedom to order anything I wanted. A strange feeling to have when most menus are saturated with gluten and usually leave me feeling sad. I even had a raspberry/blackberry cream pie with a nut crust. It was incredible. The restaurant is all about being grateful. Each dish has a special name like "I am Giving. I am Accepting." When you place an order, you use these words and the wait person says it back to you and of course you say yes.
I miss the quiet of my non vacation life. I miss not hearing lots of noise. Even when I run into town at home it is generally very quiet. I find the city life too noisy and stimulating for me. My brother lives near a rose garden park and it is tranquil and a little bit magical. Cerys and I took a walk up there this afternoon and could feel the magic in the air. We saw many large birds that I think were kestrels. They were flying above us and drinking water from a cascading fountain. We felt more at home there than walking down the busy streets which were just a couple blocks away.
This isn't really much to do with city life but I do enjoy the Bay Area climate and understand why so many people are drawn here. It is such an ideal climate with blue skies, sunshine and the perfect temperature for summer. Apparently up in the Seattle area they have had quite a bit of rain which makes me grateful for every sunny day we have had here. Sometimes I don't want to even go home but just stay in the rose garden basking in the sun. Maybe they wouldn't notice a small tent beneath the grove of trees with a mama and her two small children.
I miss my small town thrift stores. I think I am very spoiled by our local thrift stores. I haven't had the luck I had last year down here. Maybe more people are swooping down and buying all of the vintage items or maybe the workers are keeping them back to sell online as many Goodwill's have started doing recently. I tried a couple thrift stores that were neighbors to antique stores and they were beyond dry. I can imagine that they are frequented daily by antique dealers.
I love being able to go brush my teeth at 10 pm and enjoy flamenco dancing from the bathroom window. The closest we get on the island is belly dancing at our local curry house. The best I can see from my bathroom window is an old cedar tree. Keiran watched for at least ten minutes, enthralled with the music and dancing.
I miss driving slowly without a car behind me or in front of me. I love the peaceful slow roads we have at home. I remember when we lived near Oxford in the UK that I never was able to drive on a road without company. It wasn't until we moved to Wales that life slowed down for me. This was a good thing as I struggled learning to not only drive on the left side of the road but driving with the stick shift in my left hand. I was doubly challenged. It seems like everyone lately drives at least 10 mph past the speed limit which leaves me limping along in the right lane trying to enjoy the views around me.
My mind is reeling with ideas of how to stay here or how to spend more time down in CA next summer. Maybe do a two month exchange for the summer in the south of the Bay Area so David could work. Of course when I go home I will be so grateful to be there too. I remember in June how I considered not leaving home at all so I could take care of my garden all summer. I'm grateful we had this vacation in the sun and to show the children the type of summers I grew up with. My summers consisted of playing, swimming, sitting in the sun and traveling throughout CA in an old 1958 GMC Carryall. It didn't have air condition, we didn't have to wear seat belts and it had a water bag on the front grill which we used either to drink from or put in the radiator if the engine became too hot. It's what summer memories should be made of.
I haven't had a photo to share in awhile so I'm posting a thrift find of mine that I found just before we left for California.
$10.00 for the lot of them. These are the exact same dolls that I had when I was young and they must be one of my happiest toy memories of my childhood.
Having been born a hopeless romantic, these two were always a couple. Huckleberry Pie and Blueberry Muffin. That pesky Lemon Meringue was always trying to come between them but was never successful. Later the two adopted Apple Dumpling and were a perfect little family. These dolls look like they were never played with. They are in such beautiful condition.
They also came with all of this.
Dh didn't understand my joy of this find but then he was 18 when I was 8. I was really into Strawberry Shortcake and friends. I was going to give them to Cerys to play with but at the last minute I hesitated. Maybe I'll give them to her on her 8th birthday.