Hey there! I'm Vivian. Sometimes I write about life and sometimes I write about teaching.

My husband likes to say he grew up in Shangri-La and when we visit his hometown of Carmel, California, it’s easy to see why, even with all of the changes that have happened over the last five decades. Amongst the new McMansions you can still see pockets of forest that he and his friends played in. In the early mornings, you can imagine what it would’ve been like to walk the beach before so many tourists began to visit. Have you ever been to Carmel-By-The-Sea? You may know it because of one of its famous mayors–Clint Eastwood. I’m fortunate to have married into a family that has lived there since the mid-1960’s, well before Mr. Eastwood became a resident.

This last weekend we took a weekend trip there to visit my in-laws and my stepson who is currently living with his grandparents. On on of our traditional morning beach walks, the topic of the pros and cons of living in California came up. There’s a lot of talk in the media about all of its ills (and there are quite a few), but some of those complaints are actually misrepresentations. For example, taxes. It’s always portrayed that we pay so much more in taxes, but it turns out that we may actually pay less than say…Texas. I think people who like to criticize California also underestimate its inherent beauty and the diversity we have both in people and geography.

I am a California native, born and bred. I was born in Pasadena, the home of the Rose Parade and still live only 15 minutes away from the parade route. I’ve only lived outside of the state for 6 months, when my family moved to Houston, Texas. (What a traumatic experience!) While the San Gabriel Valley is no Carmel, I can see the mountains outside my window and the beach is just a little over 30 minute drive. How could I live in another state?

  1. Vivian, I love California and wish I’d moved there 40 years ago when it was more affordable and less crowded. Every state has problems, but I’d say CA has more going for than against it. I’ll be in Anaheim for NCTE in November and am excited to visit your gorgeous state once again.

  2. Ona says:

    I’m so glad to read this slice. I have been to California two times, and both times I have felt such peace! I hear so many terrible things about the state, and always wonder why my experiences don’t match those at all!

    Last summer I took the kids across country – we were only going to go as far as Colorado, and then swoop back to PA. But the kids convinced me that we should drive to California. It added a week to our trip – and ended up being all of our favorites. Carmel was top on the list.
    To me, there is nothing like driving along Rt 1, with the sea right there. I can’t wait to go back.

  3. Joanne says:

    I am a native of New Jersey, another state with a bad rap. I have driven cross-country 6 times ending in California and driving up and down it’s beautiful coast! I have fond memories of Carmel. California is certainly a treasure. Thanks for this moment to remember.

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