I think it goes without saying that people in California and Southern California specifically are, well, different. I will miss these people. The laid back, beachy, anything goes, but I still have a valid, educated opinion attitude. I hope that I find a similar crowd of like-minded people in DC but I'm skeptical. I truly think this is the thing I'll miss most about living here. I always felt at home. I felt welcome. I felt like finding myself was encouraged here. I never had to fit inside a box. Some of the world's most open, loving, and accepting minds are in San Diego. And, because of them, I can honestly say, my life has been forever changed.
I moved to San Diego because of its pure, natural beauty. The ocean, the valleys, the mountains, the city. We have everything here. Even after every sunset I saw, the next one was even more captivating. Nature inspired me more than ever here in San Diego. I was inspired by the palm trees cast upon stark blue skies just as much as I was inspired by the colder January months accompanied by the chilly bay breeze.
San Diego is known for its Mexican food and I have to say, San Diego also knows how to do sushi better than any place I've been. I branched out a lot in California and tried a great variety of restaurants, even before I went vegan. I was opened up to a whole new world and I have been inspired to find new cuisine and restaurants in DC that I love equally as much!
SD was also the first city where I really branched out of my social/dating circle. I got to see all parts of San Diego County. The DC area is even more spread out so it really takes a lot to get to know all parts of town. Being in San Diego, it didn't take much to understand the vibes of each neighborhood. Little Italy differed from Hillcrest and that differed from La Jolla, Coronado, Gaslamp, Mission Bay, etc.
I never knew I'd miss guys wearing black socks with Vans so much. It goes without saying that California fashion differs from the rest of the world. Fashion trends are born here and, sadly, many never make it around to the rest of the world. I am going to miss men wearing tank tops. Who knew?
I learned more about beer in the one year of living in SD than in all my other years of living. Craft beer is a culture and SD knows what's up. I will always be partial to Ballast Point but so many of the other local breweries (Stone, Coronado, Green Flash, etc.) will always be my favorites. It is SUCH a unique city to live in for this very reason.
In San Diego, I never was judged for saying words such as, "Dude," "Wonky" and "Homie" all the time. I can see why that is not going to fly in the streets of Georgetown. Doesn't mean I'm going to change the way I speak...!
The pace of life:
I grew up in the most political and governmental city in the world. It's no wonder I moved to carefree California. Meeting so many native San Diegans who literally just went with the flow and took life as it came, helped "mellow" me out (another word we San Diegans use a lot.) I promise myself I will keep this pace of life as I go onward, never getting stuck in the crazy DC hustle and bustle.
I think that no matter where we live, we can create and thrive in the environment best for us. Don't listen to what others tell you is "right" or "in your best interest" for you and your career. Just do what feels most in-tune to your nature and your path. Find the people in your city who will lift and support you. Most importantly, create a life that lifts and supports your own goals. I will never live a life that doesn't support my true self ever again.