Friday, August 24, 2007

Return to California

I got in yesterday from a week in California. My grandma rents a cabin in the high country for a few weeks, and the family traditionally convenes for a week of swimming, hiking, and enjoying the cool mountain air. I haven’t been back to California for almost a year, and it was strange to be back. At first, I felt a jolt as I drove from the Sacramento airport to my parent’s house. I had forgotten that air can be so dry and land so parched. North Carolina is like the tropics, in comparison. After arriving home, it almost seemed like my year in NC had never happened; I guess the familiarity of home, and the contrast between California and NC, made my year away seem like a dream sequence in a movie.

The time at the cabin was lovely. I did my typical running and mt. biking escapes, struggling in the thin air. My good friends Cheri and Dylan drove down from Oregon with their new baby, Ritter, so I spent more time actually around people than I typically do when at the cabin. My protocol in the previous years has been to grab my bike and hit the mountain trails for the majority of the day. It was nice to see everyone.

Flying back was, well, it sucked. I had a red eye, which I booked thinking it would be nice to sleep the whole flight and wake up in Raleigh. My flight was supposed to go from Sacramento to LA, then LA to Raleigh. My Sacramento flight was late leaving, and when we landed in LA, we taxied to, what felt like the next county, only to have to catch a bus in the reverse direction back to the terminal. I missed my Sacramento connection. No problem, the ticket lady told me. We got you booked for the next Atlanta flight. Well, to make a long story short, I got bumped off that flight, and the next, until finally, at 2 a.m, I was able to catch a flight to Atlanta. Anybody who has been around me when I’m tired knows that it’s not a pretty scene. I’m not a night person, and being bumped off multiple flights makes a monster out of me, to put it mildly. Anyways, finally, I made it to Raleigh, at 11 a.m., where I was left with a 2 hr. drive to Winston-Salem. Lesson from the trip: I’m going to limit my West Coast journeys to Seattle, and I think I’ll avoid red eyes.

I’m so glad to be home. Driving on the freeway back to WS yesterday I had a whole new appreciation for damp air, green foliage, clean roads, guys that dress in polo shirts and argyle, and the southern drawl. I even did a true native North Carolinan move: I stopped for food at Bojangles. For those of you from the West, Bojangles is southern fast food. No "I'm Lovin' It!" healthy yogurt parfait options at Bojangles: just fried chicken, sweet tea, and really good biscuits. I'm typically anti-fast food, and true to my California roots, I regularly consume soy milk and tempeh, but I was so relieved to be back in NC that I was like, bring on those biscuits!

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