Sunday, February 28

Our Love Affair with Southern California

The Manhattan Beach Pier and one of our feathered friends.
A view from Palos Verdes.
Every year when we discuss vacation possibilities, there's always one definite on our list:
Southern California.
It's like home to us, which is funny because neither of us has ever lived there.
Manhattan Beach Boulevard - the center of my universe.
But our hearts are there. When the plane touches down in L.A., I know I'm home. Luckily for me, Jonathan has grown to love it just as much as I do. We love the warm weather, the pedestrian-friendly streets, the ecletic shopping, the food, the mid-century buildings, and the laid-back lifestyle.
Most of all, we love the ocean. If we could, we'd live in a tiny cottage by the ocean and never leave. Since we can't do that, we make the four hour trip by plane to the Pacific Ocean once a year, and we walk along the beach between Manhattan and Redondo, inching closer to the Palos Verdes pennisula.
This place is in my blood. My great-grandmother lived in Palos Verdes until her death, and at her request, her ashes were scattered in the ocean. My mother went to high school here. My grandmother lived in nearby Cerritos until her death in 2003.
Me and Jonathan in PV in Summer 2005. That's my great-grandmother's house at the bottom right. I never met her. She passed away the summer before my mother started her senior year in high school. Beautiful La Venta Inn with the Pacific Ocean in the background.
I first visited California when I was three months old. I love my grandmother's house more than my own home. It's just a simple house on a simple street about 20 minutes from the ocean, but she lived there for 30 years. Her garden is filled with her roses, some of which she brought from my great-grandmother's garden in Palos Verdes. My great-grandmother's fabulous 1960s coffee table and lamps are in her living room. There is an orange tree and a palm tree in the backyard.
Jonathan and I come here every year. We cook in her kitchen, and we take her towels when we go to the beach.
At the end of each trip, we don't really want to leave, but we always know we're coming back.
In the meantime, we dream of the ocean and enjoy our memories from our special place.
Where is your special place?

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