Way back in the dark annals of history, when I first started blogging, I wrote the following:
There are a few things about California that are simply in my blood… there are just some things about northern California that I will never get over missing.
I miss the way the breeze picks up each afternoon around 2, no matter how hot the day. I miss the lovely, thick blankets of fog rolling over the mountains that divide the Bay from the Pacific ocean. I miss the Redwood trees as big around as my living room, and their lovely furry bark that is impervious to fire (did you know that?). I miss the smell of night-blooming flowers and jasmine that are everywhere. I miss the smell of the ocean, and the sound of crashing waves. I miss the taste of salt on my lips, and the wind whipping my hair around as I drive down the coast…
What I don’t miss is the impossible real-estate market… I don’t miss crabby people who don’t have time to smile because their lives are so busy and important. I don’t miss my 45 minute commute to get less than 10 miles. I don’t miss the competitive nature of life, where even the preschool you send you toddler to has status. I don’t miss crowds at the grocery store, the farmers market, the parks, campgrounds, national parks and restaurants. I miss my family; I don’t miss all the other people.
But I do know why they all want to live here.
That still pretty much sums up my feelings. Although, I would change that I don’t miss all the other people- I think I might, just a little bit. The diversity is amazing, and something I wish we had a little more of here in the Northwest. Because of the tremendous tax-base the cities on the peninsula have, their parks, streets and amenities are all fantastic. The food choices, restaurants, grocers and markets as amazing- everything from Armenia to Zaire is represented- and represented well. When you have so many people from so many cultures living together, and living together well, it’s the ideal “Melting Pot” in action. And it’s a beautiful thing.
In my mom’s upper-middle class neighborhood, she has an old white republican guy on one side, an interracial couple on the other, a Punjabi famiy across the street (who invite neighbors over for meditation nights) and, literally, dozens of other races and nationalities up and down the street. As we went Trick-or-Treating on Halloween night, it was fun to see who would answer the door- and I found myself a little sad at the lack different faces in my own neighborhood.
The face of America is changing. No longer do races necessarily congregate in their own pockets, like they once did in the big cities. And as more and more people grow up in colorful schools and homes, more and more people will marry and have children of varied heritage. Our differences become less pronounced and our common humanity comes to the forefront. That’s a very good thing.
So that’s what I was thinking about. As I headed home on Tuesday night, the election returns were just starting to come in from the East coast. When I landed, we had a new president. I’m proud- not because we elected an African American- but because it’s possible that we can do so. I’m proud that Barack Obama was elected in a non-contested, clearly won election. I’m proud the torch can be passed, and that Mr Obama will not be the ‘black’ president, but just Mr. President.
That’s a very good thing.