In this week's look at What's Your California Dream?, we've been sharing the stories of listeners who have left California behind. In this installment, Jill Hocking explains that California tried to get rid of her.
I moved from Virginia to the north shore of Lake Tahoe in California right after college in 1997. I had never been to the state, but had visions of hot sunny days and blond people. After the long cross-country drive, I couldn't wait to see my new home in Sunny California. However, it rained for a week straight! The floods eventually receded, revealing the bluest sky (and lake) I have yet to see. But I was not prepared for the chilliness once the sun went down. On the 4th of July, I stood shivering in a fleece jacket, watching fireworks from the shore of the lake, wondering where all the blonds were.
California tried to get rid of me. I paid over $1,000 to register my out-of-state junker car due to smog fees. I went swimming in Lake Tahoe and discovered ice-cold waters and sharp toe-biting rocks. I lost my glasses and sprained my ankle learning to cross-county ski. I put chains on my tires on the shoulder of I-80 during an epic El Nino winter.
After 5 1/2 years at Lake Tahoe, I returned to the east coast. My time in California seems like a dream now. I've re-registered my car for $36. When it snows, I don't drive, and there's never enough to ski. In the summer, I make a bee-line for the air-conditioning and imagine dipping my feet (carefully) into the icy blue waters of Lake Tahoe. California wasn't for me, but I'm glad to know it's there.
If you'd like to share your story of finding (or abandoning) the California Dream, use the contact page provided here.