After being away from Santa Barbara for the longest period in my life, I at last returned for the four-day weekend, which I made a five-day weekend. I love Santa Barbara and now that I’m not there I love it even more. The open spaces, the sunshine and year-round sandal wearing, the red tile roofs. It’s home.
I had some good family time, barbecue included. I ate at Pepe’s, the best Mexican restaurant in the world, two times. And my sister Ashley was in town for the weekend. I also had some good friends and boyfriend times. I had a girls’ night out, I played ladder ball, I went to the zoo and fed Sulima the giraffe, and I ate Yogurtland.
As I visited Westmont for the long weekend, I felt like, well, a visitor. The campus that’s been my home for two years now was different — new buildings, new people, and (cliché alert!) new April. Everyone kept asking about how great Urban is. The implied and expected answer is of course “Ya it’s AWESOME and I LOVE it and it’s the BEST THING EVER!”
But it’s not. This semester is hard. Put positively, it’s a “growing experience.” But there is such a thing as growing pains and boy do I have them. First of all I don’t like change. I am a creature of habit and I like my routine. So throw me in a new city with new people and I will maybe freak out a little bit. Also I don’t really like big cities that much anyway.
While I was feeling especially grumpy I made a list of all the things that I don’t like about this place — bear with me because it’s hard to keep a positive attitude when all I want to do is be in Santa Barbara. It’s cold all the time and the fog is atrocious. The city is all hills so I basically have to do a strenuous workout if I want to walk. But If I want to take Muni it takes for-freaking-ever to go anywhere. There are a lot of strangers. And creepers. Cat calls are so disrespectful and offensive; I can’t stand them. Seriously what do these men think will come of whistling at me? It’s not flattering at all and I hate it. There are a bunch of hippies who need to stop smoking, wash their hair and do something with their lives. I don’t like cooking and the kitchen is always dirty. The coffee shops have nasty chai. I can’t wear sandals or sundresses or tank tops, which make up my entire wardrobe. Someone in the house has taken it upon him/herself to become Dobby the House Elf, complete with an email address and Facebook page. I live with 27 people and am kind of stuck with them because I don’t know anyone else in this city. It’s not home.
As much as I wanted to dwell on all the badness and sadness, I realized last night that I’ve still got nine weeks here. That’s a long time to be sad. So I also have a list of good things about the city. I’m making new friends. Community dinners mean one less meal I have to make. There are dogs everywhere in this city. My room has a balcony (fire escape…). My room has its own bathroom. I’m getting real-life job experience and skills. The houses are so colorful. I have an endless supply of fruit snacks. I get a weekly stipend. Every week we have a Glee Club. This city has great ice cream and great restaurants. North Beach is delightful. Golden Gate Park is like a forest. I love the clients at work. I get fun things for free, like jeans and concerts. Winter coats are cute and I like to wear scarves. The house is a mansion.
So I’ve resolved to be proactively positive. Being grumpy is draining. Today I kept a list (this is the last list) of all the happy things that happened. It was a beautiful sunshine day. I was ready for work early. I didn’t have to wait for my bus transfer like I usually do. A client emailed me just because. Another client shared with me a song she wrote about dancing. I got to leave work early. I was able to mooch for dinner. Glee Club is tonight.
It was a good day. I live here. It’s time to start making the most of it.