Friday, March 30, 2007

First Blog--From Here to There and Back Again

I was definitely a city girl. I loved malls, freeways, convenience, variety, the beach, and sidewalks. When we got married in December 1999 and moved to the mountain community of Lake Arrowhead, I went into major shock. One grocery store (okay, one REAL grocery store), no mall, 45 minutes "down the hill" to anything I considered normal, and a TON of snow--these were major hurdles for me to leap. But, in time, I did. And in the process I came to love the crispness of cold winters, the beauty of fall leaves, the comfort of a small town, the adventure each trip "down the hill" became, whether it was to the doctor or to Costco, and the closeness to the Creator I felt living with nature right outside my window. And now, after 7 years, I am back where I came from. How strange.

I certainly didn't expect this, never planned on returning to Suburbia, although I never planned on NOT returning to it either. It's oddly familiar and yet entirely different all at once. Things have changed, that is for sure. Places that once were open fields or hills just right for 4x4s are now strip malls and housing developments. But that is not the difference I am experiencing. It's the rapid pace of life, the crowded roads, even at late hours, the fact that people drive to Starbucks before every event, including taking their kids to the park. (I rejoiced when a Starbucks opened inside a small gourmet market on the mountain, and I enjoy my coffee, but this is insane.) It's not bad, but whereas I used to be right in the middle of the fast-paced life, now I find myself stepping back, wondering why everyone needs to be in such a hurry, remembering the place where I know the postmaster, the grocery checkers, the pizza guy, and the video store clerks by name, and they know mine too. I miss the smell of rain on the pine trees, the crunch of snow beneath my boots, the sound of the phone at 5am to tell us there's no school--the snow has made the roads too dangerous for the buses.

Not everything in suburbia is wrong. The paseo system here is amazing! We can walk to a dozen parks, the grocery store and the mall without crossing a single street. The kids are outside in the back yard all day long, riding bikes and scooters, playing on the grass (there is no grass on the mountain!), and running through the sprinklers. When I need a gift or if it's raining and we need to get out of the house, the mall is 1.5 miles down the road, with an indoor playground and, of course, a Starbucks. And I have made some incredible friends with kids the same age as mine, one in particular (hi Melissa!) whom we meet at the park regularly and let the kids play for hours on end. No, suburbia has its perks.

I am going back to Arrowhead for the first time in 3 months this weekend. It's a cool 60 degrees there, compared to the perfect 75 here; the pretty snow is all melted and there will only be occasional black slush; and most importantly, it's going to be so strange because it isn't home anymore for the first time in my married life. But I am looking forward with a careful anticipation to revisitng old favorite places (Toto's anyone?). We'll see, I think it will be good to go back, and then to come back again.


DebbyStitz. said...

Dear Carlee,

I am so glad that you wrote this wonderful journal! I loved reading about your thoughts and adventures. You are a blessing to me!
Love & blessings,
Mrs Stitz

Juliana said...

Its funny how we end up back where we didn't think we would ever go again...

Anonymous said...

Ah, the Russell crew. I'm glad you were able to soak up all that the mountains had to offer over those years, and equally glad myself to have soaked up your friendship and godly influence. And i know what you mean about the starbucks-before-anything addiction now that i'm a permanent fixture in north san's ridiculous! Stick it to their baby-maker and just say "no" to the wallet-fleecing of mega-corporations hahahaaa.

OK, forgive my crudeness (you know you miss it!), and the fact that I wasn't up in Arrowhead for your visit this past week. Blast! If you happen to be coming out again for Easter, you might want to consider pit-stopping down here for a night of intense soul-shaking music, otherwise known as the 7:30pm Good Friday candlelight service at CBC (san bernardino, that is). Just a thought, plus I don't think you've ever seen me do worship with this crew...hmm...Nope!

well, we're in practice right now, and i've gotta get my act you long time!


The Smith family said...

I am so glad that you decided to do this! It's a great way for me to learn more about you and your family before we met. I am so thankful for your friendship and I am glad that you came back :)
Oh by the way - my kids are missing your kids a lot!!! Call me when you get back to this crazy place.
Love Melissa