I left my heart on the West Coast

I have had the very fortunate experience of living in three regions (or four if you count the Pacific Rim separately) of the United States- West, East, and now the South. A majority of my life was spent in Hawaii, California , and Washington. I’ve always called it the Bermuda Triangle since we kept moving every few years in the same pattern, locked by some unforeseen force. Whenever anyone asks where I’m from, I always give the short version of the story. I was born in Honolulu and moved to California when I was in middle school, and then stayed there through college. Not entirely true…there were multiple moves thrown in there, including two stints in Seattle. It’s too convoluted to tell someone the story unless I have a couple beers and time. After college, we add in two years in Boston and now a few years here in Florida and we’re getting a more complete picture.

Anyway, I’ve enjoyed (to some extent) my experience here in the South. The people are generally friendly (at least the true Southerners, as A calls them), the BBQ is the best in the world, and history is very reflective in each town you go to. I embrace my husband and all his Southern tendencies with open arms and sometimes a “Huh? That’s interesting…” attitude. However, lately I’ve experienced some Southern criticism (better word than distaste, which is the first word that came to mind) against Westerners. We (Westerners, that is) are viewed in a very stereotypical fashion. Granted, Southerners get their share of stereotypes too (the gun-toting, conservative, trailer living, racist thing), but I guess I never realized how much of it was out there! So, instead of trying to prove I’m not the stereotype, I have listed some California stereotypes I fully embrace and I’m very proud of:

I am:

1) very “granola”- I love to buy organic and local when I can
2) an environmentalist that would ban plastic bags and water bottles if I could, along with saving all animals from extinction (including the polar bears!)
3) a sandal wearing, beach loving, laid back girl who (used to) enjoy surfing and getting some sun
4) a proud liberal (well, moderate compared to the liberals I know) who believes in same-sex marriage and a woman’s right to choose
5) somewhat vain and superficial in that I care about gray hairs and wrinkles, and not against a little medical help to make myself look good (very L.A.)
6) very politically correct when it comes to public matters including gender equality and racial equality; but among friends, I can still understand not taking things too seriously
7) a lover of all music, including hip hop and rap…a true variety exists on my iPod

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