Peices of Home

This week I am in Northern California visiting my family.  Above is my childhood home, or rather my home from the ages of 8-18 (I grew up in England from the ages of 2-8, and a different little town in Northern California when I was 0-2.)  My parents and littlest 15 year old sister still live here.  My 20, almost 21 year old little sister is home as well since it is her spring break from college.
It is always so strange when I visit home.  I do love it here in this tiny little town, but every time I visit I am reminded that it is just not my time to come back here.  I'd love to move here when I am older and ready to settle down.  But at this age, I feel really claustrophobic in such a small town with little options.  I spent 3 hours yesterday searching for a coffeeshop that had working internet and no children running around screaming.  It was impossible.  And lets not even get into how much better the coffee is in Seattle.  I think I am probably screwed for life on that one because Seattle is kind of the coffee king of the nation but I probably won't live there my whole life.  Damn you refined palette that now occupies my mouth!  Haha.

When I am in Seattle I am surrounded by people my age, 20 somethings packed into quiet coffeeshops working away or quietly chatting with their friends.  And in Seattle there are a million bazillion fantastic coffeeshops for me to go to when I am feeling tired of working from home.  In Seattle, strangers don't acknowledge me or try to chat with me while I sit at a table in a coffeeshop.  Ha, Seattlites don't even really like acknowledging each other on the street.  We are a pretty passive city...And sometimes I really hate it.  But I guess, at the same time, it is a great place for me to feel focused and determined in my work.  No one will bother me.  And a lot of people are really creative, talented, determined, and have great taste.  I guess it's kind of a snobby city... maybe not the best place to stay forever... but fine for cultivating my work right now.

This little town is so different than the city.  I mean, it is ridiculously adorable when a tiny puppy is outside of a coffeeshop here and, I'm not joking, everyone inside the coffeeshop starts chattering about the cute puppy and they ALL go outside to pet it and snuggle it.  Every single person in the coffeeshop stops what they are doing and goes out to play with the puppy.  Amazing.  But I just don't feel prepared for this super duper cozy community yet.  Maybe I am just too focused and don't want a million people at a coffeeshop asking me what I am doing, distracting me from my work.  Maybe it is just not my time to come back here, to feel like everyone in the entire county knows each other, knows me.  There are tons of amazing things about this community, but I am just not ready for it.

What is most beautiful about this community is what I am most overwhelmed by.  Everyone is relaxed and mellow, going about their days slowly, sauntering around, smiling and chatting it up with everyone and anyone they see.  The only norm here is that everyone is nice, kind, relaxed, and involved in their community.  That is an awesome norm.  That is something I want for my future.  But I have always craved independence, I have always craved freedom, the opportunity to explore, adventure and try new things and new endeavors with no one watching me.  I love it here, but it's like there is always a running commentary coming from everyone and anyone.  There are always eyes watching.  Everyone knows I am "Moorea, the Episcopalian priest's daughter." or "Moorea the girl who has always been involved in art and music."  In peoples constant acknowledgment of me and what I do, I feel so overwhelmed.  I just need freedom away from people expectations of me at this point in my life.  When I am older, I won't care so much :)

I am an extremely private person and I love my time alone.  I love being able to just work and think quietly and when I am ready, I love being able present my work when I am done.  I like to be quiet and present my thoughts when I have thought through them, when I am ready.  I am an introvert.  Hardcore.  I get my energy from being alone, from time spent in reflection or one on one with someone I love.  I have a hard time when I am feeling really focused in my work and people try to come in and ask me about what I am doing, trying to get in an extended conversation when I am in work mode.  I love being able to work with other people working in the same room, no one talking to each other, the energy of focus wrapping around all of us.  And I like my breaks to be purposeful and planned.  I basically sound like the most uptight anal hard working woman ever, hahaha.  But man, I have big dreams and I want to achieve them early in life.  I am proud of myself for what I do and how hard I work.  I find joy and fulfillment in what I do.  And I am like this because I want to achieve a lot when I am young so I can chill out when I am older, so I can enjoy a peaceful and calm life with a future family :)

I am thankful I live in Seattle.  It is exactly where I need to be for now to do what I want to do.  And I look forward to trying out some other cities and towns in the future to see how I jive with them, how I can work in them and how my work will be supported by my environment.  But I want to always remember that I do have this silly little town to return to when I am ready.  When I feel ready to retire from the city and retreat back into nature, I'll be here.  So i'll say for now, hooray that I am me now, that I have adventure pumping in my veins, and hooray for me now because I know there is a little pocket of my heart that is slowly growing, allowing me to become more ok and happy with coming back to my little town someday.  Hooray for opportunities to adventure and opportunities to retreat.  I like both :)

Here are some beautiful things in the place I grew up:

The street where I grew up

My Dad, Mom, and sisters

The Yuba River

How do you feel about the place you grew up compared to where you are now?  I hope it is a less complicated feeling for you than it is for me ;)


Rachel said...

I am still living near the place I grew up (which is near where you grew up). good ole'Penryn, California. It is great now that I have kids and they are able to run around and enjoy life without boundaries...I do love it, however I don't always like everyone knowing who I am and what i am up to (like you mentioned). My husband is from Virginia and doesn't always understand why I don't want to say hi to every person I see from elementary school and beyond...
It has its pros and cons, but I am glad that I am so close to my family and get to see them so often...
I hope you had a wonderful trip home!!

megan v said...

I grew up in a small town too. A small, isolated town in northern Michigan (three hour drive from the nearest mall). I loved it when I was a little kid - being able to roam free in safety and ride my bike all over town as long as I was home for dinner. As a teen, I naturally loathed it and could not wait to get the heck out of that depressing hellhole.

I fled asap after graduation and went to college a few hours away. After college, I moved out of the state and was about a 7-8 hour drive from that little hometown. I had total complicated feelings about it when I would go back there. I felt this weird feeling of being really attached to it because it is where my roots were but also feeling like I didn't at all belong there and had no place to go home to once my parents left and my grandma passed away. I had my husband's parents homes to stay at (we're from the same town) but it wasn't the same.

And when I'd see people (or old friends even) from High School, they'd be working nights at the bars or at WalMart and it was that weird game of playing catch-up in which they haven't changed at all and I've changed 100%. I felt weird and guilty to talk of my successes so I would just downplay them as much as possible. I just felt bad. But I also, after more visits, began to fall in love with that little town as a safe retreat. Free of stress and chaos and it was just so nice to snuggle up in a place where I felt connected to my past. And I moved again and now live in a SUPER tiny town, even smaller than where I grew up, and although there is access to basically nothing at all, I have discovered a huge list of "pros" for living in a little town and I have never been happier. It makes me think that maybe a tiny town isn't so bad after all.

Natalie Mulford said...

The area of your family home looks gorgeous!

I'm from Australia & I grew up in a suburb around an hour out of Sydney City. 3 years ago I made the trip and now live in South Australia (Which is about 2 hours by plane). To be honest, I love South Australia, it's perfect for me, but I get so homesick. I'm close with my family and I find it hard to be away from them.

Ruzu said...

mmm I´m living in the same country (El Salvador) XD and with my parents, but in another house!! the comparations are bigs, because the house its bigger, good weather, more trees, and the garden its so beautiful, to big in fact :D I like it...but my firts and last house its my home, when i am dreaming in a house, I always imaginen that place-.

Looks so pretty the river and your family is very cute!

take care

Joy said...

This is so wonderful. I am a big city person but sometimes I would just like to have the option of retreating back from it all, away from the pressures and swarms of people just to be by myself. There is something so beautiful in being alone and reflective(Haruki Murakami and David Foster Wallace makes it ok). I guess by having two options you would have access to the best of both worlds?

a day with kate said...

I'm living in my hometown of Pasadena right now, but I totally know what you mean about Seattle coffee!! Ha- since moving back to Pasadena, I haven't been able to find coffee shops with Seattle's atmosphere, or amazing coffee. So deprived. I like both cities, though, which makes it hard to decide where I want to live!

Also- you & your sisters are simply gorgeous.

Jill said...

If you don't mind me asking, what city is this? I am from Northern CA too but currently live in southern CA and your pictures and the area look very similar to the area my parents live in. A very very small town called Colfax :) I'm just curious because although I didn't grow up here (grew up in San Jose) I can relate to the way you feel about the community.

Becky said...

Beautiful photos! I actually still live in the area I grew up in - but it's a suburb of D.C. so I feel like I have a little bit of everything here! Enjoy the time with your family!

Anonymous said...

I grew up in the outskirts of Napa Valley but i have been living in San Diego for over 10 years and I love it. As much as I do miss Napa, there's something so awesome about San Diego, California that can;t be beat. I mean, kids here can take surf lessons as a P.E. option in school! How cool is that. I would love to raise kids here and be a surfer family!

Ashley said...

Aren't we lucky that we call Nevada City/Grass Valley home? I know what you mean though. I deal with it on a daily basis. Everyone knowing you, knowing your last name, knowing your business. It becomes cumbersome. I fight an internal battle with myself every day for choosing to stay here. I guess there are pros and cons to every town, city, or community. I'm glad that you are loving Seattle for the time being. It seems to treat you well! =)

Little Tree Vintage said...

these photos are gorgeous!

Amy T Schubert said...

Looks GORGEOUS! I could see loving to visit there ... but, I agree re: small towns and claustrophobia.

Andrew and I both grew up in a *relatively* small suburb of Los Angeles ... then moved to AZ. When we moved back, we stayed with Andrew's parents for some months in the same town - and I LITERALLY could not go to Target w/o running into someone I know.

I understand wanting to live there and maybe move back (good schools, relatively low house prices, etc), but it makes me sad all my former classmates who just never left. Never moved to Seattle, for example, or went to school elsewhere. All those now-permanent-suburbanites who have never experienced life outside their parents' zip code.

Now Andrew and I only live about 25 miles away - but culturally it is SO different!

thanks for sharing your home ... Tell your family Hi for me :)

Mattie @ Odelma said...

You have a good lookin' family, Moorea! I wouldn't expect anything less though. You are beautiful!

I am from a little town outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We are considered rural, but it's not as small as people like to think. We can't really bike anywhere. Everyone doesn't know everyone, unless you went to the same high school or graduated closely together. I really like where I grew up and where I am. I am currently attending Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. I (just yesterday) accepted an internship in San Francisco over the summer, so I'm anxious to see where I end up after that. I'm like you, though. I'd love to come back here when I have a family.

Thanks for your thoughts and pictures! I love the look of your home town.

Hannah Ruth said...

This sounds very similar to my hometown, I grew up on Whidbey Island (like an hour north of Seattle) and although it's beautiful and totally refreshes me I know if I lived there I would become a hermit without a single friend. I do love Seattle, it's just sometimes the city gets to me, so much noise and so much light and very little sense of nature.

Diana said...

You had such a beautiful childhood! How much of a contrast it is from Seattle.

I grew up in Fullerton, a small pocket of Orange County. Typical all American storybook homes, and I'm torn between purchasing a home in the suburbs or in an urban area of Anaheim, where I live now, which I love.

Thanks for sharing, so beautiful!

Ashley Evans said...

I love Seattle, too! Yes, people keep to themselves, but I also think that Seattlites are very responsive and nice when you do engage them in conversation. Not like other big cities.

And I love Nevada County. It is so beautiful! I like visiting but I don't think I will ever move back there. (Knock on wood) I hope to find a quieter nook of the greater Seattle area where I can try to give my future children a little bit of what I got to experience as a kid. :-)

Nnenna said...

Even though we moved around a bunch when I was younger, I mostly grew up in Bakersfield, CA. Although Bakersfield is not a tiny town, I felt soooo stifled there. There was nothing to do and the weekends consisted of the same thing- meet up at this one popular spot on my side of town with my friends. When I was choosing a college, I was so happy to get out of there and experience something new. Now that I'm about to graduate from college, I'm dying to get out of here too. There is a chance that I might end up here for another year, and everyone is telling me that it won't be so bad, but I'm really worried. I think I'm just a restless person- once I feel like I've gotten all that I can out of a place, I want to move on. I certainly don't want to go back to my hometown (like you said, I'm not ready for that yet), but at this point I don't know where I'm going to end up and it is really nerve-wracking! And you don't sound like an anal uptight woman, you sound like me! haha =)

star-crossed smile

Alli Rense said...

I love where I grew up, but I feel bittersweet about it, since so much has changed in the three and a half years since I left. I spent my second and third year in DC wanting nothing more than to go back, but eventually I've grown to be "okay" with DC and I know now that if I moved back, nothing would be the same. One of my favorite bars is gone, my favorite coffee shop has left (see this post: http://allirense.com/blog/?p=376 ), and many of my friends have moved to Portland. It's sad knowing that home will never be the same as it was when I left it.

mean green mom said...

We must have grown-up near each other- I'm from Nevada City (and my folks still live their).
I'm new to your blog, but have been loving reading along the last couple weeks :)

Felicity! said...

Everything looks really relaxing and wonderful, but your mom's blouse is especially fantastic!

Alycia (thecuriouspug.com) said...

great post! you always have such thought provoking posts i love it! i grew up in NY basically near the woods. deer come right up to our back door. being a kid back then i thought it was soooo uncool and boring blah blah. now i live in california where you are lucky to even get a postage stamp size of land. and i totally miss living in ny! i don't know what even made me think ny was so uncool and boring because i feel so lucky to have been raised there. i miss the quiet and pure darkness the night brings. california (and granted, it depends on where you are in CA because not all places are like this) is full of noise and light pollution. Even with light tight blinds AND curtains, some stupid street lamp still manages to shine in and steal my darkness. the only thing i will miss when we decide to move back east is the weather. mild winters are amazing :)

Jennifer M. said...

" In peoples constant acknowledgment of me and what I do, I feel so overwhelmed. I just need freedom away from people expectations of me at this point in my life. When I am older, I won't care so much :) "

For the record, I don't think INFP's ever outgrow this feeling. I'm only 31, so not much older than you, but I only feel that feeling growing stronger, not dimmer. Maybe someday it'll go away, but I think for now I'm realizing just how important it is that I listen to that need inside of me to be in a private, neutral setting, free of expectations.

I was just thinking about this the other day actually. One of the things that really bugs me when I'm in "work mode", as you put it, is when someone comes in and chimes in on how I'm doing something or how I "should" be doing something. It's those expectations weighing down from them that overwhelm me, I think.

I dream of my own studio, my own house, and my own work-from-home situation so that I am free to think and dream and create without having to conform to anyone's expectations!

Oh, if you ever want to move out of Seattle, I know Portland is a really good place to live. Also great coffee and also a great artsy vibe. I lived there for about 10 years after high school and really loved it. It had that same thing going that you mentioned Seattle had, where people just kind of leave you alone. I like that.

Right now, I'm back in a small town, living near family, and it's so oppressive sometimes! Everyone's always in your business, wondering what you're doing, why you're doing something, why you're not doing something, etc. I really miss the anonymity of the city and hope to move back there soon. I've been here about 4 years now and I'm pretty much over it! Lol.