In fact, the most time I've ever spent in one place in my life was California—10 years total. I was even born in Torrance Memorial. Viola:
But, since we moved away on my 13th birthday (yes, the ACTUAL DAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME), I hadn't visited. It was 13 years and 5 days exactly between the time I hopped on a plane at LAX to leave and the day I stepped off a plane at LAX to come back. Everything seemed...smaller. I knew the houses were close together, but the houses are Close Together. I knew it wasn't exactly rolling hills (except for, well, Rolling Hills, and Palos Verdes), but man is there a lot of concrete in LA. And garbage. And traffic. But there's also diversity. And big beaches with real seashells among the California seashells (read: Styrofoam bits that wash up on the shore). And also The Best Weather.
On our last full day there, we took a drive down memory lane and I photographed our old houses and my old schools. Although I didn't remember a lot about how things were, I definitely remembered my old neighborhoods. As soon as we were there, I was handing out directions better than I can hand out directions here in North Carolina, although that's not saying much really.
It was interesting getting Noah's perspective on things. Like the tall chain-link fences surrounding all the schools.
Noah: We don't have those in North Carolina...
Sean: That doesn't seem safe.
Noah: This seems kind of like prison.
It was surreal, but also not, going back to these places.
My elementary school:
My middle school:
The house we rented for several years:
The house we bought not long before we had to move:
There are so many stories and memories attached to these places. Stories and memories for another day.