It’s been a little over two weeks since we moved to Cali. We left the hustling bustling city of Chicago to move to the small beach town, Encinitas. The population here is 60,000. There is a small “downtown” with a strip of shops, cafes, and restaurants. My first week here I went downtown to have lunch and dig into my school work. The restaurant I ate at had an amazing array of organic, gluten, and dairy free food options yet no internet. I decided to eat and write and enjoy my lunch. Afterwards, I ventured down the street to a coffee shop where I got the most delicious chai tea latte. I settled into my seat, opened my computer and wrestled with my internet for ten minutes. After exhausting every option that I could think of, I looked at the guy sitting next to me and asked if his was working. Turns out the internet was down that day. Apparently the internet is a wide spread issue here. Some coffee shops intentionally don’t offer it. The other ones, you have a 50/50 chance of it actually working.
In some ways being here is like going back in time 20 years. There is a magical quality to the people and area that is difficult to describe. It has the same vibe as Byron Bay, Australia or Tulum, Mexico if you have been to either of those places. Essentially, they are places that carry a lot of positive energy that becomes contagious in the best sort of way.
Last Thursday night Chris and I ventured “downtown” for a date night. We stumbled upon the monthly Encinitas community night. The streets were filled with old show cars, music, and smiling faces. We ended up at a vegan restaurant, Eve, that we had been told about by Chris’s friend. We ate delicious food, drank kombucha, and met at least a dozen people. We were greeted with hugs instead of handshakes. We found the people we met to be very open, welcoming, and stimulating. Instead of discussing careers, we were asked what we did for service, and what our creative outlets were. We had truly interesting conversations and I found myself lost in the energy of the people around me. Not once in three hours did I look at or even wonder what time is was. The only time that it occurred to me that maybe we should go home was when one of our new friends told us goodbye and said, she was “putting herself to bed”. I left that night buzzing, but not by alcohol. Unlike any typical night out in Chicago, alcohol wasn’t even present. The restaurant was totally “dry”, offering only water, smoothies, and fermented beverages.
I honestly can’t remember a night in my adult life where I had more fun without having a single cocktail. Sad as it may sound, the only times that I went out and didn’t drink was when I was either A. pregnant or B. consciously deciding to take a break. I found it to be uplifting and encouraging to be able to have such a good time in the absence of alcohol.
To me this is just part of getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. Things are different here. Typically different makes me squeamish with fear. Slowly I can feel myself relax into the change, and maybe even become excited by it.
Thank you for reading and sharing my passion. As always, if you love what you read, please share it.