I’m really big on associations. I associate certain music, weather, food, and feelings with specific time periods, or locations, or events. And I guess for some reason right now, everything is reminding me of California.
I don’t intend for this post to be self-indulgent, or complaining. But when I need catharsis, I write. So here’s the way I honestly feel right now, thinking about California while sitting on my bed in Denmark.
I miss the intense September heat that makes you sit in your car for a few extra minutes, reluctant to leave the luxury of air-conditioning. As much as I think the Danish clouds are fascinating (both for reasons of atmospheric dynamics and of creative inspiration), there’s that born-and-raised part of me that loves the blistering sunshine of this time of year, when everyone is starting school again and cross-country practices are pushed to the evening because running in 104 degrees is just a bad idea.
In my gmail inbox this morning was an email from Starbucks heralding the advent of the glorified *~PuMpKiN sPiCe LaTtE~* season: what was once a nice treat in October, marking the beginning of autumn, has now expanded its sticky cinnamony reaches to span September through December. I guess my feelings about it are influenced by the fact that Southern California doesn’t experience “autumn” until like, early November when you maaaybe should start thinking about wearing a sweater, so I just think it’s hilarious. The latte itself is definitely overly-sweet and a little nauseating if you get anything larger than a Tall (12 oz, for you who do not speak Starbucks), especially because when you open the lid you notice how unhealthily orange-colored it is. BUT, I drink them every year. It’s just a tradition; you just do it. It’s like taking a shot of Gammel Dansk on your birthday. You just do it because you always have and you always will. (okay fine, that’s a terrible philosophy for doing anything, but the aliens from Slaughterhouse Five said so! And trust me, with the PSL, you drink first and ask questions later.) So, all of that goes to say that I miss ridiculous SoCal traditions. And on the note of coffee, I miss the Riverside Starbucks and Pasadena Peet’s where the baristas know my name.
Like I mentioned earlier, I create really strong associations between music and nouns (people / places / things). This is a little inconvenient, because no matter what I throw on on iTunes, it manages to give me a bit of nostalgia. And I love nostalgia, but it’s not so helpful when I’m trying to work or write and every five seconds I’m interrupted by my brain going, “Oh hey! This song is from that one time when _____! Wasn’t that great?” And I’m like, “No, brain, BE HERE NOW” (which just so happens to be an As Tall As Lions song… great.) So listening to Brand New makes me remember the road trip to San Francisco with Mike, and listening to Ratatat or anything instrumental makes me remember working at The Planetary Society and doing research in Cahill with the Exolab. Listening to Rocky Votolato and The Shins reminds me of Ruddock House and ski trip, and listening to Look Mexico reminds me of running in high school. The list could go on forever.
There is honestly so much more that I could say, but I don’t know if I want to write my first novel on WordPress. Of course, don’t get me wrong—I am incredibly lucky to be having adventures in Denmark. I love it here. Plus, a lot of this homesickness is definitely fueled by the fact that classes haven’t started yet and I’ve been twiddling my thumbs a bit. I am sure that once I have projects to work on and problems to solve, I’ll be more focused on being here in this wonderful country. But I’ll always be a Californian first. 🙂