10.28.2013

{local vc}

I grew up in the fairly infamous well-known area of Southern California known as Orange County. I didn't get out much when I was young, mainly because the OC can be kind of isolating, you know? I mean, I didn't drive until I was eighteen, and my family didn't go to Los Angeles too often (if ever), so almost my entire life occurred in a relatively small area (North OC, or Fullerton, if you want to get specific). 

When I started applying to college, one university stood out to me. Not only was it near(ish) to home, but the community looked amazing and I could a great scholarship. So, obviously, I made the easy decision to go to Cal Lutheran

CLU is located in Thousand Oaks, a suburb of Los Angeles (one of the first cities you'll encounter when you drive north of the Valley). There's not a whole lot there; it's a pretty sleepy city, and our bar options were kind of limited to TGI Fridays and the local pub. After we graduated, I ended up moving back to OC with my family, but a lot of my friends decided to stay in the area. About a year later, when Robert found out he was going to UC Santa Barbara, we ended up moving to where we are now. 

Ventura is a small-ish city, about a half hour north of Thousand Oaks and a half hour south of Santa Barbara. We live less than five minutes from the beach, but beach-side houses here don't cost half of what they do in Orange County. I could go on and on and on about Ventura, but it's pretty much my perfect place. I want to stay here forever.
photo by Anna Delores Photography // can be found here for purchase

There's a point to this story, I promise.

A few weeks ago, I went to an ISES dinner that took place at a flower farm in Carpinteria (about twenty minutes north of where I live). The speaker was all about local - locally produced food and flowers and products and wine. There were over one hundred of us sitting at a long table in a greenhouse, and I couldn't help but think how incredible it was that we were all there for the same reason, eating food that was grown in our community, drinking wine produced by winemakers in the next town over, networking with businesses that work in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. 

I never had that feeling of community when I was in Orange County. There was no community pride; not the way there is here. Almost every person that I've met who lives here, loves it here. There's an intentional decision to stay local, to promote our neighbors and just be proud of our community. I'm constantly amazed that I can walk into the Whole Foods in Oxnard, and buy produce that was grown in Oxnard. I can walk to the industrial area ten minutes from my apartment, and drink beer produced right there. Not only that, but I can go eat downtown, and see the same local beer on almost every restaurant's menu.

I don't know that a sense of community is something you really understand until you've actually experienced it. I never realized the power of community when I was younger, that's for sure, but I have no doubt that I want to settle down and raised my family in a place like this. I mean, I have no problem saying that I would be perfectly happy staying in Ventura county for the rest of my life.

I'd love to know the story behind your home! Do you get that community feeling from your city or town?

11 comments:

Joelle Duff said...

I also grew up in OC, Anaheim Hills to be exact. ;) Which high school did you go 2?


I know exactly what you mean about loving that feeling of community. I feel the same thing in San Diego, and I never take it for granted!

Joelle Duff said...

How did I not know that you grew up in Anaheim Hills? I actually lived in Placentia, and went to El Dorado, but spent most of my time in Fullerton. Where did you go???

Joelle Duff said...

I went to Canyon in Anaheim Hills... andddd I'm glad that part of my life is over =P

Joelle Duff said...

Love this post. It's funny because I totally never felt that sense of community in Placentia either but I do know people who did. I remember talking to Michael Johnson one time when we were in college about a whole huge group of people from our church who would get together to watch the fireworks every 4th of July and how fun it was and what great memories he had of that. And I was just like, where was I? I know my mom definitely feels a sense of community there too, but I think that's only because she's been involved in every activity Placentia possibly has to offer. I just love the little town I live in now and totally get the same feeling you do about Ventura :)

Joelle Duff said...

We stopped in ventura on a drive back from Santa Barbara (to San Diego) a few weeks ago. I loved it! I wanted to stay all day.

Joelle Duff said...

Ventura has always been really appealing to me, ever since I went to UCSB! One of my best friends lives in Ventura with her husband, and I love visiting them. I'm with you, community is everything and I definitely do not get that in LA. Hopefully someday we'll be somewhere where we have it!

Joelle Duff said...

I love Ventura!!!

Joelle Duff said...

Isn't it great here?? I want to stay forever!

Joelle Duff said...

My husband is in grad school at UCSB! We're always so glad we decided to live here instead of SB. And at least in LA you can drive up and visit!

Joelle Duff said...

You should come up here for a day sometime. We may not have as much to do as SB, but it's still a fun place (and a lot less crowded!).

Joelle Duff said...

Right??? It's one of the reasons why I don't want to move back at. all. Glad to know I'm not the only one who isn't the big fan of "back home." And I can totally see your mom loving it there. She pretty much creates the community! Maybe why I don't really fit in... ;)