The Gold Coast Chronicling my holiday trip to California

It’s amazing how surreal certain events feel, no matter how much you’ve mentally prepared.

I can count the number of surreal moments on one hand, from when I first moved to Maryland from Japan, and when I moved to New York City two years ago (as opposed to just visiting the place on a random weekend).

Add to this list: a cross-country trip to California from NYC.

My new “home base.”

It feels weird to think that my parents now live in the U.S. instead of Japan, where they lived for about 20 years.

It feels weird to think that despite Japan being my “home,” it’s only “home” in the sense that that’s where I grew up. That’s where life happened for me. That’s the place that more or less “made” me.

But home, if it’s attached to where our parents live, is now in California—my birthplace.

I have to be honest.
I had mixed feelings about this trip.

Although I was excited to visit the Golden State, I didn’t have the same enthusiasm about seeing my family.

Sounds silly but let me explain:

  1. In terms of political and ideological leanings, I’m the black sheep.
  2. I haven’t seen my parents since 2012, when they flew to Maryland for my undergrad ceremony.
  3. I haven’t seen my brother in who knows how long, since the entire family was together for Thanksgiving one year in Wisconsin.
  4. We’re terrible communicators: My brother and I don’t speak, not because of some sibling animosity but because we just don’t; and a habit of a 14-or-so time difference for almost 10 years, communication with the parental units was just not a thing, except for the regular holiday and birthday phone calls. And maybe an occasional email to see if we’re alive and well.
  5. My parents moving to California—thereby making communication much easier—hasn’t solved the regular communication problem.
  6. We have nothing to talk about. Or, we just don’t know how to talk to each other because we’re just not that interested in each others lives.

Like I said. It’s silly, but that’s the reality of my family life.

As of this writing, I’ve spent just under 48 hours with my parents and, surprisingly, it hasn’t been too bad. The weird conversational scenarios I had playing in my head haven’t transpired yet, which is nice. Hopefully it stays that way. It’s not very fun to be bullied while talking politics and whatnot with people who don’t have the same views as you do.

Aside from my apprehension, I am enjoying California, generally. Or, the Camarillo-Ventura-Oxnard area of it. (I asked my parents whether they had plans to take my brother and I into Los Angeles and I got this look from both of them. They absolutely refuse to go into LA because reasons… sigh)

So be it. I’ll just have to make my own trip at another time to visit LA and other parts of California. The idea of taking a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park almost seemed too much for them.

Sunset along Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu | Click to embiggen.
On my first night I was treated to a beautiful evening sky. The clouds were low and had a ripple-like effect about them. Off in the distance, the clouds were moving in such a way as to look like a zipper. It connected with the ocean-horizon on one end, but opened up towards the mountain range. The clouds were dark, but the sky behind it was a vibrant warm hue of orange, yellow, and red. The sunset was reflected off the ocean like a cauldron of lava.

It was by far the most epic sunset I have ever witnessed. Already, on the first night, I’ve been spoiled by the Golden State. It was overcast and rainy on day 2, but here’s to hoping that my trip continues to be an amazing experience.


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