No matter how much I hate southern California, and how happy I am to not live in Orange County anymore (for almost 16 years I’ve been gone), when I’m down here, especially visiting friends, I can’t help but feel a little nostalgia for the place I spent my teenage years. So while Maddie spent the day with her grandparents, Luke and I went to a few of my old stomping grounds.
We started in Laguna Beach where I used to spend so much time when I was younger (before it became the infamous Laguna Beach, as in the reality show; really, when it was just an artist’s colony and a surfer hangout). First I stopped at Festival of the Arts where, when I was 17, me and some girlfriends snuck in and watched the whole show for FREE. This is amazing because tickets are super expensive and because it’s naked people painted to become famous paintings. We were in awe:
And now this restaurant is where my absolute favorite bookstore of all time, Farenheit 451, used to be. I mean, this bookstore was so cool that even when I was 16 and at the apex of my teenage discontent, I still liked to go there:
Luke and I walked to this little secret beach lookout. So beautiful:
The one thing I have always loved about Southern California and pretty much the only thing I miss is SOFT sand:
We walked up and down the beach in Laguna until Luke decided to try to ocean. Amazingly, it was warm (at least considering the temperature of the water from our neck of the woods)
Luke couldn’t stay wet for the rest of the day, so I had to go and buy him a new outfit (an expensive one at that):
This is where I had my very first date ever (and neither of us could drive, but his friend could, so his friend actually drove us on our first date!):
We then left Laguna Beach and went to Salt Creek, where I used to hang out all the time when I was younger and watched all the surfers:
But then we walked around the corner to a beach called Strands, where we used to have to go through a fence and walk down a steep hill to get to the beach (it’s also the beach when, at the age of 18, some guy I didn’t know kissed me–on the mouth–thinking I was his girlfriend [I was laying down on a towel with a shirt covering my head]. When his girlfriend saw–she was sitting right behind me–she was pissed!): BUT NOW–look, multi-million dollar houses all along the ridge. There used to be nothing there!
After the beach I went to my old highschool:
And my old boyfriend’s house who lived a few streets away:
And the place I used to work, which was a cafe and truffle shop, but now is a wine shop:
But it is located on beautiful Mission Viejo Lake, which I loved working at!
And then I drove over to the Nadadores’s swimming pool (the famous Mission Viejo swim team–Greg Louganis came from them). I visited this pool because when I was 17 all my friends and I would jump 3 fences to get into the pool at night to jump off the Olympic sized high dive:
This was so much fun. Until I turned 18 and that summer went, excited as ever, only to be busted by the cops just 20 minutes into our swimming and diving. Someone over at the pool had wisened up and installed motion detectors.
Finally, Luke and I headed home. We’re staying with my best friend Jill and her husband, and they are great. Better than great. I LOVE them, LOVE them, LOVE them. And beautiful, generous, kind, hard-working, awesome, and it really pisses me off that neither seems to be aging:
Ahhhhhhh a day of nostalgia. I am so thankful for all the memories I have from this town. I may not ever want to move back, but it was a great place to grow up.