I should probably back up a little bit.
Ok, maybe I should back up way far back.
It starts with my dad.
My dad grew up in Winnipeg, a city smack dab in the middle of Canada. The thing about Winnipeg, a fact that's pretty hard to avoid when discussing the place, is that Winnipeg is cold. Like, months of below freezing temperatures and the lucky distinction of sharing the same geographical parallel as Siberia cold. No joke. Little boys who grow up in Winnipeg rarely have fruit trees in their back yard and never have snow-less winters.
So when my dad grew up, tired of the cold, he moved to California. He followed the dream. He wanted the warm weather. He wanted the change. And he wanted the fruit trees.
My dad is thrilled by fruit trees. For as long as I can remember, he's planted them in the backyard to varying degrees of success. For years, we'd have bowls and bowls of plums and nectarines from dad's haphazardly pruned trees. No matter how much he willed it, the apple tree just never quite produced. An entire summer was spent warding off the birds who found the cherries to be just as delicious as we did.
Towards the end of the summer this season, citrus trees went on sale. Unsurprisingly, a tree made it's way to our house and into the backyard.
Even with the successes we've had with some of our trees, we've never had a tree give off fruit in the first season. This winter, however, our lemon tree gave off fruit. It's actually pretty amazing. None of our other fruit trees thrived this way. Not the nectarines, the plums or the cherries. None of them.
But here's the difference. This tree, this Meyer lemon tree, loves California. Though it's not a native, the Meyer lemon tree thrives in the California climate. Sure, the lemons will grow elsewhere. It's possible. But when the little lemon tree comes to California, it doesn't just survive, it grows and thrives. It wants to be here. All the things that make it its best are here and the lemon tree grows. It doesn't take the tree years to feel just right. It doesn't take so much time until it can muster up the will to survive. The lemon tree is home right away.
I feel a little bit like this lemon.
I can survive elsewhere. But in my bones, I'm made for California. Maybe the lemon tree isn't a native, but I am and coming home feels just right. I like the sunshine here. I like friendly smiles and yoga-practicing hippies. I like the beautiful fresh vegetable salads and the friends with an insatiable desire to try something new - to grow and learn. I love the people biking and running and talking sports.
I feel like the lemon. I feel like here, it's easy to thrive. I feel it in my heart. I feel home.
Here are some of the thigns I've been eating since coming home. They're simple and - let's face it - nothing special. But they're tough and almost impossible to get while in France. The nachos in particular. They're delicious and taste like home.