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It’s so crazy to think that soon I will no longer be Jen in Cali. I have only lived here a year, but it has been quite an experience! Of course, after spending the better part of fifteen years in the South (9 years in Alabama + 6 years in Tennessee, although somewhat divided), I definitely experienced culture shock moving to northern California. The people are very nice here, but many things are different than in the South. (Southern friends, please heed this disclaimer: no offense is meant in what I am about to say. I can only speak from my own experiences.)

The first thing I noticed is that multiculturalism is celebrated here, for the most part. I’m sure there are racially motivated gangs, just like anywhere else, but those are just stories I read online – and thankfully not a part of my life.  Couples from different backgrounds and heritages are not treated as a scandal here, at least not that I have noticed.  I think the general attitude of racial acceptance here is rather refreshing.  Like I said before, I can only speak from my personal experience.  I once had two ladies of a different race in Memphis refuse to stand next to me to wash their hands in the bathroom.  They were already washing their hands when I stepped up to the sink in between them to wash mine.  Both women stopped before they were done, stepped back, waited for me to finish washing my hands, then went back to the sink to finish washing theirs.  To this day, I will never understand why it bothered them so much to stand next to me.  It certainly didn’t bother me to stand next to them.

Another definite bonus to living in this part of northern Cali is the parks & recreation system.  I don’t know if it is all of California, but Sacramento seems to really take care of their parks.  I will definitely miss some of the beautiful places I have seen here, as well as some of the flora and fauna that I have not seen in other places (we have seen some awesome birds!).  I know Zachary will, too.  I regret not taking him to the park more often, but I intend to take advantage of the outdoors quite a bit more between now and when we move at the end of June.  We just had a picnic yesterday, and it was so nice to just enjoy nature, if only for a little while.

Of course, there are down sides to every city and state in the country.  The big one for us here is financial in nature.  As a lower income mother, it has been hard for me to get by – especially where gas prices are concerned.  In some places here, prices are as much as a dollar higher than what I was used to just last year (and for the most part what they still are in Mobile, AL).  Other things are more expensive, too, but my gas tank is where I have definitely noticed it most.  I have a tendency to want to drive around and explore places, but that has been difficult, since the job market here is about as strong as the last few places I have lived.  (In other words, the job market sucks! – pardon my language)  Luckily, there are always free things to do and see in Sacramento!

I just don’t know how we’re going to say goodbye to all of the wonderful people we have met here.  I can tell Zack is already starting to be bummed about school ending and saying goodbye to his friends.  I have been so focused on trying to figure out how to make money (see my eBay listings if you want to help me save for my move: http://myworld.ebay.com/jen_turralye) that the end of the school year kind of snuck up on me.  Part of me wishes I could throw some kind of party or get together for Zack to say goodbye to all of his friends, but I just don’t think I could come up with the funds to do that.  I also have a few people here that I definitely want to keep in touch with.  Good thing I’m such a big fan of social media!  For anyone who actually reads this, my Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/turralye and my Twitter is https://twitter.com/#!/jenyore.  (Sorry to any Twitter followers who may be bothered by the fact that right now my eBay account kind of dominates in tweets.  A girl’s got to make a living, you know?  I feel like I actually have gotten a bigger reception on some items using Twitter.)  My Facebook account is set to mostly private, but generally if I actually know you – or in some cases knew you – I will add you as a friend.  If any of my Cali friends have an idea of how Zack and I can say goodbye and keep in touch with you guys, please let me/us know!  We will definitely miss California!  (I know I’m writing this a bit early…it’s not a goodbye post.  Just some thoughts I have been having and needed to put out there.)

Oh, in case you didn’t notice the title of this post, we will be moving to the Gulf Coast area in Mississippi this summer.  If you heard me say differently, it was during a period of indecision and before I prayed about it.  I will let anyone interested know more when things are more concrete.  🙂