Dear California

By Kendall in San Francisco, California

Dear California,

Our love story began thirteen years ago when I arrived as an eager student ready to start college at Santa Clara University. My life unknowingly changed instantly when the very first two people I met here were later to become my husband and my best friend. Those four years at SCU brought some of the most important people into my life, the consistent common thread among us being the choice to spend that formative time here soaking up your notorious sunshine. And that was just the beginning…

Post-college life led me straight to the stunning city by the bay. Living here quickly taught me to strive to live in the present or I would miss the extreme beauty that exists in the everyday scenery of San Francisco – the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the rolling fog that looks like a blanket keeping the landscape warm, the hilly streets (some even crooked), the water itself, the history that lives within the redwood trees, the welcoming neighborhood parks (one of which I am sitting in as I write this)… to name only a few. My appreciation for all of these things that are so quintessentially Californian will never fade. 

Living in San Francisco shaped me as a woman and taught me to be driven and tough, but also to be empathetic, loving, and to value connection. I grew into myself here, with all of the beauty and pain that process entails. While the hills left me breathless (both figuratively and literally), long walks throughout this beautiful city anchored me and were a weekend staple that I cherished as a sacred time of personal reflection and clarity. Life decisions, moments of revelation, episodes of anxiety, momentous celebrations and everything in between played out step by step on your sidewalks, and to say they shaped me as a human would be an understatement.

Another love story began for me here – the one I share with the love of my life, my husband. Northern California has been the backdrop of our entire beautiful 13 year relationship thus far. Falling in love in Santa Clara, getting engaged in Sonoma, our dream wedding in Pebble Beach, and living a life that we cherish in San Francisco – our foundation was created here, and we will joyously continue to build upon that. We discovered each other, our love, our lives, our shared values, and our biggest dreams within your beauty. You are forever part of us and our story.

So today I say THANK YOU. From an unmatched college experience to navigating the beginning of my career, to building lifelong relationships of all kinds, to allowing me to discover parts of myself I never knew existed, I thank you. I arrived here a doe-eyed 18 year old not knowing what to expect, and am leaving a 31-year-old married career woman with a grounded sense of self, a lifetime full of memories, and a forever grateful heart. Most of all, thank you for offering me an experience and a life that has been so deeply wonderful that it makes it so deeply sad to leave. Dallas – Wills and I are coming for you, and we’re bringing our beloved California sunshine with us. It’s time to go home.

With all my love and gratitude,

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