California, I’m Coming Home

For all the years that I have ever spent living away from home, there has always been one song that wraps up my deepest and fondest feelings of California.

In my Junior year of college I lived abroad in Brighton, England.  It was a huge year for me and a really big step. Somehow, I had always known that studying abroad was something that I had to do, and I made sure it happened.  That first experience of living in an entirely new place, is probably the most profound step in my young life that would make a definite impact on who I would become and how I would want to live my life.  I had never left the U.S. before and I was 20 years old.  The Berry family was large and in charge, and there were many reasons why traveling “abroad” was not feasible for us.  Instead, we drove cross-country almost every summer of my very young life, from San Francisco to upstate New York, packed like sardines in a station wagon, but those are different stories for another time.

During my year studying in England, a dear friend introduced me to Joni Mitchell‘s album BLUE and I was forever hooked.  I remember sitting on the floor of his room in our flat and he very seriously pulled out her CD from his collection and asked me if I’d ever heard the song “California” before. It truly feels like so long ago – it may as well have been the 60’s in my memory because those days really had a feel of freedom and exploration and self-discovery that I hadn’t really ever had…and in an endearing way, probably something I’ll never really have again. I look back on those days with so much love for who I was and who I wanted to be.

Well anyway, the answer to his question was “No, I’ve never heard that song before” which spurred him to slowly, and methodically pull the CD out of it’s case, load it up, and head straight for track 6. To this day, roughly fourteen years after hearing “California” for the first time, it still makes me smile, reminisce, and wonder. The song brings with it such a perfect sentiment “California, I’m coming home…” Each time I’m getting ready to head home, I can begin to feel the sun, the warmth, the familiarity, the food, the wine, the family, the friends…I can feel home – my real home, sinking back into my bones.

Now that I live abroad, my vacations consist only of going home to California –  trust me, I cannot and will not complain about that – but let me just say that the Napa Valley was THE most boring place on earth when I was 16 years old.  Now, of course, it is nothing but breathtaking and glorious and sometimes I have to pinch myself that it is where I get to return to every winter and every summer, with my son and my husband.

We just got our tickets to fly up in the end of June and I’m already fantasizing about what I’ll be eating and drinking, about the walks I’ll take, the farmer’s markets I’ll raid, the friends I’ll see, and most of all, the time I’ll have with my WHOLE family.  It’s simply brilliant.

So, as I turn up the next tune a little louder, I’m going to scroll through these photos of my last visit home to California, and smile in the warmth of knowing that it will always be there, waiting for me: California, I can’t wait to see you.














  13 comments for “California, I’m Coming Home

  1. June 8, 2013 at 12:32 am

    So TRUE! Sonoma was sooooo boring, said the sixteen year old girl. Then, she had 4 kids and made her home in another town, but will always consider Sonoma home! 😉

    • Molly Berry
      June 8, 2013 at 12:37 am

      Aren’t we lucky to have grown up there? Life is all about perspective. Hope we can cross paths there, somehow, one day again – you and all four of those beautiful children! xx

  2. June 8, 2013 at 1:10 am

    Im so excited that i’ll get to visit those awesome places you talk about! Fiiiiinally!!! ♥ xoxo

    • Molly Berry
      June 8, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      We cannot wait to share many of the things we love about California, with you and Andrés!! You are going to LOVE it! xo

  3. Andria Sato
    June 8, 2013 at 2:53 am

    I can’t wait! I hope to see you. I just had drinks with Sarah and Molly this week and I was telling them about our visit to Panama! Xoxo

    • Molly Berry
      June 8, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      I made need some brotherly guidance to jog my baby memories :) A few things that come to mind: Winnemukka, Baby Manzana, Honking the horn as we drove up Renwick Heights Road?

  4. Amber Hutton
    June 8, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Molly….again…you have taken my thoughts and put them into words with this post. We leave tomorrow to spend the summer back home in California. I have been counting down to this day ever since my son August was born. I can’t wait to introduce him to his family, for him to breath fresh Cali air,to walk to the farmer’s market, get dirty in Grandma’s garden and hear the waves of the Pacific Ocean. Going home…especially to such an amazing place as the Napa Valley is something I know we are both fortunate to be able to do. I love your pics too. Oxbow Market will probably be my first stop on my foodie list as well! Enjoy your time home! Maybe we will run into you!

    • Molly Berry
      June 8, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      Amber, thank you so much for this beautiful comment! I think that you and I are living probably the closest possible experiences that two people could, so it makes sense that we can relate so much:) At this time last year, I too was beyond belief excited to take Joaquin who was nearly 6 months, to California for the first time, and to basically meet my entire family! I am really really happy that you will get to spend so much quality time doing all the things you described, which are obviously things that fill your soul and will mean all the much more because you’ll be sharing them with August. We should plan to meet at Oxbow farmer’s market one day, I know Juan would love to see you too. xx

  5. Jeff Sato
    June 8, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Andria just asked why I was blasting Joni Mitchell. Had to hear her after this post. Hope we get to see you guys when you’re here!

    • Molly Berry
      June 8, 2013 at 6:26 pm

      Jeff! I love that you wrote this, and I love picturing this little scene going down. You guys are awesome. We will most definitely plan to see you while we are home – we should plan it while Manolo & Wendi are up too. I’ll send an email! xx

  6. marie berry
    June 15, 2013 at 11:06 am

    i miss you molly! i really enjoy seeing all your posts and stories :)

    • Molly Berry
      June 15, 2013 at 11:09 am

      Hi Marie! I miss you too!! It makes me so, so happy to know that you’re reading my posts, especially since they are for family & friends so see what life is like for me here in Panama. Sending big hugs and hope to see you soon! Love, Me :)

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