My dad owns his own business, so growing up, I held a healthy hatred of Walmart and a deep appreciation for small businesses.
Four years ago I moved to California, desiring to live in this beautiful climate and culture. And I've loved it. There's so much to do and see and experience. At the end of March, I moved across town to an area known for its quaint little downtown. Just a half mile away are shops and restaurants and even one of my favorite indie booksellers.
Every week I walk to the farmers' market to get my produce for the week. Although the food isn't grown in this city, there's something special about simplifying the process from farm to table. I love looking at all of the fruits and vegetables, and I love how much easier it is to find portion sizes for one person. Between the market, the Italian deli downtown, and the Mexican grocery store down the street, there are many weeks that I never need to get in the car to buy my groceries. It's making me hate grocery shopping a whole lot less.
In addition, I've started a garden on my porch. My beans and cherry tomatoes are maturing, and I'm already cashing in on the fresh herbs. This is the first time I've been able to keep something alive. I love the anticipation and pride in looking at the growth I see every day.
Cooking has become much more of an art and experience with these fresh ingredients. I'm thinking about the food I eat and enjoying the beauty of making it. I'm seeking to sit and savor the food, enjoying it for what it is. Turning off the iPhone, iPad, and computer to "be." It's been freeing.
I also started attending church in the area, my first time ever attending church in the area that I live. I run into my pastor downtown, and he comes to say hello. I walk to my small group and even to my pastor's house. This foot-to-pavement process has brought a deeper understanding of life in the early church, and I'm thankful to the community I'm already beginning to experience.
And so, I find myself constantly smiling, appreciating where I live and the people who make it so. I never expected to find so much beauty in living locally.