I came to California kicking and screaming. Fifteen years ago, when home was still a rural town in northern Utah, and California was home to too many people, most of them probably robbers. In hindsight, my fear of robbers may have been well placed since Wells Fargo would eventually play a role in the destruction of the housing market and then leave us with the bill but no home to send it to.

But life went on, and I grew to love this state in spite of all the financial hardships that came with moving here. And when I say I love this state, I am mostly talking about Contra Costa. I love the way the seasons change here, subtle and modest. The people are crazy, there are more self-proclaimed eccentrics here than anywhere I have been. I salute their honesty, their tolerance for absurd pet theories, and their unwillingness to hide behind a veil of like religious beliefs and quiet, lip-pursed conformity. We have a melting pot here that has yet to start burning. What we pay for rent is outrageous, but it helps to symbolize what it means to us. Career fields are inundated from carpentry to photography. Whatever you choose to pursue here, you do so with the knowledge that you are, or will be, the best at it. And I think we come here, and stay here, because we appreciate the challenge.

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