But I was recently in California, camping in the Sierra National Forest, and I realized that I was thinking about how dry and bare the area looked. And as I thought about this, and how dry my lips were, I realized, to my great surprise, that I missed the outdoors in the Northeast. So I have started to take stock, and as I have spent more time here, and settled into my life (got married, bought a house, got promoted, new friends, explored the city and Westchester), I see that where I live now really provides a lot of what I have been missing.
The best super market I have ever been to, Fairway, just opened on my commute home from work last spring. On the whole, the super markets in California are far better, and I really miss Henry's, but with Fairway and Trader Joes and the great asian market down the road, things are pretty good here.
The mountains here are more like hills, and the foliage is very different, with crazy ground-to-sky green ... but the Hudson Valley, the 'Gunks, Catskills and especially the Adirondacks have incredible opportunities for hiking and nature photography that are closer to where I live now than they ever were in California. I still miss the majesty of the Sierras, but the mountains here are spectacular in a wholely different way.
The city, really Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, have such a rich variety of amazing restaurants that I am constantly shocked at the incredible eating opportunities that I am presented with ... still, the burritos will never hold a candle to El Zarape, Cotixan or even Robertos or Santana's.
I have often deplored the lack of good trails for rollerblading here; I used to spend every Sunday year-round skating around Mission Bay, an 8 - 16 mile loop. I love it. Except for the wonderful bicycle sundays where they close down the Bronx River Parkway near our house, the best I could find here was Joe Michael's Mile. But recently, I discovered the North County Trailway, which stretches the length of Westchester County, which is by far the most beautiful, longest rollerbladeable trail I have ever skated on.
Sure, Californians are much more relaxed and low key than New Yorkers, sometimes the tension here can feel physically oppressive. But in terms of low key-ness, I was never the most relaxed guy in California, while now I am one of the calmest people around. Its kind of nice to be the voice of calm most of the time ... although there are definitely times I wish everyone would just chill out.
There are many more examples leaning the way of the East Coast and all of them leave me tremendously thrilled with my life ... but also sad because they leave me much farther from California.