We currently live in Pacifica, California, which is a small town on the coast. Before we moved here so that I could take a new job, we lived for 20 years in Oak Hills, California, which is an unincorporated rural area in the Mojave desert. These two locations could not be more extreme without moving to some place like Antarctica.
In Oak Hills, the weather varied between -5° C in the winter – though snow was uncommon – to 45° C in the summer. The wind was merciless during the Spring and Autumn, and we were always replacing shingles. Gusts to 130 kmh were not uncommon. There was dust EVERYWHERE and the average humidity was about 15%. Also, we couldn’t go anywhere without getting in the car and driving for at least twenty minutes. Nothing was close. Our nearest neighbor was 1/2 km away. This was good, because we had an archery range in our back yard. I had to drive 60 km each way to work.
In Pacifica, the weather varies from 15° C in the winter to 25° C in the summer. The air is always moist and usually cool. We can walk to the community theatre and grocery store, ride a bike or take a bus to the Big City. My office is only 15 km away. The average humidity is about 85% and we get a lot of fog. And by “a lot” it should be pointed out that Pacifica has an annual Fog Festival.
Oak Hills was a great place to raise kids until they became teenagers and got bored. There was plenty of elbow room, and our children grew up being familiar with agriculture and wildlife. All our neighbors were politically conservative and went to church, but nobody bothered us for being “the weird neighbors.” Everybody was friendly, and land was cheap when we bought it. I very much miss the easy mortgage payments. We were the only esperantists within 150 km.
I’m sure that Pacifica would have been a good place to raise kids, too. Though our youngest son would have spent all day and all night surfing. In Oak Hills, he spent all his time on a skateboard, and now has problems with his knees. All our neighbors are liberal and are either Buddhists or Wiccans or Universalist Unitarians, or atheists, but nobody bothers us for being the “weird neighbors.” Everybody is friendly and welcomed us when we moved here. We have found that the best way to meet neighbors in an suburban environment is to take your dog for a walk. You meet all the other dog walkers. The problem with this is that I can remember the dogs’ names, but not the humans’. Instead of a desert, we are surrounded by California redwood forest. The yard is too small to build my own archery range, but there is a very nice one only 3 km away. There are about fifty esperantists living in the region.
I don’t like or dislike either location more than the other. They each have their unique challenges and rewards, but my skin is very thankful that we moved to a cool, moist environment.