I should start by admitting that the name of this blog is somewhat misleading. For one thing, my exile is both self-imposed and temporary, making it not much of an ‘exile’ at all. Neither am I a fallen angel, and I make no attempt to discuss religion in any way, except as it may arise naturally in my day-to-day thoughts. To be honest, the obvious religious implications in the name completely escaped me until hours later when I was thinking about just how ill-fitting the concept of exile was here, as I mentioned above. And yet, I will leave the name as it is because it’s my blog, after all, and I like the ring of it.
However, the name did have a legitimate origin of sorts. The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my experiences away from my adopted home of California, and it is here that the name has at least some meaning. I am certainly neither the first nor the last to equate California with paradise, but what I found most interesting about my choice of wording was the fact that I have never myself thought of California this way. There is a great deal wrong with the state, politically and financially speaking, and then there’s the problem of the weather. The south has its perpetual summer, whereas that same season never quite seems to reach the north. And as a lover of the slow change of seasons I knew in my youth in the South, I find California again lacking there.
What is truly impressive about California, though, is that despite these criticisms there is something incredible about this state. The name itself, whatever its true origin, speaks to a place of legend and wonder. It has an allure that drove explorers and expansionists to madness, and it is this allure that drew me in, as well. Cynicism aside, I have had no trouble recognizing the magic of this great land, and it has managed to carve a place into my heart, as have the wonderful friends I have made there. For this reason, although I have been exuberant at the prospect of living abroad for the first time since moving to The Bay five years ago, I leave this gorgeous state behind somewhat unwillingly, the prospect of return easing the separation from what may be aptly called paradise.