It's no secret San Diego has the best weather. Each month we ask one of our favorite San Diegans:
What else makes this city great?
Live: Rancho Bernardo
Work: Coffee shops all over San Diego
How Long: 8 years
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in small town America — wine lovers fondly refer to the area as the Columbia Valley. Before the grapevines moved in, it was mostly rolling wheat fields and apple orchards surrounding the Columbia River. I was born and spent many a summer growing up in Kennewick, WA (also the home of the Kennewick Man for those who know their anthropology). I went to school 45 minutes away in Walla Walla, at the foot of the Blue Mountain range.
Many cities in Washington State are named after indigenous peoples’ tribes. Walla Walla was named after the Walla Walla Indians and it is said to mean “Many Waters.” I remember swimming in the Blue Mountains, in a stream called Mill Creek, which was ice cold from snow melt during the 90-plus summers. Clear as can be, and before it was damned off its water was amazing for drinking. Or maybe I’m just romanticizing a bit.
Being in nature was a big part of my early years. I miss those open landscapes. They’re easy on the eyes, kinda like driving to the Birch Aquarium when you first glimpse the ocean on the ascent. This peacefulness just washes over you. Anyway, I get back home once every few years and take that long drive between cities and let the traffic jams and stresses of life roll off.
What brought you to San Diego?
Back in 2008, I was living in Los Angeles working for a “little” variable annuity company called AIG SunAmerica (now simply SunAmerica for obvious reasons). I was working with head-hunters to get back to the Northwest when I met my future husband, a biomedical engineer. He got an offer at a company in San Diego. I wasn’t sold, as I had my heart set on returning to Seattle.
Until we visited. San Diego has a different vibe than L.A. and way friendlier people. Gawd I remember hating L.A. I thought of it as nothing more than a concrete jungle with too many people who seemed to know that you actually ingest six calories when licking the back of a postage stamp. Who are these people? Who sits around licking postage stamps to get fat? Skinny people I guess, which actually explains why they’re skinny. In fact, the only thing interesting about L.A. to me now is their coffee scene.
Besides the weather, why do you continue to call San Diego home?
We’ve built a life here. We have friends, a community, a home. And more recently, our son was born here. We’re invested. Literally, we pay taxes. It would be nice to spend time between San Diego and the Pacific Northwest, but for now, San Diego is stuck with us.
And I don’t mind sticking around, especially since, as it turns out, there’s some amazing coffee and coffee folks here in our little sunny corner of the world. It will be cool to see how the coffee scene grows and innovates and really comes into its own over the next few years. And even more fun to taste what’s brewing. San Diego is Cold Brew City (#trademarkpending). I think for practical reasons cold brew will become one of the defining specialty beverages of our region (if it hasn’t already). It will be celebrated and enjoyed by locals as well as seasonal travelers. Coffee tourism will yield many benefits for locals throughout greater San Diego and Tijuana. So I’m especially stoked to follow the evolution of coffee here.