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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

I spent many years hating a place everyone idealized. I ran away for a few months. And just like it happens in movies, I came back with some clarity.

I spent many years talking about how much I hated California. I hated being there, living there and itched for any opportunity to get away.
And I did. I chose to go to college out of state and left in June to go to the Czech Republic to visit my family. I had not been back since, until Spring Break.

With everything going wrong in terms of other plans, my last-minute choice was to go to California for spring break. It was either that or stay in my dorm and, because I missed my friends, I thought that this would be the best idea.

I went to California and spent a week there. It was the first time I had been back in multiple months. and it was strange. Yes, it felt the same. Being in my old bedroom, my friends all felt normal. This normal was a good normal, in the sense that it was familiar, but also a bad normal since I had hated this normal for so long.

And along with that, many things had changed. I think the most important one was the outlook I had on California.

One of the first main things I noticed was the heat. It was so, so hot. My perceptions of heat had completely changed while living in Wisconsin. Now, 50 degrees to me felt amazing. Though I do love the snow and the pretty fall leaves, I am a summer fan at heart. Being with no sunshine, warm weather or pretty snow is really hard as I’ve come to find. So, being able to walk outside without a jacket or go places in shorts was amazing. I think that the weather wasnโ€™t that warm when I lived there because I was used to it. I didn’t realize how warm it actually was until I experienced true cold weather.

Another thing I took for granted was access to fruit, vegetables and even more healthy foods, like matcha and avocados. Here, I feel like I eat the same two types of fruit, some apples and bananas, and never anything else. This may be because I am eating in a dining hall. However, it could also be that Wisconsin just has less fruit overall. Over the break, I learned that California is the top fruit and fresh goods producer in the US. I didnโ€™t know this until I had left, so not being able to know why I didn’t have access to other fruits was a bit sad to me. But getting to eat many types of fruit all day, which I love, was amazing and something I really enjoyed.

One of the bigger things that I also took for granted had to be the beach. I love the ocean, and I didnโ€™t realize I had missed it until I was back. And yes, though the part of California that I lived in, the water is not very swimmable, it’s still pretty. It has beautiful sunsets and a gorgeous view that I still appreciate. I think that since I never went to the beach, I never realized how much I took it for granted. But now that I had been away from it for a long time, and then finally got to go, it all clicked.

I had a few more of these similar realizations throughout my week-long trip. I think that overall I came to realize that California wasn’t as bad as I thought it to be, or portrayed it to be within my head. Itโ€™s hard to focus on the good memories when you have lots of bad ones. Along with that, living in the middle of a random suburb really isnโ€™t that great either. But with my trip, I was able to realize that other elements made it ok. I think I took so many elements for granted for so long. I didn’t realize what these elements were, especially how good they were until I left and later came back.

I’m not saying I am California’s number one fan. There are many things about it that I still dislike and even felt while I was there. But, in a sense, there were also many things that are positive about it. And even things that now, in Wisconsin, I do miss.

I think that my trip taught me to not take things for granted, as well as give things a second chance. Most importantly, time away can help. I don’t think I could ever move back, but now I can positively look forward to coming back for a week or so. Especially without dreading it, which even before spring break, I was unable to do. This in and of itself is progressive. Itโ€™s important to remember that you canโ€™t always love everything, which matters a lot too.

Andrea Brehovska

Wisconsin '25

Hey! I am a psychology major with a digital studies and textile and designs certificate at the University of Wisconsin! I am originally from Prague, Czech Republic, but I grew up in the Bay Area, California! I love to travel, explore, and fashion. And my favorite colors are yellow and red!