continued "Growing up, I would spend my summers away. I was in Colorado or New York a lot. But I would say I've spent over 80 percent of my life in San Diego.
"I'm growing to like this city. I mean, growing up, I hated it. Because it offered me very little that excited me. You know, I got to sail, which was cool, but, I mean, as far as exposure to the arts, or people who were highly driven and highly educated, I got a lot of that good stuff in New York, or when I went to Vermont, even.
"I think I was lucky to grow up here, but it would have been nice to have a white Christmas, you know?
"San Diego is sort of like an orgy of all different types of people. The best thing about this place is that the cream of the crop of people from around the country end up here, because it's got a lot of good resources and amazing weather.
"But I could die a happy woman if I never saw another tourist. We need them for industry, but the ones who come from Arizona, or the ones who come here for the good weather, I mean, they're like the people who don't know how to tip well and don't know how to drive. Economically, we're driven by them, but aesthetically, I have no liking.
"I do think it's better to be an adult in this city than it is to be a kid here. Because as a kid, living in Point Loma, I was surrounded only by what was around me, and San Diego natives are less interesting than people from the rest of the country. Now I have a wider range, and I can move around and pick and choose and find what I need to sustain me.
"I would say that San Diego's blessing is its curse. The weather. Because we're completely unseasoned people here. It's like in wine. The things that you add to stabilize a wine also make it less dynamic and interesting. We have such a complete stability here and just a lack of seasoning.
"Whenever someone moves here, I'm always a little skeptical. My initial subconscious reaction is, 'Okay, you're a complacent person, aren't you?' Because people come here to enjoy the complacent weather. But I have to say that isn't totally valid. It's just sort of my first thought, like, 'Why would you come here?'
"There's an Elizabeth Bishop poem that actually expresses my thoughts perfectly about people who come here. The poem's called 'Florida,' and the last line is 'Far from the love affair, far from the storm.' And that's the San Diego mentality exactly.
"This just seems to be a city that utterly lacks any sort of rapture. That's the price of stability and comfort, I guess."
Everybody I Knew from High School Moved Away
Wendy Kellogg, born Scripps Hospital, January 2, 1981. Went to the Bishop's School and lives in Rancho Bernardo. Manager at Loews Coronado Bay Resort and Spa.
"I've traveled all over Europe. I've been to Argentina and Russia as well. My dad is chairman of the USTA, the tennis association, and there's Davis Cup matches all over the world. So he would travel wherever the teams played, and I tagged along. When I was a junior in high school, I was a student ambassador, and I got to go to Scotland and Ireland and England. I've never lived outside of San Diego, except when I was in college, and then I lived outside L.A., in Claremont, when I went to Pitzer for four years. I'd say 95 percent of my life has been spent here, though.
"San Diego is the best. The weather is the best thing about it, but it's also the worst, because we don't have seasons.
"I know a lot more nonlocals than locals, and I suppose they're different, but it depends on how long they've been here. I think that this place relaxes people. They seem to slow down. It's different out here. Different priorities, I suppose. Everybody likes to be outside. San Diegans are outside people. They also like to spend a lot of time doing very little, I think. Not that they're lazy, just laid back.
"I don't like the tourists here, though. They're great for the economy, and I respect that, but I don't like them in the summer. They ruin the city. Because you can't get anywhere. I grew up in La Jolla Shores, and I couldn't even park in front of my house in the summer. I mean, they're fine as people -- I grew up with tourist friends because I spent my summers at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club -- but maybe it's just the sheer number of them. I don't like how they congest our city.
"Everybody I knew from high school moved away. They went to Boston, San Francisco, and a lot went to New York. And they stayed away. Strange. I don't know anyone who moved away and came back. Not yet, anyway.
"If I couldn't live here, I like Florida -- surprisingly, actually. I like the humidity there. It was nice. Although I went in May, and May in Florida is perfect. And everybody there was nice. Everybody said hello. They weren't rude to strangers. Unlike the people here, who don't seem to have any manners. But I guess I'd like to live in a walking city, like Boston, where you don't have to drive. That would be really cool.
"Family brought me back to San Diego, though. Familiarity. It's a good place."
This Isn't a Well-Read City
Lizz Huerta, born February 25, 1979, at Bay General Hospital in Chula Vista. Went to Hilltop High School, lives in Golden Hill, and works as a faux-finish painter.
"I've traveled all over Mexico and Europe, and Puerto Rico, and a lot of the United States. I've also lived in central Mexico, and I lived for about four months in Switzerland as well. But I've probably spent 90 percent of my life in San Diego.