08 October 2010

living in the happiest place in america

National Geographic and Random House are publishing a book about the happiest places on earth, and I'm lucky enough to be living in "Happy Town, USA," where "joy seems to be in the tap water." (Maybe we should stop using our Brita. Har dee har har.)

Funny enough, while the locals are proud to be living in one of the happiest place on earth (Disneyland is going down), they are also worried that hooligans and hordes of tourists will start to invade our lovely little town now that this book and the articles covering the book are coming out.

Truly, though, I was surprised that San Luis Obispo was such a perfect little oasis when I arrived and was waiting for an uglier truth to rear its head-- but it hasn't. And the more areas I discover, the more I'm impressed. And I've barely explored much at all.

Here's what I've seen so far, though. The view from my house, with pine, eucalyptus, weeping willow and a variety of other trees:

I've joined a university women's club, and while the women in the group are mostly quite a bit older than I am, I am having a blast getting to know them. And I get to visit with them and munch on dainty pastries, berries and tea with cream and sugar while enjoying views like this from their beautiful homes. This photo is of the famous Morro Rock in Morro Bay through a nice lady named Lois' living room window:

So, yes, life is good here.

From our house, we can walk downtown in about five minutes, and the residential neighborhood we live in is historic and adorable. Here are what the houses near us look like:

In some ways, I guess it isn't all that different from Disneyland, except less artificial and plastic. And people are incredibly nice. I think of it as old-school Small Town, USA, and while SLO was hailed this time around, I would guess that there are many other places in the States (and in other parts of the world) that are similarly charming and full of nice and happy people.

So, we shouldn't get too full of ourselves just yet. But, according to this Parade article, it sounds like we're too busy being active, enjoying the arts and feeling generally happy to notice all the hullabaloo anyway.

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