Place Where You Live:

Sonoma, California

My boyfriend, Austin, weeding at the farm where he works.

“It’s like a movie, but you live here,” my friend Jeff, visiting from the South, sighs,
eyes transfixed on the hilly horizon, “You live in a movie.” Living in the Sonoma
wine country comes with its perks, and instantly wowing visiting friends is one of
the best. The landscape does give a great first impression, comprising its grassy hills
dotted with live oaks, the most content cows I’ve ever seen (California cows really
are happier!), and its seemingly endless rows of grapes organized into geometrical

Between the hills of grapes lies a small, community-centered town that appreciates
its farmers as much as its vintners. As a filmmaker, I am more enthralled with the
heterogeneous rows of vegetables than with the ubiquitous grapes. The fact that my
boyfriend is an organic vegetable farmer frames my relationship with these veggies,
and our fridge constantly overflows with seasonal bounty.

It took a year or two to get used to the idea of “‘quins’ and greens” for dinner.
(Pronounced “keens” in my vernacular, it is a simple meal of sautéed vegetables
served over a bed of seasoned quinoa). Moreover, I can’t help but smile sheepishly
when someone talks about eating beans and rice to save money…we chose to eat
beans and rice weekly topped with various lettuces, heirloom tomatoes, fresh or
dried herbs, and local cheese or maybe a treat of grass-fed beef raised five miles up
the road.

Truthfully, I still haven’t gotten used to the amount of work it takes to lead
a “simple” life, and while I cherish our canned whole and “sun-dried” tomatoes
(from our trusty dehydrator) in the rainy months from December to March, I’m not
entirely looking forward to the sweaty summer afternoons it will take to produce

Nonetheless, at this point – three years since moving here – I can safely say I
couldn’t live without the laid-back nature of the aspiring winemakers, farmers, and
hippies young and old who have become my friends. This, combined with a tacit
insistence on enjoying the simple pleasures, foster a delight in living that not even a
movie can capture.