I am so thrilled to be participating in the incredible series put together by my friend and fellow Multicultural Kid Blogs board member Annabelle of piri piri lexicon. In this series readers get a chance to tour neighborhoods from all over the globe – from France and the Brazil to Kansas City and San Francisco! Go to the main page for a full schedule of stops in this virtual world tour.
We live in Sacramento, best known as the capital of the state of California. As a result, no matter how much our bigger California brothers (San Francisco, Los Angeles, etc.) may look down their noses at our small city (and especially its basketball team!), we are always guaranteed a seat at the table thanks to being the place where lawmakers and lobbyists gather to keep the state political machine moving.
1. Playground/play area
We are blessed with many parks, from small corner playgrounds to larger complexes with sports fields. This is one of our favorites. Like most in this area in includes two different “tot lots” – one for toddlers and one for older children. There are also picnic tables, a large open field, and a baseball diamond.
You can also see the shade structures that were installed in the past few years. As temperatures here regularly pass 100 degrees F in the summer (nearly 38 degrees C), these were a very welcome addition.
2. Local mode of transportation
A friend of mine jokes that this is the official vehicle of our mothers group, since so many of the moms have one, often in the same color. It can be confusing for the kids when it’s time to leave the park!
Everyone owns a car; most families own two. While there is decent public transportation in Sacramento, it primarily serves the older parts of town. Bicycling is popular, but mainly for recreation.
3. Typical house
Most homes and buildings in our area are in the same earth tones you see above. You can also see that even these large homes are built very close together. Most have fenced-in backyards, but these also tend to be fairly small.
4. A street nearby
I love to go out walking with Baby in the stroller. We live in a quiet neighborhood, and it’s a great place for walking. We are friendly with our neighbors, but for the most part people keep to themselves.
5. A school, nursery, or other educational facility
Since my sons aren’t school age yet, I decided to take photos of our wonderful local library, where we spend a great deal of time. It has won awards for its environmentally friendly features and innovative design. It is a joint-use facility, which means that it serves the high school, community college, and the wider community.
6. A market, supermarket, or other shopping outlet
Okay, so Costco is not actually in my neighborhood, but it is where most of us go to shop. If you have kids, you probably also have a membership to Costco. You can’t beat the prices, and after a while you even come to enjoy the warehouse atmosphere.
This is currently Monkey’s favorite aisle. He loves to look at all of the Christmas light displays, which have been up since September. But the real reason he comes is for the snacks. There are stations set up throughout the store where customers can sample featured products. Part of the fun is you never know what they’ll be handing out that day!
7. Blogger’s choice: The housing crisis
Our part of town is near the edge of the city and was only really developed within the past 15 years. Before that it was mostly fields, and in the winter many residents must deal with visiting field mice who don’t realize that it isn’t their home anymore.
There still are many open fields in the area, including this one across from a busy shopping center.
Most of these fields were slated for development when this area exploded during the housing boom. Development crashed just as quickly, however, and now many streets end abruptly in empty fields such as this one, which will be turned into a park.
Here are condos, as seen across an empty lot. It was cleared for retail development several years ago but still displays a “for lease” sign.
The other major challenge facing developers (and home owners!) are the levees that surround the city. Our part of town in particular is in a flood plain, one reason the area was not developed for so many years. During the housing boom, the classification was miraculously changed to allow for increased development, but in the wake of Hurricane Katrina this was more difficult to justify. After Katrina, in which the levees protecting New Orleans failed catastrophically, there has been more attention on Sacramento’s levees and a campaign for increased funding to maintain them. For those that already own homes in this area, it means having to buy expensive insurance in exchange for living in such a high risk area.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of our neighborhood in Sacramento! Be sure to visit the other stops in this tour of neighborhoods around the world!