There is a scene in my favorite movie, Garden State, that I have always been drawn to, even before I left home. But the longer I live on my own the more and more I seem to relate to it. I’ll do my best to try and sum it up, but if you’d like to check it out click here.
In the scene, Andrew talks to Sam about losing that sense of home and being “homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist.” One of my favorite quotes is, “maybe that’s all family is; a group of people who miss the same imaginary place.” Like I said, I was drawn to this scene long before I left home and since leaving home I’ve really come to understand and relate to this scene. I felt it in Hawaii and it’s been almost inescapable since coming back to California. I am “homesick for a place that doesn’t exist” anymore.
And then there is Colima Burgers. And as cheesy and dramatic as it sounds, I mean this will all sincerity, since coming back to California, walking into Colima Burgers has felt like coming home each and every time.
Colima Burgers is a family run greasy spoon that I have gone to all my life. My dad took me there as a kid. In middle school, me and my FREAK Friends (inside joke) took a Hummer limo there after our 8th grade dance (that’s a whole other story for a different time). In high school, me and my friends would walk there after school. My husband and I ate there right after our wedding, I was even still in my dress.
So much has happened to me over the years. So much has changed. People have died. People have moved on or moved away. Friends have come and gone. Addresses and states have changed, but Colima Burger has stayed the same.
From their menu to their booths and fans, walking into Colima Burger today is like walking in there 10 years ago.
The staff there are some of the most amazing people I have met. Despite it being a purely “business relationship” (I’ve never interacted with any of the employees outside of grabbing a bite to eat), they make me feel at home. They know me by name. They know my family and a good chunk of my life story. They’ve taken time to remember facts about me, beyond just the way I like my burger and how many sides of ranch I need. They tell stories to my husband about my dad. They talk about what a great man he was and how kind he was. They tell stories about when I was a kid. They remember when I had chicken pox and when I had appendicitis. They remembered where my mom moved and what branch of the military my husband served in.
Even when I was in Hawaii, when I would come visit it was like no time had passed at all. They’d greet me by name, start my order and ask me how I liked Hawaii and how my mom and husband were doing.
Since moving back to California, Colima Burger has become a safe haven for me in many ways. When I’m sad, or anxious, or overwhelmed, I know if I go there they will make me feel like everything is ok. They remind me of how far I’ve come and how much potential I have. They make me feel like I’m home.
It also doesn’t hurt that they have killer food. That hasn’t changed either. They are still serving the best burger I have ever eaten and chili cheese fries that are so good I have eaten myself sick on them.