The thing I was most looking forward to as 2013 began was my trip back to Los Angeles during my winter break from NYU. I began plotting this trip about a month after I moved to New York when I was in the midst of my homesickness, and I secretly thought by the time the trip actually came, I would need it less. I would feel settled and maybe even have some allegiance to the city and even be contemplating moving there. permanently. Through the fall, however, the trip stayed a little light at the end of the tunnel that I looked to every time I missed the sunshine and my huge support systems of friends in LA, and even though I did come to, in a way, love the city and even though I made some great friends at school, the LA trip kept pulling me forward with the same excitement.
And now it’s here. I’m writing this from a charter school in South LA in the middle of a Teach for America Professional Development day. Walking around the hallways this morning, I have seen so many familiar faces – old colleagues, friends from Institute (our summer training) and some of the Corps Members I trained this past summer. In the midst of this, it dawned on me that this was what I had been talking about in all of my Holiday Council reflections when I talked about what was missing in my life right now and what I wanted to build in 2013. It’s community and a feeling of being settled and belonging. I’d almost forgotten how nice it feels to know so many familiar faces, to feel a part of a community, and to be known, and I now know for sure how badly I need that in my life and that my general angst about life in New York has been really about missing that feeling of belonging.
On top of that revelation, I’d also (almost) forgotten how breathtakingly beautiful LA is when you take the exit from the 105 to the 110 freeway on a clear, sunny day like today, where you can see snow-capped mountains to the right, downtown LA in front of you, and the Hollywood sign to the left. I’d forgotten how lovely it is to smell the salty air when you are walking around a few blocks from the ocean, and I’d almost forgotten how wonderful it is to have a two-hour brunch in a sunny sidewalk café with friends and talk like no time has passed since you saw them.
I entered this year pretty sure I would come back to LA and making my plans around this assumption, and only 24 hours into this trip, I’m feeling more than pretty sure that this is where I belong. Somehow over the past three ridiculous and at times messy years, LA has become a home to me and what I really need in my life right now is a home. Now my new light at the end of the tunnel will be moving back here in June confident in my knowledge that the west coast is where I belong.
p.s. The 3rd Stratejoy Essay Contest is open for entries! Ready to win the $500? Be featured here at Stratejoy? Yes! The theme: “How has a transition revealed a more authentic you?”
p.p.s. The next Book Club/Tribe Chat Fest is going to be about marriage and partners. Juicy, juicy. We’re reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed: A Love Story and will be jamming about it on February 13.