It had been four days since I left my job when I boarded a flight to Northern California. The uncertainty of transition had created an Eeyore like cloud above my head. It was my first visit home this year. And it felt right.
As soon as I got off the plane, I immediately basked in the spoken spanish, the mexican restuarants and a gaggle of UCLA students on my way to baggage claim. Once I stepped out of the airport, I wanted to box up the warm weather and ship it off to Pittsburgh as token of love. I marveled at the appreciation I have for my highschool friends as I jumped into one of their cars. They will always offer to give you ride if you need one even when you haven’t seen them in years. My people.
But I also felt deeply guilty for feeling so excited to be back in California. My family was already planning week long trips to Tahoe in the summer. Trips I spent the last two and half years missing. I couldn’t wait to smell the crisp ocean air while gallivanting around San Francisco. On the train ride in, I laughed at the nerdy over intellectualized conversations between slightly under-showered tech guys. We ate breakfast outside and I realized that I hadn’t been home for many, many years during the beginning fall months.
I had missed California which felt like an affair on Pittsburgh. I never hated Pittsburgh but in many ways I wasn’t happy there. It was so expensive to move and sooo so cold that first winter (and the second). It took leaving to realize there were some couches I could crash on and some shoulders I could cry upon. There were a lot of tears, joy and uncertainty. But at the end of the day I left parts of my heart behind in that city.
I knew my trip to California was just the begginng of understanding what that means.