Moving to California has signified many things, most prominently the fact that I can get in my car and drive to some of the prettiest places in Southern California. Venice was one of the first places I planned to go, to a place away from the boardwalk and the crowds for the sole purpose of wandering around the canals.
I live here, I kept saying to myself. I feel a surreal sense of happiness that has been lacking in my life for a long time. Sure, there have been bursts of light and moments where I loved New York City, and especially when I lived in San Francisco. Because I knew I didn't want to live in New York City for long, I felt in a constant state of transition, and putting down roots in Los Angeles allows for a sense of permanency that I haven't felt in years. Since I was 21 and first moved to San Francisco, there was an unfolding of gypsy-like tendencies that overtook most of my 20's; living in Chicago, finishing my degree in English and French at a university in Austin, living in Chiang Mai, living in France, and then making the decision to live in New York. Life has been a winding path of roundedness, and independence. Solitude can be beautiful but it can also be lonely, and living in all of these amazing cities transformed my perspective of life, although it meant never living in the same city for very long as the friends and people I loved.
I thought of this while I walked at a steady pace around the flowers and the edge of the water. I could hardly hear the cars from a few blocks away, and the boats swayed from tiny waves of breeze. I live here, I thought, in this sunny place where I made the decision to stop thinking of the next city. I have driven a moped in the countryside of Thailand, sat beneath the Eiffel tower in Champ de Mars, swam in the Pacific ocean in San Francisco, got lost and found my way on the New York subway system, and yet as I walked around the canals I realized I was doing something completely and utterly new for me: I was walking around the city that is my home, and I plan on staying for a very long time.