Sunshine in the City
Living in L.A. has been a harder transition for me than I realized. I lived in the city of Baltimore once and I thought I would feel comfortable here because I had grown comfortable there. But L.A. is different. L.A. is a big, raging, colorful city with endless miles of traffic, hot cement and the beach just out of sight from our apartment window.
I think the unease of it all hit me when DJ and I flew back to L.A., after our wedding celebration in Maryland. Returning to Maryland was almost like running into the arms of my childhood, into the familiar, the towering trees, the endless rows of lush, green leaves with houses peeking out between them, the ease of the highway and yes, even the people the family, the house I grew up in. My home.
However, returning to L.A. was almost a slap in the face. Gone was the green comforting world, the grocery store that is so simple to drive to and easy to park at and it's called Safeway and it has the $5 cookie deals. Here, we have Ralph's and no matter how many times we navigate there DJ and I always seem to get lost or get stuck in traffic; either trying to get there or trying to leave. And Ralph's is a persons name, it's not Safeway. Safeway has a smell that always has the underlying scent of fresh bread. But Ralph's just smells like a grocery store with a little bit more fresh flowery scents in it, and they don't have a $5 cookie deal, they have an under $5 cheese deal.
And, as much as I love Maryland, and the East Coast, the forest, the trails, the greenery everywhere you look. The pollen, and allergies, and Maryland flag. I am slowly finding my way here, like a child learning how to crawl and then walk. I am finally walking here, finding my bearings.
I think a part of me was also holding back from adjusting. There was always this sense of instability and temporariness that I learned from this past year when I lived in 7 places. I literally moved almost every three months last year, and now we have a year lease. But my mind was still stuck in the three month move phase, where I was antsy, and hoarding brown boxes, and thinking about how we will take apart our bed frame almost five times each day.
And then came the acceptance. The realization and the understanding. I am here. I am not in India, or Baltimore, or the desert of California, or another family's house in Downey, I am Anna in L.A. And I need to grow here.
I have been trying to adjust and trying to adapt to this world. And slowly, but surely I finally have. It didn't hit me until the other morning when I woke up and stretched and immediately thought about all my favorite places here and how much more it felt like home. I have that same feeling inside when I think of green leaves or my favorite vegan restaurant in Maryland, except these feelings were for LA and for the world I had finally grown into here.
Adjusting is hard and very challenging. It's why people settle in places they don't like or jobs they don't enjoy, because leaving would be hard. Being comfortable is something that isn't always good. Our comfort zone shouldn't be the end limit for us, we have to reach above and beyond it.
So yes, moving to Downey, then 29 Palms, then LA was hard and challenging, but the excitement and thrill was enough, the idea of starting afresh of exploring all over was enough. And even at the times I realized I missed Maryland and the trees and my favorite running courses, I saw the potential of the sidewalks and the shops, and the under $5 cheese deal at Ralph's and the world around me here became something more than a place, but a home.