Please welcome Teresa back to The 3 R’s! Since she was last here, she’s set up a blog of her own, but hasn’t actually had time to post to it yet. However, she can sometimes be found in Café World or playing Scrabble on Facebook – when she can wrest the computer away from her sons, that is. Join her today on her long journey home.
I suppose this is the time of year when I get a little reflective. February 15th marks the day I started the figurative Book II of my life. I arrived in Northern California that day, ready for change and adventure, filled with hope and probably a little anxiety. Two of my favorite friends, Lorraine and Karen, greeted me on that rainy night at the airport with smiles and balloons. Two of my favorite people, half of the people I knew in the state.
It was 1990. I was 24. There was no job waiting for me. I had no place to live. I had the clothes I packed and enough money to open a bank account. Either I had plenty of moxie, Mary Tyler Moore spunk, or I was a little insane. Or, I was just ready to start becoming me.
In my younger years, I often felt out of place…like I was just visiting wherever I was and wondering what was coming, what was happening next. While I attribute most of this to youthful restlessness, I also wonder if I just knew I wasn’t “home” yet. Born in the Bronx, my family moved to our house in Connecticut when I was two. I loved living there and resented my parents greatly for moving us down to Florida when I was eleven years old. I did not like living in Florida. My hair did not like living in Florida. Florida humidity and I just do not get along. I couldn’t wait to get back to the northeast for college. I am eternally grateful to my mother for giving her blessing to me to do that even if she wouldn’t allow me to apply to any colleges in California.
Leaving the security blanket of my parents’ home was difficult even if leaving Florida was not. But, this was THEIR home, their choice. I spent the next six years in New York, four years at a college on the Hudson and two and a half working in Manhattan. In and of itself college is a transitory time, but I never felt quite hip enough for Manhattan – though I loved the people watching and the energy of it.
And so I arrived at the San Francisco airport. Ready. Six weeks later, I had a great job and a sweet studio apartment with a Murphy bed in a dicey San Francisco neighborhood. My apartment swayed when the earth quaked. I lived above a furniture store. Two years later I moved to a better apartment and woke up to see the Golden Gate Bridge out of my living room window every day (when it wasn’t peeking out of the fog). The apartment with the glitter in the ceiling and the robin’s egg blue stove in the kitchen. Sigh. I spent seven years in the transitory city of San Francisco. I may have been 24 when I arrived there, but I often feel that I did most of my growing up there. I lived on my own, learned a lot of lessons, climbed a lot of hills, suffered for my Giants, and ate a lot of spectacular cuisine. I met my Southern Californian husband there. He proposed to me on the Golden Gate Bridge! How perfect is that!?! Though I no longer live in that Beautiful City by the Bay, I did leave some of my heart there and I am grateful I can go and visit it with my husband and children, seeing it through their eyes.
So, now, 21 years later…I find myself in Southern California. I live in a suburb of Los Angeles, surrounded by hills, a funny, smart husband and two funny, smart boys. My dad moved out here from Florida and my sister from Memphis. My husband’s family is local, too. We run into people we know almost every time we leave the house. Twenty-one years ago, I started Book II of my life. Book II: The Journey. The Journey Home.