The nature of what is home is an intriguing concept.
I would think some people don’t consider what is home. That home to them is where ever their mail is going and where they rest their head at night.
But to me, where you reside can be different from home.
I grew up in a quiet suburban city. Though it was rapidly growing, it still seemed very small to me even as a teenager.
I wasn’t sure where else I wanted to go or why. I just had this uncomfortable feeling my whole adolescence. It was like wear a wool sweater in the middle of summer that was two sizes too tight.
This isn’t to say I didn’t love my family or friends where I was. It was a matter of place. I wasn’t home.
Granted, I referred to the city as home. It was the only place I had ever lived. I had been there from age 2 until age 22. I didn’t know why I felt the way I did. You can’t realize you aren’t home until you know what it feels like to be at home.
I felt what it meant to be home the first time I came to Los Angeles. There was something in the smog filled skies that drew me in. I doubt I will ever fully be able to explain it.
I recall the moment when I realized that Los Angeles was likely where I belonged.
It was early morning, probably around 6 am. The sun was just peeking over the horizon, starting to stain the sky with brilliant pinks and reds. I was leaning on the windowsill, feeling the cool morning breeze blowing on my face. And I thought to myself, “I could look at this sunrise every morning for the rest of my life.”
I had to return to my sleepy suburban town but something stuck in my heart. Los Angeles became like a person in my heart with which I longed to be reunited with. Like a long lost lover.
And at the time, I did not know if it was meant to be. If I would ever go back and I certainly didn’t know if I would ever live in Los Angeles.
But circumstances lined up and I came to Los Angeles to live. To reside.
My first residence in Los Angeles was a tiny one-room apartment, known in rental speak as a Bachelor. It had no kitchen, only a cube refrigerator and a microwave. I become a wiz at cooking on my George Foreman Grill ™. Despite my less than ideal living situation, I knew I was home. My heart opened up and embraced the city. And I knew the circumstances that had brought me to Los Angeles were not chance.
My residences in Los Angeles have changed. Even my zip code has changed. But there is something about the city that tells me I am home.
I miss my family that is far away and my friends from across the country. But Los Angeles comforts me when I am lonely.
Whenever I return to Los Angeles from a trip, and see the cityscape spread out like a bright grid beneath me, I know that I am home. Every palm tree, every wave curling into the beach, every piece of pavement, every grimy piece of trash welcomes me with open arms. It may sound strange. I didn’t grow up here. I had no connection here.
But as I enter the city, its like the itchy tight sweater is shed and I am at ease.
This is home.