By Paige Kepich
I was California dreaming long before I moved here last June.
I recall a friend once telling me I was headed west one day – but I’m certain this part of my life was manifested long before that, though I’ll never be able to pinpoint the exact moment. You see, I could go through the list of reasons why I thought I should be here – seasonal depression, the sun and the sea, something new, something different – but my mind kept returning to just a ‘feeling.’
After a missed opportunity (or three), a big decision to uproot, and a little bit of soul-searching, I arrived on the morning of June 23, bags in tow. New job, new city, just a few friends, and a little naïve as to the journey ahead. So cliché, right?
It’s not a love-hate relationship. For me, at least. In my first (almost) full year, my infatuation with this city – in all its splendor and torment – grows each day, whether I'm walking my neighborhood loop, watching the sun set over the Pacific, or indulging in one of its many vices. I beam at the sheer thought of palm-lined streets, the salivating scent of salt (or an array of other, sometimes questionable, aromas), or the breadth of people, some of whom I’ll meet, many of whom I won’t. I actually find it difficult to identify something I don’t love, even among those infuriating characteristics. You know, the ones we love to hate (traffic, anyone?).
At times, I still feel as if I’m California dreaming. My pursuit suddenly halted. And a quarter of my first year spent indoors. Yet even in this trying time, I’m grateful to be here, to feel at home, to even exist in a place with such beauty, such diversity, such enticement – so much so that I’ve barely scraped the surface.