When I graduated college, I was determined to do something other than stay in Santa Cruz or move back home with my parents, and when that entailed moving across the country I honestly didn't think twice. Job opportunities were scarce, and facing the bottomless pit of job applications seemed so futile that, when my friend presented me with offer to move in with her parents in New York, my only thought was, sure- it wasn't like I had anything better to do.
Except that I did. I had a spectacular boyfriend, amazing friends, a family that I actually got along with and enjoyed spending time with, an entire community and a home in one of the most beautiful towns in California. But I didn't see any of that- all I saw was the opportunity for a more exciting story.
I don't regret my time in New York one iota. I could write poems about that city for the rest of my life and never truly capture the mystique it instilled in me. It was ugly and beautiful and the reflection of millions of achieved and failed dreams and I loved it. But being there did teach me about the value of what I had left behind.
Before I got on that airplane, it hadn't even occurred to me that homesickness would be an issue, but before too long it became an accepted part of my life. I missed the support of my family, the companionship of my friends, and the unexpected quirks of a social life that I thrived on. I missed my best friend and boyfriend, and the wasted hours we spent together. I made some friends while I was there, but none of the relationships I forged could hold a candle to the trusted camaraderie that had been cultivated over years of mistakes, acceptance, and silliness.
By the time Conor came to visit me in New York, I ached for love, for someone who really knew me and all my faults to share this city I had fallen in love with. Our time together didn't disappoint, and by the time I got back to California I felt the relief of an addict. A week with my Santa Cruz family and a week with my mom and dad in my hometown filled me to the brim with gratefulness and appreciation for the people in my life. Every cup of coffee and night out left me on the verge of Oscar-acceptance style weeping- "Thank you, everyone I'm with -in fact, everyone in this bar- for making this life spectacular!"
I managed to subdue my qualms with excitement on my flight to Ireland. I was so excited for the opportunities I was about to have in a country I had always wanted to visit. I haven't been at all disappointed with the beauty of the landscape or the people, and I'm doing work I'm really passionate about. A lot of my highly skilled friends are working in coffeeshops and restaurants right now, and I'm in awe at the serendipity that led to my current surroundings.
Still, I am anxious to return home. I've always believed in being where you are with the people you're with, and I continue to try and live by that rule every day, but it's more difficult now than it used to be. My heart is at home. I knew I would learn things about myself on these unexpected journeys, but I never thought this would be on the syllabus.
There are a hundred places left in this world that I want to see, but since I've started my adventure I've learned where my true north is.