Last night, I returned from over a week in California. It felt good to be home.
"Home" is a concept I struggle with. I was born outside of the United States, lived a huge chunk of my life in southern California, and lived most of what I consider to be my adult life in Portland, Southeast Asia, and now Washington DC. I feel like I leave little bits and pieces of myself in the cities I've lived.
For as long as I've lived outside California, every time I've visited, I have always ask myself if I could ever move back. Could I imagine myself doing the long commute in a car to my workplace in x? Actually, could I even imagine myself spending that much time, daily, in a car? The whole southern California dependence on a car would probably kill me a little and moreso Ethan, who bikes everywhere.
But: Could I imagine being able to have weekend dinner with my family at the drop of a hat? And reliable childcare? Diversity? Good food? Constant sunshine?
This internal dialogue has been going on for over ten years.
After weighing every factor, I always come to the same conclusion: "No, I can't. Not right now." That was the answer I came up with last night on the plane back to DC, as my thoughts wandered through the week, to the baby shower that I was foisted on me, to the wedding prep, to my sister's stunning wedding, the driving, the eating, the constant chatter, the warmth of being around people who just know me. It pains me a little to say goodbye each time.