I've made the roundtrip coast to coast journey somewhere between 25 and 35 times now. One to two times a year almost every year of my life. SFO to JFK and then back again. Except not this time. This time it's different. JFK to SFO and then back again.
It's weird. It's just so weird. I keep thinking I need to take one last walk through Central Park, that there must be one more museum to fit in before I get on the plane that will take me to tacos and In'n'Out instead of pizza and bagels. I've gone into "No, please, don't make me leave" mode, forgetting that in ten days I'll be back. It's hard to believe I've been here close to a year now. It's hard to believe I have no intention of moving back to California. But both those things are very true.
I'm starting to get a little going home anxiety too. So many things I want to eat. So many people I want to see. So many people. After a year of not having time for anything much other than work and sleep, the idea of so much socializing is a little daunting. And of course there's the "What if I've somehow changed in a way that makes everyone hate me? Or me hate them? Or what if they've all changed?" anxiety. There's also the family anxiety. Just y'know. Family.
And part of it is that I feel so removed from my life in California. I was always living with one foot out the door anyways. The idea of slowing back down to California countryside pace seems so foreign. Slowing down always seems foreign to me. I think that's the part of my nature that will always be more comfortable here than there. Not just Sonoma County, but the Bay Area in general.
Don't get me wrong, I know I'm going to have fun. I can't wait to see more than three stars when I look up at night, for the redwood trees to be towering over me and to see that craggy coastline. I'm ready for going out with my boots on. Whiskey and semi drunken tractor rides. Wine tasting. Windy backroads. Girl nights. COOKING. I have a feeling I'm about to do so much cooking and baking, and I'm oddly thrilled. I really can't emphasize enough how much I miss cooking for people I know instead of strangers. Produce and slow food. (I'm sorry New York, but until you get over fine dining and learn how to do the slow food bistro properly, I will always be on the California side of the coastal chef battle.) Ace pear cider on tap. All the alcohol specific bars in Petaluma. Avoiding going into Sebastopol like the plague except maybe to play shuffleboard at Old Main. Ok, fine, I probably need a burger from Hop Monk too. And, I mean, just all the food in Berkeley. Seriously. All of it. Gregoire's, Cafe Fanny, Barney's, Fonda's, Rudy's Can't Fail... Probably more places I can't think of right now.
I'm excited to go. But I'm also excited to come back. That's a feeling that never existed when I was doing the trip the other way around. And that feeling, makes any of the struggling, any of the loneliness, any of the complete and utter exhaustion I've put up with for the last year, completely worth it. I knew last January that if I didn't move to New York, I would regret it. I'm thrilled that that's a regret I don't have.
And for the record, I will only ever say "Cali" when quoting song lyrics. I promise I'm not that lost to you yet guys.