One of our good friends just moved to Los Angeles this week. Clay and I talked to him on the phone last night, catching-up with how he’s doing so far, how the apartment-hunt is going, etc… I’m not familiar with the area he’s in, so I pulled-up a map of LA on Google Maps. And I teared-up.
In 2002 I left Southern comforts and moved by myself to LA to attend seminary at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. I was entering the Institute for Spiritual Formation and pursuing a Master’s in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care. I was 21, leaving my boyfriend behind (thankfully I eventually married him), and scared about being on my own. I moved into an apartment with two other girls who were about 5 and 8 years older than me. They were wonderful, but I’m sure I must’ve seemed like such a baby to them at 21!!! I felt like a fish out of water at school for awhile since I was the youngest person in my program and didn’t know anyone. God quickly gave me amazing friendships and the fun began.
When I think back on what LA represents to me, it’s all about growing-up, being alone for the first time and knowing that God is walking alongside me, and exploring new places, people, and ways of looking at the world. And the weather….OH, the weather! I’ve always HATED the sticky, thick, humid heat of the South. The winters are fine, although I prefer not to be freezing, but I pretty much stay in the air-conditioned comfort of my house or car during the summer months–forget about any enjoyment of the sunny days. In California it was different. The sun was shining all the time, the temperature was always just about perfect, there was never humidity, always a slight breeze blowing….the trees were green, the flowers were in bloom, and the sky was blue. It was basically my own personal Garden of Eden. My heart aches to see my friends who are still in LA, but I also live in a state of envy for the weather they get to enjoy every day.
So last night I was looking at a map of LA and started tearing up… I saw all the names of the cities I lived-in and visited, and all the memories came back of what I did in each place and who I was with… All the way down the coast from Ventura to Laguna Beach, I have a memory. I wish I could go back and live the two years I was there all over again, and when I look back on it, I realize it was probably the best time of my life so far. I feel so homesick for a place that was only my home for two years.
So I was telling Clay how much I miss it, and I said that all I want to do is go take a walk in my old neighborhood in the early evening when the sun is going down and feel the beautiful air….air that has no trace of HEAT or HUMIDITY! (ok, maybe some smog, but that’s beside the point) Clay says, “Yes, I know. It’s happy air.” It IS happy air. California has the happiest cows and the happiest air. And one day, I will return to you, oh great City-o-Angels, I will return and bring my offspring, and we will dance once more in your happy air!