I stumbled across this passage the other night (while still reading Crossing to Safety), "I was always a westerner. New England was a rainy interlude." And it struck me that my situation is the opposite: I've always been an easterner. San Francisco was a foggy interlude. That is, I've always known I would leave California, from the moment I arrived. It's never felt like home to me, but rather some place temporary. More of a "Not New England" than an actual place of its own. California's been a cross-cultural exchange, a (5 1/2) year(s) abroad, an experiment, and the fulfillment of a childhood dream to live near the beach with palm trees and surfers.
Though I am captivated by the landscape and the idea of the American West, and by the concept of westerness, I'm eastern to the core. Even if I stayed here the rest of my life, I'm not sure California would ever really feel like my home nor would Californians ever feel like my people. And I'll never know.
In one month, I'm saying good-bye to San Francisco and heading back to the east coast. First I will spend a month in Paris and then I will be settling in New York City. No, I've never lived in New York City. No, I'm not moving to Brooklyn, lovely and cheap(er) though it may be. And yes, I'm out-of-my-mind ecstatic about the move, about being closer to my family in New England, about having seasons (hot summer! cold winter! real fall! and spring.), about learning a new city and new friends, and about starting a great new chunk of my life and sharing it with someone I love.