I left my heart in NYC and moved West. Here’s the most epic portion, of an epic year, in iPhone photos.
We covered 12 states in 4 nights and 5 days. New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada & California.
Ann Arbor was our first stop. Both because I wanted to cover as much ground on the first leg of the trip as possible, and because we couldn’t think of a better place. I’d always wanted to visit and was delighted by the town. It is so beautiful and quaint and academic. With some amazing restaurants and gorgeous architecture.
I stumbled upon the West Side Book Shop near where we parked the car on our way to dinner. It was my dream book store. Pile after pile and shelf after shelf of rare, first edition, vintage and used books. There was a first illustrated edition of Poeta en Nueva York by Frederico Garcia Lorca (sadly, not autographed, because it was published after he was slain by Franco). Lorca, fyi, is my favorite poets (En Viena hay diez muchachas…which you might know as In Vienna there’s 10 pretty women, from my crush, that handsome 70-something Jewish, Buddhist monk, Leonard Cohen). I read loads of his work when I lived in Spain and thought of him a lot in Granada, of course.
Since it’s x-mas time and I might as well go on with this digression, that book is my DREAM gift for this holiday season. That, and a pair of Lanvin ballet flats in a black size 7. (In case there’s a secret Santa out there reading this, it’s not too late!)
Poeta en Nueva York was a wee bit out of my price range ($950) (though they still have it and I’m squirreling away cash as I write) but I did find a first edition copy of Joan Didion’s A Book of Common Prayer. The only thing that could have made it more perfect is if it had been autographed (there’s still time for that, though sadly, I can’t imagine a whole lot of time). But even without her signature, it’s a treasure! A first edition of my favorite book by (one of) my favorite writer!!!! The point of this epic story is that when I walked in I had a feeling that I’d find a first edition Joan Didion. But the feeling was so subtle that I didn’t even bother asking. And then, as we were about to walk out (cue music and flash back), I caught a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye. Best road trip find, ever!
Most of the states we drove through were nothing but corn fields. Hours on end of farmland. And though it was beautiful, it was maddening, too. Thurston was in the back seat convulsing and hyperventilating the entire drive (he doesn’t like speeds upwards of 35 mph), and we pulled over more than I thought was necessary (because I was in such a hurry) to play ball with him and tire him out, in hopes that he’d fall asleep.
We ate a lot of bad food, as expected. I was eager for both Taco Bell and Orange Julius, but was greatly disappointed by both. Were they ever as delicious as I remembered or was it just that I was in middle school when I thought they were?
There was mile after mile of nothing. Of rain. Of various shades of yellow and herds of cows. And there was Omaha, which was a sad stand-in for what I thought it would be; and finally there were high rises and there was Denver.
In Denver we stayed at my friend Erika’s place. It was a cute bungalow 10 minutes to downtown. We ate at the restaurant where she worked and wandered around for a few hours. Lots and lots of shirtless dudes and yo-boys. We saw a woman punch a man and a sea of white people out on the town. Again, not as great as I thought it would be, but I did enjoy the few hours we had with Erika and was happy to see her beautiful daughter, Avery, whom I had not seen since she was a few weeks old. (Side note: Erika was my first friend in NYC!)
We arrived tired and eager to discover. And found that all of our boxes, which we had shipped via media mail the day before we left, were on our porch! A week of hectic shopping ensued and we got everything from a bed to dishes to shower curtain rods, spending far too much of our time at Target, BBB and Crate & Barrel.
So what have I been doing since we got here? You mean, besides miss NYC?
Well, family for one:
I’ve been seeing a lot more of my niece and nephew (not always on the best of circumstances with two hospital visits and two surgeries). But I love that I’m close to them. I also love being able to go to Orange County on a whim to spend a few hours with my brother. There’s also my mother, who is a bit further south. But she came up and stayed with me for a few days. And, my father-in-law who we’ve managed to see more than anyone else!
There’s my sweet, sweet cousin Gol. We have a standing date on Wednesday nights. And I love going to her favorite place, Little Next Door, for wine and macrons.
We moved here for my job, so naturally I’ve been spending a lot of time at work. The office is wild, but the best part of being at my desk is that I get to bring Thurston with me! He’s mostly shy with everyone, and spends a lot of time in his crate. But having him with me is a delight. As are my colleagues’ dogs Baily and Oscar.
Speaking of Thurston, he’s lost his NYC walking legs. He does his business on the first block and then wants to return home immediately. What’s worse is that he’s developed an allergy to the outdoors! His paws and belly are red and itchy and we can’t get rid of it no matter what we do.
There’s no Gimme Coffee here, which sucks. But Commissary is walking distance from my house and they make good foam and have a killer whole wheat croissant.
We spent Halloween in the desert with some great friends, seeing Bonnie Prince Billy at Pappy and Harriett’s in Pioneer Town. Incredible show under a sky bursting with more stars than I’ve ever seen. Cold and perfect.
I turned 30 in Los Angeles. No finished book yet, but I am taking French. So there’s that. I didn’t think for a second that I would care one way or the other about turning 30. But it turns out I did, spending the better part of my actual birthday curled in a ball, bawling my eyes out. Strange, I know.
We hosted our first Thanksgiving–a vegetarian potluck with some great, great friends from NYC and some new ones. And finally put our vintage 10-person dining table to good use.
And now, here we are, going into our first x-mas and it doesn’t feel quite right. I love a lot of things about Los Angeles. But I sure do miss NYC. Before we left, the City was weighing on me. I hated the summer heat and everyone on the subway and the BQE and the dog shit. And that’s all I could think about. But now, I can only think of that feeling. That esoteric feeling of NYC that only someone who truly loves being there can feel.
I think moving was important. I needed the change in my life. I love my new job and I love the challenge of learning life in a new city. LA has a lot of great things to offer. I love “hiking” Runyon Canyon and I’m loving these endless days of rain and, for once, driving–through the wet streets listening to rainy day music. Plus, there’s so much more to discover. But, nothing beats NYC, and even though I knew that all along, I think I had to get out, to be able to say it.
Also, LA has the most beautiful dusk sky I’ve ever seen.