california dreamin'

I'm approaching the end of my fourth month in New York. That's a third of a year spent away from home. And it's starting to feel weird.

When I dream, I tend to dream in cycles. Meaning that I'll have several vivid dreams in a row, usually all pertaining to one major theme, then the dreams will stop suddenly and disappear for a few weeks until a new topic comes to mind and I start subconsciously musing about that one. The last two nights I've dreamt about home. But not in the way that I would have expected, with warm and fuzzy feelings brought about by fond memories. I actually felt extremely agitated in both dreams. The first had be living back in Oakland, and strangely enough, my hair was long, as it was before I decided to move to New York. Throughout the dream, I kept insisting that the hair wasn't mine and that I didn't live in the apartment because I was now living in New York City. No one seemed to be listening. My second dream had me trapped at home because my flight back to New York after Christmas had been delayed a week. Though my family was happy to have me stay, I wanted to go back east and get back to where my life really was.

To remedy my restlessness and irritation, I decided to take a look at some old pictures from my last couple of years spent in the Bay Area. I felt detached for the most part, but there were a few exceptions. First, I got teary eyed when I found the picture of me and Lucy, my beloved Rav4, on the day I got her. And second, I felt a pang in my heart anytime I came across pictures of me and my last two roommates. Everything else left me feeling empty.

A classmate told me today, "You miss California, don't you? I can tell." And I responded, "No. Well, yes. I mean, I miss the place - the trees, the sun, the warmth, the smell of the ocean in the morning air. But I don't miss the life I had there." And I guess that's what this is all about. Figuring out where, exactly, I belong.

I think what is missing is the sense of familiarity and comfort. Everything here has been incredible so far: new environment, new challenges, new friends. But the constant flow of new things has left me feeling really exhausted at times, and what I want is just a moment to sit down and understand what is happening around me, rather than having to analyze and dissect and make sense of it all. Seeking this kind of support from home is not the answer, as indicated by my dreams. I have to find my answers here.

I don't know when that will happen, when I start feeling like this place is really my own. I don't know how I'll find it. But I suppose that it will happen sometime. It does for most people.

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