Lucy, i’m home and I want to see the hollywood sign!

Hello party people,

Reporting live from the smoggy bowels of Los Angeles where I sit with a large tea in one hand, my FIFTH parking ticket this month in the other (major yikes) and a hopeless expression of “how the hell am I gonna pay all these off” slapped on my face. Reality has officially bitten me and my negligent parking ways. And there are no excuses I can use like, “I just got back after a year abroad and am feeling a bit unaccustomed to driving.” One of my parking ticket fiasco’s even involved getting into a light verbal discrepancy with one of the parking meter enforcers, dodging her authoritative stance and driving away before she had time to put the ticket on my car because screw her, I was only five minutes late to move my car. I see a recurring theme of five in my life which is not a good sign.

Parking tickets aside, I’m officially back from my year long journey and as many wayfaring people know, coming back home is a big mixed bag of emotions. I am currently trying to find a word that perfectly describes being back, but the only word that comes to mind is a cliche bittersweet. I think anyone who has traveled for long periods of time can understand that feeling of coming back home. It usually involves your excitement of returning to a refrigerator full of food you can actually eat and not quartered off into labeled shelves where you have slim pickings that just reflect your frugal lifestyle [London lifestyle]. Or maybe you take pleasure in the sight of no jamon iberico on your shelves [my Spain life. and man does that stuff get old real fast]. There really is nothing like coming back home to a delicious home cooked meal and a comfortable night in your own warm bed surrounded by all your books nestled in their rightful spots, ready for you to come pluck them up and recall a quote or specific passage. But, the afterglow of the first meal wears off and so does the comfort of your own bed and the responsibilities of your return become clearer with every passing day. You try to explain to people your trip after they ask you questions and you become frustrated with your inability to conjure up chronological events into a cohesive story, because everything you experienced has just turned into blurry vignettes of “Did I really just do that?” and “Was I really in a Madrid bar just a few months ago speaking terrible Spanish to a Russian expat while drinking vermouth under the full moon?” Yes all that did abound and there’s no way I can tell anyone all these tragically beautiful stories, and no way I think you’d be interested the entire time. So, you eventually go about your business again — just like you did when you first left — and write them in your journal and keep these stories to yourself as you see something throughout your day that reminds you of that one time you decided to take a trip to Aranjuez and sit atop a mountain overlooking the Spanish countryside while sitting on an ancient Kings throne. And then you smile to yourself as if you have a little secret to tell. (side note: this all reminds me of a great scene in the movie, “Stand By Me,” where Gordie sees a deer in the woods and decides not to tell his friends. He keeps the sighting to himself like a little personal present that he doesn’t want to spoil by handing out. If you haven’t seen Stand By Me, by the way, then drop what you’re doing. now. and watch it). 

So, yes being in Spain was nothing short of a dream. My only job was to teach English to three little rascals during the week, offer a handful of private English lessons at cafes that serve chocolate con churros (!!!), I lived in a beautiful apartment in the middle of one of the best cities in Spain and I had too much time to do all the things I loved doing like writing, taking pictures, playing music and exploring new territory. A large part of me is kicking myself in the head right now for ever wanting to return home. But then another part of me is harping on about being a sensible person and doing what a sane person would do which is to come home and jumpstart a career of substance (whatever the hell that means), so Im not 26 and living with the moms and pops. Or maybe actually having a relationship with my siblings, which is of some sort of value for me (something I figured out when I was hundreds of miles aways) because they are leaving to battle the bureaucratic grounds that is university life soon and I kinda want to be able to accumulate enough stories while we’re under the same roof to use at their rehearsal dinner: “Remember when you used to wake me up at 8 in the morning with your tuba? Aaaand that is why I love/hate you and [insert name of brothers future wife], welcome to the family! Mazel Tov!” So, yes being back has its positives and, hott damn, does it have its negatives. I find myself meeting people on the street with British accents and wonder if these are signs from some higher power telling me I should’ve stayed in London. I had also just picked up writing poetry in London, which sounds incredibly bizarre, but I was actually making a living off of selling my poems and that does mean paying my rent with it. Yeah, that happened. Of course, this all transpired after I clicked the “Pay” button and purchased my flight home and after a pretty dark panic attack on Skype with my step mom, so I guess I will never know if I would have become the next Yeats. In the meantime, I’m feeling a little like a weirdo pariah being back — especially in Hollywoodland — as I am always reminded of the ever prominent characters that reside under her belly and present themselves as self aware – celebrity obsessed – acting aspirants (especially since finding a small part time job in the Beverly Hills area) and seeing billboards which terrorize the skyline with their proposed new ABC shows. That sounds really harsh and I’m sorry for that. If Jim Morrison can find the good in this city, then so can I, right? And oh yeah I came back right when Miley Cyrus was on the VMA’s and I couldn’t give any fucks about her twerking and the controversy it stirred. I do care however that everyone got sloppy this year with their Halloween costumes because of it and opted on being Miley, instead of something creatively provocative. Last year, I saw a slutty tampon! Like, woah.

The only thing that could cure my Halloween costume blues and being back was a jaunty trip out into ye good ol nature. So I filled up my water bottle, buckled my shoes all tight, and simultaneously quelled the voices that speaketh within about wanderlust and adventure with a mini trip to the Hollywood sign. I realized that after living in this city all my years, I had never even once visited this place… I mean what kind of Angelino do I even call myself? So, my two weekends ago was spent gallivanting to this ageold sign to get a better glimpse of the miasma of smog that blankets this city. Just breath it in, Angelino earthlings! And although it was no Spain or hills of Germany, the trip did its job in satiating my inner adventure for a brief period of time. Reaching the top was a cinch and I had even downed a good portion of Longboard (from a can might I add) before it reached a tepid state due to the California clime, and I had to throw the rest out. So a belly full of beer and a lousy piece of toast lathered with liberal amounts of cream cheese will give you 140 pound women enough energy to get to the peak I think. The views were breathtaking after our zigs and zags up the mountain. I was a bit disappointed though to realize we weren’t going to touch the sign since its caged away behind a fence. But, there is a spectacular look out point just around the bend, which looms over the famous nine letters and it was all pretty breathtaking in my book. But after our treacherous journey up the mountain, and sightings of a few ghosts (yes, they are up there and we think they drive old mini coops), we had worked up an appetite. We drove down the mountain and our scenic adventure was eventually capsized upon our arrival to a little ol’ place called “Roscoes Chicken & Waffles.” If you’re into disparate foods piling on top of each other and sharing plate space, then this is the place for you. It’s also for you if you enjoy the likes of soggy fries and chewy chicken. I swear a few years ago I stopped by this joint and it wasn’t as unpalatable. But, then again it was the one in Crenshaw and I had been riding on my bicycle alone at midnight dawning a pink tutu, with a solid hankering for waffles and a ten dollar bill in replace of my dignity (we’ll save that story for a different occasion). The mutant chicken and waffles eatery wasn’t my best choice in life but the adventure to the Hollywood sign remained a success. 

So, being back in the states isn’t all the bad, but I’m still trying to find ways to exile my anxieties over the prospects of being geographically stagnant for awhile. I’m finding comfort in the idea of living in a place that doesn’t outlaw things like blueberry pop tarts but still feeling anxious over being in L.A. and also trying to find new ways to cherish her city offerings. And simultaneously trying to reassociate myself back into civility with one of those things people like to call jobs. On that note, I’ll depart with an Emerson quote I’ve been telling myself to shoosh the devils within who condemn me for returning, “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” Amen to that! Inner beauty and peace, ya dig?

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