i’m trading in my sneakers for flip flops this week as i switch coasts from east to west. after all, how could i resist the temptation of california’s comfort when there’s only one tiny continent separating us now?
this experience is already quite different than my new york adventure. it’s shorter, for starts. and it’s home. there’s no need to spend time in discovery mode. there’s no craving to try anything new here. there’s just a longing for the old, the familiar habits that bring me back to the place where i spent my childhood summers.
and it’s odd that there’s even a season called summer here, because it’s not confined to a month or three. the blessing of los angeles has nothing to do with the faux glitz and glamour of the hollywood hills. it’s in the weather. the fantastically perfect temperature that embraces this city throughout the year. sure, there might be a drizzly afternoon sometime in december, which gets every angelino confused as if the soft droplets from the sky were something so foreign even in concept that it might signal the end of days. but other than experiencing a wet christmas instead of a white one, it’s heaven here.
i often wonder what it would feel like to have a first impression of this place. i was born here, scraped my knees rollerblading in the parks for the first time here, grew up taking for granted that mini and micky and the disneyland firework shows were a given weekday activity.
it’s so familiar to me that i would love to see it through a first timer’s eyes. to feel the rush of discovering the venice beach boardwalk and seeing the plethora of entertainers that do the most outrageous things to capture a passerby’s attention. to shudder with excitement at the view of the sunset from the sharp malibu cliffs, and to see colors that i’m sure don’t exist anywhere other than imaginations and an artist’s palette. to be spoiled in the luxurious lap of beverly hills and stroll through rodeo drive as if it’s a movie set come to life. what i would give to feel any of that for the first time.
and yet all of it comes in as a very distant second to the real reason i’m here:
the unbeatable home cooked persian feasts that my grandmother can single handedly whip up in moments; the taste of which is so packed with flavor though the experience of sharing the meal with her is even richer than the saffron. the precious moments of getting to hang with my grandfather, feeling his warmth and happiness when he has even just one more family member around. the mischief of being with my cousins, reminiscing with some on our younger days and plotting more mischief with others. it’s sometimes hard to believe that with this tiny four pack we have whitened the hairs of our parents as much as we did. the comfort of being with my aunts and uncles whose homes and hearts welcome me back upon each visit. and my sister, who for the first time since our college years, we get to share this city together at the same time.
it’s with all of them that i’m truly home.