sojourn /ˈsōjərn/ n., v.

It has been 365 days since I moved from the Bay. I have been back home exactly 17 days since then. The pandemic is brutal and relentless—on human lives and our emotions.

I came to LA knowing I wouldn’t get attached to the city, knowing this was a transitory period of life. Moving during the 14-day quarantine phase of the pandemic was actually tolerable. It gave me a built-in excuse to invest in my apartment space, my new quarantine zone where I was to remain for long hours of school. 

The prospect of venturing outside my front door was less appealing. Hiking grounds lack shade that invites you to linger. Beaches and their parking lots are perpetually full. Parks feel fewer and further between. All drives are long drives given the traffic and bad drivers and the unprotected left turns. Outdoor living rooms have been harder to come across here.

Morongo Valley, CA

It’s not all bad. The city and I have finally come to an agreeable impasse. 

I remain home and COVID-safe as Google Maps informs me it would have taken 45 minutes and Uber shares it would have cost $43 to get to where I was considering going. This constant staying at home further fuels my desire to make my apartment even more of a quarantine nest. This then adds weight to my forthcoming debate of “Do I want to leave the house or stay in my apartment?” 

Thus, agreeable impasse. LA and I understand each other.

But the weeks and months of not being home—back in the Bay with my parents and brother and 90% of my communities—drag on. And as I follow the news and count the days until I can travel freely and unconcernedly back to all the people I have loved and missed, I realize that my time in LA is halfway over. 

I feel stuck between goodbyes and homes that feel half like shelters and half like sojourns. The pandemic robbed me of the closure I had sought with the Bay, all the milestones and goals I had set for myself before leaving. And while I love to hate on this city, the people I met here have made my stay eye-opening, soul-rejuvenating, life-giving, and seem already far too short.

The Getty Villa

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.” —The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

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