Starting Anew (A Brief Introduction)
Updated: May 31, 2020
By choice, I've lived in several cities over the course of my life, and each place - whether new or revisited - has given me the great satisfaction of the adventure of starting anew. Sometimes, I can't fathom the concept of settling down or rooting myself to one place for long - for me, life is exciting and wonderful because of this freedom of movement which has molded me and continually challenged me to be better, savvier, smarter. Living throughout the country has enriched my life so deeply - immersing myself in new cultures, knowing new people, and trying new things constantly - that I can't imagine living in another way.
In many ways, I think that to know me as a person is to know what the places I've lived mean to me and how they have shaped me; so I begin by starting with a short reflection on each of them here. I'm made up of a mixture of:
San Francisco, where I was born and lived until I left for college; I remember vividly the tempering aroma of eucalyptus groves and sea-salt air, the first smells of which still have the ability to melt my melancholy and in its place leave tranquility. When I was young, I'd fall asleep listening to the foghorn of ships traveling into the Bay in the evening, and I'd think about how the fog could behave sometimes like a living creature all of its own - angrily barreling up against the coastline; delicately lacing through the suspension cables of the Golden Gate Bridge; lethargically pooling into the natural divots of meadows. When I visit, I like showing tourists how the petals of the Golden Poppy feel softer than silk. I know that life will always keep leading me back to this place time and time again, because there's an important part of me that is San Francisco.
Boston, whose orderly cobblestone streets and tidy brickfront shops set afire in me a lifelong love for history and travel.
New Orleans, who taught me to slow down and savor life; that a life well-lived was one which drunk in each moment admiringly, sip by sip, and to hold fast to that element from youth of a simple awe for the world unfolding right before us.
Leuven, where I felt acutely that this lifestyle of constantly thrusting into the new and the unknown would be one I happily would live for the rest of my life.
Chicago, where I will never forget rolling into Union Station at dusk - rain tracing down the train window, and as far up as I could see from my seat, the enveloping concrete jungle I'd always dream of visiting. The love of my life is from Chicago, so I'll always have a fondness for the city.
Madison, whose unmatched beers and cheeses gave me a little extra "fluffiness" while I lived there to make me heartier for my walks through the frigid snowfall. No one is nicer than a native Madisonian.
Salt Lake City, where climbing the mountains and following the roaring creeks along the verdant Wasatch front, and trekking through hot sand between canyons of otherworldly red rock make me feel invincible.
Palo Alto, so fragrant with blooming flowers in the springtime, and where I had the heart surgery which completely shifted my perspective on my life's priorities for the better. Palo Alto made me wiser and more resilient. Here, too, I know I will be back again.
I am often asked, "What's next?" Part of the joy for me is not knowing or explicitly planning the answer to this question. For my entire life thus far, I've tended to go where work was interesting and complex: being disciplined in my career and amassing a safety net of funds tie into my strong sense of independence and self-reliance, so for a while I think I will go where I can advance in my career and give myself a comfortable lifestyle. Long-term, we've begun entertaining the idea of living abroad.
For now, we're just enjoying each other and this amazing world right before us.
Taken February 2020, in Kauai