Do you have a happy place?
Somewhere in the world where you feel alive.
As if that place is a puzzle and you fit right in. Your persona blends with the atmosphere like paint on a canvas. You don't feel uneasy when waking up to another day.
Almost four years ago now, I visited Los Angeles, California for the first time.
Granada Hills. A soft, quiet neighborhood that gets the best sunsets in LA. In the summer, the air gets cool at around six o'clock, and if you stand still in the middle of the quiet streets, you hear nothing. Perhaps a faint bark of a dog down the block, but nothing other. The houses are mostly one story, and my mother's old friend owns one with laminated floors that feel like silk under your feet. The house smells like Korean food, and the market is just a way down the hill from her home.
Alhambra. A little pocket neighborhood around a corner from bustling street markets. Here is where there are palm trees, and the Asian population is high. You have to know the area; there are different spots all around to hang out. My friend's house also has one story, fully remodeled and clean as if it's brand new. The bedroom holds memories I never want to let go of. I remember laying on my back in a cot next to my best friend as the moonlight shone through the windows. We talked about change, heartache, and thankfulness. I couldn't sleep all night, but I heard my friend's breathing drift like a boat at sea until it slowly grew quiet enough that the room was silent.
Korea town. My mother was happiest here. Sure, things were a little sketchy here and there, but it felt like home. A home I've never experienced, but it gave off the vibes. It felt like a relative's house, walking around malls and buying flowery slippers, drooling over a huge tonkatsu as large as our heads.
The distant cheers and the peacefulness of Santa Monica pier. The breakfast at 8 AM and the floor-to-ceiling windows at the hotel a mile away from Disneyland. The hot streets of Hollywood and its starry floors.
After being locked away for over a year due to COVID, my urge to get out into the world only grew. I can't wait for the day when I can drive to my happy place, miles and miles away. I can't wait for the day when I can feel like I'm on the other side of the world in a place that I can call home.