I fall in love with places. I go full out smitten-infatuated-IN LOVE with places.
My most recent crush is Portugal. It is also the first place I want to go visit when the skies to Europe would open again. I've been itching to go back there ever since my visit last winter. It was love at first sight and I've been day-dreaming and crushing on my memory of Portugal's magical charm even since my visit there.
My first love story with a place was most definitely with the old city of Jerusalem. It was home for me as a child... but I always felt like a visitor. Which meant I had the gift of still seeing it with a visitor's eye: Noticed every cobblestone street, the rhythm of the people walking, the smells at the Muslim market, the church bells, the Muslim prayer that always sounded so enchanting to me. A visitor's eye of a place would often see more than even the local's eye would. The local is a part of the place, but the traveler? Always seeing, looking, observing. Things are always new to the traveler. The curiosity of the traveler is a gift, one that is rare to feel when at home.
My second love story was with New York. That affair started as a love story, a deep full blown commitment almost from the start. No wonder I couldn't wait and had to move there on my own at barely twenty years old. I stayed there for a decade and loved its loudness, its pace, its bluntness, its real mish-mash of cultures. The U.S.A being the land of opportunities, of possibilities, of the American dream... was REAL to me as a young foreigner in New York City. I believed the song 'It's up to you New York New York... If you make it there - you'd make it anywhere...' That was the hymn of the city. And I adopted the rules of the city like a local: never stop walking, walk on the right side, drink nasty coffee, don't look at anyone in the subway, never take a cab 'cause it takes so much longer than the subway, if anyone is smiling to you in the street: they want something, and get a really warm coat - you'll need it. (There are more rules of course but these are the ones that come to mind in this Sunday eve when I had a hard kombucha and feeling the buzz already.)
My love story with NYC began fading enough for me to stop living in it, but I'll always love it. Just like a family member - you may have your disagreements with them, but they're - you know - family.
My love story with LA is different. I very much disliked it my first visits. I'm being kind... I HATED IT.
My New York state of mind made me question every smiling face in the street and the blue sky was blinding me after a decade of living like a vampire in a concrete jungle. And I haven't even said anything about the acting scene in LA vs. NYC. For a theatre geek such as myself - it was a real sacrifice to ditch the city of theatre in favor of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Truth is - glamour is an illusion. A facade. A game. I grew to love to city of illusion that LA is to me sometimes, but the bluntness and toughness and REALNESS of NYC and of New Yorkers... is still very much missed.
But enough with comparative thinking... what I love most about LA is how it's a city of many little cities. You turn a corner and you experience a new reality. You cross the street and you entered a new world. You take the wrong turn and end up in another planet. It's an unintentional city, a big beautiful mistake, and I am growing to love its surprises every day. Yes, even though a global pandemic.
Why am I thinking of places in this windy November night?
I suppose it's because a new dawn is upon us. One with new leadership that gives me immense relief, and makes me see a possibility to the end to Covid and with it - freedom to travel once again to some of my love affairs.
For now, I'll have to day dream of seeing my loves in person soon and send kisses from afar...
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In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman