What’s in a city?

After spending close to three weeks in New York  to open the World Trade Center, I realized what the energy of a city can do.  Either a city can empower and invigorate (More often than not) while others will chew you up and spit you out.  Time out magazine wrote on the topic of: Does being a New Yorker make you an Asshole?  I found this to be very interesting especially as I travel the world hoping to make every place a piece of my heart…my inner fiber.  I’ve always had a strong love for New York.  Growing up in Pennsylvania allowed us to be far enough away to make it exciting every time we visited, though close enough that it allowed the city to feel like I was still a part of it.

During college I had the chance to study abroad in the UK, which was a phenomenal experience to which I feel I owe a great deal of my life’s most prized possessions to- that of exploring the globe.  This allowed me to embrace the fear of going to live out of your “norm” away from those you hold close to you both in your physical space and are your Life.  Leaving it behind for 6 months to survive on fish and chips, Shepherd’s pie and a slew of Guiness.  I get it that this might not be the most inspiring start to living overseas, it was real.  Especially for that of a college student…And from Pennsylvania.  It doesn’t get much more simple than that.  Though it opened up my eyes to see a beautiful world, full of many option, cultures and cities that needed to be explored.  By me.

After this experience and following graduation I decided my roots in PA had been nurtured and nourished enough for me to find my way to a new place to call home.  I considered NY since, as I mentioned, my love for this city is endless.  However, I figured if I already moved to the other side of the pond, why not venture to the other side of the country.  And that’s exactly what I did.  I had NO idea where I should go.  I knew enough from my vacations growing up, that California was a place that I certainly loved and considered even making it home.  Just had no idea where to go.  Friends from college considered joining me to strike gold in finding a new journey on the west coast, though no one ended up making it with me.  For this, like many, was a journey I was to make on my own.  (Though let me be real, most of the times I’ve fought this aspect of journeying by myself and yet I know traveling solo was the reason for my trip to begin with!)

I landed in glorious Newport Beach which was a bit of a culture shock, simply due to all the luxe lifestyle and living this little beach town had to offer.  I called Newport Beach my home for 7 fantastic years to then branch out further, down south to San Diego.  San Diego was the perfect place for me to find my way in the world.  I worked for 6 years as Marketing director of Fashion Valley.  At the time, the 3rd most profitable shopping center in the US.  And this was even in the down economy of 2007.  Luckily, it taught me a ton about business, pr and the true value of relationships.  Eight years later I was onto yet another…even bigger city to explore.  I took a brief sabbatical to Paris in the summer of 2015 which would end up being an absolute game changer!!  From here, my world opened like never before.  After heading to Europe to live, knowing no one, I knew I could go anywhere.

After returning from Paris, as much as I loved San Diego, I knew the wind was blowing me onto something new.  Something bigger.  Though I honestly didn’t realize it would be LA.  And this was simply due to the fact that I came here to be a part of something I was extremely passionate about.  And now… It’s been 6 months that I’ve called Los Angeles my home.  The place I vowed to NEVER move to.  The same place that every day instantly stimulates and a place that can be incredibly overwhelming at the same time.  It’s the second largest city in the U.S. so what else would you expect, I ask myself?  It’s everything I thought it would be and nothing like I thought it would be at the same time.  From helicopters to absurd traffic- this place is a zoo.  And I’ve realized that it’s taken a bit of a toll on my sensitive soul.  With all the energy I’ve got running through me to now be countered by the intense amount of energy that exists in this concrete jungle, it can weigh on me at times.  So, now it’s about finding the peace within, in this new city I call home.

In Newport, I was at the beach and in San Diego, I was by the bay.  Both of which offer a welcoming sense of tranquility- even if life is far from it.  And although it can be a bit rare for me to sit at the beach or lie by the bay, something about those locations, that were still closely connected to city offerings allowed me to still enjoy some peace and harmony.  And now, here I sit at CBTL on Sunset blvd and am very much aware of the fact that I sit on a patio- outside- though instead of feeling ocean breeze, I’m breathing in car fumes and listen as those from “the industry” talk about their next big opportunity.  And with all of this, I’m living each moment to truly experience this new city of mine.  For most of my adult life I’ve dreamed that I could be bi-coastal, to also experience living in New York, and I have to say I’m quite thankful having had the chance to spend weeks at a time in that glorious city and yet still call California home.  Because at the end of the day, Home is where you make it.  (Or at the very least, where you pack and unpack your bags!)  So, here’s to you, Lalaland…I’m all yours.  Whether you’re home for a year or a lifetime, I hope you’ll offer me a sense of comfort, home and peace in this crazy big city of yours and I vow to bring a little bit of sunshine and gratitude your way.

Francine

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