A year ago I was somewhere along I80, en route to Ithaca. As is always the case, it feels like forever and just yesterday since I left California.
None of you know this, but Ithaca has been one of my dream cities for a long time. The other two are Boston and Seattle. I'm sure I will acquire a few more before I leave this world. A dream city is one of those places that you just know you would like, even before you've been there, and once you're there it's just right for you. Newport, RI, Monterey, and Mendocino are also on the list of places I'd really like to live, but I'm not sure if they count since I decided I liked them after visiting. Anyway, perhaps it was too many postcard perfect pictures that I viewed, but somewhere Ithaca and Boston got ingrained into my psyche at an early age. I applied to Cornell for undergrad and grad school, got in, but did not attend (for undergrad it would've been too expensive, and for grad school it came up against my other dream city and Boston won). I applied to do a post-doc here and applied for faculty jobs, with no success. 15 years later, here I am. The world works in mysterious ways. It's still a dream city. Ever so often I have one of those moments where I am awed by how pretty it is, or am reminded about how much I like it, quirkiness and Seattle-like rain and all.
I miss California and my friends and family, but, as you know, it was good for me to leave and get a fresh start.