A Tale Of Two Cities


A Tale of Two CitiesFor the past decade or so, Chattanooga has been one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, drawing in new residents from all over the country. Maybe, like me, you are one of them.

About 13 years ago, I moved here from sunny Southern California. Slowly but surely, the Chattanooga area became my new home. I found new doctors, got a new job, made new friends, and became extremely familiar with the area. Walking by the Tennessee River or heading to the zoo for a few hours now seems like something I have always done. Until recently, it had been ten years since I had last visited my home state of California. However, due to the death of someone who was like an aunt to me, I made the trip back home not too long ago.

I was nervous.

Would Southern California seem like an alien nation to me? An unfamiliar territory? Would it be weird to see faces from my past instead of those I see on a daily basis here in Tennessee? I pushed my anxieties aside and booked my solo flight.

My best friend of 35 years picked me up from the airport. As we drove on the notorious 405 freeway, to my surprise, I noticed nothing was different. I didn’t feel weird or like I was in an unfamiliar place. I felt like I was at home, the same way I do in Chattanooga now.

I realized that I now forever have two homes.

As I spent almost five days in the area where I grew up, I noticed that though some of the buildings and businesses have changed, everything is still familiar to me. My most valuable lesson this trip was that despite how different I thought I had become since leaving California, I am still the same — just like the city where I grew up — the good and the bad. Overall, I feel I’ve matured and grown since I left California, but at heart I am the same girl that I left behind.

The words of Paul Simon have greatly resonated with me these past couple of weeks: “After changes upon changes, we are more or less the same.”