Santa Barbara, United States
The pandemic brought a level of uncertainty, which is not a groundbreaking statement. This moment of unstable ground, for me, collided with a move to California to start graduate school. I got into my car mid-September, and left the Midwest. This was the first time I would ever see a desert. I remember, the day before my birthday and my arrival time into California, I was sitting on some mountain top in Sedona. I watched as the sun began to kiss the horizon, and everything was turning that magical gold. I started crying. I had left my family and friends, and any sense of structure; I was heading into an unknown void. The vastness of the desert echoed back to me my greatest loves and fears, mistakes and moments of forgiveness, anxieties and confidence. I was hearing myself in the wind that was starting to pick up. I got into my car, headed back to where I was staying and planned my arrival into California. The next day, my birthday, I entered LA around dinner time. I was staying with a dear friend. I was still shaken up at the thought of starting this adventure. But when she opened the door, she was holding a bouquet of flowers and dinner on the table. She told me "Welcome home," and we hugged for what felt like centuries. So while my fears and hopes are still floating in the desert, I was able to understand that home moves with us even when things have been turned around.