I left South Lake Tahoe nearly three years ago to embark on the journey of adulthood. I’ve been meaning to go back for a while, but adapting to NYC and trying to keep my nose above the water has kept me busy. Now that I’m a teacher and I have the summer off, I’m taking this occasion to return to Tahoe. It’s a beautiful place, and while I don’t regret leaving, I certainly do miss it. I went through a lot of experiences and met a lot of people there that directed me to the path I am now on. So I am excited to go back because Tahoe holds a lot of meaning for me. It’s where I really began to find my own strength. It’s where I developed a stronger work ethic and began to develop professionally, where I fell in love with hiking, where I learned the value of solitude, where I learned how to create an environment where people could hang out and have a good conversation, and it’s where I made a lot of lasting friendships. It’s a place where I experienced the extreme depths of loneliness and sorrow, but also where I experienced the deeper ecstasy in love, nature, and self-awareness. I think about it a lot–who couldn’t reminisce about the pristine mountain air and pine trees and placid lakes while immersed in subways and ghettos, stress and exhaustion?
I’ve successfully adapted to New York City. I’ve survived working my ass off for 9 months as a new manager at a highly successful national grocery retailer and earned the respect of people who had every reason to dislike me, since I was an outsider to their community and their business. I’ve survived months on little sleep and long middle of the night commutes. I’ve survived a school year with some of the most challenging students in the city in one of the most poverty stricken areas of the city. I’ve survived being cussed out, insulted, and otherwise abused on a daily basis for the last 10 months, yet succeeded in keeping my students in their seats.
So yeah, I think I can confidently say that I’ve adapted to this city. Going back to California and seeing that giant beautiful lake at 6,300 feet surrounded by glaciated mountains and taking in a fresh breath of that pure air again. . . It will be like a little taste of sorrow of what I have left behind, and a little taste of victory of what I have accomplished. But most importantly–I just can’t wait to see some old friends again and share a glass of New Belgium beer or Chartreuse with them. Here’s to Tahoe.