"memories keep us furthermemories bring us nearer
memories stay with us forever
memories bring us together".
My last proper day in Los Angeles, a city full of memories, memories of my youth, my evolution as a man, of a marriage, of a time that remains inescapably linked to who I am and who I became. When I arrived in Los Angeles during the winter of 1999, I was awash with anxiety. Here I was, in my 40s, my mother was seriously ill, I was leaving behind my family and friends for an uncertain future. I had to learn how to be a husband, how to eventually teach in a broken down school system, how to basically become a part of a very different society
. There were successes and failures. Two years into our marriage, we bought our first [and only] home, and we landed in the San Fernando Valley, a place all its own, with its particular quirks, heat and atmosphere. When the marriage ended we both stayed in the Valley, so it's fitting, as I bid farewell to this City of Angels, that I took a last look around. Most of the time we lived in leafy, tranquil and suburban Sherman Oaks, a middle class area, ethnically diverse, quiet and pleasant. It was home for about 10 years. I worked further north in the Hispanic centric city of San Fernando and had a few years of quite extraordinary happiness, both professionally and personally. In this, one of my last blogs from here, I decided to look back and reflect on the life that was and the life that still awaits. I left a little over a year ago for another uncertain future and had to conquer my fears of China pretty much on my own, but as I look back on the life I left behind, I can't say I have regrets. With my marriage I inherited a warm and gracious family, a godson, and a few friends and colleagues. And how fortunate that the same family continues to embrace me today. My former father in law, Mort, said to me over dinner last week. 'You;re still my son-in-law'. It's gratifying that I can still call these Yankee folks my family, so I have parents and a brother here, and my dad and family in Australia. So loneliness is not an option.
China represents the future, Los Angeles an unforgettable past rich in the fabric of memories. It was important to go back to where it began and at the same time embrace my future while reflecting on a life here that remains one of many adventures, and by no means the last.