I was standing on the corner of 1st and Spring St. on a sunny yesterday afternoon; I sneezed and a man in a car, zooming through the intersection, windows open, called out “Bless You!” as he flashed past.

That was nice. Zoom, poof, and a sneeze, and suddenly it’s mid-September (perfectly half-way today) and I’m moved out and moved in, settled and unpacked and loving life at the beach. I spent sunset of Thursday and Friday and Sunday on the sand, running or looking or biking , giggling all the while: “I live here!” In fact, on Thursday, I ran from my apartment—the place that I live—to the beach, and then along the beach, and then back to my apartment. Never once touching a car! Friday I biked from my apartment to Venice and then up to Malibu, and then, before I swung back to the inland streets, I paused, and the sun set, and it was orange and blue and white sand.

In celebration of my first afternoon off in two weeks, I strolled along 3rd Street Promenade like a tourist, gawking and shopping. That’s the beauty of moving somewhere new: you can act like a tourist, just as excited and mis-directed. While the traffic is, shall we say, heavier in downtown Santa Monica than it is in cozy La Canada, I don’t mind it. I sort of like all the tourists, staring so wonderingly at the ocean and storefronts and the street signs. Yes, I know!, I want to say. This place is wonderful! (And I live here!). I love hearing all the different languages–not just Spanish, but Mandarin and Croatian (I’m guessing, but who really knows) and German, and, to my delight, a young Portuguese family in my local Whole Foods. I went grocery shopping at my new Trader Joe’s, which is in fact everyone’s new Trader Joe’s, having just opened on Olympic and amazing. I enjoyed spending money on zucchini and strawberries instead of gas and overpriced lattes (which, I reckon, I will have to continually spend money on). Monday, I joined the trail of commuters biking along Arizona, helmets on and reflectors flashing. I like that kind of traffic, the congestion at the bike rack at the Santa Monica library, those kindred spirits who employ bike transportation and go to the library.

Granted, today I was a part of the commuters oozing along the 10 freeway at 9 a.m., but if you’re armed with a good audiobook, it’s not so bad. The tutoring of high schoolers swings up full-time, so after I leave Spring St. and before I go home to cook in our little kitchen with no dishwasher (discovered that one post-move in), I’m exploring the neighborhoods homes of West Los Angeles–diverse and grandiose and winding, nooks and crannies I never knew existed.


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