A magnitude 4.2 earthquake woke us up today. I spent the first 32 years of my life in the midwest. There are no earthquakes in the midwest. This is a new experience for me. Though, according to my mother, I was in San Diego in the early 90s when a large earthquake hit. I have no recollection of this event.

It was a primal sensation. I wasn’t afraid. It was more a sense of respect; the same type of respect I have for large bodies of water and fire. Someday, I hope to be able to lie directly on the ground during an earthquake and to feel it in my bones.

Earlier this week I had the realization that I am a refugee. The pandemic displaced me from my home and sent me out west. This wasn’t part of the plan. I didn’t have all the emotions leading up to a move, none of the melancholic “this-might-be-my-last-time-going-here” moments, none of the goodbyes. One day I was living in Chicago. The next I was packing my passport and essentials. Three months later my close friends were packing my studio and I was breaking my lease via email and telephone.

Have you ever not been present for your own move? Strange one, that was.

So now, here I am. California. A strange land of earthquakes and lizards, of wildfires and black widows. Home.