August 24, 2005

Paying the City

On the trail, we often talked of the 'payoff' - the payoff being what the trail gave back to us for all our hard work. Like stepping over the last rock to find yourself above treeline or having breakfast 'in the clouds' on a given morning. Many times, the payoff is much deeper - the payoff of solitude, of emptying yourself, of finding kindred spirits along the path. But, in order to get the payoff, you have to 'pay the trail' - hours and hours meandering your way through endless forest. Hiking downhill when your knees hurt. Waking up at 4:30 when your body is doing whatever it can to manipulate your body to rest.

Kari and I often talk in similar terms when we move to a new city. We've learned over the years (LA being our fourth city) that we need to 'pay the city' before she'll ever start paying us back. If you've ever moved to somewhere new, you know exactly what I'm talking about:

// The awkwardness of meeting new people (over and over).

// Getting lost on the highways and biways for several weeks (or months) because you don't have a clue where you're going.

// Feeling lonely on a consistent basis (weekends by yourself for a while).

// Finding a place to live!! Need I say more??

// Acclimatizing to new jobs that make you feel unsure of yourself.

// The joys of trying to find a job and going through the task of interviewing.

// Having to learn your spots (theatres, restaurants, best place to get gas, etc) for the first time.

// Wasting money eating at restuarants you thought were going to be good.

// Changing all your digits (phone, address, driver's license, etc, etc, etc)

Sometimes, depending on the size and location of the city, it takes 6-12 months of paying the city before you start feeling adjusted and at home in your new city... before the city (places & people) starts paying you back, depositing into your account called TRUE LIFE. Lots of people (especially young) bail in this time because it's hard and awkward and doesn't always feel like a fit. I don't blame them though - it's like hiking on the AT - hard.

So, we've been paying the city for over a week now. I'll keep you posted.


Anonymous said...

Come on, you two are pros at this by now! Hang in there- I know it can still be tough. I have a childhood friend living in Santa Monica (her husband is in the film industry. I'm not sure what he does exactly, but his name is in the credits of Spiderman 2 and Seabiscuit. Well, towards the end of the credits, but its there!). Anyway, they are an awesome couple - I can give you her email if you want. Staci and I were talking last night about coming out to see them and you- maybe in the beginning of next year. How far are you from Santa Monica? I think we can do the Jet Blue thing into Long Beach. Take care! Rick Murray

Josh said...

So you've read my philosophy of moving to a new city...we'll be fine - we feel like LA has already started paying!!! It helps that we moved somewhere with friends and know people here.

We're 35 minutes from Santa Monica...4 hours and 10 minutes with traffic. :)


Amanda said...

It consistantly takes me 9 months of "paying the city" before I get anything back. I'm just entering month 3.

John and I are in process of trying to get new driver's licenses...which means tracking down birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.

Hang in there.


Josh said...

Sydney took a good 12 months. LA will probably take 3 since we already know so many people thanks to the Bills - and life's easier when you make the trip with your best friends. We'll hang and think about you hanging (as well as PK, Bruce's, Johson's, etc).

JohnLDrury said...

I hate moving and I love moving all at once. Discovering new spots is the best. But until you find them, the trial and error sucks. Mando and I just ate dinner at what we thought would be a cool diner. It wasn't. Every single item tasted bad. Better luck will surely come your way with a killer spot-finder like Sam.

Rachael & Caleb said...

Ironic that the weekend you move into pasadena i am moving out! I am moving down to the lushious beaches of laguna down in Orange county. SO anytime you and Kari want to get away from 'urban life' you'll have to come down and spy out my new place. Oh, and if you or Kari are looking for another job, I can get you connected as a tutor for $12/hr where I worked just 3 miles away.. Anyways, call me sometime. Rach (626) 372-4714

Steve Deur said...

You don't owe LA anything. Grab the town by the ankles and drag it to the ground and then jump on it while bashing its head in until it gives you everything you want. Oops - I mean - you'll be great - stay patient - pay your dues - be nice - and comb your hair...

Just kidding - about what I don't know - but anyways - have fun. These will be the days you remember with fondness and laugh about - kinda like my grandparents walking to school for five miles in five feet of snow. (Thank God for global warming.) :)

Mark O. Wilson said...

Great point about paying the city before it pays you back.

As a pastor of the same church for 14 years, I believe this is also true of ministry -- you have to sow before you reap.

I think too many new ministers desire the reaping side before they've paid their dues.

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