Licensed to Drive
It was a strange feeling…sitting in the PennDOT (the PA version of the DMV) office. Knowing that I would be surrendering my California residency and taking on one in an unfamiliar place.
I’ve been a resident of the Golden State for nearly my entire life. Sure, I’ve lived other places. But they have all been temporary stays. Four months in Cinci. Three years in New Jersey. Seven semesters in Ithaca. One semester in London. An academic year in Jerusalem. Two semesters in NYC. The rest of the time in sunny SoCal.
What does it matter? I ask myself, it’s just a place.
Even as answer my own question, I know that isn’t true. It’s home. It’s family. It’s friends. It’s memories. It’s familiar. And it’s who I am. Or, at the very least, how I perceive myself to be.
And yet, like all things, rituals help us move through the transitions of life. While before I could still trick myself into thinking that we were just on an extended vacation in some far-off place, replacing my CA license in my wallet with this newly-minted PA one no longer allows such fantasies.
Welcome to Pennsylvania is what the fellow behind the desk said.
But his warm and gracious smile said, Welcome home.