The photo spoke to me. An old woman in front of a slot machine, her purse propped on her lap for a quick draw. Neon signs glowing upon her overjoyed face, and a cheap tile ceiling above, proving fortune can be found in this town without a shred of luxury nearby.
So Las Vegas.
I told my husband that photographer Leila Navidi’s picture would hang in our home when we left this city and serve as a reminder of the place where we met and built the foundation for our marriage and careers. He placed the highest bid for it at the photo auction that night.
That was in February, when we had only hopes of moving on. Some call that wishful thinking. I call it making travel arrangements for your destiny.
After an eight-month search, my husband was offered a new job a month ago. In a week, he’ll start that new job in a new city — a city as strong as our dreams.
We’re moving to Boston.
Before you set out to do something like this, it starts merely as a thought, one you throw out there, both terrified and hopeful that someone will catch it. After time, it turns into a pristine resume and cover letter. Soon enough, it becomes an action plan. In a blink, it’s reality.
As his new position got closer and closer to reality, my enthusiasm turned, pun fully intended, cold. I made my first visit last weekend to the East Coast city. My winter coat came with me.
Just hours before landing in Beantown, I stood in flip-flops, cutoff shorts and a whisper-thin tank top, watering our garden. The same garden that, along with four palm trees, hugs our swimming pool. The same swimming pool I float atop five months out of the year.
You can imagine my surprise when everyone from our Realtor to taxicab drivers to restaurant servers in Boston exclaimed, “Wow, what a beautiful day,” in temperatures we in Las Vegas don’t confront unless there’s a Christmas tree present.
I got your beautiful day, I thought.
Leaving Las Vegas, as Sheryl Crow songs and Nicolas Cage movies have taught us, can be hard to do.
But it’s necessary for us. We want to grow and prosper our careers. We squeezed all we could out of this city and are grateful for the opportunities. Like bright lights at a nightclub indicate, though, it’s time to leave — and head to the after-party.
Boston endeared itself to me. Its culture, history and sports teams made for a very vibrant weekend. The more we walked the streets, the more excited I became about our new adventure.
Adventure. That’s the only way to look at a cross-country move that requires you to sell nearly everything you own, bid farewell to an 1,800-square-foot home, say “hello” to a one-bedroom condo, and prepare to watch your life morph into something unrecognizable.
Hey, if the adventure comes with an urban skyline, I’ll take it. My husband once described me as a girl with small-town roots and a big-city attitude. It’s high time geography and that attitude agree with each other.
As our time in Boston passed, intricate architecture awed me and gorgeous parks beckoned me. I shed my winter coat. I opened windows. I chose the title of pedestrian over passenger whenever possible.
There’s nothing wrong with knowing how to appreciate both a beautiful desert day and a beautiful New England day.
That said, don’t cry for me — yet — Las Vegas. You’re stuck with me until the end of the summer. I’m not giving up my pool time that easily. Plus, there’s a lot to take care of in the coming months, including a garage sale.
My husband will take with him only the essentials: a bed, couch and large-screen TV.
Oh yeah, and an enlarged photo of an old lady having the time of her life in the same city where a certain couple met, got married and hoped for a bigger future together.
Contact Xazmin Garza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0477. Follow her on Twitter @startswithanx.