5 Cities I’ve Loved


1. Miami

You saw me fight for life in the tiny hospital bed and saw my arms and legs sprout. I threw my baby teeth into your backyard wishing for things I don’t remember now. You saw me waiting on top of the stairs as my parents bickered and to soothe me, the evenings were never cold when I would inevitably walk around barefoot along the edges of the pool. You are somewhere I always want to come back to. But you are also a place where boxes of old photographs and notes lie, a place that is sometimes suffocating and stained with memories that you become a place where I do not want to stay for long.

2. Washington

I don’t remember the person that I was when I first came to you. I have a vague memory of an eager, excited 17 year old, but I don’t remember how I came to know you or how I wove myself within your quadrants, so comfortably. Every pocket of you I can associate to a memory yet I still can discover things I never noticed before, something like a freckle on the face of a lover. I spent countless sunrises doing things I shouldn’t have been, and went from feeling invincible to recognizing how fragile that notion could be. The chill of 3 AMs I felt was comforted by the stillness that sets in every night and in those moments you saw me and continue to observe the person I am meant to be.

3. Seoul

In the many scraps of paper that held bucket lists from ages 8 to 18, there was getting to know you like the back of my hand. I built you up, from the hours of movies I would watch, I built you up so much in my head, and by the time I got to be alone with you at 18, you were everything I thought you would be. But every time after, with every passing year, I saw your faults. Your vanity. Your sexism. And while there is a part of me that will always savor the mixture of comfort and excitement that you carry, my soul is no longer soothed by your surface level pleasantries.

4. New York

There was always a thought that you would be significant in my life. Maybe because I watched my sister fall in love with you. When I attempted to go on a similar path as her, I flirted with the idea of me and you. But another city was meant for me. Throughout my life, I was still drawn to your rough around the edges, fast-paced, blinding lights, kind of style. But so many people have loved you before. And I saw so many people tire of you, too, after a while. But anybody drawn to you, seeks that thrill that only you can provide. Even if it’s once in a while. And that’s why even after countless times of going to you, during the summers, or weekends, my heart still beats just a little faster when you’re around.

5. Paris

You are different from anywhere I’ve known, and yet I feel I belong to you. You encompass my past, present, and future, all at once. I can’t recall when I first fell in love with you, but I was young. Years went by as I learned the way you spoke and the history of your life, until I was finally able to meet you. And every time since, you bring out a happiness in me, that I can’t quite describe. It’s pure and reinvigorates my passions, it presents me with the person I want to be, and it inspires and motivates me. I go on, looking forward to a day when I might be able to call you, my home.