A love letter to Tucson

Dear Tucson,

I suppose everyone has these phases, but it’s so funny now to remember that eight years ago, I was desperate to be somewhere else. And now that I’ve left home — the thing my 14-year-old self wanted most — I just want to tell that little girl that there’s no need to rush.

Some of my best friends returned to school last month. Some of them have moved on entirely, across state lines and national borders. And I’ve moved back to Los Angeles, this time for much longer than 10 weeks. I’ve been on a crying streak all summer, but it hit its peak this weekend, to the point that just before we got on the road to L.A. Friday morning, I burst into tears again without even seeing it coming. My mother asked why I was crying and I exclaimed I didn’t know, it had just happened.

But of course I know why I cried then, and why I cried during every goodbye I had to say this summer, and why even now in my cute little sunshiny studio in Koreatown I feel an urge to weep even though I’m not sad. New beginnings are exciting, of course, but they are also a little scary and a little overwhelming and a little lonely. But mixed in with all that excitement and fear and loneliness and exhilaration is so, so much gratitude. And that’s worth a few tears too.

I'm only saying goodbye for a little while, Tucson.

“The ideas that have lighted my way have been kindness, beauty and truth.”

It’s no secret that most of my formative years were spent in student media, first for my high school yearbook and then at the Arizona Daily Wildcat. These are places where I met the most significant people in my life, who became my friends and mentors and role models and personal heroes.

People like my yearbook adviser and her husband, who also taught my AP American Government class, who set me on my path in journalism. And my college newspaper adviser, who would probably hate this blog post but is, I think, proud of the growth I’ve made since the first time he wrote about me in his “Glass House” adviser’s notes. Former editors and co-workers who still inspire me, long after we’ve lost touch, with the kindness and grace and ambition they had when we first met. My friends, who put up with all of my quirks and send reassuring texts like, “You’re all right” at exactly the right time.

And of course, there is my family, who put up with my endless late nights and missed dinners and constant chatter about things they still don’t really understand but pretend to care about because I care.

The most difficult thing about leaving Tucson is that all the people who made me think I could do this — leave home and have a job and be a real, live grown-up — are still there. And every time I cried, they wondered why I would at such a grand and exciting time of my life. But the truth is, they helped to shape every moment that led me here. I’m sad to leave because I’m grateful for what I’m leaving.

It has been a strange and lovely journey, Tucson. I miss you already. Thank you.

— Kristina

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One thought on “A love letter to Tucson

  1. From T-303 to the L.A. Times? You oughta be proud, kid.

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