It is an odd feeling, and at the same time, it feels like nothing at all.
Today marks the day that I officially became a Tennessean. It's been a 6 month journey to get to this point, but as of today, I am legally licensed and registered to vote.
The odd feeling I'm referring to was the act of handing over my old California state license. I've been asked for it so many times in so many places, but I always got it back. This time, I didn't. It's gone. The last, physical thing that tied me to California is gone.
On paper, from this point forward, there is no record of me being from California.
For the last 6 months, when asked for my license, I handed over my CA license, and it would sometimes spark the question, "oh, wow, you moved from LA? Why?" I would explain our reasons, blah blah blah, and I kid you not, 9 times out of 10, I would get "I wouldn't have left LA for anything" and then I hear about all the bad things they want to tell me about.
California was my home for over 30 years, most of that time spent in the LA area. It's not to say that I don't miss it from time to time, or the people, the family, or the food. I do. But, the odd feeling of handing over my license and not getting it back felt like ... nothing.
I knew this day was coming for a couple of weeks now, and at random moments when I thought about it, I felt myself trying to be sentimental. Like, I would think to myself, "maybe I should make a copy of the CA license" or some crazy stuff like that. I would think it, but I never actually did it.
Instead, this morning, at the TN DMV, they asked if I had my out of state license, I handed it over, and that was it. No muss, no fuss. More importantly, no hesitation. It wasn't really until now when I realized there was no attachment to the license any more that I became aware of the fact that I am truly starting to settle here in Tennessee.
The first few months were hard for me. I was really homesick. It is better now. Like I already said, it's not like I don't miss the things and people I came to know so well over the last 30+ years, but it's getting better.