The Most Beautiful Place I Have Ever Been

23 Jan

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It was the sort of night I had dreamt about when I imagined living in London.  The pub was dim and warm, the waiter was accented and straight out of a rom com, and I was riding the high of a Broadway musical.  I sat in the middle of a group of giggly girls and shared nachos sand swapped travel stories.

“Fiji” I said. I scooped up another chip.  “Fiji is 100% the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.  Did you know that there are no waves in Fiji?  There’s this coral reef barrier and so the water is just like a huge, turquoise swimming pool.  Fiji, Fiji, Fiji.”

Elisa piped up, “Venice is the most stunning place on earth, my lovelies, also stop eating all the chips.”

And the conversation continued.  Round and round we debated the most beautiful location in the world.  The English countryside.  The south of France.  Tropical islands.

Our waiter hovered, as waiters tend to do with groups of 20-something giggly girls, and soon he was part of the conversation.  “Where are you ladies from?” he asked.  “Utah” Elisa and I chimed.  “Ah, Utah” he said in that glorious accent.  “Well, you know, the most beautiful place I’ve ever been is Zion National Park.”

Elisa and I exchanged looks.  “Yeah, Zion is great,” I said, “But come on.  You live in Europe!”  Rom Com Waiter laughed and despite my impassioned nacho-fueled arguments, he maintained that Utah was the prettiest place he had ever been.

I asked Elisa this week if she remembered this story from nearly three years ago and she said, “Of course I remember! Memories with you in them are hard to forget.”

Oh Elisa, my lovely.

This conversation with Rom Com Waiter always kind of stuck with me.  I found it so odd that a man who lived in one of the grandest places on earth thought UTAH was the most beautiful place he had ever seen.

Boring old Utah.

There’s something about living in a place that takes away its magic.  It’s why Caitlin and I reserve Newport for especially bad days.  Newport is bottled lightning.  It’s like the sun shines a little brighter and the water sparkles a bit more and the pizza is just that much gooier than any pizza you can get near home.

But sustained Newport is out of the question.  Sustained Newport is average Newport and we want Newport to always be charmed and yellow and exciting.

I find that I take the beauty of LA for granted.  Malibu knocks me off my feet again and again, but LA and I have a complicated relationship.  I hate paying $40 to sit my car in a lot for an hour, I just do.  Traffic gives me anxiety and shreds my hair.  Parallel parking is the bane of my existence.

But then some days I am privileged with an hour to kill and I rollerblade along the pier right by my house and it’s foggy and grey and all I can think is, “This is the most beautiful place I have ever been.”

And for that moment, it is.

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