When I was originally thinking of writing this post, I thought about writing it as an open letter to my time here in California. I got about halfway through before realizing that it just didn’t sound like me. And this blog post needs to sound like me because I want it to reflect everything I’ve learned in the past two years. This is probably going to be all over the place but I’ll try to keep it as coherent as possible! There’s a lot I want to say.
So - Here we go.
Wow. Ok. So by the time you’re reading this I’ll be less than a week away from starting my epic cross country road trip with Edwin and moving to Chicago. When I moved out here two years ago I really believed that I had found my forever home. I never wanted to leave! I’ve been dreaming about moving to California ever since I came out here for my sister’s wedding in 2009. When I started dating Edwin and it started getting serious and the opportunity to move out here became possible it was like a dream come true.
I was warned “it’s too expensive” and “it’s too far” and “you’re only moving for a boy.” Two years later I can now fully confirm that all of these things are true. I was asked time and time again if I was moving because I wanted to or if it was because of Edwin. I think i sort of lied to myself at the time and tried to convince myself that I was doing it for myself but, in hindsight, it totally was for Edwin. And I’m glad I did it. For the last two years I’ve mostly put my career on hold because I wanted to focus more on my relationship. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that because if I hadn’t done that I would never have discovered my passion for teaching and chosen that as my career path.
Here’s a few things I want to clarify: I took a massive chance on Edwin but deep down i knew that he was my person. I knew i wanted to be committed to him and I was 100% willing to make the move and show my devotion. I knew I wanted our relationship to continue growing and after two years of long distance it was time. Everyone asked me why he wouldn’t move to me. Why was I “putting in all the effort”?
Honestly, it was my decision to not have him move to Florida. I wanted to leave. I wanted to escape. I wanted to travel and take the risk because my whole life had been so safe and comfortable and I knew he was a risk worth taking. It was the hardest thing in the world leaving my parents because I love them so much but I knew I had to do it. Throughout the past two years i have grown so much as a person and I’ve learned so much about not only being a good girlfriend but about being a good future partner, about having difficult conversations, and about being a good person overall. I don’t regret my decision to move in the slightest.
I loved getting to spend one of my best birthdays ever with this group of girls! Disneyland holds so many amazing memories for me.
As for all those “California is too expensive” comments - they’re damn right. I was lucky enough that I had friends and family that I could live with while I was out here and only charged a little bit for rent. But shit is it hard to get on your feet out here. Gas prices are through the roof. Taxes are really high. And don’t even think about being able to afford an apartment. But I never thought about any of that stuff in the beginning. In the beginning I just thought about exploring Los Angles with Edwin and enjoying our lives and finally having a normal relationship. And it was amazing and educational and a major growing experience. We’ve had some pretty bad fights and from those fights we came out stronger and more secure in ourselves. It wasn’t until we got engaged and i started thinking about our future and our careers that I started to see the appeal of California drift away… It sounds really bad and it’s something I’d had in the back of my mind all these years but now it was at the forefront. I had to figure out what I wanted to do.
My sister called me out and said that I was moving to Chicago out of boredom and she’s not entirely wrong. Aside from the fact that Edwin and I can no longer picture raising a family here I am just tired of the California lifestyle. I’m tired of the vanity and people never being satisfied. I’m tired of the nasty ass attitudes and the constant need to out do your neighbor. I think California was a great fit for me the last two years but it’s definitely gotten to the point where Edwin and I seriously had to consider what would be best for us. It sounds really weird to say but it was actually really hard for me to detach myself from my friends and my parents and family and their opinions. I’m the kind of person where I always put everyone else’s feelings and opinions before my own. I’d rather see everyone else happy before I saw myself happy. So, i decided to change that.
For the first time since graduating college, I know what I want my career path to be. I can so clearly imagine the life that I want for Edwin and I and our kids (eventually!). I’ve never put my foot down about what I want, especially about the little things and now I feel infinitely more secure about this move because it is something I want and I have spoken up about - not just Edwin. I’d always wanted to travel and move around before settling down and having kids and that’s exactly what I’m doing! But now I get to do it with my best friend and it’s the greatest feeling in the world. We don’t have any major expenses (other than this wedding), no real commitments to any one place, no kids, no pets… We said if we were ever going to do this the time was now.
Don’t get me wrong - while I’m excited to quit my dead end job and move some place new and actually start focusing on myself it's going to suck leaving what I have here. I have grown so close with my sister and her family. Not being able to see my niece and nephew and deal with their constant bickering is going to suck. Leaving my wonderful, amazing friends is going to suck. I want to tear up just thinking about it. This move is really scary because we’re going to with no jobs and hoping to start our careers in a new city, with very little savings AND ITS FREAKING AWESOME! Normally I would be so freaked out but honestly it’s been such a freeing feeling!
The first time I moved two years ago was hard because letting go of my parents and realizing what I had done by taking a chance on Edwin was terrifying. I felt so alone even though I really wasn’t. This time is so different. This time I have him with me. This time we’re both running towards something. I am so happy and excited and nervous all at the same time.
California, you have shown me I can overcome many struggles. You brought me the love of my life. You brought me clarity. You showed me I do and don’t want to be. You took a very lost girl and pointed her in the right direction and told her to run. I got engaged here. I found out who I am here. I found family here. I found life long friends here. I am forever grateful for my time here and I can’t wait to come back for my wedding next year. You have been so good to me. Thank you for everything and everyone.