So we are rapidly approaching moving day. Moving is always incredibly stressful and for me, it's anticipation is always full of procrastination, obsessively refreshing Craigslist apartment ads, and last minute throwing things into boxes (or just the backseat of my car). It never goes as smoothly as planned and I always end up realizing we have way more stuff than we thought. Luckily, my fabulously efficient husband has been packing for weeks. We will be ready for moving day when it arrives. Or at least it will look that way on the surface.
We have been planning to move back "home" to Missouri for quite some time. I say "home" because I've had many places to call home in my life. Hawaii is my original home. That's where I was born and where I lived for my first seven years. Waikiki and Waipahu, I believe. I actually don't really know for sure. I was little when my parents moved us to the mainland. Right smack dab in the middle of it. As far away from every ocean as you can possibly get in the United States.
I never really felt comfortable in my own skin while living in Missouri. Mostly because of my own insecurities, but also because of my brown skin that no matter what, always seemed to be the first and sometimes only thing that people used to identify me (and usually incorrectly). I'm pretty sure most of the people I went to school with still think I'm Mexican. I always knew I would eventually leave all of my emotional baggage in Missouri one day, I just never would have guessed that I'd keep coming back.
At 17, I escaped for the first time. I moved to Arlington, VA to live with a shitty boyfriend and four months later, after realizing he was a (seriously super) shitty boyfriend, I reluctantly found myself back in Farmington.
I immediately began planning my next escape and quickly chose San Diego. I had some family here and had been here to visit during summers and on holidays since I was 10. At the time I thought I wanted to pursue a career in acting, but had zero desire to live in LA so San Diego seemed close enough. In the meantime, my BFF Tim and I had begun dating and he eventually decided that he wanted to come too. So there it was. Our first bold move.
I look back at those little 21 and 22 year old babies and seriously can't even believe it was almost 10 years ago. We were so hopeful and enthusiastic and absolutely unprepared to survive in freaking the most expensive place on planet earth. Okay not the most expensive, but damn. The first time we bought groceries and spent over fifty dollars on two little plastic bags of nothing, I thought we were for sure done for. We grossly underestimated how much money we needed to move and also how long it would take us to get jobs. We naively didn't realize that a lot of fucking people move to San Diego and a huge majority of them leave immediately because it's legitimately difficult to make it work here. We didn't know that our resumes full of small town bars and restaurants were hardly impressive and also huge red flags that we'd likely pack it up and go home once the big mean city folk scared us away. They didn't. To this day, I attribute our initial success in San Diego to the fact that we signed a lease agreement that included a deal. If we leased for a year, we got our third month free. We survived.
I will spare you our entire struggle from then until now, but I can tell you that although it seemed we would never acclimate ourselves to the cost of living here, I kind of miss the days of having to shop for stuff at 99 Cents Only and Food 4 Less. Kind of. We made it though, and not just in the sense that we got jobs and paid bills.
In my time here, I have been able to experience things that I never would have had I never left Missouri. I've seen amazing things and met truly beautiful people that have forced me to expand my perspectives and humble myself. I've neutralized insecurities and gained some much needed self confidence. In almost 10 years, I've had 11 addresses and lived in 6 different zip codes. I've conquered my fear of driving on the freeways. I've worked at the highest grossing restaurant in the state of California overlooking the insanely gorgeous San Diego Bay. I literally almost ran into Suge Knight on the floor while he was there dining with Katt Williams and I remember Fez from That 70's Show hopelessly hitting on my best friend, begging for her phone number. He never called. For the brief time that I lived in LA, I worked at an Italian restaurant that I'm 99% sure was a front for the mafia and luckily never got murdered.
I have had countless magical adventures through years of owning annual passes to Disneyland. We've driven up the 1, following the breathtaking coast to Monterey Bay and unexpectedly spent the night in a Big Sur cabin because a wildfire had compromised our route home. I've been a part of the live audience for The Ellen Show twice and Conan O' Brian once. I've seen Jenny Lewis in absolutely every form possible, so many times that I've lost count. I watched my idol, Ani Difranco, kill it at Humphrey's by the Bay and actually got to meet her outside of the House of Blues where I got her autograph. I chatted up Blake Sennett at the Casbah after The Elected show and I had the pleasure of spending the evening mesmerized by Ben Folds twice.
In a city that was once full of strangers, I've connected with souls that I will consider my family for life. I shared priceless moments with two dear friends that I will never see again. I've had my comfortable life crumble all around me, found myself briefly homeless, and then with the support of my amazing friends, started all over again. I've done things horribly wrong and fantastically right. I've been lost and I've been found. I have no regrets.
I leave California with an extremely heavy heart and have very often (daily, hourly) questioned the decision to leave. I am pretty much going to miss everything about it, with the exception of parking and traffic and the fact that I've spent enough money in rent to buy at least 6 legit houses in other parts of the country. Truth be told, I am done with San Diego. I look back on my time here very fondly, but the life that I once had here is no longer the life that I live. It's my responsibility to help make decisions for my family that give us our best chance and ironically, that happens to be in Farmington right now. I look forward to reconnecting with some of my favorite people. I'm happy for Veda to soon have all of her grandparents in one state. I'm anxious to build a strong foundation that will give us the opportunity to thrive and expand. It is time to evolve. I know we are making a good move but the doe-eyed 22 year old girl that still lives deep down inside of me thinks that I'm totally insane. We will all just have to accept that she will continue to kick and scream every single step of the way. I am happy to have her around to be quite honest. She will motivate me to never be complacent. She will remind me of our goals and our plan to not get stuck in Missouri forever. She is the essence of who I really am and I'm thankful for her.