Friday, November 30, 2012

Follow Your Heart

       Day after day we continued our cyber relationship but let me tell you, this was much more difficult than just any long distant relationship.  This was a nine hour time difference with two people who had full-time jobs, and a life of their own still going on without each other.  After about a month a part we decided we had to be together some way.  So he talked with his family about me moving to France, and by moving to France I mean moving into his Grandparent's house with him.  When he first suggested the idea I was a little bit hesitant,  here I was living in an apartment in Mission beach, right by the ocean like I had always dreamed!  I had to weigh out the pros and cons of this plan....
    Moving to France Pros (+)
  • I get to be with my love!
  • I get to travel to a different country I never thought I would have the opportunity or money to ever see.
  • I can learn a new language
  • Learn about a whole new culture
  • Meet his family
  • Technically I'll be the same distance from my family as I am now (just over an Ocean) 
  • and again most importantly BE WITH MY LOVE <3
    Moving to France Cons (-)
  • I'll be over an Ocean from my family (more expensive plane tickets to limit frequent visits)
  • Living with his Grandparent whom I have never met nor did either speak any English
  • My family still hasn't met this man yet!
  • Leaving my first job
  • And being completely dependent on a man, which was exactly what I was taught to never do. 
   Staying in California Pros (+)
  • Staying in the place I always dreamed of living
  • Able to continue working
  • Party buses on the weekends
  • The Ocean and Palm trees
  • Jogs along the ocean after work
  • "The dream team" aka my best California girls 
   Staying in California Cons (-)
  • Long Distant relationships NEVER work out
  • My apartment with the guys (Fun) yet very messy. Typical boys
  • My once secure job, not feeling so secure
  • Not HAVING my love -not an option
      After some thought, which honestly didn't take me long to make, it was decided!! I was moving to Paris, France.  I mean who wouldn't give everything up to follow their love to such a beautiful place, at least from what I have seen in photos it looks nice.  I thought at the time, "how hard could the language really be!"  The first thing I had to do was break the news to my family.  Easier said than done, it was already hard enough to leave them when I moved to San Diego and I was only there about a year at this point. Good byes were never easy, mostly for my mother who teared up every time I would drive off to college (all four years), then again when I drove off to California.  Now I have to break the news once again, that I will be moving even further.  Some may wonder if I have such a close relationship with my mother how do I keep moving further and further away from her?  But this is how she raised me, to be a strong, independent woman, and if life gives me an opportunity, to take it.  So when I called to ask her what she thought of my new plans to move to France in the near future, I could here the sadness in her voice when she said it.  But those words stayed with me, she said "Alex, follow your heart."  And that was exactly what I needed to hear to finalize my decision.   All though I still had the rest of my family and friends to tell, the hard part was over!  Breaking the news to them, I got reactions like......"How long have you known him!?" "Do you even speak french!?" "Where are you going to work?" "You're just going to give up your dream after only living there for one year!?"  Which were all good questions.  But I had already asked them to myself and even if the answers were unclear, I was going!  I gave my 2 week notice and had my friend Brittany come out to help me pack and drive my life back to Pennsylvania.  I made the best of my last 2 weeks in California.  The way I see it, I'm not giving up my dream but I lived the dream already and now it was time to find a new one.  Before leaving I wanted to have has much money as possible before moving to France and for driving back across the country.  We decided to have a Moving Sale so I could sell anything that I didn't feel like hauling back with me.  I would say it was a success but it was the hardest to see my lime green beach cruiser drive off with some one else.  End of July came fast but not fast enough, every day I was missing my boyfriend more and more. But finally the day had arrived to head back to North East PA.  Since on my way to California I had a great time at each of our pit-stops we decided to repeat it for the way back.  With one extra stop in Four Corners USA on our way to Denver.  I will offer anyone advice who plans on driving across the country, fill up your gas tank before traveling through Kansas especially between the hours of 12:00 am-4:00 am.  Once we finally made it to Pittsburgh it was nice to get out of the car and even more so to see my friends!  One last night out in Pittsburgh and it was off to Tunkhannock.  On  that 6 hour drive from Pittsburgh to Tunkhannock I had time to sit back and reflect at what I have seen so far in my 23 years, and I began to feel so blessed.  Me moving to France for love was crazy I knew that, but so was leaving my small town in the first place to San Diego.  I would have never met Thomas if I never took the chance to move to San Diego, or the chance I took when I moved in with 3 random guys from craigslist.  Following my heart so far has never steered me wrong so far, so why stop now.  I guess the next chapter of my life will be in France.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The California Dream

I suppose you could say this California dream started at a young age for me.  My father used to tell me stories of when he lived in Southern California.  He would tell me about the palm trees, the concerts on the beach, and watching the most amazing sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.  He would always joke around with my mom about just packing everything up and moving back there. I was always right by his side trying to convince her that it was a great idea.  But my mom would always take us back to reality and remind us that this was our home (Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania), where all of our family and friends were.  Don't get me wrong though, I too loved that small town.  The type of town you see in movies, ,where everyone knows everyone, where you can't run to the supermarket without running into someone you know (or in my mom's case 6 people you know).  Not to jump around but this could have something to do with my bitterness towards grocery shopping.  It really is a lovely town, beautiful in all 4 seasons, and  when disaster or tragedy strikes it truly comes together to lend a helping hand to one another.  I can speak first hand from when my father passed away when I was 10 years old. Friends, family, neighbors, the church, and complete strangers were there to lend their support and sympathy for my Mother, little brother, and myself.  After he past it brought our family closer than ever, but that dream of California that my father would speak of, always stayed on my mind.  Years after, it was that life changing moment every 18 year old has to make, what and where was the next chapter of my life going to be!?  I begged my mom to let my apply to a college in California but she said once I finished college I could consider moving there.  So after a few random applications filled out and sent, I found a small town (IN PENNSYLVANIA) called California.  Although it was just about as far away from home as you could get within the state lines, I thought it was meant to be!  I filled out the application, and the day the acceptance letter came in the mail, my mind was made up, even before a campus visit.  Those four years of my life were some of the best memories and without a doubt gave me my first taste of independence, which I feel has shaped me into the person I am today.  Being a six hour drive from home, it was not as easy to just drive home if I was sick, or sad, or lonely.  I taught myself how to cope, and also how to open myself to make new friends and a family away from home.  This quality may not sound so significant but not everyone shares this quality and the ability to make new friends in a new environment out of your comfort zone.  College was my first taste of this, but when I look back from where I am now, I do really value the people I have met along my journey thus far.  Those four years of college went far to fast but as the end was approaching I was figuring out my next move and how I was going to make my California dream happen.  That spring semester of 2010, I got chatting with one of my best friends from high-school Bethany, who said she was moving out to San Diego with her husband in a couple month.  She may or may not have been joking, but saying they had an extra room was enough for me to start packing and planning my big move to Cali!  Soon enough I had my entire life packed up in my jeep compass and ready to head west-ward!  My family and all of my friends came over to see my road-trip buddy Courtney and I off.  Goodbyes are always hard but with all the sad faces and tears I couldn't help my excitement to move to the place where the sun always shines!  I gave them my hugs and promised I would be back for Christmas. August 16, 2010 was the mark of yet another chapter of my life.  With this long road-trip ahead of us we made some pit stops along our travels to make this drive more enjoyable!  First stop, we were back in Pittsburgh with my college family!  One last night with us all together Sarah, Kate, Cassie and Ashlee made it for the last of my goodbyes before the BIG part of our road-trip, but I do really hate the word goodbye.  After one night in Pittsburgh we continued 24 hours to Denver, Colorado where we would be staying with my long lost best friend (since we were 2) Elizabeth.  After that long and beautiful drive it was nice to see a friendly face and have a place to crash while we got to explore a new city until it was time to continue onward with the journey.  Next stop......Las Vegas!!  Pulling up to the Vegas strip after nothing but desert for hours it really is quite a site to see for your first time!  Vegas can be a pretty scary city for two small town girls not knowing what to expect.  There was no time for rest with only two nights here with so much to tour!  We made some new friends, who had a better idea than we did, on where to go for dancing, drinking, and a good time.  First time in Vegas was amazing but this next section of the trip is what I have been looking forward to my whole life!!  This was it, 4 hours until I will be in California!!  Scratch will never make it from Vegas to San Diego in 4 hours even if the GPS says thats your estimated time of arrival, add a minimum of 3 hours to that for traffic alone! Seven hours later there we were, in Southern California pulling up to my new temporary home!  I can't explain the feelings I felt at this moment in my life, something like I thought the hardest part was over, I was there with all my belongings and it was official!  I was right about the one part, I was there with my entire life but the hard part was far from over.  Things got real when we put Courtney on a plane back to Pennsylvania, and my job hunt began.  Which finding a job isn't nearly as easy as I had hoped it would be once I had my degree.  Now all of my applications are asking me what kind of experience do I have in this field, does my class on research marketing count, or I was a waitress for a few years?....... Yeah that didn't exactly work.  So as a watched my bank account get lower and lower, after interview, and interview, and even a few second interviews (that really got my hopes up) still no job after a month, maybe this dream of mine was easier said than done.  Just when almost all hope was lost, I got a call for a National Recruiter position in an insurance marketing company!!  Now I had no idea what exactly this job entailed but at this point I really didn't care.  The best part of this job in my opinion was that it was about one block from the ocean!  It took me a little bit to get the hang of my first "big girl" job.  They even told me they typically don't hire someone without any experience but they saw something in me and wanted to give me a chance.  That was all I needed, someone to give me a chance so I could prove to them that I can learn and be an asset to them.  Well the job was great, not exactly my dream job but you gotta start somewhere.  So I can remember my first day of work like it was yesterday as I am sure many recent grads do.  I timed the drive and it was about 25 minutes from the house.  My first day of work, I woke up extra early to be prepared, and I left about 45 minutes early hoping to be there early to collect myself before beginning at 7:30 am.  Thank god  I gave myself the extra time because that got me there just after 7:30 am!  Coming from a small town and hitting "morning traffic" usually meant you got stuck behind a Mac-truck coming down the hill that may make you 5 minutes late.  I wasn't anticipating 4 lanes of backed up bumper to bumper traffic on route 5 all the way to the office.  Not exactly the first impression I wanted to make but at least they were understanding.  So as interesting as my new job is  (not)  I won't bore you with all the details.  After a few months I got hang of things and met some awesome new people in the office.  Waking up at 5:30 in the morning didn't seem so bad once I got my first paycheck, it made all the hard work pay off.  When I first moved to California I also thought it would be just as easy to make new friends as it was in college but in the beginning it was hard. Not only was I new, but my friend Bethany also hadn't been there to long as well.  So we met a few potential friends but some of them were  different or maybe even a little strange.  It wasn't long after until we met Jana, who was a California native.  She showed us a few things like where to get the best breakfast on the beach with a mimosa, and who you have to know to get on free party buses, but she also introduced us to her cousin Karisa, who was our final missing link.  The four of us did everything together, and even though they had their family, we had our new family out here in California.  Things felt like they were finally falling into place, but there was still one last thing I wanted to do for myself.  I'm not sure I would have had the opportunity to move to California if my friend never told me about her spare bedroom, and I was so grateful for that, but I still wanted a place of my own.  After I saw the prices of apartments in San Diego it was an easy decision that finding roommates to share rent with was a must, given my financial situation.  After 5 months with my job and once I felt secure, I began my apartment hunt and what better place to find an apartment than Craigslist!  I mean that's where I found my job.  So I e-mailed a few people and checked out their places, a few weirdos, and few nice people but their place wasn't exactly what I was looking for (walking distance from the beach).  So after a few weeks of looking I found this one place, one block from the ocean, one block from the bay, in Mission Beach.  It had 4 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, and the location could not have been more perfect.  So finding out the other 3 roommates were in fact all guys I had a friend go with me to check out this place so I could make sure these guys weren't creepy or psycho killers.  Turns out this group of guys were also from the East Coast, and very laid back.  Exactly the kind of roommates I was looking for, so I told them I was interested and within the next two weeks I was moving my stuff in!  Going out with the new roommates, I got to meet a whole new group of friends!  Their friends were from all over the country and we all had one thing in common, the California dream.  I introduced my friends to my new friends and it became a regular tradition on the weekends to go out together and have a good time.  One weekend in the beginning of May, Jana and I decided to go out with my roommate Myles and our friend Pete.  Every weekend in Pacific beach was a memorable night but this one night Myle and Pete said they were going to meet up with there friends who are from France.  We met up with them at the Tavern and introduce ourselves to Thomas and Shameer.  I can honestly say once I met Thomas I looked at Jana and said "I think I am in love" although I will admit I may have said this before but not like this.  Turns out he must have felt the same way because after the night we continued to hang out day after day and really got to know each other, with only a slight language barrier.  It progressed into him driving up to eat lunch with me on my lunch breaks at work, to me visiting him at FiveGuys on my beach cruiser.  It was a short-lived summer romance that had an expiration date. He and his sister had been living in Pacific beach for the past 6 months and already planned to move back to France a month and a half after we had met.  Although not having known each other for long, we really made that month and a half an unforgettable few weeks.  When the day came that they had to leave, I found myself calling off of work that day for my first time because I wanted to spend every last minute possible with him.  Before he left I remember thinking it was way to soon in our relationship to say "I love you" but thinking I may not have the chance to do it again I had to tell him.  He said he felt the same way.  We Skyped every single day and tried to come up with some kind of plan that we could be together.  His job and life was in France and I had just recently started to build mine here in California.  Could I give up this California dream and move to France for love, for this guy I have only known for under two months?
I fell in love at the Seaside<3