One year ago on October 23rd, 2010, I left Las Vegas with my handsome dad, bound for San Diego. We did the road trip across country leaving Maryland at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, the 20th, travelling 11 hours for the first 3 days and 5 hours on the last day from Nevada to Southern California. My dad mapped out our road and potential hotels to stay in, but we didn’t have much of a plan in my eyes other than to hop on Route 70, get to Denver and turn left (and down) to arrive in San Diego on Saturday, October 23rd midday. My dad flew home the next day, leaving me the former family SUV, all of my belongings piled high, his best wishes and a kiss.
We cruised through Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Denver, but spent real time in Vail and Vegas. Vail I had never seen, but Vegas and I had not seen each other since 3rdgrade when the Excalibur Hotel was a dream come true to any fairy tale fan. On our father- daughter road trip, my dad and I marveled at God’s handiwork
and hours of windmill farms as I met the Rockies and tornado country for the 1st time, his second.
We didn’t particularly enjoy the comedian CDs or the books on tapes we bought, so we ditched them for high quality games such as the Alphabet Category Game (Best play of one round: My Quinnipiac for the College Round Letter “Q”) and “Marry. Kill. *#C&.” It’s funny to play that game with your dad as we eventually had to let go of ages and genders and use everyone from Olympians to politicians to athletes to weather chicks to Fox News guests and Analysts (his personal fav).
Luckily, with my job, I was able to go home for a total for 24 days since I was started working for the small university on October 25, 2010. Because of Facebook, Google video chat, cells phones, Gmail, Gchat, decent airfare costs, and loving friends and family, I have not felt the distance as much as most people who leave their everythings back east.
I honestly did get plagued with my first homesickness pain in August, but that was bound to happen 10 months in. Thankfully and I cannot stress this enough, I have the BEST best friends who came to visit this beautiful place and me.
Two weeks ago, I strolled into work energetic as always. I was informed of the news that our company had not made their enrollment numbers in several quarters and many people from several of our offices were being laid off today because of the numbers, not performance, including moi. Downtrodden on Day 1 only, just like my college breakup, I broke the news to who I care about the most while holding back tears of embarrassment, but ending each dialogue with hopefulness-that this was a blessing in disguise and that when God closes one door, He opens another window.
Everyone knows I am a natural networker and comical storyteller. I should be in a field where I can thrive on energy and be being just as dynamic and animated with clients and coworkers to accelerate our company into the future as I am live when I rattle off a hay day tale to my friends at Taco Tuesday.
This means tapping back into my ideal fields of interest: Communication, Public Relations, Marketing, Sales, or Human Resources. I’ve been told countless stories since revealing my news to all sorts of people and the resounding response was that things like this have a way of falling into place for the best. I moved out here for the Mexican food and the sunshine, with a job, not for the job. I consider myself fortunate for that position as it was my ticket out here and I met life-changing people.
So, here I am, laid off, but loving all the love around me despite the grey unemployment skies. I’m as free as a bird, but broke as a joke. This Baltimore Raven does not have a reason to fly away other than love for the locale and the thirst for 2ndchances. It’s not time for me to leave this Californian fiesta just yet -I don’t think. I want to leave on my own watch and I don’t think mine is done ticking yet. So I am trying my best to stay afloat, snag a job that revs my engine as I enthusiastically apply to positions where I can see myself grow in my niche.
I have not conquered California yet and actually just got settled in my own skin here. I have my best set of friends here and my usual crowd I run around with. I don’t have homework anymore as I finished 20 percent of my MBA at my university, but being laid off means losing the luxury of taking classes for tax cost only. Because I am now freed up from homework, papers or projects, I can go on more frequent getaways to visit friends within a couple of hours. My long-term parade of visitors is over (when I knew of at least 3 or 4 people coming to visit or coming to town in advance), so I can just really live my settled life (not that I was not happy to host you all obviously!).
A big source of my happiness is my royal living quarters. I live in a killer casa, crowned “The House of J.A.C.K.s,” because of our first names initials (Jessica, Alan, Connor, and Kyle) and it being male dominated (3 v.1 ratio). It is too good to be true I’ve been told, one block from any landmark you might ever want (beach, boardwalk, bay, the garage, grocery store, bars, organic market, Trader Joe’s, post office, fro yo, a plethora of taco shops, insert more perfection here. The House of JACKs is composed of 3 fantastic guys and me, plus a braided culture of friendship, respect and fun. There’s only one working TV in the house for 4 people and it’s amazing we do not dispute over the TV, but rather embrace each other’s interest especially the guys on my girlish TV.
My roommates even watch the Fox’s New Girl and relish it because it is story of our house in a way. It’s about a dark-haired, blue-eyed girl named Jess, who works in Education (not anymore as of 2 weeks ago), lives with 3 guys in a big city and recently escaped from her familiars. A month ago, I paused the DVR while watching Glee and told Connor, my roommate, I was going to watch Glee upstairs in bed. “Wait, why? Why don’t you watch it next to me?” Sigh. What a roommate. Any one who knows me knows that I am constant firm believer in the buddy system and hearing Connor values my presence was just enlightening. When us guys aren’t watching one of our common shows (Modern Family, The Office, etc.), they watch Gleehappily for the hot girls and catchy tunes or the Kardashians for the hot girls and the NBA athletes. Too cool they are. I’m one lucky gal.
I’ve been told the best things in life are free. In my immature youth, I used to think how could this be true. Consistently, that is pretty relevant for my life – powerful quotes, PB sunsets, uncontrollable laughter sprees, my first niece of nephew’s smile (born next week!), a best friend’s free flight last-minute to visit me when I’m bummed (thank you Southwest frequent flyer miles for bringing San Fran’s newest addition, Katie, down to me), and my priceless relationships with so many fabulous friends and family.
After reading The Shackand just by generally “growing up,” I realized money doesn’t buy happiness.
So now that I am penny-pinching more so than usual, I see the world even more differently. For example, last weekend, I was riding around on my primary vehicle of transportation, my bicycle, a sky-blue whip, kissed with vintage appeal. I pedaled past a homeless man who was practicing his best air guitar to “Sweet Child of Mine” outside the first SD Five Guys (yay Arlington, VA in CA!). Ten minutes later, I biked by to be pleasantly surprised that two homeless men joined the original hobo. They were offering the original one pointers on how to perfect his air guitar. I pedaled back to my pad with the comforting notion that this world is seriously about people helping people. Whether you are a business professional who meets me at a coffee shop
and requests my resume or if you are a street nomad who could take advice on how to improve the air instrument to look more legit, the Big Man above taught us this love to pay it forward. Carina, one of my favorite friends and my insane cousin, threw up a status offering me words of wisdom I pray that will reign true for me: “Sometimes in order to go forward, you have to learn to fall back. ” Butterfly kicking off that, I am hopeful this lay off will jumpstart my career in something that highlights the best hues of my demeanor and talent.
Chapter 2 of my San Diego book coincidently happened right before my 1 year anniversary with my current lover, California. What’s even better is that of my 4 best friends here, we all celebrated our anniversaries with California love over the same weekend. Two years ago, Sam, Lauren and Amber arrived on October 21. One year ago, on the 23rd, I pulled into PB with my dad. Finally, one year ago from Oct.24th, Caroline arrived in San Diego too. And we didn’t even realize it till our anniversary weekend. The Big Man braided those timelines together for a reason.
On my actual anniversary, us girls got breakfast with our friends and then we took off for Kate Sessions, a hill top park with views of the bay and beach in PB, that I had never been to despite being minutes from my house. Armed with a volleyball, a soccer ball, a football, a blanket and my favorite board game of “Things,” we were set. It was a perfect way to a honor a first San Diego near -perfect year. One of my favorite authors, Mark Twain, once said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” I guess I need to keep praying to the Big Man, dream weaving like Twain and sailing the SD bay to discover my next play for my today.