The great Southwest migration: Part I

It is officially one month(!) since arriving in San Diego from the comfort of Denton. For the last two weeks, I kept coming up with fun, focused ideas that could jumpstart my blog. After writing a few sentences, I’d put it away to finish later “when I had time”,  or “once I got home from work”. That didn’t work out too well. Like the rest of my creative writing, I am very bad at finishing what I’ve started!

So below are my first initial thoughts the week before landing in a beautiful city of strangers. For anyone who has picked up and left – or contemplating when that day comes for work or school – these observations might resonate with you.

  • I learned how many clothes I had… and how much I really didn’t need. I had a crap ton of clothes! They had accumulated as frequently as memories did: event t-shirts, nice dresses I’d snagged for sale, etc. Every essential piece had just enough uniqueness that I couldn’t bear to part with anything. My ultimate solution was drawing a deep boundary between that which perpetually stayed in the hamper and those that I wore once or twice a semester, if that. In the end, I filled three large, gallon-size trash bags full of beautiful, sturdy, well-worth-keeping clothes, knowing they’d find good homes elsewhere. As much as it sucked, it’s very freeing to be rid of the precious things you only saw once or twice.
  • I cleansed my life… begrudgingly. Due to miscommunication, the week-long overlap between our old 2-bedroom lease and Nathan’s new 1-bedroom lease turned out to be two days. We hadn’t packed anything, as we assumed we could just move things progressively. As a borderline hoarder of “still-good” things, this was probably the biggest stress of my life. With only the cubic area of a Toyota RAV4 to accommodate my new life, all nonessentials – no matter how sentimental – had to go. Purses, lamps, all office supplies (that I could’ve used now), kitchen supplies… everything went on the side of the street. As much as I miss a few of the things I had (and have had to replace those things once again), it was nice to see so much stuff picked up quickly by people who really needed it.
  • You will find out how adventurous you really are. I’d decked out my new DSLR camera, with enthusiastic ideas of wandering down untaken roads, to you know, watch the sunset right off a cliff, or visit that kitschy roadside attraction. My boyfriend and I are definitely not those people. Turns out our need to reach our goal (California) trumped stopping for even ten minutes at the world’s largest whatever. My SD card only consists of car selfies and pictures of mountains… a practice I stopped after I realized just how many mountain pictures I’d accumulated by Arizona! Which brings me to the next point…
  • Roll with the opportunities. On the first day out, Nathan and I drove ten straight hours to El Paso, TX, the halfway point between Dallas and San Diego. Our AirBnB for the night was an old, vintage house stuck in the middle of downtown. Boy, was this thing hidden. It was smushed between an office and another complex, with the front completely covered by a wall of vines. Once inside, it opened to a fairly large house maintained by two college guys that rented every space possible… even the upstairs landing! It was hot, crowded, and only semi-clean. What saved the stay was a pretty awesome couple that invited us out. Turns out we had way more in common than we anticipated, and talked late into the night about everything. As two fairly quiet people who like our own space, we genuinely found ourselves enjoying time with people that decided to take that first step introducing themselves, whereas we wouldn’t have tried.
  • Traffic is the same and different everywhere. You will meet the same assholes. And then worry about them spread across 8-lane highways as opposed to the mid-construction, 2-ish lanes that exist in Texas. A few differences: California does not possess access roads that continuously straddle the interstate, which makes avoiding highways… difficult. U-turns are also a common practice here, which still feel wrong.

After two chaotic days of moving, two days on the road, and two days before work, the time I could adjust bled into my first week of work. You begin to learn a lot about yourself when you’re solo for a few days! More on that in Part II 🙂

Cheers!

SA

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