After a week long trip, complete with a surplus of roadkilled armadillos and a 24-hour stomach bug that caused me to projectile vomit on a cactus in New Mexico, I have finally made it to California.
First things, first though. Just because I’m living in “Southern California” doesn’t mean I’m living in Los Angeles (I’m living in Newport Beach). Everyone I have met along the way has not realized this, but this state is gigantic. And just because I’m moving out to California doesn’t mean that I am here to get on The Hills (I’m pretty sure I could take Kristin, though) or find a husband to marry and get on The Real Housewives of Orange County. It’s not just what the media portrays … especially when you’re living with parents.
One of the hardest transitions will definitely be residing with my dad. I haven’t lived with him since the ‘90s, when I was rocking clothes from The Limited Too and speaking in a British accent like my idols, the Spice Girls. In fact, I haven’t even seen my dad that much since my parents divorced and I moved to Georgia. How are you supposed to make up for lost time when more than decade has gone by? My memories with my dad are from my childhood. And now – hello – I’m out of college and on a war path to become a successful force in the world of law. Times have changed.
Even though it’s kind of awkward to get used to living with him, I’m happy for the experience and whatever may come from it. This is my chance to not only prepare for my future and my career, but I get the opportunity to live on the opposite side of the country while getting to know my dad as he is today, and he can get to know me as a 22-year-old woman instead of a ten year old girl. And hopefully, even though both of us are stuck in our ways, we don’t butt heads too much along the way.
But wow, it’s certainly going to be different than the dorm room living and random home stays I have become used to over the last four years. It’s weird having to say “I’m going out, Dad” instead of “I’m going out, Mom” or just walking out of my dorm and doing as I please. After being semi-on-my-own throughout college, living on someone else’s schedule is a little weird. It’s do-able, but there is going to be some major compromises to get used to things.
Since my arrival this past weekend (I really have only been here for about three days), I have been wondering whether or not California will feel like home to me – like it did when I was a kid. I don’t have that answer right now, and that’s okay because I have a lot of stuff to do. I actually need to move in completely, and stop living out of my Vera Bradley duffel bag and my ever growing collection of cardboard boxes. Most importantly, I need to get on the move with my main goal: studying for the evil LSAT and taking the Kaplan Prep Course for the next 14 weeks of my life. Oh, and ideally, I’d like an internship – anywhere. And a job, for the sake of pleasing my dad and paying for my own necessities, such as In-N-Out Burger (yes, this is a necessity) and gym membership (so I can work off the In-N-Out).
I’m motivated, but I have to admit – with the beach less than a mile away, endless bars and restaurants to check out, and every kind of entertainment around the corner from me, it may be hard to focus. But sometimes you have to work hard to play hard, right?
And even though California doesn’t feel like home right now, maybe that won’t be so important in the long run. I’m here to study my ass off for the LSAT, so I can get into a good law school. I’m here to reconnect with my dad, and possibly have a normal relationship with him for the first time in years. And hopefully jump start myself towards the future. The outcomes of those priorities matter more than whether or not California will ever feel like home, and right now, that’s more than okay with me.