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From East To West Prologue Part 2

From East To West Prologue Part 2

Welcome back, to continue the story...

I was beginning to adapt to this new world in California. Palm trees not pine trees. The warm weather requiring no need to dress in layers. Since the weather never changed I felt like I was encapsulated in summer forever, it seemed like summer spanned on. But in reality the months had changed, I just hadn't noticed because I was used to the Maryland weather turning the leaves bright colors and alerting me to the new season.

As I was finding my way around the small L.A. county suburb I became more comfortable. I would walk to the library, or the coffeeshop. I would go running in the park with Maran's brother. And I went to the Farmer's Market with her mom. Her family adopted me in, accepting me and caring for me. They lived out so many verses to me such as Matthew 25:35 ("I was a stranger and you welcomed me in"). 

I reached out to my Great Uncle Joe, who has made many a car trips with his brothers to visit my family and I in Md, and visited with him and his wife, who I had never met before. They lived in Temecula, wine country. Visiting with them was so special. My Aunt and I bonded over art, she being an extremely talented watercolor artist and me just beginning to realize I wanted to pursue watercolor (check out my "Art" section).

My Great Uncle Wayne also visited and together, with my Cousin Jennifer, we made homemade ravioli and meatballs. I had never had such a strong connection to my Italian roots until now. They showed me pictures of my extended Italian family and the family farms in Italy, they told me stories, they described the food and the beauty. Visiting with my Great Uncles was like meeting the family I had never met in Italy. It was a beautiful time, a time of self-discovery and identity. A time to awaken to the heritage that had been lost and forgotten for so long.

Later, I connected with another friend from college, Emilia. She had also just moved out to California and was from Maryland too. It was exciting to hear about her adventure and exchange stories. We met up at a coffeeshop in Burbank and talked for hours. 

And then DJ called. He had finished his training and was coming back three days early. My heart was so full and happy, I was beyond excited. Our relationship wouldn't be long-distance anymore- at least, not to us. I still had to drive two and a half hours every weekend to see him, leaving the city and suburbs, driving through canyons, past mountains and into the desert, then to turn around and drive back. But for us, it didn't matter. We were only 2.5hrs away, no longer across the country, no longer in different timezones. 

{Not to mention, sharing a car 2.5hrs away, without getting oil changes or new tires until the very last minute.}

Soon enough we were having adventures every weekend. And one weekend his friends Bekah and Robby, who lived on the base, let me stay with them for three weeks. We all had a lot of fun together. Bekah and Robby are from Alabama and have the most Southern Hospitality than the whole South combined. 

Then it was time for the Marine Corps ball and Dj and I got to travel to Vegas to visit my brother David and sister-in-law Sosa. We ended up staying with them since it was Halloween weekend and the hotel prices were outrageous (also because it was Vegas). We had started the show Stranger Things in the desert and ended up finishing the last episodes with David and Sosa. It was so great to spend time with them, especially since I hadn't seen my brother in two years (because he was in Germany). We had a great time together and Sosa and I somehow put up with DJ and David's ongoing wrestling feud. 

I finally left the desert base and Robby and Bekah's guest room and drove back to Maran's house. I got a job as a hostess at a restaurant, not really the job I was looking for but a job nonetheless. And then, I switched living situations. Troy connected me with another family to live with. I moved in with a sweet couple named Julie and Dwight and became fast friends with Larry, Dwight's brother who is mentally challenged and Diesel, their dog. Larry would always try to convince me to stay home and not go to work. He is probably the sweetest person I have ever met, and the sweetest person in the whole world.

Living with the new family was another positive experience, they were just as welcoming as Maran's family and were eager to know more about me. Julie and I would talk any chance we could and it was really sweet getting to know her and her story. She is a singer and songwriter and aspiring writer. We would make tea and sit and chat about life, love and God. 

I began to work more hours, and even one day was re-scheduled to work a weekend after I had been scheduled off the day before. And then I noticed some shady and disrespectful conduct from my managers. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore, one of my manager's was being very condescending and disrespectful to me, and also breaking management rules. I put in my two weeks, but a week later, having had enough I confronted the boss and abruptly quit the next day. Working in an unhealthy environment is never worth it. Quitting that job was one of the most free-ing actions I have ever taken.

Shortly after I began work at Starbucks. It was great working there, my coworkers were friendly and my boss was very kind and a great leader. 

Before I knew it, it was my birthday and Dj and I had plans to fly to Florida then Maryland for Christmas. I took off two weeks at Starbucks and headed back East. After a little over four months in California, I headed back to my home coast and to my family.

And then I headed from West to East. 

The end.

Windy Desert Morning

Windy Desert Morning

Love Love Love

Love Love Love