Started from the bottom, I’m still here.

Just as a reminder to myself, I fucked up that second job I was planning on pursuing. If you’ve read any of my previous post you’d know by now that I am the queen of excuses, and this story, I’m afraid, will play out no differently.

I went to my follow up interview that I wrote about what feels like ten years ago, and was offered the job immediately.  The rush of pride I felt in that moment knowing my skills were valued enough to be considered for something beyond slinging coffee was incomparable. Everything from that moment on, however, became extremely rushed. I was given one week to have a physical, finger prints, shots, vaccines, my college transcripts, etc., ready and delivered to them via email or I wouldn’t be eligible for my orientation date. And you see, I was on a sort of a time crunch, they give you an incentive to be licensed for this position with the state within 45 days for a bonus, and they are very serious about pumping you out of training as fast as they can.

I learned once I was in attendance at my initial orientation day after I killed myself collecting all of that crap in my time slot that if I didn’t finish nothing would have happened to me. A third of my orientation group hadn’t come anywhere near finishing and there were no consequences. The speed at which I had moved from signing “you’re hired” papers to orientation was my first red flag, the second was lack of consequence for the non-compliers and urgency to get us through the training. During the first orientation day, I was told all about the 40 hours of online training I’d have to complete, the tests I would have to take and then the big test I’d have to take after that, without the help of notes. My third red flag waved when I learned that we were learning different material than the state would test us on, but we’d have to learn both at a rapid pace either way.

Fast forward two weeks later (because two weeks was the amount of time we had to finish the online training or we’d have to contact HR and let them know we need an extension which would “ultimately ruin our shot at the bonus!”) I had passed the job provided exam, which lead to me immediately getting bombarded with messages about the clients I was scheduled. I couldn’t actually work with them until I was signed up for the state test, which was a timely process that was out my control. Ultimately, I passed the state test, but had clients taken from me because I wasn’t ready in time. And when the day finally came for me to meet with my first client, my supervisor “ghosted” me and never let me know the time or place where we would be meeting this client. I went to the office to ask them for further information, but they couldn’t tell me whether or not I had any clients nor did they have the supervisor I’d been given as a point of contact down as my supervisor. So I quit on the spot.

My other job was stressful enough, but at least there I have a 401K, paid time off, and benefits. I’m not in the business of jumping to ship into chaotic waters. Something I am grateful for over this three month nightmare experience is that I learned I am worthy of finding something better. I have gotten to this point in my life because I have been complacent and I promised myself going into 2019 that I’d be courageous. Maybe that means that I applied for a job impulsively, and maybe being courageous also means that I left a weird situation before it could go bad. I know now that I am capable of applying to new jobs, I do better at interviewing than I expected, and I am hirable. That is valuable enough for me coming out of this experience.

I’m not sure where this road leads me now, though. I have let my current boss believe I am still working a second job, because the hours I am getting are more predictable this way. I had also asked to step down back into a barista role with less responsibility, which I will also still allow to happen. I am hoping that with a less stressful role in my current job I will have the energy and clarity to begin focusing on things that will serve me better .




what do you have to prove?

I used to take pride in the fact that I didn’t feel like I needed to prove myself to anyone. I even made a note to remind myself that I wanted to write a blog post about it. Someone said to me “when someone tells me that I can’t do something, I have to show that person that I can.” Of course, this person didn’t make that saying up, and of course, I cheered them on, but internally I was rolling my eyes. “I don’t have the energy to do shit I don’t want to do, just to prove something,” is what I thought to myself. I loved knowing that I didn’t care.

Fast-forward just two months, and the idea that I have something to prove means something very different to me. My friend and coworker who initially made that statement, has taught me a lot since that moment. The mindset that you can do anything isn’t about proving yourself to others, but it’s about proving yourself to YOU.

I’ve been in a rut for the longest time. I am unfulfilled, I have a degree that I am not using, and I hate myself every morning my alarm goes off. My job sucks to say the least, I wake up before the rest of the world and get coffee ready for people who are rude as hell in the morning. I don’t make enough, I am stressed out constantly about coverage, ordering, the happiness of my coworkers, etc., and I don’t even run the store. I am exhausted. I feel burnt out at this job that has allowed me to travel around the country and meet new and exciting people, provided me with health benefits, paid my bills (barely, without my husbands income I’d be out on the street), and that feels selfish to me to feel that way. I work with very young people who talk constantly about their dreams and goals and aspirations and I get annoyed listening to it. I even tell them that they are so young and they have so much ahead of them and that they shouldn’t get themselves down, but who am I to give them advice? I was the same person at 21. I was getting a degree in psychology, I was on my own for the first time, I was excited about my career possibilities, I was read to take on the world. At some point, I lost sight of that.

I didn’t want to apply to jobs in psychology, because I needed more money. I was moving out of the state and had convinced myself I needed a job that would transfer me to new places and I didn’t think a job with my degree could that. So I ignored what I had previously wanted. I stayed with my barista job, promoted to a shift supervisor and decided that I would just move up with the company and stay doing that forever because I WAS TOO LAZY TO DO ANYTHING ELSE. I couldn’t admit to myself that I didn’t believe in myself and that I was lazy until last week. I hit a low at work, I saw my coworkers pursuing new career options and taking internships and feeling excited their possibilities and I was jealous. My husband told me I was paying too much for my student loans to be as miserable as I was, and he was sad for how down I had been on myself.

So, that night I hit send on application to be a behavioral interventionist. I felt lighter immediately. I received a call for a phone interview and have an in person interview scheduled for tomorrow. I have butterflies thinking of it. If nothing comes of this interview at least I know I have the courage and the self worth to finally pursue other careers.

In 2019 it is my intention to be courageous. To know that I deserve the best and I am allowed to prove it to MYSELF.

Stay tuned, hopefully there are big things coming my way.





When I was in elementary school we were given an assignment to write a short story about California missions. I remember it got laminated and bound and it really had an affect on me. It was so cool that I had written something that got handed back to me that I could keep in condition and remember. I recently found that short story and reread it; it was horrible to put it kindly. It showed that I had a real understanding of life on the California missions, but it was very dark for a fourth grader to have written. I really had gone all in, I spared no detail, I even talked about my main character getting whipped when she didn’t complete her duties.

At another point in my elementary school career we had to create a fable and in addition to the words we needed to illustrate our story. I am no artist, but God knows I tried. I stepped back from my story about how a lion got its mane (that was the title) and was in awe of my drawings. My story was great and my pictures were great. Upon finding this story as an adult, I laughed at how bad the pictures were and I laughed at how silly the story was. The story focused on a kid at the zoo who was sad that he couldn’t tell the difference between a male and female lion so he created a figurine out of dandelions and wished it into the universe that male lions could look like that. I even drew out the wind blowing the wisp’s of the dandelion in the night which caused the wish the to come true. Ridiculous.

As I entered high school, I developed crushes on two guys that were friends. In my head, I created a twisted triangle among the three of us that I put to paper. I wrote a great young adult book, well nine chapters maybe, of that story playing out in a totally anonymous way. There was sex and drinking and drugs and bad language that was bold for me to write down, none of it was true obviously, but it was fun! I was so proud that I passed it around to my close friends to see if it was any good and they loved it. They couldn’t wait to see how it would end, but I could never finish it. I even had the points mapped out, I just couldn’t make the pieces fit together, because I got shy. Fifteen years later I am still trying to revamp and finish that story and I can’t commit to it.

The point is, all of the stories were a good read in their own way, even if I was ten or younger writing them. As an adult, I would never write anything daring, like being whipped, or a lion have a daffodil mane, and especially not a love triangle with characters that I knew. For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to go to college in New York and I wanted to have to have something published by the time was thirty. Now that I AM almost thirty I am not brave enough to put myself out there. I am not daring enough to really “go there,” as I annoying refer to it as a talk to myself about it. I dedicate time to sitting down and writing and nothing happens. I have so many ideas bulleted out and I just can’t get it together.

When I picture my life in the future I see myself relaxing with a cup of coffee and blogging and taking care of my garden, because I am published author and I’ve been able to make a career out of writing. I don’t even want to be famous; I just want to know that I was brave enough to put myself out there. I can’t figure out to make myself published without everyone reading it and knowing it came from my head. I can’t handle being judged. I am VERY insecure…for no reason.

That’s why I have this blog. I started it as a way to document my journey on the other side of the country, but I ended up not using it as often as I had hoped, go figured. No one knows that it exists and I like it that way. But as a way to get myself using it more often going forward I am going to write about more shit that doesn’t matter more often, just to keep my brain focused on writing. So, if you’re along for the ride, thank you, but also I am so sorry for the crap that I will potential be putting out there.

Kids ‘n Shit


Chase and I are at an age where we should be thinking about having children. We get asked a lot about when we plan on starting a family. Our quick response is “never”. I have written before about the disappointment of learning I wasn’t pregnant earlier this year, but right now is about the time that I would be having that hypothetical baby and I am so relieved that said baby doesn’t exist. Nine months ago I didn’t think that my life would be where it is now and it definitely isn’t the environment for starting a family.

I pictured us moving home and getting into our own small apartment and establishing ourselves as a couple back home. However, we are living in a bedroom smaller than our previous studios in my In-Law’s home. Chase is in the middle of a major career shift, we’ve only both had a steady income for a month now since we’ve been back and there is no way we’d be able to bring a baby into the world like this. Granted, if we WERE actually pregnant back then, we would have planned differently and saved better, which is a perk to not having children. We DIDN’T plan differently or save better and at the moment it’s just fine, because we don’t have anyone else to worry about but ourselves. This feeling makes me comfortable.

I love coming home from work at a weird hour of the afternoon with the knowledge that I can take a nap or watch and eat whatever I want without having to worry about anyone but myself. I really love that.  Chase and I want a house, we want a garden, we want animals, we want to travel, and we don’t see how kids fit into that equation for us. We feel great about that decision. We love kids, I have nieces that are everything to me, I just don’t want them.

Speaking of my nieces, my youngest sister just found out today that they are expecting a BABY BOY! It’s so exciting to think about welcoming a little boy into the world and into our family. My dad has been the only man in the family for a long time, surrounded by loud women. Her and her boyfriend have a name picked out and everything. Their relationship is very new, they’ve been together for less than a year, officially, but have known each other for years. He is actually the first boyfriend she has brought around. Her last boyfriend was with her off and on for almost ten years and unpopular with the family for reasons I don’t care to get into.

It’s been interesting to watch her grow into this role of an expectant mother.  She’s always been moody and quick to snap and impersonal, but since sharing with us that she’s expecting there has been an extreme shift in her. She’s been kind, more present, more loving towards us, she hugs my mom (which sounds insane but she hates touching), and she can articulate her feelings better. I am not her mom and I can’t relate what she is going through, but being a part of her journey as her sister and watching her grow in more ways than one has been amazing.

In a couple of weekends we are having a family dinner with her baby daddy’s family and we are very excited to meet them for the first time.  I am very happy for her and cant wait to welcome my nephew into the world and to watch him grow up and play with my nieces. My family around me is growing and I am quite content enjoying the people in it and not adding to it.


If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know that I struggle with who I am and what I am even doing. I don’t think I am special, I believe that most people struggle with this concept, but some days it looms overhead more than others. Lately, it has been a constant.

I always pictured myself moving out of my hometown. I imagined that it would be for college and I assumed I would always move back. I did end up moving, but it was not for school, it was for fun, and it was the greatest experience I have had in my life thus far. I’ve been back in my hometown now for about four months and it has been my greatest challenge now, to date.

Moving home has created a lot of tension and conflict within myself that hadn’t existed before. I came home to my family and Chase’s family and friends I used to spend all of my time with. I should be treating it as a blessing and I should be grateful to surrounded by these people that love me, but for some reason it all seems like an obligation. Part of it that isn’t helping is that we have moved in with my in-laws. I went from living alone in a studio with husband to living with my in-laws. I love them and they love having us with them, but living with a family that you didn’t grow up with as your own is strange. Every family is different.

I’ll start with breaking down the family side of things. I’ve been moved out and away from my family for over seven years, college included. I’ve always been close to my family, we talk often, we have dinner together when we can, holidays were always a relaxed, no pressure experience where we just enjoyed each others company. My dad is a big fan of not doing anything he doesn’t want to do, which makes him both admirable and an asshole. His refusal to participate in certain family holiday traditions with other members of the extended family has created an easy out for the rest of us to just enjoy our family and encourage our other family members to enjoy their own families, as well. Of course we still celebrate thanksgiving together and Christmas Eve, but we put less pressure on who will be where for what occasion. This laid back approach to the holidays has served me well as a single woman, but now I’m back just in time for holidays with my husband who has a big family that DOES put a lot o pressure on the holidays. I’m already freaking out about how to split our time between our very close families for the holidays and it was so nice not having to worry about it when we lived 2,000 miles away.

Holidays aside, I feel the pressure to spend more time with both families. I find myself occasionally sitting at my sister-in-laws or at my in-laws dinner table doing nothing. We all just sit for the sake of being together while paying attention to our phones or playing games, just to spend the time with each other. Which sounds nice if we didn’t see each other often, but we see each other ALL OF THE TIME. We have cousins and friends and family members that want to see us often and I’m not used to it. I am grateful to have family and friends around me that love me and want to spend time with me, I just need to learn what a healthy balance looks like for me. I feel like I’ve been agreeable and doing so much for so many other people that I don’t know what I do for me anymore. Today is my first day off and alone to do whatever I want without doing for anyone else. It has been at least six months since I have had time for myself like this.

I feel less pressure from my friends, but it is still there. I feel a responsibility to say yes to all of the things they ask me to do, because I moved and I haven’t seen them for five years. They’ve spent the last five years, changing their careers, having kids, getting married, getting divorced, etc., and I haven’t been present for any of it. It’s been a challenge reconnecting with them knowing they’ve gone through so much and changed in ways that I haven’t grown or changed. My best friend has a three year old that comes to everything with her (obviously because he is her kid and she’s a mother now) and I am not used to her as a mother and I am NOT used to hanging out with kids that aren’t my cousins. It’s WEIRD.

Anyways, I’ve lost myself to the idea that I need to please everyone else. I feel like I owe them my time because I have been away, which is stupid because literally no one has said that to me and I am NOT that important. But, I definitely need to learn what it means to say no and stay respectful to those around me. I really got used to living by myself, without responsibility to old friends or my family and having nothing but downtown for myself, I didn’t realize how much I loved and needed it. I just want to make my own dinner and sit on my own couch and watch whatever I want to watch without having to sit at a table for hours surrounded by family forcing conversation with me.

Has anyone else ever moved home after spending a considerable amount of time on their own? How do you deal with the adjustment?



I’ve been trying for weeks to put into words how my time is Chicago has shaped me, but nothing is translating in the way that I want it to. I’ve written so many versions and each version is more pretentious than the last. It feels like I am trying to shove this idea of a big beautiful city and a hundred positive experiences down your throat and I can’t figure out how to do less.

The truth is, I loved the Chicago. More than I realized. I knew that it was special to me while I lived there, but didn’t understand how much I would miss it once I was gone. Chicago is a big city, we lived there for two years and barely saw half of what it had to offer, and it isn’t because we weren’t trying. We lived in an incredible neighborhood, right on the edge of “boystown,” in Lakeview East. We were a 5 minute walk away from Lake Michigan, Wrigley Field, a farmer’s market that popped up on Saturdays, we were near bars, and grocery stores, and books stores, and clubs, and restaurants, it was perfect. We couldn’t have wandered into a better neighborhood to rent a studio apartment in.

I felt safe everywhere I went. Chicago has a lot of crime, but unfortunately it is in a very centralized location and it was a 40 minute drive away from where we lived. We lived in what was affectionately known as the “gayborhood,” and the energy there was incredible. There was not only a heavy LGBT presence, but families, and children, and different races and religions, students, young married couples, unmarried couples, older couples, and people you could tell were living in that neighborhood before it was the hip thing to do. People from all walks of life were out roaming the streets daily, enjoying what the neighborhood had to offer and I felt so lucky to have been a part of it.

We loved walking and taking in the city. We bought a hand cart to push our groceries home in so we didn’t have to drive, we would walk to the lake often, we ran around the city like fools the first time we experienced snow, I walked to and from work, we walked as often as we could. I don’t think I will ever find a city that promotes feelings of safety of while walking at all kinds of hours during the day again. I grew up going to San Francisco and that city is dirty, crowded, and unfriendly compared to all the places I went in Chicago. The public transportation is better than I have ever dealt with, too, it is so hard to have access to an “L” train to take you around the city quickly and for so little money to come back to California and have a miserable system like BART. I sound like an asshole, but I do love San Francisco and will still use BART when I have to, but now that i know how inefficient it is it makes it harder.

Anyways, on to the most important thing I learned there. ACCEPTANCE. I met people from different backgrounds who had different religious views, sexual views, body image views, etc. Until meeting those people in Chicago I never knew what it was like to sit down and have a conversation with someone where the content was meaningful each time. I met women who taught me that its okay, not only okay but important, to love yourself no matter what. I learned through communication with body positive women just how toxic and backwards my views about body image and how I felt about myself were. If a woman has her asscheeks hanging out of her shorts and her stomach showing with, God forbid, her nipples slightly visible, that doesn’t mean anything for me and its not for me to judge. That woman put that outfit on, looked in the mirror and felt confident and that is the shit that really matters. Also, if she is wearing something revealing it definitely does not mean she’s wearing it to get attention, she really just feels great in the outfit.

As a woman, I think I have been empathetic and accepting of other people’s journeys, except for other women. I have always judged too harshly. I always questioned the people they’re sleeping with, the clothes they wear, the friends they have, the amount they go out, you name it, I would judge it. Turns out, none of that stuff is my business, nor does it effect me. I learned that I was just a miserable asshole, but because I hated myself so much. I don’t push myself to do better, I don’t push myself to make friends, I don’t push myself to lose weight, or to look sexy, so when I see other women with the confidence to do so I had to drag them down to feel better. I never knew that about myself until I lived there.

People talk about how important it is to support other women and uplift other women, and let me tell you, it REALLY is. I had resentment towards a new shift supervisor at my job, because she was doing better than I was and getting more recognition. It hit me one night that she deserved the recognition and that I wasn’t trying as hard at work as I should have been. So instead of hating her I asked her for help. She helped me grow into a better supervisor in my position and I admire her still for always doing her best at everything and believing in herself. She also went on to teach me that I needed to love myself and the importance of accepting other women for who they are, too. I only talk to her occasionally now, but I will forever be grateful for crossing paths with her and hope that she knows how much she positively impacted my life.

Chicago helped me grow into a more accepting and mindful person. Learning about the experiences of strong women who have come from all over and been through so much, learning about the experiences of people from the LGBT community who have come out to their families in their the small midwest towns, forming friendships with members of the LGBT community and realizing that that is not what defines them. I think will forever be changed and I couldn’t be more proud of the ways that I grew and the things that I learned while living there.

My 5 Year Journey

For the past 5 years, my now husband and I have lived on our across the country in Charleston, South Caroline and then in Chicago, Illinois. After 5 years we decided it was time to move back to California to be near our families and upon moving I’ve done a lot fo reflecting on how the journey was for me and the things that I have learned. I wanted to share the experience here so at least I have documentation of the things I was feeling so fresh after the experience. I am going to publish it in a few posts, as it will be long. It’s alright with me if you don’t follow along as I update, as I said before, this was mostly for me.


Five years ago, an eager and nervous twenty-four year old version of myself hopped in a Prius with my boyfriend and embarked on journey with him that would impact me more than I was prepared for.  From the time I first really remember leaving my home state of California, I knew I needed to leave it again and again.  I had big plans of applying to colleges in New York and becoming a writer and living abroad. My lack of ambition got in the way of my plans and my strong aversion to applying myself during high school prevented me from applying anywhere other than a Junior College near my parents house, let alone a prestigious college on the East Coast.

My senior year I began to fall for a boy. He didn’t really have big plans at this point, either. He wanted to be the head football coach of the high school he attended and I hated that. I knew I was falling for him and I knew that there was no way to know what either of us would actually end up doing at age seventeen. I stuck with him. We went to the same Junior College and our dreams began to shift. My friends were moving on to better schools and finding what they were passionate about and I found myself just still getting by pursuing a degree that seemed interesting. At the same time, my boyfriend was getting into cooking. He began to dive head first into that passion. He applied to culinary school at the same time as I was finally heading to a state college. We were now hours apart from each other, but for the three years that followed our initial journeys apart we learned that we wanted to travel together and learn what was out there for us beyond our hometown and the lives we thought we’d have, for example being the head coach at the high school he graduated from.

The Food Network; whether he’d approve of me admitting that or not, played a large role in making the choice for our first destination. Every time we turned a show on, there was something pointing us to Charleston, South Carolina. There were numerous big name chefs popping up in the area and a lot of great restaurants that were growing in popularity. After a lot of research on the area we booked a trip to Charleston to find a place to live and then moved there three months later.  I had quit my job as a barista with hopes of putting my degree to use and he also began our new chapter jobless, confident he would find something, as well.

Charleston, South Carolina

We packed up his car with whatever would fit and set off on a five-day road trip to Charleston, South Carolina. I was nervous to begin with at the idea that we’d spend five potentially stressful days stuck next to each other in a car. We saw incredible things like the Grand Canyon, drove the old Route 66, ate great BBQ in Memphis, and drove through the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains, just to name a few.  The road trip was incredible and the feeling that the two of us could have such a great time on a road trip to our future doesn’t compare to any I’ve had before. Not long after we settled in, he was able to find a line-cook position at a restaurant that would open right next to our apartment for a restaurant group that was well known in the Charleston area. I had ended up reapplying at Starbucks after searching and failing to find a job that paid better with my psychology degree, and I have been there ever since.  Things couldn’t have gone better.

Usually someone says, “Things couldn’t have gone better” only to follow it up with the downside, but we never had a downside. It wasn’t always easy in Charleston, though. He worked twelve hours a day for almost the whole three years we lived there and our days off never quite lined up. We fought often about my jealousy and my loneliness, even though in my head I KNEW nothing was happening and I also knew what I signed up for when I jumped into a car with a man pursing a cooks life.  In reality, I considered myself very lucky to have him. He went to work and came right home. His friends and coworkers would stay out drinking; among indulging in other substances, until the bars closed every night. Through the process of getting over my unsubstantiated jealousy and occasional fits of rage towards him, I learned the importance of communication. He proposed to me our first Christmas there and as his fiancé I needed to learn to trust and be vulnerable with him or I’d only drive myself crazy.

I want to preface this by saying I met amazing people in Charleston, I made a forever friend who I can’t believe I was missing from my life for twenty-four years, BUT I understoodprejudice for the first time in my life in Charleston. Living in the south was very different, it was hard to swallow and I learned more about slavery and African-American culture than the history books in school even pretend to teach. It was eye opening to learn how much of what we do and have today is because of what was brought and/or taught to us by slaves that were forced here.  I know that isn’t any kind of revelation, but to actually live in the south and learn about it there and stand in an old slave-trade building and learn about exactly what happened where I was standing made me feel foolish for not having a better understanding before.

The city itself was still very segregated. I learned what it meant for a neighborhood to be gentrified. I had heard the word before but didn’t grasp what it meant until I watched what was once a low-income neighborhood in Charleston get taken over by boutique coffee shops and expensive fried chicken joints with outdoor patios and craft beer. As more old buildings were being torn down to make room for new buildings, more and more tents would pop up under the highway off-ramps.  I’d heard of dwellings referred to as “tent-cities,” but never knew what that meant. I suppose that “squatters” from the old buildings were being pushed onto the street, but it was still devastating to watch happen. The newspapers would have updates and deadlines for when the tent-cities had to be evacuated, but I never saw it cleared out.

We were fortunate enough to find an affordable apartment on the very outskirts of the downtown area. By very outskirts I mean that we were smack dab in the middle of the most expensive shopping and the most undesirable neighborhoods. The line where it became less safe was clearly drawn out by a former Piggly Wiggly that we used to live next door to. Our rent started at about $875 dollars a month WITH parking, which was a steal, but three years later we would have been looking at an almost $400 dollar increase a month to re-sign our lease there. We had considered moving out of there the year before that, but couldn’t find anything else for less money with a parking spot downtown. This was important to us, because we shared a car and we needed a place within walking/biking distance to at least one of our jobs. Fast-forward to eight months after our move and our friends were sending us pictures of our former apartment being demolished. If we hadn’t left Charleston we would have been out of our perfectly located, expensive but affordable apartment at the heart of it all. I often wonder where we would have ended up had we of stayed. It is also sad to think that we would have been pushed into the less desirable neighborhoods due to a (rumored) Whole Foods being built on our once lived on block.

I need to make it clear that I am not against fancy fried chicken or Whole Foods, I happen to love both, but I am not a fan of knocking down pre existing dwellings to put them up. My husband and I would have been able to afford something outside of the downtown area, it would have just been a longer and very different bus commute for one of us, which I fully understand isn’t a hard thing to adjust to. It just put into perspective for me how fortunate I was and how unfortunate things can happen to anyone. I couldn’t help but think about the people that were being pushed out and it was a reality check to witness and learn first hand what gentrification looked like.

Another lesson I learned while living in the south was that in addition to racism, classism was very much alive.  I’d say both of our parents were raised working class and raised us working class. I had a job as soon as I was old enough to get my worker’s permit, because I enjoyed knowing that I was making my own money. I began working for Starbucks, because I knew I could transfer out of my hometown to college with that job, and it has transferred all over the country with me as my job. Working as a barista in an affluent, majority white town in Charleston I learned that I was the help. The customers there could not understand why I was only a barista and why I wasn’t pursuing better. Let me be clear, this job is good to me. I get full benefits for my husband and for myself, I have a retirement fund, paid vacation, free coffee, and I have free stock.  The customers wouldn’t give us the time of day, they would carry on conversations with each other or on their phones, or bark at us to make sure their skinny cappuccinos were just a little lighter, because “milk makes me bloat.” When they did give us the time of day it was to tell us things like “Don’t worry, I am sure you’ll find a real job soon.” People there were still very much against cohabitating out of wedlock so when they learned I had moved to Charleston with my boyfriend and we were not yet married, they pitied me, “Oh, don’t your parents care that you aren’t married?” “My niece just moved in with her boyfriend and her dad hasn’t talked to her in weeks, such a shame that she couldn’t have waited.” And my favorite, “Oh, honey, he’ll propose to you soon and make an honest woman out of you yet!” Keep in mind these things were said with smiles on their faces while laughing amongst each other. I always felt less than while serving them coffee, which was a feeling I had never felt before. I hated it.

My husband and I grew up in a pretty diverse town, classrooms growing up were a fairly equal mix of races and everyone was friends with everyone. It was a shock to my system to live somewhere where the norm was to be very segregated still. I’m thankful to have had that experience so that I can hold on to some of those shitty feelings and hopefully be more empathetic to people from all walks of life.

But, enough negative about the Palmetto State. I will always be grateful for the warm Atlantic Ocean, the incredible architecture, and the city skyline being low and beautiful by law to ensure that the view of the low country stayed unobstructed. I’ll be grateful to look back and remember that that is the place where my husband proposed to me on our first Christmas alone. It’ll always be the place in my heart that reminds me of how special what I’ve got going on with my husband is, to have moved with him for no reason other than to this together and have thrived at it three thousand miles from anyone we knew is something I can always be proud of and blown away by.

Our vacation lifestyle in Charleston was incredible, but after three years it was time for a change. We needed a bit of city scenery and a faster paced lifestyle.

Enter: Chicago.