I can tell you that ever since I can remember, I have loved California. My aunt and uncle used to live in San Francisco and we got to visit them every once in a while, and I LOVED it. Sometime when I was younger, I think around 3 or 4, I kept telling everyone that I lived in "Halifornia."
I've been going through my old journals, getting rid of the incredibly embarrassing things I wrote in my youth and also some of the really painful experiences I had (a whole other story for why I want to do that), and it comes up again, and again, all through them. How much I love California. How at home I feel. How I feel drawn there.
I wanted so bad to go to college in CA. For a few different reasons, it didn't happen. It ended up being an important lesson on disappointment and learning that life is what happens when things don't go according to plan.
It's honestly hard for me to feel like planning out my life much anymore, just because so many things haven't gone according to the plan I had for my life. It's been a lot more lessons in disappointment, but also a lot of incredible surprises that have changed my life for the better. So I don't mean to make that sound like "wah my life sucks because nothing ever works out" because that's far from the truth.
It's a post for another time to really describe how my life has not gone according to plan, yet has been much more than I could have ever imagined. Right now, I want to focus on one thing in particular that was not in the plan...
Jesuit Volunteer Corps.
I had this really vague idea of what I would do after I finished university, but never quite imagined that I would be embarking on this journey. I'm not Catholic... why would I join a Catholic service organization? If I was going to do a year of service, why would I stay in the States? I can hear my 18 year old self asking my 22 year old self these questions.
I won't bore you with the details, though you can read a little more here. Point is, however it came about, I made the decision, and I looked seriously at many of the placements that JVC has, felt drawn to Urban Compass, which is in LA. In California.
I still can't believe it. I'm not naïve enough anymore to think that moving to CA will solve all my problems, but there's still a part of my soul that feels drawn there, and I'm so glad that I will be able to live there, even if it is only a year. (It might be longer if I decide to go to graduate school there... watch this blog as I attempt to make that decision...)
In a week I will be beginning orientation for my year as a Jesuit Volunteer, and it still doesn't feel real. Even with all the packing lists, the fundraising, meeting roommates over facebook, background checks, etc.... California has been a dream for so long, one that I had put on the back burner as I went on with my life. It's going to be my real life now.
Just goes to show that good things come to those who wait.
California, here I come!