IT’S TIME TO FLIP THE SCRIPT…
My dear readers, yet again I owe you an apology and explanation. A lot has happened over the past eight months, but things are finally starting to settle down. I usually don’t describe myself as a person who is willing to settle easily. But at some point, even I need a break and feel home at one place. At least for a little while.
So today, I am sharing some news with you. Not sure if I should call them news though since that entails the word ‘new’, which doesn’t quite fit my situation anymore. I have to admit, I lived in hiding from you the past several months. Not because I am ashamed of my actions, but because I needed time to process.
Now I am feeling full of creativity and ready to share one of my biggest life events in the past year with you: I moved. Huntington Beach has been my beloved home for almost seven-and-a-half years, and I made such great memories living in this incredible city. From beach bonfires to paddle boarding to hiking to meeting friends for life – my time in Orange County was nothing short of feeling blessed.
But even though I haven’t felt as home anywhere else as I did in Huntington, at some point, I had to make a decision. I didn’t want to go on with my life the way I was. While I truly enjoyed the fun beach lifestyle, I was also struggling. Mostly financial, as we all know how expensive life in Southern California really is.
Yeah, it is a fun place to live, but it can come with a cost – sometimes in the form of performing two to three jobs at once to make a basic living. Working seven days a week in a physically demanding job took a toll on me. Don’t understand me wrong, I loved working with dogs, and it brought me a lot of joy. But I was longing for more – more time off, better money, and affordable health insurance.
I figured out that Huntington Beach wasn’t the place anymore that could offer me what I needed at that time. I started thinking of what my next step should be. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I had to change something. After a lot of consideration, I came to the conclusion to move. I also fairly quickly figured out where to.
As if organizing a move across the pond wasn’t already enough, my last month in the States was filled with adventure – good and bad. Oh, October 2018, you will only be halfway missed! My departure date was set for November 14, and I surely wanted to make the best out of the time I had remaining in beautiful Southern California.
There were many more paddle board outings planned as well as lots of dinners with friends, the Huntington Beach air show, and the visit of my girlfriends from Germany whom I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. As it happens in life a lot though, you can plan as much as you want, and then the unexpected happens. In my case, the first unexpected came in the form of huge black spots spreading along the walls of our kitchen – better known as black mold.
You can probably imagine how thrilled I was when I came home one night after work and spotting everything our kitchen counters used to contain, spread out on the living room floor. I first believed my roommate was cleaning out our cabinets, but once she yelled from the back of the house for me to take a close look at the kitchen, I was quickly taught otherwise.
So yeah, that was that. One month before I was supposed to move out of the place, we had to move our kitchen to the apartment upstairs (Thank God no one was living up there by that time), and our apartment became a major construction zone. At least I was able to enjoy our new kitchen for a week or two once the mold was taken care of.
While all the construction was going on at home, I found my sanity in my work with the dogs. Being outside with my four-legged companions gave me a sense of peace. Experiencing that sense of peace though required a working vehicle. Four weeks before my move, my car decided to start overheating.
How I made it all the way from LA to Huntington while the thermostat in my car remained in the red zone is still a miracle to me. The next day, I drove straight to my mechanic, and when he told me that the repairs would amount to more than a $1000, I called it quits. I didn’t want to deal with any more car trouble, and so I rented a car for the remaining time and left my vehicle behind.
But hey, at least I didn’t have to deal with the process of selling it anymore. The little rental car gave me my peace back, and so I was able to enjoy my time with my friends and the dogs. Two days before my flight, I sold all my furniture (have I told you before that I am a huge procrastinator?!), packed the rest of my bags, and went to several brunches, lunches, and dinners.
A couple days before my departure, I already had to say goodbye to several of my close friends. At that time, I still didn’t fully realize that I was about to close my California chapter. But on the morning of my flight, it finally hit me. I’ll never forget that moment I had to say goodbye to my roommate. It was rough. We had such a great living situation for several years, and she will always remain my favorite roommate ever.
Walking out that apartment door, I realized that my life was about to change big time yet again. But I knew deep down that it was the right decision. When my friend drove me to the airport, I started crying. It was a great cry, one of those where you can let out all the emotions you held in for several weeks. I haven’t cried about leaving the US ever since.
Some of you might ask where I moved to. Well, I can tell you this much: the destination I thought I would end up next is not the one where I currently live. I don’t intend to keep you hanging any longer. I am back in Germany, and it feels really good to be back. This was not the initial plan, but I will fill you in more another time.
So, as of this day, I will now be reporting from the other side of the pond. Back to the roots, but always a California girl at heart.
Image: Anne-Kathrin Schulte
Anne-Kathrin Schulte is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes about her personal experience of the American Dream as well as about working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany, she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.
If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.