Three short days remain until I board a plane to California, where I will have twelve blissful days of family and friends, visiting my old haunts, hiking my heart out, and witnessing the marriage of one of my most favorite people. It's strange to think that it's been five whole months since I packed up (most of) my belongings into my Ford Focus and trekked across the country to make my home in Jones County, Mississippi.
This transition has been the most difficult thing I have ever undertaken. Nothing here is predictable, not even the weather (in the last ten minutes, we have had sun, humidity, thundershowers, and now calm overcast skies). I find myself constantly sticking my foot in my mouth, guilty of some cultural faux pas that my California upbringing definitely did not prepare me for. I find myself missing the most random things: Trader Joe's, hummus, the Pacific Ocean, the familiarity of making waffles with Katie, Rene' and Brittney on a Sunday morning, and lending a hand with a stubborn horse pen that desperately needs cleaning.
Through it all, though, I've survived. I've found some work and I'm doing my best to re-orient myself, so that I think of Mississippi, not California, as my home. One thing that has made the transition bearable has been the people. Wonderful people, who have invaded my life and my heart in ways that I could not have predicted. And since I can't take them with me to California, I'm sending them before me through the blogosphere, in hopes that my California family can begin to know and appreciate the people that have begun to fill the holes that California left in my heart.
This is Brooke. We work together at Lee's Coffee & Tea, and she has been such a source of encouragement in my life. Brooke is the kind of person you want on your side: cheerful and constant. She is getting ready to embark on her own adventure, marriage and a move to Pennsylvania, where she'll help start up a church.
Meet Gabby. What can I say about this girl? She reminds me at times of my cousin in Tennessee because of her bubbly personality. Gabby is an amazing person: fiercely loyal, full of life, and so artistic! When she's not working at Lee's with Brooke and I, she's probably making headbands for her business, Anchor and Sparrow, or hanging out with Patrick.
Patrick is a creative kind of guy. Besides being the boyfriend of Gabby, he also works for Roberts Creative, designing web content, branding, and other such things. According to an article I read in the ReView today, Patrick is going to be opening a store, called Chuck & Sally downtown! One of the things I appreciate about Patrick is his willingness to question things. I think he's a bit cerebral, like someone else I know.... He also owes me a homemade cheeseburger.
And where would I be without Amanda? We have enjoyed some amazingly fun times together: Farmer's Market, Bop's, Beauty and the Beast at the Saenger, movies, mall trips, and the list goes on. She's a nursing student at local community college, but she also has a B.S. in Biology. Wicked smart. I love that about her :) Plus, she likes to go on random adventures with me, which makes me sooooo happy!
Then there's Jackie. Jackie is a person of super-amazing persuasive and administrative talents. I am constantly in awe of her ability to get things done quickly and effectively. We've been working together on Farmer's Market, and she is always full of great ideas, and she always has the contacts and resources line up to make things happen. Jackie is a HUGE part of revitalizing downtown Laurel.
And finally (at least, for now) there's Bill. Need a cool home design? Bill's your guy. He's also super encouraging, and nearly always has a kind word. Bill is also musical, and he plays keys in a band. I haven't seen him play yet, but I'm determined to someday! Bill is also a big part of the revitalization plan for downtown Laurel. He, Jackie, Eric Roberts and I have been working to get the space all ready for our first market on June 4th.
That's all I have time for now! I promise, I'll introduce you all to some more of my Mississippi peeps as soon as I get a chance! California, here I come!