Six Months in California

June 27, 2019

six months in california

Hi, friends! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve made a blog post, and that’s because I’ve been SO busy! I launched my editing biz on April 1 (no joke!), and I spent the first month learning, networking and blogging. I spent the second month marketing, still blogging, and tackling work for my first editing clients WOOHOO! Well, June was absolutely NUTS! My inbox has been filling up with inquiries and my calendar has been full of client calls and editing. It’s been a BLAST, but a little on the stressful side! Since I am new at this, I didn’t have good systems in place for scheduling work, so blogging fell by the wayside! Last week I developed a new scheduling system for my clients that made my life SO much easier. I also tweaked my weekly schedule to make it work better for me. It’s been a major learning curve, but I’m finally ready to get back into the swing of blogging! And what better day to blog than the day we celebrate SIX MONTHS in California?! I can’t believe we’ve already spent half a year here and I haven’t given you guys any updates!

That’s right, Matt and I moved to Sunny California on December 26, 2018, although at the time it wasn’t very sunny. The first thing we learned when we arrived is that there are pretty much two seasons in the Bay Area: the rainy season and the dry season. We moved right in the middle of rainy season! We also learned the word “rainy” is subjective. It pretty much just drizzled occasionally and otherwise was pretty nice. People kept asking me, “oh man, are you doing okay with all the rain?!” as if rain is some kind of physical ailment to be endured. I kept saying, “guys, I’m from the south. This is nothing!!” The benefit of rainy season is that all the hills around us were GREEN and beautiful. Now, they’re brown and dry!

Flying into San Jose, in December. San Jose is only a 20-minute drive away (if you leave at the right time haha!)

We live in Mountain View, CA which is in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area. We love so many things about the Bay Area! We love the diversity here. Everyone has a unique story. Most people in this area are transplants. People come from all over the world to live and work here! We’ve met so many different people from across the globe. Unlike back home in the south where most people grew up there, here everyone has a different background. That also means the FOOD is so diverse and it’s AUTHENTIC. We’ve learned so much about people and culture just by living in such a diverse area. It’s opened our eyes to a lot of biases we didn’t even realize we had. I could write a whole blog post about what we’ve learned by moving to the west coast, but I’ll save that for another time. We are so grateful for the opportunity to learn and broaden our perspectives. Not only is this area so diverse culturally, but the landscape and scenery is diverse too! We can go on so many great adventures and see different landscapes right in our backyard.

I’ll talk more about the INCREDIBLE scenery that California has to offer, but for now I want to give you a quick recap of how we spent our first six months in Silicon Valley! First of all, we went apartment hunting! Matt and I have never lived in an apartment, so this was a new experience for us! The next big “shocker” about this area are the rent (and gas/grocery/restaurant/everything else) prices. Basically, they’re astronomical and I don’t want to talk about it haha! Despite the high price tag, we amazingly found an apartment in THREE DAYS. And we love it! Our first few weeks we spent A LOT of time at IKEA, Target, Walmart, etc. When we moved here, we only brought our clothes, electronics, and photos. That’s it! So we had to get new furniture, new dishes, new everything. But we made it!

Our first apartment! It’s a 540-sq ft “Junior 1-bedroom.” Right behind the kitchen is the bedroom with one “wall” but no door separating it from the rest of the apartment. But we DO have an in-unit washer/dryer which I am SO thankful for!!!

Our next task was to find a church and get plugged into the community there! The first thing I did was search for a local Bible Study Fellowship group. BSF became such an integral part of my walk in 2018, so I was eager to find a new group. I found a group that met only 1.5 miles away from our apartment!! I was able to attend their first meeting of the year right after moving! I immediately felt so welcomed and truly love the ladies in my group. I’m so thankful God gave them to me so I could immediately start building relationships and making friends!

The first church we visited was actually a church across the bay in Fremont. I’ll do my best to make a long story short! Back in SC we had just gotten involved with a church in Travelers Rest. We were SO bummed to be leaving them but trusted God would lead us to another place. Well, our community group leader mentioned to us, “hey, I know a guy that moved out to the bay area a few years ago from Greenville to be a part of a church plant there. I’ll connect him with you and maybe it’ll be close enough for you to attend!” Sure enough, it was only a 30-minute drive away. Since we were moving to an area where we knew absolutely NO ONE, having even ONE connection was so exciting! We met one family for dinner in January and we hit it off immediately. They helped us SO much when we first moved here. We spent several weeks looking for churches that were closer to our apartment, but eventually decided that there was no reason to go somewhere else when we already felt so connected with that church! There are LOTS of other details and connections that make me see God’s obvious hand at work, but I’ll spare you the details. Six months later we’re still there and are encouraged by the services every week. It was a MAJOR blessing to have a church family so soon after such a big life change!

As soon as we got all moved in, I made it a point to start connecting with other creatives in the area! I went to the local Rising Tide Society meeting in February, and it was a blast to be with “my people” again! I’ve met so many amazing people here, had fun coffee dates, and have even been able to collaborate on a few projects. Building new relationships and connections completely from scratch isn’t easy, but having the Rising Tide Society made it a lot easier.

My first time at TuesdaysTogether Silicon Valley! I also attend the San Jose group. I’m so lucky to have two amazing groups so close by!

Another crazy thing that happened is we bought a CAR! We sold both our cars in SC and purchased this beautiful Subaru Outback in February! Yes, we went a whole month without a car. But Uber is a thing and Matt takes the bus in to work! Anyways, I have this tradition where I name my cars after their color and a classical composer. In college I had a green BMW named “Verdi.” I bought a red Honda after college and had to get a little more creative with the name. Eventually I landed on “Antonio” or “Anton” for short, after Antonio Vivaldi, aka “The Red Priest.” After two great names I couldn’t quit this time, so I’ve christened our Subaru “George Suby” after George Gershwin, author of Rhapsody in Blue. We are so excited to take it on adventures!

A blurry picture of the “rainy” night we bought our car. On Super Bowl Sunday. My apologies to the salesman who had to spend the entire duration of the Super Bowl with us instead of watching the game. Whoops.

When we moved here, I had NO idea what I would do for a job because other than lifeguarding and swim coaching, I’ve always worked for myself! Eventually I decided to make the transition to Private Photo Editing. I share about my “why” in this post. In March, I began a mentorship program with Melanie Moss, a private photo editor in Greenville, SC. And let me tell you. It. was. amazing. She taught me SO much, gave me so many amazing resources, and encouraged me in all the right areas! I could not speak more highly of her and what she taught me!! I didn’t think I’d be able to launch so quickly, but with her help I was able to launch my business on April 1st!

Next, I want to talk about some of the amazing adventures we’ve been able to go on! We’ve gone rock climbing (indoors!), snowboarding (my first time!), hiking, and sightseeing. The scenery in California is SO incredibly diverse. Within an hour we can be at the beach, hiking in beautiful rolling hills, in a redwood forest, or in San Francisco. And in under 4 hours we can be at Yosemite National Park, snowboarding in the mountains at Lake Tahoe, or seeing huge trees at Sequoia National Park. We also live really close to the amazing art museums at Stanford University! We were able to host and go on adventures with Matt’s younger siblings in March, my friend Ashley in April, and my family in May! We also got to visit Yosemite National Park together this month and see the waterfalls! I could write SEVERAL blog posts of the wonders of CA, and maybe I will eventually. But to save you time in this post I’ll just share some photos for now!

So far I’ve only shared the highlights. Most days are very average and slow. Our day-to-day looks like work, chores, and chasing after those ever-increasing to-do lists. Honestly, our favorite thing to do on weekends is stay home and not do anything, haha! I also don’t want to gloss over how difficult those first few months were and how much we still miss home. To say that moving away from the only place you’ve ever known and leaving everyone you love is hard would be an understatement. Living together – and alone – in a tiny apartment when stress levels are high is hard. You say things you don’t mean, do things you regret, and feel things that are hard to process. Navigating an entirely new city is hard. Building relationships from the ground up is hard. Not being around a single person you’ve known more than a few months is hard. Not having my best friends a quick drive away is hard. Being away from family. is. hard. Knowing that we have 20 nieces and nephews (soon to be 21!!!) growing up on the other side of the country is hard. And not being there for their milestones is hard.

Not only do we miss our friends and family, but we miss home. I know so many people who can’t wait to move away from home, but neither of us ever felt that way. Everything back home goes at a slower pace, and we love that. We miss our lake trips, the summer heat, our backyard, the green grass, the sweet tea, the windy country roads, and our quiet neighborhood. We miss walking around Downtown Easley on a weeknight and not seeing a single soul. And we miss our little house. I miss the Greenville food scene, the music events, the coffee shops. The Bay Area is vibrant, beautiful, and diverse, and we do love it here and are SO grateful for this opportunity. But Greenville and the Carolinas have a HUGE place in both of our hearts, and we honestly can’t wait to come back.

Even though there have been more hard days than I’d like to admit, I can’t express to you how GRATEFUL we are. Every day I think, “wow, I can’t believe I live here.” Not only that, we’ve learned so much about life, marriage, relationships, and culture that we wouldn’t have learned without going on this adventure. I’m also amazed every day by God’s grace and how he gives me peace even when I feel anxious, lonely and afraid. To top it all off, my business is growing well. I’m not kidding when I say I couldn’t be happier with where I am!! Just today Matt and I were talking about my business and prepping for the future and it gets me so EXCITED! I’ve said it before, but making the transition to editing has FINALLY given me the freedom I’ve been searching for all along in my business. What a ride it’s been! Six months down, and who knows how many to go! Thanks for reading and sharing in this journey with us!


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