Sorry I’ve been an absentee blogger of late and please forgive the lengthiness of this post. I’ve been buried under so much work it’s insane. A teacher at the school I work at was arrested for innappropriate communication with a minor and I took on three of his classes. I have been working day in and day out in order to be on top of things and I still feel like I’m not. I’ve been working so much that I’ve spent and grand total of two days off in two months. I’m constantly exhausted, stressed out, and have been sick for round about seven weeks at this point. This week is finals. I’ve never been more grateful for the break I’ll get than I am right now.
In the next two months, I’m just as busy, it’s just going to be more travel and new people than anything else. This week, I’ll meet Kitten’s boyfriend. In two weeks, I’m taking a group of students to England. After I’ll get back, I’ll meet my brother’s girlfriend and my college roomie is come out to stay for a few days. In five weeks, I’ll be in Boston for a friend’s wedding. I’m looking forward to all of that and in-between it all, I’ll prep for next year once I find out what’s happening with my classes.
Here’s the thing about working so much and living where I do right now, I’m surrounded by people and I’m lonely. I’m usually good with being alone and that doesn’t bother me, what’s bothering me is that I feel like I’m alone even when people are there. I know that part of this is working so much that I haven’t spent time with my friends, but honestly, I can count my friends who I would go out with for an evening on one hand and I don’t remember the last time I saw most of them. I don’t fit California and California doesn’t fit me. Most people my age are finding some place that they belong, whether that be with a person or with a job. I don’t feel like I’ve done that.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and I love my job, but I never see my friends and I feel like I’m always putting on a bit of a show at work. I love the kids and I work with the nicest people around, but they are so conservative that I keep my mouth shut more than I open it. In public school, I could just be me and it wasn’t an issue. Here, I have to fit into someone else’s ideal and in some ways I feel like they want to make me into the little woman. I have to try and be Meg, Amy, or Beth when I’m really a Jo. I know for a fact that certain people there think I should get married, settle down, and have a couple of kids. How do I know this? They’ve told me as much. In so many words. I understand that they say this because they care, but it’s just depressing. People seem to wonder every day why I’m single and honestly, I don’t have a clue other than the fact that I haven’t really met too many men that can hold my interest.
My mom asked me where I could go to meet men in California and, really, unless you’re going to spend time club-hopping or bar-hopping there isn’t anywhere in Orange County. People in California don’t use the library, the ones who hang in bookstores are usually too young, coffee shops/tea houses are either full of students, the elderly, or empty so far as I’ve been able to find. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but one group’s too young, the other’s too old, and the last is not even there, so certainly not just right. Disney is too crowded and too expensive. I don’t really have time to drive up to LA or down to San Diego regularly. Hell, not even eHarmony or Match.com could figure out what to do with me in California and pulled people from all over the world saying things like “this person is a flex match” because they were outside of driveability and I would have to fly to meet most of them.
Besides meeting men being difficult, I’ve found that I really don’t get on with a lot of people in California well enough to have really tight relationships. People here tend to be stuck inside a bubble. I feel like I need to go to Seattle, the East Coast, or abroad in order to find people I fit with. My mom even said, “Maybe you just need to spend your breaks elsewhere. I don’t know where exactly, but I think things are easier for you in other places.” And, if I’m being honest, she’s right. I fit in Boston, I feel at home in London and Oxford, I’m comfortable in Seattle, I belong in Italy (where I don’t even speak the language) more than I do here. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I think it has to do with having a more open mindset, a focus on the arts and education, and a slower pace where people stop to just enjoy life. Here, things feel frenetic and like everyone’s trying to be perfect or match up to Hollywood, rather than just being themselves.
I’m grateful to have my family around, to have a roof over my head, to have a job, and to be making enough money that I will pay off my loans by the time I’m thirty. I’m blessed to have the friends I do. I love the beaches. I love wandering and taking pictures here. The weather is beautiful. My church is gorgeous and I love being a part of my father’s church again. But I’ve been here three years and I’m itching to move because every time I come back from somewhere else I realize that I fit wherever I was better than here in so many ways. I keep dreaming that I’ve moved abroad and waking disappointed that it isn’t true. I’ve wanted to live abroad my whole life and every opportunity that would last longer than two months has fallen through. I don’t know why that is, but I’m wondering if I’ll have an opportunity that will work out at some point. As my mother pointed out the other day, I’ve never had a problem leaving and being on my own. I’ve never gotten homesick and when I’m alone, I rarely to never feel lonely. In some ways, I think the closest I’ve ever been to homesick is my longing to return to Oxford, London, Rome, Assissi, or Venice. My father is always itching to travel and I have always been the same way. If I could move every few years to a new country, I think I’d be happy. I don’t know if I’ll ever find a place where I’ll go, “This is the place. This is Home.” But I do know after three years here, that while I enjoy some things and certain people, California isn’t it. I think that over the next year, I’m going to have to plan trips away and see if that helps. It’s rare to find a job teaching that is so solid, with such nice people. I like being around my friends and my family. It would be a shame to give that stuff up because I don’t sit still well. We shall see what we shall see, I suppose.