I woke up around 9am. Still raining outside. “This is how I’ll remember Indianapolis, “ I think. “I’ll comeback for a Pacer game though.”
It’s Christmas Eve morning. I feel refreshed. Around 8 hours of sleep. Definitely needed after three consecutive all-day drives. With five hours left to Pittsburgh, no need to exhaust myself on the final leg.
In less than 20 minutes, my brother and I are back on the road. I look at the farmland and trees. Reality hits. I’m not leaving my home in California, but I’m driving to my new home in Pennsylvania. Subtle mind tweak. Big blip in my head.
Questions popcorn my brain…
Where would I find work?
How long before finding a permanent home?
Can I find a new “Happy Place”?
What am I going to do about Mexican food!? Oh, crap! Chorizo, nachos, tacos, rice, beans…. ahhhhh!!!!
Focus on the road. Get to your family. Enjoy the holidays with your family. And there will be tamales. Fresh, homemade tamales. Keep it together man!
We drive out of Indiana, through Ohio and a sliver of West Virginia, and we’re in Pennsylvania. There is no more flat land. The highway meanders through hills and trees. And it’s cold. Brrrr.
“You’re going to live here?” my brother asks.
“Yep. That’s the plan,” I say.
I get what he’s saying though. It’s very different from California; another world compared to San Francisco. Brand new experiences lay ahead.
By late afternoon, my brother and I arrived in Pittsburgh and I hug my wife and son. I feel good, better than I did waking up this morning. All is right. For the time being, we’re staying at my wife’s parent’s house. During that time, I’m job searching and glancing at apartments. Hopefully, though, we can just search for a real home. This whole cross-country reinforced how much I hate moving. Please, dear lord, just one last time.
In the kitchen, we prepare Christmas Eve dinner. As promised. Homemade tamales. Something else we brought from California. It’s my grandmother’s recipe. Made every Christmas. Always made from memory and never a written recipe. However, my wife wrote good notes before leaving Cali and, along with my brother’s experience, we had warm, tasty tamales.
Next morning and it’s Christmas Day. I wake up in a home and not a hotel. Feels good. Yet, I’m getting in my car again. I go to the airport to drop off my brother. He still lives in Nevada and he’s sure as hell not going to drive back. A comfy five-hour flight lay ahead for him. I give him a hug. My co-pilot walks into the terminal. I’ll see him in another couple months.
I climb back in the car. Chilled hands grip the wheel. The sky is gray. It’s cold. Snow is in the forecast. Single digit temperatures with wind chill below zero.
“This is home… I’m home.” I think. I breathe. The window fogs. “Let’s do this.”
I grip the wheel again. I’m starting from zero again. I have no professional network. Co-workers, advocates, staff, communities and everything I grew up with are a country away. I’m starting from zero. My professional career. Zero. Again. I’m the optimist, though. Work hard. Pull yourself up. Head down. Move forward. Just like the city of Pittsburgh.
“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow them.” – Louisa May Alcott
Let’s get started. “A Guy in Preschool”, in Pennsylvania, in 2015.