California-versary Year 1: SoDak to LA

Monday, August 28, 2017

Whale watching trip with my parents in August 2011
August is home to so many anniversaries.

But I wanted to celebrate my California-versary first! 6 years, but going on 7 school years (I go by academic years) here in beautiful-beautiful California...literally up and down the coast! 

I want to honor August as a "fresh" start for so many educators and students starting another year, but I also want to honor people who are in transition, just graduated & a little lost..

In May, newly minted graduates are promised this wonderful life post high school, college, or advanced degree. 

But no one ever tells you about the growing pains of leaving home, or the home you created at college, or to not have access to all of your closest friends you've been making for 4+ years.

So, that is why I wanted to recognize my California-versary first.

August 2011: I was 22, barely finished college, I packed my belongings that barely fit in my car and drove from South Dakota to Los Angeles county. Besides being absolutely terrified, scared I'd hate my graduate program & never make any friends ... dramatic ... I also was homesick my first year.

I may had posted about all of these fun new adventures in Southern CA, but in that same caption, I'd also get back in my car nostalgic for college, the comfort of my parents, and the aching to be around familiar friends. I had also ended my first relationship ever in that season too - my emotions were clearly winning...

My Grandma had also passed a week before I left for Los Angeles and on top of that, I was healing from a broken leg that I broke 24 hours after my college graduation. I spent my summer in physical therapy, high off pain killers, grieving my first break up, and living in my parents basement. What a dream post college right?...

I was supposed to move to the Bay Area for 3 mos for an internship prior to starting a graduate program, but that didn't happen due to my broken leg.

When I arrived in Los Angeles county, I was living with a stranger. I didn't know anyone except for those I knew from pageants. My cohort in my graduate program were my only friends, but at this point I hadn't met most of them.

When my parents flew back to South Dakota, I sobbed in my new room. It hit me that they were just visiting and weren't staying. I had lived away from home often growing up, but I always knew I was coming back at the end of Summer.

That first year was rough. 

I cried all the time. I FaceTimed my best friend in Alaska on Friday nights for hours at a time. 

Other hard adjustments included being in a city that was starkly different from my rural upbringing. Everything cost money. There were no seasons. The list goes on.

In that transition, I wish I could say I found myself. But most of the first year was spent breaking me down to build me up again. It was a year of learning life was not about some pretty harsh ways, but looking back in the most humbling and heart struck ways.

But I did have the most fun job - essentially community work where we employed college students into non-profits that benefited the community. I had a bomb boss who to this day, I can say has been a mentor and friend, someone who was on my final capstone committee, and recent Momma to the cutest baby. You can read her blog HERE.

Eventually, I became close with people in my graduate program. I now live for our mini reunions, group texts, random calls and reach outs, and I can say they are part of my home team. I rarely make a major life decision without their blessing and prayers first.

I explored Los Angeles and Southern California for everything it was. Whether it was a Disneyland pass, exploring every sandy beach, concerts at the Hollywood bowl, hosting visitors at least every other weekend for my first year there. Falling in love with monotone weather, ethnic food choices, and finding out how much I could be thrown into the unknown and come out with a #$%^ ton of experiences and relationships that would shape who I have been in my 20s.

It really is a Happy California-versary to me, even with year 1 in hindsight.

Sending love to all my students and people in their first transition out of school.
You are going to make it.
Be patient with yourself.

I always liked remembering all of my best moments were happening and are yet to come.
How amazing is that?


  1. Happy California-versary! Thank you Jayme for expressing life and sharing your wisdom! I’m really learning to be patient with myself and trust the process (as you’ve probably told me countless times LOL). Thank you for the reminder that change and growing pains happen as well as being an example that s**t happens, and you just gotta handle it like a pro! Done = better than perfect, right?

    1. I never know whether to smile or shake my head when you use my own lines against me! Yes Hay Sue. You really exude so much love and wisdom for life. I hope you keep writing and trusting you'll end up where you need to be and you're right where you need to be for now.


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