Something I’ve always wanted to do is leave San Diego. Which sounds crazy, I know! Who could possibly want to leave Sunny San Diego? But, just like anyone else who still lives in their home town, there’s a small part of me that wants to explore – to see something new. I’m not a huge traveler, at least not in the way most millennials are. I’ll take travel opportunities as they come, but my dream vacation is honestly driving the entire coast of the US (starting in Alaska, down through the NorthWest to San Diego, across the south to the Florida Keys, and all the way up to Maine).
As much as I absolutely love San Diego, I want to have seasons! I would love to go away for a year or two, experience fall and spring like they are truly meant to be. San Diego is summer from about April to mid/late September and a winter of days in the 60’s (which is freezing to us natives), while still having sunny days in the average 70’s sprinkled into our winters. Grad school seems like the perfect excuse. I can move away for two years, some where in the North with orange trees in the fall, rain showers in the spring. And then I’ll come back. Start a career/settle down in San Diego.
Because as much as I do want to leave San Diego, I want to also be able to settle down here. I cannot imagine living anywhere else for long. The beaches are beautiful with an average temperature of 70 d all year. Mountains and deserts and forests within an hour (or more) drive! From where I’m sitting now on my comfy couch I can drive to the beach in 20 minutes, the mountains in about 30, the desert is just about anywhere considering San Diego is in a desert (but Arizona isn’t that far either). Plus my Mexican heritage is not only rich within the San Diego streets but also at my back door. Being only a twenty minutes drive from the Mexican border leads to endless opportunities to not only learn and experience my heritage, but to live within it. One thing I’m 100% stubborn about is my future kids speaking Spanish, what better way then having Mexico right there?!
Easily, what makes moving an uncertain move for me is my family; specifically my mom. My mom and I have a great relationship, maybe not as witty as Gilmore Girls but she’s easily one of my best friends. I tell her nearly everything and I’ve learned so much about who I want to be from her.
With my grandpa’s passing late last year, I learned even more. My mom came to the US when she was 18 years old, illegally. And before this becomes a political debate, she and my American dad were already planning to get married. Leaving her family in her tiny mountain town in Central Mexico was the hardest thing she believes she’s ever done. But with the American Dream fueling her dreams to give her future kids (hey thanks ma!) a better life, she left everyone and everything she knew. Before my grandpa passed, in his last few months she flew to Mexico three times. To see the toll taken on her from every time the phone buzzed while she was home, waking up to hearing her having night mares of missing a flight or arriving too late. When he passed in November, she and my uncle where boarding her fourth flight to go visit their dad, they got the call.
Now, three months later, an uncle passed away earlier this week and my mom couldn’t visit him in the hospital – unable to deal with another loss so soon. When we went grocery shopping just two nights ago, we ran into that uncles son and she said to him “I can’t imagine having been able to have him here all your life.” He responded, “we were lucky to never have been separated.” Their conversation, that hug as they departed, had us all choking up next to the beautifully ripe avocados.
To think, my mom came to this country to give me (and my brother) a better life, and then to just leave her here – breaks my heart. She wants to be a grandma as much as I want to be a mom, how could I ever take that away from her? All she really wants is to watch her children grow, be educated, and have financially stable jobs. All of which aren’t necessarily guaranteed in our small town, where I’d be 25 and probably on my fourth kid by the end of the year. Which obviously wouldn’t be the worst thing, but it would be a lot more work to get the college education I’ve always wanted.
To leave and keep her away from her grand children sucks. And makes me think damn, how can I leave? But that’s also a part of life. Thank God for airplanes, FaceTime, and vacation pay. The uncertainty of moving is a heavy burden. I’m sure if the opportunity comes to move away (hopefully only for a bit), I’d take it: with the pipe dream of being able to settle down in (insanely expensive) San Diego; holding me here, at home.