California Dreaming

Courtney Hunter

I grew up in a small New England town that seemed so boring to me. Where there is an abundance of nature and a lack of culture. An area filled with beautiful lakes and snowy mountains, yet the opportunities there are slim to none. But how am I suppose to pursue my dreams in a big city and leave the Cheers-like atmosphere, “where everyone knows your name?”

I moved to Gilford, New Hampshire when I was 4 years old. Coming from southern California to a small rural town was interesting. My mother made me wear a helmet because I was not use to the stumps and rocks sticking out from the ground. People in this area are born, raised, have kids and stay here for many generations. There is not much to look forward to, unless you consider snow days of course. It was much different than I had known but I wasn’t going to be leaving this boring town anytime soon.

I wouldn’t have guessed that I would have the same classmates from preschool all the way until my high school graduation. Everyone knew everybody. Your siblings were friends with their siblings. Your parents were friends with their parents. It was a cycle that would never be broken. And let me tell you, it was boring and hard to get away with anything!

High school finally came and boy was I ready to get that over and done with. I was popular, had lots of friends and was very much a social butterfly. But, I did not like the concept of school and was sick of being in that small stupid town. I wanted to become more cultured and experience things unheard of in New Hampshire. I had always wanted to go back to California and I knew as soon as I graduated that’s where I would be.

All my friends and family heard me telling them I was going to leave, but saying and doing are two different things. People become so use to the intimacy of a small town and it’s very hard to leave such a place. But, I knew I had to just suck it up and do it. I knew that Gilford was not going to provide me with what I wanted and needed out of my life. So, four days after graduation on June 14, 2006, I packed my car and headed to sunny

California.

I was nervous, but I didn’t want to show it. I had family in California and a boyfriend so I knew some people, which was helpful. My parents and two younger siblings were still back in New Hampshire. I moved in with my grandparents, who live in a beautiful house with a pool! I was sitting on top of the world compared to my friends back home. Nobody has a pool back east.

I decided I was going to attend Saddleback, despite my lack of interest for continuing my education. I am the oldest grandchild, and this is what you are supposed to do. Go to high school, graduate then go to college, get a career, start a family and live a wonderful happy life. But, it didn’t exactly turn out that way.

I had a hard time meeting friends and felt very much out of place. I think of myself as very outgoing and likeable person. I just didn’t feel like people out here understood me. I wasn’t “Orange County” enough for them.

I dropped out of college after a few semesters and entered the full time working world. I loved making money but was still falling short to what I really wanted my life to be. The working world was much different than I had pictured it. People were rude and not nice. I met people who I thought were genuine only to find out a year later they were complete phonies. I was not use to having people enter and exit my life so abruptly and carelessly.

But, I knew I had to keep trucking along and would make it work out in California no matter what.

All I really knew was what I learned growing up back east. I was willing and wanted to feel like I belonged so badly. I made the best of the situation as I could. I knew I was not going to get anywhere sitting in my room feeling bad and thinking about going back to New England. There is nothing there for me. I forced myself to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people.

Now, four years later, I have come a long way.

I would have never have imagined my life turning out this way. I am so proud of myself! If I didn’t step out of my comfort zone, by removing myself from familiar faces and places, I would never have gained the tools and knowledge that I have today. I am more independent, cultured and confident than before. I know I can conquer and accomplish anything. If you can make it here in California, you can make it anywhere.

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