Basically all of my family lives in Texas. We're all super close, arguably TOO close ;) , and we make EVERYTHING into a party. Mothers' Day? We cater it. Halloween? My grandad dresses like the same vampire every year and you can bet my grandma makes punch in a witch's cauldron for like a billion small children. We host get-togethers so often, my grandparents have two margarita machines in their house, running allllllll the time. And these get-togethers are never small either. I would estimate 10-15 when things are on the small side, and on times like Christmas and birthdays? Seventy people easily. One time my brother came home from Afghanistan and the airport put us at the back of the greeting line because they thought we were a school. Another time, my cousin had an accident and the waiting room at the hospital was so full the hospital gave us our own conference room. We do EVERYTHING as a unit.
And all of this really sucks to watch from your iPhone when you're somewhere else.
Which is usually the case for me.
Growing up, I knew I had to get out. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing inherently bad about staying in the small town you grew up in. Especially for folks in my family, moving away from the incredible support system we have just really doesn't make a whole lot of sense. As for me, however, I always felt called to be somewhere else. I never really fit in with the whole Texas vibe, and maybe it was my angsty emo vibes, but I just really longed to move to California. I was such a poser too because I had never even been to California, but based on all my favorite Tumblrs, I knew I was destined to be here. I hope the cringiness I'm feeling right now comes across as you read, hahah.
SO, when I got into Pepperdine University I cried the sad kind of tears. I guess I knew I had to do it. I had been looking forward to it and begging for it for so long, I couldn't back out. So I took the dive, and drove out to Malibu, California. I wish I could extend that sentence to say "and I've never looked back!!" but I've looked back tons of times and wondered and questioned whether I had made the right decision. I looked back, but I think more importantly, I've kept moving forward and learning and growing from my experience.
I've honestly gotta say, moving to California was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Don't get me wrong, it totally SUCKS like 49% of the time. If I had a dollar for every time I sat in my room crying over Facebook photos of memories I would never share with my family, I could maybe actually afford something to eat other than Jack-In-the-Box, but even so, I proved to myself that I could do it. I followed my dreams, and that feels incredibly good. My eighth grade self would be pretty damn proud.
All this goes to say that as much as I don't regret my decision, nothing is better than having a piece of home away from home. Seriously. Nothing is better. So, lucky for me, my beautiful (understatement OBVIOUSLY) cousin Cassie took her weekend to come visit me, and we had an absolute blast! We had so much fun, actually, that we realized the night before she left that we never did the photoshoot we had been planning for weeks. SOLUTION? Wake up at like 4:45 the next morning for this sunrise shoot. We ended up with these lovely photos, and she made my job easy as cake. Thanks for comin' down and making my whole entire April, Cass! Come back soon.