The Internet is on the edge of its seat, and here I am to deliver on my pledge to you: Part II of my post-grad story! Beware, I’m covering 7 months of my life here, so it gets pretty lengthy.
I left off saying what my post-grad plan HAD been – to stay on the cape over the summer and move to Boston in the Fall. At the end of May, my dad and I packed up my items from my adorable, treasured apartment in Dupont Circle and said goodbye to my bestie/roommate/soulmate Maddie, and drove north to Cape Cod. It was a sad drive, made only slightly better by stopping at Chick-Fil-A. I had convinced myself that I wanted to work at a certain restaurant, so the next day, a gray, blustery day, I went there and asked the person at the host stand for an application. She was actually the owner of the restaurant, and after filling out the application, she saw that I lived on her street! A couple minutes later, I had a job as a hostess and would be starting the next week. Success!
While I was happy to have a job, especially at the place I wanted (a nice place, not too fancy but not too casual, with a large local and tourist draw), I was pretty bummed for the first part of the summer. I have an issue with living in the moment, which I constantly am checking. Although, I do think I should go easy on myself, specifically in this situation because I had just graduated college and was experiencing a pretty drastic change. I recently read a quote by @lamise on Instagram (a yogi I just started following), that says
“They say that when one door closes, another opens.
But the problem is we spend too much time grieving over the closed door,
that we don’t even notice
the new door that has opened.”
When I read this, I instantly could relate. When school years would end and summer would begin, I would mourn the end of the school year and rob myself of enjoyment until I got over it (with no effort, just time). Then I would mourn summer’s end as school began again, homework settled in, and the air cooled. Over and over, this cycle would repeat, and I have only recently tried to actively fight it and live in the moment.
Anyway (at this rate I will have to add a pt. III to this saga), I really struggled at first in the summer because I was missing aspects of college that were so different from my present – mainly the social fulfillment. When I came to write this, I actually almost forgot that I was so bummed at the beginning of the summer because I ended up loving it. I made so many friends at the restaurant I worked at, swam in the ocean all the time, and had many gin and tonics. Peak season on Cape Cod is truly a wonderful time. My cousin got married on Labor Day weekend at my grandparents’ old farm in Maine, the next weekend my sister and I traveled to Dewey Beach, DE for my now-sister-in-law’s bachelorette party, and at the end of September my brother got married! Before we knew it, my sister was engaged as well!
With all these exciting events, the end of the restaurant season was coming quickly – closing day was October 15th. I knew I wasn’t ready to apply for full-time jobs yet because I felt too lost to pick what I wanted to do for my whole life. One thing I loved about the restaurant business was that it opened me up to another way of living. It brought me out of the typical GW-and-other-private-college cycle of interning and taking classes, having internships over the summers, and lining up work for after graduation. The solace of knowing I had done what was expected of a GW student wasn’t enough for me to want to do it. I don’t mean to bash my classmates that did find a job after graduation, or to imply that every student that did got some bottom-of-the-barrel position that they hate. I know plenty of people who moved onto new adventures in a different city, doing a job they love and worked hard for, and being financially supported by it. Plus, I loved my internships and jobs and was completely part of that cycle. However, it was nice to see that oh, people support themselves and live in other ways and are happy too.
Because the restaurant is only open seasonally, many servers go to Florida for the winter and work at restaurants there. My lack of plan was obvious, and one server said I should move in with her in Sarasota! I hadn’t thought of doing that, but in need of a plan, I grasped onto it and decided I would go! My sister’s wedding was also coming together quickly (she had a four week engagement!), and soon after were Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I decided that I would go after the holidays.
After the restaurant closed, I got a seasonal sales position at Old Navy. I had never worked in retail (besides selling sweatshirts at the restaurant!), so I didn’t really know what it would be like. I’m going to have to save more details for another blog post, because I have a lot to say about it!
As time passed and I thought about my plan to drive south to Florida more, I realized I wasn’t sure. In fact, I never had been sure, but I was coming around to admitting it. My friend wasn’t cutting me an unheard of, amazing deal on rent that instantly convinced me, so I really gave it some thought. If I was going to live anywhere for four months, did I want it to be Sarasota? Not really. No offense to Florida, but it didn’t speak to me. However, I thought, I had never been to California. I thought it would be a perfect time to experience the west coast, avoid a New England winter, and sort of get the itch out of my system so I could be close to my family and not constantly want to live far away.
With the help of Craigslist, I quickly secured a place to live in downtown Santa Barbara. Why Santa Barbara? You might ask. Well, I was quite “citied-out” from living in Washington, D.C. for four years, and I liked living in the beach community that is Cape Cod. In early October I had also bought a used 2004 RAV4, which in hindsight was not the brightest plan, considering I didn’t know what I was going to do after the restaurant closed. It worked out though.
Then came the fun part (well, it was all fun, but this part especially), which was planning the road trip that would get me there. I’m going to leave off here, because I could write about my road trip for ages! Get excited!