I actually remember the day I found out we would be moving to California. But I’m actually going rewind to January 2015.
David and I have been engaged for about a month now, so wedding plans have started. Along with that, living arrangement plans have also started, since the military was involved. I was in nursing school, and had a year plus a few months left. We decided together that I would stay in Ohio until I got my nursing degree. At this point, we didn’t know where David would get orders to. He was still in Georgia for his schooling. Of course, we were hoping for North Carolina so bad. It would make things so much easier. But something didn’t sit right with me. There was something about spending our first year of marriage apart that bugged me (we already knew we wanted to get married that summer).
I knew it was for the best, maybe even the “smartest” choice. But I wasn’t happy with it. My grades were slipping. I was getting A’s and B’s in all of my classes, then started getting C’s and the occasional D. My depression was the worst it’s been for a long time. I couldn’t keep focus. Wedding planning wasn’t even doing the trick. Finally, I realized that I needed to make a decision that would make me happy.
David and I talked and talked. We kept it between us for a little bit. We finally decided that I wasn’t going to finish nursing school, and I was going to move with him after we got married. Nursing credits don’t transfer, so wherever we went I would have to restart everything. But I was so excited! However, breaking the news to my family wasn’t pleasant. To this day I still get asked , “So when are you going back for your degree?”
Fast forward to spring. I came home from work at a decent time, and I was just laying on my bed texting David. He was graduating from his schooling in just a few short days, and he was waiting to receive orders. I was so anxious. Finally, I got the text..
I just stared at my screen for a while. What? Where? What part? I had so many questions. At first, he thought we were going to be stationed at Camp Pendleton. As soon as he told me that, Google became my best friend. I saw pictured of beached and palm trees and everything you would picture California to be. We were going to live right be the beach! I started looking up schools to go to. Then I got another text..
Oh ,okay. That sounds nice! Palms is literally in then name, it’s probably another beach base!
Desert. We’re moving to the freaking desert. No grass. No water. Just mountains and sand.
I got over it pretty quick. The wedding was in just a couple months and I was going to be able to move with my new husband, so I figured I should make the best of the situation. David and I made plans for him to fly back to Ohio, and we would drive out to California with his beat up Dodge and our pup, Meeko.
The wedding day came and went. Summer was coming to an end. David got the paperwork all filled out and got the keys to our new home! He sent me tons of pictures, including one of our front door. It was finally the time for us to make the move.
Here’s a no-so-surprising twist to our plans: David’s leave didn’t get approved because they MIGHT be going into the field. Might. Alright, Marine Corps. I did NOT want to wait until when he might possibly be able to come get me, so I made the decision to drive across the country by myself. I packed up all of my stuff, and we fit most of what we could in the truck. We couldn’t afford a u-haul (and I’m not really sure how to drive one). So a lot of out stuff had to be stored at his dad’s house until it could be picked up eventually. My bother-in-law checked all of the under the hood stuff. My stepdad made hotel reservations for me and helped me map out my trip. It was going to take three days of driving, two nights of stopping to sleep. Didn’t seem too bad.
Finally, the day had come. It was August, super early in the morning. We loaded the truck up the night before, and just had a few last minute things to load up. It seemed like my family and I were putting off our goodbyes, but we had to do it. I hugged and kissed everyone (currently typing this and trying not to cry). They hugged and kissed Meeko. Leaving my family was hard. Especially my sister.
And we were off! Our first day of driving was from Ohio to Springfield, Missouri. There’s not really much to tell about the trip, because I was very lucky enough to not have any kind of events happen for me to write about. I prayed more on that trip than my entire life combined. Missouri is a pretty state! But VERY humid.
The second day was from Missouri to Albuquerque, New Mexico. This was when I started to see the transition to desert terrain. And weather. I was so happy that I paid to fix the air conditioning in that truck before I left! Meeko slept through the majority of the trip. I stopped about every two hours to let him to go the bathroom, but he wasn’t eating. But he still seemed to be a very happy pup, despite the worries of him being affected by not having his brothers around him anymore.
Finally, our last day of driving! New Mexico to Twentynine Palms, California. I was playing pump-up music most of the way. I was expected to arrive around 6pm. This is when I really got deep into the desert. And to my surprise, I found it beautiful! There was something so mesmerizing about all of the scenery. Even today I believe that nothing compares to a desert sky.
ANOTHER SURPRISE: David never went into the field. I beat him home that day. So when he got home from work, his wife was there waiting for him. And the adventure together started. We’ve turned this bare little apartment into a home. We’ve gone hiking through the desert. We’ve camped under the desert stars. We’ve been on some west coast beaches. We’ve grown in our faith. We’ve grown in our marriage. We’ve grown individually. I have come to consider Twentynine Palms a blessing. I’ve met some amazing people out here. I’m following dreams that I never thought I’d go after. I fall more and more in love with David every single day.
I can’t wait to see what’s next.