Monday, November 29, 2010

When It Rains, It Pours - An Adventure in Moving

If only storm clouds acted as nice as they look...

Big girls don’t cry. Well…most of the time they don’t. At the very least, that’s what we like to tell ourselves.  

More often than not, though, crying jags are a commonplace occurrence in every woman’s (AND man’s) life. Whether or not we like to admit it is another case entirely.

This happens to be one of those times where I don’t mind admitting to having an almost-meltdown. I finally made the big move down into San Francisco last week and it just happened to coincide with a rather large storm that swept across northern California.

Although I'd been commuting to the city for the last three months, and felt I had an okay grasp of its layout, this adventure would prove otherwise. For all the travelers and college graduates out there moving in or moving out, I hope my experience provides some insight into making the best of a "stormy" situation.

The two-hour drive started like any other excursion to the city. The rain from the day before had stopped, the minimal amounts of snow had melted and I had a full tank of gas. Everything was good to go. Or so I thought, until I reached downtown San Francisco. The drive had taken me longer than normal due to traffic and darkness was falling fast (thank you daylight savings). Added to that, the rain decided to let loose a torrential downpour. Okay, so I was a little nervous, but nothing to be TOO concerned about. As long as I followed my directions to where I was staying in the city, I'd be fine.

When is anything just fine, though? After all the surprises I've experienced in traveling and moving, I should've anticipated something going wrong. 

This time, all it took was one wrong turn. Suddenly I was lost among the water-clogged streets of San Francisco, with no place to turn around (if you've ever been to SF, you'll know how prevalent the one-way streets are) and no handy GPS to save the day. Cue the lightning and thunder and no longer was I so unconcerned. Frazzled? Yes. Start-biting-my-nails-anxious? If I hadn't needed both hands to drive, that would also be a yes.

Sooner or later, the sun will come out again
Half an hour later, I was still sloshing down Market Street, trying not to hit pedestrians or run any red lights and desperate to find a place to park. I finally spotted an open space after turning down a random street, and I'd never been so happy to put my car in park. I'd been closer to having a meltdown than I would've preferred, but I was determined to overcome the challenge. I hadn't come this far only to crumble now. A few phone calls later brought about the realization that I was closer to my destination than I thought. As in, a couple of blocks away....obviously, a girl can't travel without irony as a constant companion.

After a few simple directions, I made it to my destination--without hitting any pedestrians either. I didn't think about it until my mom mentioned it to me, but my chaotic trip to San Francisco was eerily reminiscent of my arrival in Scotland two years ago. Just like my study abroad adventure, my first night in the city was the only time I felt doubtful about what I was getting myself into. If I couldn't even navigate the streets, what was I thinking moving here?? Every storm passes, though, and as the skies cleared the next day my skepticism was already fading. Sometimes it takes a "stormy" first impression to make an adventure memorable.

So whether you're moving into a college a dorm, into a city or out of the country, don't let a bad experience knock you down. Sure, it might make you stagger but that's how you truly learn what you're made of. The transition of moving from one place to another is only hectic and stressful if you let it be; of course some things are out of your control, but making mistakes and getting lost is all part of the process. Take a deep breath, perhaps invest in an umbrella, and you'll withstand any "storm" that comes your way.

Night #2 in the city - all smiles this time