Welcome to California!

Submitted by Nevate Holmes
on 03/10/18


Have you ever driven across the states to a travel destination or to a part of town where your
family lives and asked yourself, when am I ever going to get there? We have all been there. We
wait for the sign that tells us all the driving we’ve done is not in vain. Whether it’s the
“Welcome to Texas” sign or the “Welcome to Louisiana” sign, those road markers give us a
sense of ease of knowing that we are not far away from our destination.

The Welcome to California sign will be a significant marker in my life. I have recently been
accepted to attend the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at Fuller Theological Seminary in
Pasadena, California. This is great news, but all of my heart and family reside in the Greater
Houston, Texas area. So many thoughts, feelings, and memories arise as I prepare to move
across the country to a place that is foreign to myself and my family. I learned how to ride my
first bicycle there, I met my husband at a local dance there, and we worked tirelessly together
to pay off all of our debt there. All of these memories are associated with our time in Texas. You
see, not only will I be moving, but my husband will be venturing to California with me as well.
Moving to California will be a destiny shaping moment in our family history. So, as we reminisce over all of our memories, we realize that the Welcome to California sign will not only be a landmark but will signify a distinct change in our lives as we now know them.

Moving to California from Houston will require much logistical thought, so as soon as we
decided to move, my husband immediately began to think, how in the world are we going to
get all of our stuff in this apartment all the way to California? The first thought was to get a
moving company. We have used those several times in the past and they have proven to be the
most cost-effective option. But when we began to search the prices for using moving
companies to transport our treasured possessions to California, we realized that the prices
were outrageous. The starting rate was about $3000 and we knew that we could not afford
that. As we continued to look into other options we noticed that U-Haul offers a very basic
package that allows us to use a 10’ truck to drive there. After researching all of these options, I
asked myself, who is going to drive 1,524 miles to California? My original plan was to fly to
California with all the belongings that I cherished and start all over, but after thinking it through
I realized that driving would be a representation of a physical journey crossing through the
states in order for me to pursue my dream. Moving to California was going to be a feat, but the
thought of moving by ourselves brought on a lot of anxiety. How were we going to do it alone?
So, my husband, the mastermind that he is, began to think of ways to lure people into coming
with us.

As we began to tell our friends and family about the move, some were excited to have someone
to visit in California, and others were not so thrilled that we were leaving them. We thought
strategically about who we wanted to bring to California so as to “lighten the load” of actually
moving into our new place. The very people that we depend on so much for support, our
family, popped into our minds. Thinking about the family and friends that support us here in
Texas has caused me to think about what support systems we would have in California and
what unknowns we would potentially face in the new city. Making new friends has always been difficult for me to do, but I know that I will have to make new friends in order to begin to have a normal life in California. I will have to get used to introducing myself to people and allowing
myself to enter into new relationships. Outside of relationships and building community, we
will also have to become accustomed to different types of natural disasters. In Houston, we
recently experienced Hurricane Harvey and while the flood was devastating, my husband and I
were prepared for what to do if flood waters came rushing into our apartment, or if we lost
power for several days due to the water affecting the power lines. Now that we are moving to
California we will have to prepare ourselves for natural disasters like earthquakes, forest fires,
and mud slides as they are prevalent in the California area. We will need to develop a safety
plan that includes what items we will need to keep in our homes if we do experience these
disasters and what we will do if we have to relocate.

Taking all of these things into consideration has really allowed me to come to terms with what
would actually transpire as we crossed the highway into the pacific time zone, not returning to
central time zone for at least 6 years. I believe crossing that state line for the first time will
signify a rite of passage for me as an adult and professional. This would be the first time that I
would be hours away from the physical support of my family. This journey will also be a
defining moment for my career as a psychologist. For so long I have dreamed of being in this
season pursuing my dreams and now I would finally have the opportunity to do so. Internalizing this may create some moments of sorrow, but as I look to the ocean of possibility I will be sure that the decision that I have made for myself and my family would be one to that would change the course of our lives. This is more than just a story about moving long distances, but a rite of passage into unknown and untapped potential.

Submitted by Nevate Holmes
on 03/10/18

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