dVerse — Haibun 95 — New Beginnings?

Cali - Alex Nye ArtAlex Nye Artphoto by Alex Nye

Back in 2008, my then-boyfriend had gone on and on about the years he spent living in Santa Barbara, CA, to a point where I seriously thought about getting a job there and relocating. I watched the county human resources web site and applied for jobs I was qualified for. Sure enough, I received a notice that I had been accepted to take the required test for one of the positions. It meant flying out to Santa Barbara.

We decided to turn it into a vacation. It had been ten years or more since my boyfriend had been there, but he remembered a nice little hotel in nearby Goleta, so that’s where I made the reservation. We landed in Los Angeles and took a shuttle to the car rental place, then drove 99 miles north on Highway 101 along the CA coast. At that moment my heart was thumping happily at the strange beauty of the place. Pulling into the Goleta hotel, we discovered it was now a flop house for day laborers, many lounging on the upper balcony. We spent our time there with no issues but a nervous first night.

Quite a crowd of applicants had assembled at the building for the test-taking. The test takers were monitored closely. It lasted a long time and was all about decision-making in human service crisis situations. I think smoke was coming out of my ears by the time it was over.

Once the testing was done, my boyfriend and I were free to explore the places he had gone on about at length. The Santa Barbara Pier, a mountainous tall waterfall of trickling water and moss, a giant bridge going over a lonely gorge, Solvang, where it is always Christmas. I started to envision myself living in such a place.

Back in MI some weeks later I got a call that they wanted to interview me for the position by phone. I thought long and hard about it until the day of the interview and ended up declining. What stopped me that day? I’m still not sure.

Cold feet in the fall
Is the grass always greener?
Walk old paths with sons

Lillian is today’s host at dVerse.  Lillian says:
So the prompt for today’s haibun, follows the theme of a New Year. Please write about some new beginning you’ve experienced in your lifetime. It could be a new job; your wedding; birth of a child or grandchild; a move; rejuvenatement (never say retirement); planting a new garden or the first blooms in your garden; tasting a new food; experiencing a new culture. Anything along the lines of a new beginning that you’ve experienced.  And I’m asking for a CLASSIC HAIBUN that includes a TRADITIONAL HAIKU.

61 Comments Add yours

  1. lillian says:

    Enjoyed learning about this turning point in your life. I like that idea about thinking the grass is always greener on the other side…..in one instance, CA weather means green grass all year long as opposed to MI….but metaphorically that doesn’t equate to career, job, etc. In the end, we make a choice and that becomes the new beginning, whether we’re in a new place or remain in the old place.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      I like your way of thinking on this.

      Like

  2. Wow- what an incredible journey!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ingrid says:

    I enjoyed this visit to Santa Barbara, Lisa – you really brought it to life! I’ve faced those agonising decisions a few times in my life and you never know how it would’ve worked out if you’d gone the other way. So I try never to look back. Speaking of new beginnings, I love the new look of your site!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      It’s never easy and you’re right about wondering the what-ifs. Glad you like the looks of the new site, thank you 🙂

      Like

  4. Sadje says:

    Sometimes things look good on paper but the heart is not convinced

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Exactly, Sadje. That’s what it came down to.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadje says:

        I understand it

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I spent four months once working in southern California… it was a strangely beautiful place, but somehow I longed for home and our strange country.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What an interesting story, Lisa. It sounds like a tricky decision, but sometimes you have to go through a process, look over that fence, to realise that your own grass is pretty green and lush.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Paula Light says:

    I love Santa Barbara and the whole coast north of Los Angeles 😍

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      It felt like paradise there. I remember watching the sun set on the Santa Barbara pier. I loved all of the stuff that had washed up on shore from the ocean also. And the mountains always hugging one side and the ocean on the other. You probably have been to a lot of those places I went to. Did you ever go to Solvang?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Paula Light says:

        Yes! Love it. I have a pic of me at Paula’s Pancake House” there 💖

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          Awesome! I remember going into a little place that sells cigars and my boyfriend got a couple.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Beverly Crawford says:

    I was fascinated with your story, and wonder how many times you’ve pondered how life might have unfolded had you taken that job. We all have the roads less traveled, don’t we? Thanks for an intereseting read!
    t

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      I haven’t pondered it much over the years. Other choices, yes. There is no way to know about those crossroads, but it does confirm in my mind that each of us is exactly where we need to be right now, and maybe we aren’t the ones calling the shots. Thanks for reading and your comment, Beverly.

      Like

  9. merrildsmith says:

    Thanks for sharing this turning point, Lisa. You got a vacation and a chance to see a new place, but it sounds like your heart (or gut or whatever) knew it wasn’t the right choice for you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      You’re welcome, and exactly so.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Glenn A. Buttkus says:

    My decade in CA allowed me many visits to Santa Barbara. It was too upscale for my pedestrian tastes. Your new look is exciting; roll with it.I feel confident that you made the right decision. I could hardly wait to get Home to WA state.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes, there is no way I could have afforded a posh lifestyle in the city. Probably would have ended up living in the flop house! I agree I made the right decision. Did you ever take that train along the coast? I wouldn’t mind going back there for a vaca to take the train. WA state looks like a swell place to live, just like MI. Thanks on the new blog look 🙂

      Like

  11. Ron. says:

    Been to Santa Barbara, ages ago. Memory lingers clearly.
    Cool Haibun, Lisa.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks, Ron! Same here.

      Like

  12. Dora says:

    Some places just don’t “click,” for inexplicable reasons. Maybe it’s something about the place that makes us uneasy.. Or maybe we’re not ready to leave the familiar behind. What a startling glimpse you give us into the mysterious subconscious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Dora. It felt like another world there, so different from MI.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. memadtwo says:

    Intuition is not to be ignored. I like the way you took us through the process. I could feel the tension building. (K)

    Like

  14. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    There are some places I love going but couldn’t live there…some places I’m “meh” about going but could live there. There was something that went against it inside you.
    I had a similar offer to Minnesota…but my answer was easier. Anywhere I would need a heating blanket for my car engine…was NOT for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I hear you. It’s not quite that cold in MI but I remember a trip way back to Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada and they had plug in stations for the cars!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

        Wow…I’m sure I could adapt but I would rather adapt to something tropical! lol

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you for sharing, Lisa! This is very poignant.

    I would love to know a bit more about this line –

    Walk old paths with sons

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      We have our favorite paths to walk on through some of the state parks in the area. Lots of good memories of those times (not so much these days as they both live out of town now, have their own lives, etc.) Thanks, David.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Great story Lisa. Your intuition should never be questioned ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      You’ve never met my intuition! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha! Maybe it’s as good as mine. I trend to ignore it way more often than I should! 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

  17. rothpoetry says:

    A wonderful haibun Lisa! I love it. Your story your drama, your nostalgia and your choice! Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Many thanks, Dwight 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. rothpoetry says:

        You are welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  18. calmkate says:

    this resonates, I’ve made decisions about jobs that weren’t logical but I had to go with my heart … and your sons would always come first!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes, it pretty much broke down to my love life or my children, and there was no contest.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. calmkate says:

        now they’ve flown the coop you can concentrate on the former 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Decisions, decisions, decisions! Some we regret, some we are proud of, the rest leave us ambivalent. Thanks for sharing this fascinating facet of your life, Li.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      You’re so right, Punam, and you’re welcome.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. kim881 says:

    Firstly, I love the new design of your blog, Lisa – a new year a new look! It seems it took a mini adventure to make up your mind about the job. The grass often looks greener from a distance, until you change perspective a few times, and adjust the binoculars.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Kim happy you like the new blog look 🙂 yes on everything you say, especially the adjusting the binoculars.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. What a way to tell a story! So good, and then leaving us with no answer. Perhaps there isn’t one. Just one of those things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks, Jane.

      Like

  22. Helen Dehner says:

    An epic turn of events … I enjoyed every word of your tale.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Helen!

      Like

  23. Mish says:

    I like the way you tell a story, Lisa. I was fully engaged and saw so many visuals. The ending actually surprised me as I already thought…wow, she considered that major move! I am not as adventurous about leaving the familiar, but everything happens for a reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Mish. It seems so long ago. Yes, it does.

      Like

  24. California is a place I enjoy visiting, but I could never envision myself living there either, so I get that! It’s good you can make decisions on instinct. As writers, I think we learn to listen more to our inner voice. Enjoying the new look here! 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes, on CA, instinct with some triangulation works for me, and thank you on the new look 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. msjadeli says:

      p.s. triangulation as an orienting device

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I’d say that you declined the role because it was the right thing for you to do at the time. Especially considering all the time it took for you to finalise the decision.
    As for Solvang being a place where it’s always Christmas, if that means Christmas themed decorations all year round, then I may have to add it to my bucket list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      https://www.solvangusa.com/ I guess it isn’t Christmas all year around but it’s like being in another place in the world. If you are looking for Christmas themed decorations all year round, I would suggest a place called Bronners, in Frankenmuth, MI https://bronners.com/ I’ve been there and it’s a quaint little town with an AMAZING warehouse full of Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks so much for the links and info. 🤓 Bronners looks like a great idea.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          You’re very welcome!

          Liked by 1 person

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