How to make it in malibu (or maybe just in life)

I believe the most important thing in every single move involves unpacking the stereo first. (thx EK)

With this said, I’ve developed a bit of a ritual when moving that I always listen to Sara Bareilles’s first CD “Little Voice”. I started this my freshman year in college and since that time, every single move-in and move-out has involved Sara’s little voice. It serves as a reminder to me that an end means a new beginning and that moving forward occasionally means leaving things behind.

Leaving Kansas was difficult. I held it together for most of my goodbyes, feeling pulled in so many emotional directions that I felt drained of showing any real physical evidence of feeling on my face. But truthfully inside, I felt like I was in a constant catch 22. I couldn’t allow myself to feel sorry for my predicament, because it was something I was doing to myself. But at the same time, I couldn’t help but feel a certain level of heartbreak for the things I was leaving behind. 

Which is of course, natural.

A response I typically hate because it doesn’t really do anything to make a person feel more confident in their decision. It’s natural? Great. Thank you. What I need to hear is that it’s the right choice. Or the wrong one. I am not a tree. It’s natural for a plant to sprout leaves and then die. It’s natural for some snakes to eat their babies. It’s natural for a caterpillar to turn into a butterfly. Natural is whatever. It doesn’t speak on behalf of person’s emotional conscious in how they feel about the decisions they make. 

However. I am also aware that the answer I am looking for only comes in making my own decision by myself and then sticking with it regardless of how hard it is to get from point A to point B. 

So with that, I packed up my entire life and left, for the first time in 4.5 years, absolutely nothing in Kansas but memories and friends. And I drove 25 hours straight to the coast.

And so what have I learned thus far?

Well first of all, those memories and friends, work like a set of clothes or a giant security blanket. I’ve never felt so naked and vulnerable in my entire life. When you know no one, there’s absolutely no comfort zone to run to. You literally feel like you are constantly in a spotlight that never turns off. It’s not college. There aren’t thousands of other co-eds around the corner to find comfort in a mutual situation. It’s just you. So I guess, it’s really important you like yourself. Which fortunately, I think I’m alright and everything so I don’t mind hanging out with my own thoughts. 

It’s also really important you don’t lose your head.

There’s been a few times after the kids have gone to school and no one’s home where I start to feel myself panic a little. No one here knows me. Or really cares about me. What if I just fall into some slump and be a nanny the rest of my life? What if I fail? What does failing even mean in this particular situation? By all societal standards, it would seem I already have. I got a college degree in Journalism and now I am standing next to foreign women who barely speak english after school waiting for kids that aren’t even mine. What the HELL am I doing with my life.

But just before I pull out all my hair and collapse in a pathetic worthless heap of human being, I remember to breathe. Because here’s where liking yourself is so important.

Because I know what I am capable of.

Because I know I will make friends.

Because I know, at least in my world, I am not failing.

I know my path is different than most.. but it doesn’t make it the wrong one. 

Hey, some people spend their entire lives working toward the life I get to live immediately just by being a nanny. I live in a several million dollar home 5 minutes from the most perfect serene beach. I don’t have any real large financial responsibilities and I never, ever have to wear a pants suit (something I hope to call true for my entire life). My co-workers are a 7 and 10 year old who spend most of their time latched to my body like adoring, life-size leeches. The hardest thing I have had to do thus far is iron 150 dollar t-shirts during which I burned myself no shorter than 5 times.

I don’t necessarily call this failing. 

Once again though, before you go and think.. wow, Meg your life is awesome! Remember that I am doing this alone. And that REALLY sucks sometimes. As one of the most social people I know, this is probably my biggest challenge. Wanting to constantly share things with someone in person but knowing a phone call or a text is really my only connection to the outside world. 

And for the time being, it will have to suffice. 

So what’s it like honestly? 

Well, after a week, I thought it was time to share my thoughts on living in Malibu. (And so I guess… if you’re really sick of hearing about it.. now’s about the time you can turn on Modern Family and vicariously live through someone else’s life.)

Ok. So.

First of all, the neighborhood I live in is.. interesting. From what I can tell, there’s a very large distribution of wealth. For instance, there’s many houses on my street that could easily be in any neighborhood. Mid-size, older homes with no particular spark to them that would make them any different to the one next door. But then again, I ALSO live down the street from Matthew McConaughey and Pink, who have AWESOME sprawling mansions complete with security stands and guard dogs. And all of these houses can be found on the same street. As far as where I live in, while there’s no security guard, it is a VERY nice house. And the guard dogs are my best friends.

Anyway, regardless of size, ocean-front property is ocean-front property. And everyone here has to be doing at least ok financially. How else could they afford to live next to this? 

Have I seen any celebrities?

Yes. And no. The thing is, I’ve never been one to pour over People magazine looking to see what sweatpants Heidi Klum is wearing on her morning jaunt to the grocery store. I don’t watch a lot of movies and the only thing I like to watch on E! is Knocked Up. But only because it’s on like 4 times a day. And Malibu is full of pretty, beautiful people. Even their nannies are hot (or actually…. that’s just me. Tee hee.) And because I have no idea “who’s who” it’s possible I am seeing a good 50 celebrities a day, and I just don’t know who the hell they are. Because of this, I take the attitude that essentially every person I meet is famous and should be treated accordingly. I’ve never really been one to see the value in autographs. (Sweet, I have your signature!!!!… now what.) So I feel like just being in a potential celebrity presence should also do wonders for my appearance. My hair is prettier, my teeth are whiter, I walk on a path made of sunshine and kittens…

This happens right? 

I did meet Cindy Crawford on accident though. Which was kind of cool except that I didn’t know it was her until I got home. Like I said, I’m really bad at celebrity stalking.

The family I live with is originally from Austria. This makes life for me kind of like studying abroad. First of all, they don’t have a microwave, a fact that is absolutely rocking my world. How have they lived this long without this life-changing appliance’s presence in their life? I actually bought a microwave for my studio apartment just because I need to be near to something that ultimately exhibits American life at its finest. Plain and simple- we like to nuke things. and as fast as physically possible.

When I’m upstairs in their home, I cook things the Austrian way.

I warm water up on the stove.

I peel potatoes by hand.

I grate carrots like food processors haven’t been invented yet.

…But when I come downstairs to my place, I put every single thing in that microwave that I can… just because I can.

Because I am an American.

And that is what we do. 

On the other hand, it’s forced me to actually learn how to cook. I’m all of a sudden making awesome food. I don’t know where this is coming from but I think it’s because I know everyone in their family knows how to and I feel pressure to perform. I don’t want to be judged by a 7 year old boy on my lack of culinary skill and so therefore, I am learning to cook things outside of the world of Kraft macaroni and cheese. I actually don’t know if these kids have ever actually eaten Kraft mac and cheese. I made cookies the other day and you would have thought I was handing out crack… I  also don’t think sugar is very prevalent in this home. 

They also speak German. Sometimes in the middle of a conversation. It’s like my cue to know that I am done being talked to because I can no longer understand a single word they are saying. Like I’m at the nail salon again and everyone is speaking chinese and you think they are talking about your feet. Like that. Kind of uncomfortable. Anyway, maybe I’ll come out of this bilingual. Or at least like Maria. 

I guess mostly it’s enough to know that it still feels right that I am here. I’m not saying that I don’t have second thoughts. I do. But nothing has been enough to want to turn around and go back. 

Because here’s the thing about the other side of the fence. Yeah, the grass is greener, better looking, wealthier, maybe a little more well-known. (GERARD BUTLER… is my neighbor), but all of this unimportant in the grand scheme, because none of it is what’s really keeping me here.

So what is?  

It’s the thrill of something different. That each day I get to be here, I’m becoming more of the person I want to be. That I’m not tied down to anything or anyone and I feel like I’m breaking some kind of pattern. I don’t really know what to expect tomorrow. And that’s both exciting and scary. But ultimately, it’s that feeling of the unknown, that brought me where I am in the first place. And is what’s going to keep me here long-term. 

So, Yeah.

….I think I’m going to like it here. 🙂



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