I decided to take part in the 2017 A to Z Challenge. This is my first time taking part and I am very curious and excited to find out how this will go. I will base all my A to Z Challenge post on the biggest challenge in my life to date, which was moving all the way across the Ocean at age 21 and starting over. My theme is “One Way Ticket to America”
America, a word and name that holds such fascination for a lot of folks. I was five years old when I said that I will go and live in America when all grown up. At the time my Mom just laughed and wondered where I had picked that idea up. You see, as a kid I was allowed one hour of Television a week – the cartoon hour on the Swiss-Italian channel- airing from 5 to 6pm on Saturdays. At five years old I didn’t go to school yet, nor Kindergarten. Switzerland had a different system back then. So, I also wonder, where did I pick that idea up?
At 12 I started to babysit and work in a tree nursery to earn extra money that I could save up to move across the pond later on. I tried to convince my parents to let me go as an exchange student when I was sixteen, but they insisted that I get a degree or trade in Switzerland first before going anywhere for longer than a few weeks. I was disappointed to say the least, but in the end it spurred me on to save even more money and I was as determined as ever.
In 1999, after getting a degree as a retail specialist and having saved up over $30’000, I finally packed my bags, said goodbye to family and friends, got a one-way ticket to America and took off across the ocean to a place called Los Angeles, California. There I would go and study Photography as an International student at Santa Monica College.
How did I pick Los Angeles you ask? Well, let’s see. Ocean, palm trees, eternal sunshine and of course the film industry. I had it in my head that I would end up working as a still photographer on movies and then move into actual camera work. Let’s just say things change and leave it at that for now.
So here I am, 17 years later, still leaving on the West Coast, just further up north. Still loving it and a proud owner of an American passport. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all moonlight and roses. I had dreams crushed, been disillusioned, been on the brink of homelessness and fought bad depression. But so far I always came up on top and I never really considered simply moving back to Switzerland. Living here feels right, like I actually have come home.