Our first Recession

Newlyweds at the end of 2007.

That year we got married, moved to California, started new jobs that were intense, demanding, full time. After four years of college and summer internships, full time work felt draining, stuck, oppressive. But I was commuted to pull through. To get used to it, to take the bull by its horns and become a full fledged grown up. 

Our income was dual and by my student standards it should have been comfortable enough to live on. But before moving to California I hadn’t taken into consideration the overwhelming expenses of living there. Half of our monthly combined salaries went on rent. $1441. A one bedroom nice apartment that helped us feel safe and confortable as newly weds. But the majority of what we had left went on insurance, utilities, school loan $400. We went food shopping with a frugal list, and if I didn’t prepare a lunch to take to work I would skip lunch because eating out was way out of our budget. 

Life was increasingly depressing as it felt we are not making a dent in our de t and we can’t save money no matter how hard we tried. Also, this was 2008, the beginning on the economic crisis, and people were let go by the hundreds, every week. It was so depressing, but I clung onto god and stuck with it. Conrad lost his job when the owner went bankrupt and then had a series of short cafe jobs. People were becoming homeless out of the blue and we weren’t far from it. I kept a job that was I creating my toxic because we couldn’t afford to quit. The dress and concern for the future reached the high levels and bosses were stressed and depressed and stingy and unfair. I wanted to quit it all and come back to romania. But to what end? What was there for me? The economy was getting bad if not worse here. I never left a situation out of fear or by giving up. 

At some point we moved in with our parents and lived with them for many months. At least we didn’t have to pay rent. Our money went on school debt utilities and food partially. 

We both lost weight. We were in a daze of working hard hoping life will get better. The mental load was crushing. I lived to years in increased stress. But by gods grace we had church. PBCC. And at our premarital counseling we were given one assignment: to go on dates as much as we can, every month go out of town, take day trip on our days off and get to know each other. Only by gods grace we made it through. And this hardship became a sturdy foundation to survive other challenges and storms in our marriage, like job changes, cancer, moving across the world, adopting children, parenting together. 

I am grateful for family and community and church. I’m grateful for strong marriages around us, who gave us hope and a good example. I’m most grateful that God walked alongside us even when we didn’t have many words to pray but just call out on him in despair. And I pray we can be a beacon of hope for others.