When I flew back to California after spending a wonderful Christmas vacation with my family, I returned to find my apartment had been terribly burglarized.
I was shocked. Most all of my things were gone. The tv my father had sent me as a housewarming gift, the guitars I learned to play the blues on when I was a young girl, the laptop that I considered my first big purchase (filled with photos from my internship and senior year of college), my video camera and memory drives stocked full of videos from high-school, my First Holy Communion rosary, my old car given to me for my 18th birthday... I didn't know what to do.
I had car insurance, but I was surprised to find out that my renter's insurance did not cover my theft. I was at a total loss. I spent a few sleepless nights and stressful days talking non-stop with police, insurance adjusters, my landlords and my parents. I had never imagined that I would have to deal with anything like this. I have experienced losses before through hurricanes, but this was different. This was not a community loss. My theft felt personal. I felt targeted and alone. I had built the last few years in California by myself with my own money from the ground up. Suddenly, everything was gone. I was terrified at the thought of having to rebuild so much from scratch. I was very upset and very angry.
I knew that I wanted to return to work right away. Not only because my Cars 2 start date was approaching, but because I wanted to see my Pixar family again. After a few days of squaring some business away, I came into work. Walking into the atrium that morning was the biggest relief I have felt in a very long time. I honestly feel more at home at work than any apartment I could ever live in here in California. It is because this studio is why I am here in the first place. Pixar is what drove me here, what keeps me here and has been my most steady constant in my post-college life.
My friends welcomed me home with loving arms and sympathy. They offered help, condolences and assistance in dealing with the aftermath of my losses. Soon I discovered that much of my studio family had gathered a fund to help me rebuild. These gifts were given to me in various ways. I was completley blown away by their generous charity, but I was not surprised. My co-workers are the greatest people I could ever hope to work with. I am honored to be included in such a wonderful community and feel blessed walking into work each and every day. I felt like a turtle that had been knocked over on its back. My friends, family, and Pixar helped to push me over and back onto my feet. The last month has been an amazing lesson on loss, responsibility, love, family, charity and self-worth. As I counted my blessings, the anger I had carried with me from the burglary began to fade away away. I realized that even though I was the victim, I am in a much better position in my life than those burglars may ever be. My true treasures are not things than can be stolen by thieves.
I am now living in a new apartment and am loving it! With the help of my friends, I am rebuilding. I have gotten far pretty fast and am proud of myself for bouncing back so quickly. However, I could have never done it without the help of others.
Thank you to everyone who has sent their thoughts, prayers and love. I love you all. :)