May 16 2016

My First Cali-versary

My First Cali-versary

I’ve been here a year.

One whole year. After a year of being in a place, it’s maybe supposed to start feeling like home, I suspect — but sometimes I still look around and think, Wait a second. I LIVE here? This usually happens while I’m driving, for some reason. I’m on the highway and at some point I inevitably notice I’m heading toward a mountain and there is this almost out-of-body experience. I have to actively remind myself, This is my HOME. There are mountains. There is not a whole lot of space or fresh water or lush green grass, but there are mountains, yes, and this is where I live now.

Am I weird? (I mean, yes, but am I weird because of this?) What’s the timeline for this kind of thing?

Maybe it’s because this alleged “year” actually feels like twenty minutes. Okay, three months. Four, tops. The other day I called someone to make an appointment for something and I said, “I’m not sure exactly where you’re located — we just moved here from Michigan a couple months ago.” Wait…what? That’s not right. “I mean, it’s been almost a year or something. Anyway. I have no idea where you are.” Continue reading

Jan 11 2016

Places I Do Not Belong

Places I Do Not Belong

We’ve been back in California for a week now, and while I enjoyed our Michigan visit immensely, I returned with the vague feeling that I don’t quite belong anywhere anymore.

Don’t get me wrong: in a lot of ways, it was the most relaxed I’ve been in months. It was incredibly fulfilling to be with our family and friends again, and SUCH A RELIEF to know that help was nearby if we needed to call upon our village. I was able to just zip away to brunch with the girls. I was able to see P and B fall in love with their grandparents again. I was able to have an actual dinner with my husband. There were way more sets of hands to change diapers, give hugs, and mold Play-Doh. My daughter’s tantrums (a very recent and totally unwelcome occurrence in our household) vanished after just a few Michigan days. She was a better person when there were more people around to love her. We were all better people, I think. Continue reading

Jul 27 2015

California Drivin’ ...on such a summer's dayyy...

<span class="entry-title-primary">California Drivin’</span> <span class="entry-subtitle">...on such a summer's dayyy...</span>

If you’re traveling to Ireland from America, you probably expect to alter your driving strategy to match the whole left-side-of-the-road thing. But I kind of figured that if you stayed within the U.S., driving would more or less stay the same.

Not so, as it turns out. At least not for me. Driving in California has been more of an adjustment than I anticipated. I’ve mentioned the U-turns and the cyclists — which were obvious from minute one — but there have been a whole host of new surprises now that we’ve been out here for a few weeks. Here are eight things this Michigander is still getting used to: Continue reading

May 24 2015

An Indefinite Vacation

An Indefinite Vacation

We officially, as a family, moved to California on Saturday, May 16. Al flew home to help with the movers and to assist with the whole flying-with-a-two-year-old thing.

When the plane touched down, I felt the same rush of relief I always do. We grabbed our luggage — one suitcase each, plus a car seat — from the carousel. Standard issue. In fact, everything felt just like every other trip I’ve ever taken (except now we had a child with us). Sitting with Peaches, waiting for Al to pick us up in the rental car, I looked around at all the travelers and thought, We are just on vacation. We were going to take Peaches to the ocean, show her some sights, and then we were going to board a plane again and head home. Right?

The flight.
I was semi-dreading a four-and-a-half hour flight with a toddler. P has flown once, for forty-five minutes — she was ten months old and slept in my lap the whole trip.

This time, there was no sleeping. Continue reading

Apr 8 2015

California Housing Market, You’re Kind of the Worst

California Housing Market, You’re Kind of the Worst

Whenever I tell people that I’m moving to California, the very first words out of their mouth are something like, “Oh, no! You’ll never be able to afford a house, you know that? It’s REALLY expensive there.” I have literally heard this from everyone: friends, family, neighbors, the people who run our current daycare, the grocery store cashier. It’s insane. And every time someone says it, the WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?! alarm rings a little louder in my head. Continue reading