We are just over a month into life here in SoCal and it is pretty much the total opposite to life on the East Coast in every way possible. Obviously the weather is out of this world, but that was to be expected – it is California after all. But really, this move has been a big one. LA is a bit of another world for us.
I mean, it really is the land of perfect blue skies and palm trees, just like the movies. I don’t know how anywhere else is ever going to compare to this in terms of climate. Driving around is slightly surreal. It has rained ONCE since we arrived and that was an amazing storm. As a Brit, I am in absolute awe of you California.
But it is a change. We have moved from our 10th floor, 850sqft, sweet one bedroom cosy apartment to a huge house. Well, it feels huge to us. It is probably not that big to most suburb people, but after living in two rooms (not bedroom, rooms) for most of our married life… it feels massive. We have actually fully lost Freds a couple of times for a good few minutes *his new thing is silently hiding in cupboards and closets* which has been pretty terrifying. Little stinker. Thankfully Belle is really great at finding him – the girl is FAST.
Also, it is a lot of work keeping on top of a house. I didn’t fully appreciate how easy and simple apartment life is! Is it crazy that, being in this wonderful house, I actually really really miss our tiny apartment life?
That said, we are sure that this house is a perfect blessing this year and God totally knew what we needed before we did. In the year that we welcome our third baby into the world and move to be an 11 hour flight from family, we have a home to host people in. For the first time, we can have people stay with us without their only option being the mini bathtub for a bed or bunking up with the kids. So hey, if anyone is planning an LA trip and happens to really enjoy being woken up at 5:30am by toddlers shouting for Rice Krispies then you are very welcome. The catch is that we will 100% exploit you for date night babysitting whilst you are here. You are very welcome but you have been warned.
Despite the fact that it is such a big departure from the city life that we are used to, we are totally spoilt for views, hikes and beauty. We have fresh lemons growing in the garden, a choice of beautiful beaches to visit on the weekends, outdoor space and for the first time in our married life…a CAR!
I say car in the most American sense of the word. It is really a bus. It felt outrageous at first, but once we got our heads around the soon-to-be THREE car seats, double stroller and all the stuff that you have to carry around with little ones, Suzie (Belle named the car) shockingly is actually about the right size for us.
Now I just have to learn how to drive the beast. Yup, I have never learnt to drive and I had totally got away with it until now. Unlike London and NYC, in LA you 100% rely on a car to get around. For this city mama that is a bit of a shocker. I learnt to be a Mum in the city, walking everywhere, lifting the stroller up and down stairs and on and off the tube and subway, which is way less daunting to me than driving around with babies in the car. I have just passed my written exam, got my instructional permit and I have started taking lessons, but because I have never learnt to drive, it is going to take some time.
Honestly, it has been pretty lonely and frustrating being stuck at home so much with the kids so far. We are used to being out of the house most of the time, but I am trying to stay positive and make the most of the slower lifestyle here.
We lost our flow with homeschooling whilst the move was happening and we were traveling all over the place, so we have recently picked that up again which Belle is loving. Every morning after breakfast she begs me to do her preschool lessons which is so sweet and the reminder I need to get going.
The biggest change and bonus of being out here though has been that J mostly works from home. It is such a nice change from our East Coast life where he would work long hours, leaving early in the morning and getting home most often when the kids were in bed. Even just cutting that commute time and eating lunch together (some days) is so lovely and I cannot explain how incredible it is to have our evenings back. I am not used to having help for that clear up, dinner, bath, bed circus at the end of each day (parents – you get me!) and so having J home in the evenings as I get closer to having this baby is pretty amazing.
We have found a church and started to make friends, but again all of that ‘feeling settled’ does take time and I have to remind myself that it will come eventually. We had really made Hoboken our home and so giving up that place, our church and all of our amazing friends really stings. I am still at the stage where I will tear up if I think about it too much… and I don’t think I can blame that one on pregnancy hormones.
All in all we are doing okay. LOTS of change, adapting and mostly being patient whilst we make LA feel like home. This is our third city and fifth move in our five short years of marriage and so we know the deal now. We know that it all takes time, investing, being a little bit brave and maintaining a positive attitude. In the mean time, constant sunshine, In-N-Out Burger and the beach really does help.